wicked alice| fall 2011
Jessica Rainey & Edward Smallfield
past : body : six of swords
dreams have no titles
past : mind : two of wands
negar es pensar
past : soul : three of cups
the suitcase with the antibiotics
present : body : the devil
and I will tell you who you are
present : mind : page of wands
no eres ambicioso
present : soul : six of cups
the kisses open
future : body : the hanged man
death is the mother of beauty
future : mind : three of swords
the subject of all poems is the clock
future : soul : nine of pentacles
and smarter than you think
Tell me, Miss Quote, what do your tattoos
mean? Our history is written in ashes,
some poet said, but you wear yours, a sign like lip
-stick on a pillow or scribbled on a mirror.
Have you seen the other women looking at your shoes?
This life often tastes like dust.
This life only tastes like dust
when the corners don't get swept! My tattoos
are me, my true identity. My shoes
are a figment of our collective prostíbulo projection. For me, ashes
belong in the past—mirrors
do too. Nuestras historias son meras reflexiones : everyone has lips.
…but they’re not your lips,
as the old song says. And the dust
that gathers in the corners of our souls and poems, that blurs our mirrors,
can’t be blown easily away, though we try. Your tattoos
remember like love’s bruises. We wish our pasts were ashes.
I wonder, though, who you really are on summer nights, without your shoes.
I am different without my shoes
and my lips
are not mine either. But, Ramón, summer nights, like ashes,
can only be experienced now... Have you tried the stardust
pickmeup? It tastes to me of summer dreams and overcoloured tattoos.
I will see what they really are if perhaps you would hold up your mirror?
Tell me, Miss Q, will I see you in my mirror
or are you truly una vampira? Please take off your shoes
and feel the wet sand. I’d like to learn the taste of your tattoos,
your summer dreams. None of us owns our lips,
that’s the life we’ve chosen for ourselves. “Stardust”
is an old song, &, perhaps like us, it tastes of ashes.
Imagine the taste of us—a mouthful of ash
I would rather look in my own mirror
though perhaps when covered with dust
I would see only red shoes
and red-stained lips
not because I am a vampire, Ramón I prefer not to see my tattoos
and the ashes feel soft without shoes
as soft as your lips se debe colocar siempre detrás del espejo
escondido como el polvo we hide behind our tattoos
Past : body : king of cups
what I like most
past : mind : seven of wands
the tongue searches for a thread underneath
past : soul : nine of swords
and we killed the Gods
present : body : temperance
I wanted to do evil
Present : mind : ace of swords
les rêves n’ont pas les titres
present : sou l : knight of pentacles
kill the light kill the moon
future : body : the moon
la vida es
future : mind : five of cups
indistinguishable from magic
future : soul : queen of cups
I was just an innocent young prostitute
Dime, Miss Quote, are you alive inside a sentence?
Does the scent
of jasmine stain your dreams?
…there’s been a change
in the weather,
baby, a change in the sea… Always an after, & a before—
I'm not sure anything comes before
el Prostíbulo Poetíco—except perhaps a sentence
of allegiance... Inside we weather
the breath of others & inhale the scent
of their stains. I like when you talk of change,
Ramón, then I feel alive inside a dream.
La vida es sueño,
Miss Q, & before
we were other persons, other selves change
is within us & erupts, a sentence
without punctuation or much meaning. What is the scent
that lingers here? Tell me your interior weather.
If I tell you, Ramón, will the weather
be warmer inside? Will you share more of your dreams,
Ramón? I fear the scent
of the past, of the things that came before…
I prefer a perfect sentence
with or without meaning to change.
…what does not change
is the will to change… I can´t read your weather.
Are you rainy? Near the sea? A life sentence:
an island. A highway. You can be in my dream
if I can be in yours… There were fears before.
Now there´s music, tingling skin, a garden of scents,
a tree bearing cents.
I pick the fruit & give you the change.
...there's been a before,
baby, there will always be an after whether
of highways or islands or gardens we dream
—we are alive tienes razon inside this sentence.
…whose soul is sense el aguanta el tiempo…
...only the dreamer can change or change the dream...
Before our world began someone supplied a sentence
Miss Quote’s Reading
Past : body : the sun
I have morals again
past : mind : two of cups
what you depart from
past : soul : death
in which nobody will win
present : body : queen of wands
the sadness of a healthy libido
present : mind : ace of swords
les rêves n’ont pas les titres
present : soul : seven of swords
negar es pensar
future : body : the empress
you must be loved to be fertile
future : mind : page of swords
¡que camino tan largo!
Future : soul : justice
thought is the only thing
Edward Smallfield is the author of The Pleasures of C, One Hundred Famous Views of Edo (a book-length collaboration with Doug MacPherson), and locate (a chapbook collaboration with Miriam Pirone). His poems have appeared in Barcelona INK, e-poema, Fourteen Hills, New American Writing, Parthenon West Review, Transfer, 26 and many other magazines.
Jessica Rainey is a writer and translator from the UK. Her work has appeared in All Angles (a bilingual English-Catalan short story anthology), Barcelona INK, Dusie, e-poema.gr, Páginas Rojas, Ricci Ricci Journal, Sawbuck, and as a winner of the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s new poet competition.