<i><b>Wicked Alice Poetry Journal
wicked alice| winter 2009

Kristy Lueshen


The Heliotrope

there she was, a remark waiting to be said, honey on her palms, the pop of a balloon, too many peas in the stew, glass of water with cucumbers, tarnished by dirty handkerchiefs, a handkerchief accidentally left beside the stool --- did you see it slip out of his pocket and float steadily downwards without worrying whose nose it would rub next? did you wonder what handkerchief he'd pick up next and whether or not he would call it late at night with whiskey on his breath and a hand in his pants? did you see the handkerchief sigh with a smile and scoot into the shadow? i saw it, and i felt it, so i picked it up and vowed to never touch it to my face, only hold it inside of me like a memory, or a cough during the funeral ---. like i said, there she was, i saw her walk away and knew all of the words that trailed her spine and held her straight.




All words exist in front of me equidistant in both time and footsteps. They pop every now and again. Little suds on dirtied dishes and I wanted to tell you them, presently, when they came to me a sudden flashing. You answered and listened quietly which is to say did not listen and said quickly I have to go! All words at once existed in front of me equidistant in both the time it takes to remove laundry and that to yawn. Positivism reeks only of dog years and memories of lint. I need a logic bunker to let it fester in heaps of fetid, outlasted juggernauts. Should you come around more? Wild-eyed but pancreatic. I sent scores of postcards to old wives and received a refreshing bit of insensitivity. Age, the wet bedsore.




[americans always blush]

whether for shame of a penny-pinching past;
or that a few hundred years' history
-- dead-weight on shoulders it rests, stop --
smiles coughs and burns the bodies;
or of too low a gain of that great big dream;
or that a war-touting texan runs amok the world
and pastes on his chest the word savior
(killing a national identity with false valor)
while killing a nation's identity with false power

a rose-cheeked reddening of ignorance sits
and thumb-twiddles broken bones with a duty-free wrist-watch
dangling off the side,
reeled in and cradled as passive, no objection
but given and placed;

still: accepted and shrugged about, the weight
trots along but can't keep pace with the carriage,
or the baggage,
or the unjust attitude that serves no purpose
unless tethered to a crumbling ego.




we who hate this weather and are flattened by its damp and nebulous no-see-em electron cloud and how we still move to traipse through as if we owned the place (it is arguable, one may say, that we do). we, or i, the foghorned captain pulled back to shore from sea for fear of capsizing. reeled in like flopping fish to be gutted and have our refuse returned to our very own belly.

we who abhor this wind and are kept shape-stolen inside the huddled mold of breezed-in inhabitants with shoulders hunched and hands pocketed and lips narrowed into the thin line of quick warm breaths. quick warm breaths that hover ahead of us and keep their heat and wait for us oh so nicely before they choose to burst.

we the non-decision makers who cannot for all the lives inside us make a shining statement and throw our index finger into the air exclaiming Aye there's the rub! and instead are huddled molds of breezed-in individuals with shoulders squared and hands all cold and twisting at the strings of missing buttons. we the non-decision makers who lie beneath old habitats.

we and that is to say all of us who are living stark-footed but sinking into once-dabbled mud and trying so very little to pull ourselves out, although a stray branch has been extended. we who see the branch and think not salvation but splinters. we can hear oh no's! that are whispered from mouth-corner to mouth-corner as we disappear beneath old and broken habitats.

we scratch that i

i, the amateur orator, the mindful funk at the base of your palm, the human sapling that with all good intentions lies heavy beneath old habitats and crumbles inside the pressure of a dismissed and reckoned city

i who with spirits sent abound returns to the shore with a damaged, capsized ship that had made it far enough to spot the whale only to be reeled back in, fell and found asunder

i who hate abhor this wind and weather for all of my decisions and conclusions that it steals and stashes behind its rusted and loose belt-buckle i

i with a torn and stapled body?

i with a torn and stapled body? i who is caught between tongue and speech.

the chinese who have a certain adjective for 'like a belly full of floating fish.'

kristy lueshen is an astronaut.