wicked alice| fall 2009

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Cati Porter



What it’s like to be a girl.


Cotton balls and cotton swabs and soft cotton underwear and pin curls and violet toilet water and lipstick the color of your gum and chewing politely with your mouth closed and keeping your bedroom eyes in the bedroom in a water glass by the bed by the foot by the drapes your mother drew with her magic marker making the rounds, making off.


See, first I put on the petty dress. No, I meant pity. No, pretty. First I put on the pretty dress. Then I twirl around and say, “Look at me! I am so pretty and petty! Pity me!” And then I say “Fuck this shit!” And then I lift my skirt. And then you do.


Spin spin spin spin. Run run run run. Nylons don’t if you clear them first with your nearest acquaintance who paints a transparence that it is so clearly apparent to anyone who looks (and everyone does) at your stockinged toes and the alluring ice-cream dripping down your luscious wrist.







Command & Control

X, primitive in its fondness for cutting

The same action the same
    in either language
    in either relationship

where to diverge is to flap flap flap flap
because convergence is more acceptable
    (a shrinking back, a withdrawal
        from banked keys)

    A simple act of dis-
appearance, act-
ion where the
flips, fumbles
into limbo
to sometime
reappear, some time

In both versions of the rodeo
    tips finger keys, make
off with the make-believe work-a-day word
that means
    these letters are in order 
though in one the announcement
Command, the other, Control
    a subtle linguistic
These the blood-blazed sheets,
    hands knotted in the hair
    the spit-shined backlit clit you suckle
    the lapis organza skirt     lifted
        for you    for you
(she says) fertile as a white field, irresistible
    as, so plain as to not be

Cut, she shouts
     and lights trip the scene sudden
as she fingers the cross and whispers --
        Love, it’s never enough.







An Arrangement, An Iridescence, A Letting Go & Down

The girl in the tutu loves pearl onions. So shiny and shimmy.
Lit like ice from the inside when cooked and cooled but not as
transparent. Making waves, and even though skin is more
thoroughly like another oval object whose objective is green:
the color of, seed-pearl may be another way of saying, too much:

Too skin, and too frail; too tutu when she swirls. Sit & pant,
tongue-draped and avalanched into a corner, a bolt unspooled.
She is hanging on the tree red and redder still. She twirls, misses
the doing-in and the undoing done. She is branched and round
and waiting for the prince. What fruit doesn’t wait for bite, for juicy

spills like eye-holds & wet heads & in-canned essence. She likes
a private scent. As she twirls and spins and reds and onions
in a slipper-chipper night the king has ordered an heroic trio.
(Which none love’s she, the Q whose A= none of the above.)
There was being and there was non-being. A better-fitting glove.


Cati Porter is the author of two collections of poetry, small fruit songs and Seven Floors Up. Her poems & book reviews have recently appeared or are forthcoming from Crab Creek Review (finalist for the Crab Creek Review poetry competition), Rattle, Smartish Pace, and Fringe, and in the anthologies White Ink: Poems on Mothers & Motherhood, Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel -- Second Floor, and Letters to the World: Poems from the Women's Poetry LISTSERV. An interview and poetry feature is forthcoming in the December issue of Umbrella. She is founder & editor of Poemeleon: A Journal of Poetry.