Art & Writing by Christina M. Turner

writing

Four Poems

For National Poetry Month, may I present a collection of poems?

Poems that make me want to weep, and shout, and laugh, but tend to make me sit, and think, and feel. Powerful words that galvanize all sorts of sentiment I didn’t think could be put into words.

Four poems by women that manage to make words mean something more.

Matisse,  Cut Outs  1954. Inexplicably vectorized and posted with no attribution to “Kisscc0.com”

Matisse, Cut Outs 1954. Inexplicably vectorized and posted with no attribution to “Kisscc0.com”

Once Again I Prove the Theory of Relativity

by Sandra Cisneros

If
you came back
I’d treat you
like a lost Matisse
couch you like a Pasha
dance a Sevillana
leap and backflip like a Taiwanese diva
bang cymbals like a Chinese opera
roar like a Fellini soundtrack
and laugh like the little dog that
watched the cow jump over the moon

I’d be your clown
I’d tell you funny stories and
paint clouds on the walls of my house
dress the bed in its best linen
And while you slept
I’d hold my breath and watch
you move like a sunflower

How beautiful you are
like the color inside an ear
like a conch shell
like a Modigliani nude

I’ll cut a bit of your hair this time
so that you’ll never leave me
Ah, the softest hair
Ah, the softest

If
you came back
I’d give you parrot tulips and papayas
laugh at your stories
Or I wouldn’t say a word which,
as you know, is hard for me

I know when you grew tired
off you’d go to Patagonia
Cairo   Istanbul
Katmandu
Laredo

Meanwhile
I’ll have savored you like an oyster
memorized you
held you under my tongue
learned you by heart
So that when you leave
I’ll write poems

***

The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife

by Morgan Parker

Good morning how may I

offend you on this cracked

open Sabbath Dear God

I promise to prop you up

Of course I exist

I have every small name

Metaphorically draped in linen

I am often used to describe

the invisible how it carries

I answer your phone and pack

your lunches for it is written

A woman must

A man shall receive

Scrolling through profile pics I am

ashamed I disappear into

mysterious pastures

O unproven halo

Have I ever lived

I must be a joke

written in seething

sweat after the passage

of eternal lives

snapped broomsticks

To dusting I return singing

Jesus loves me yes

Yes and my body

My steepled temple

O God your flesh is a word

My flesh by the grace of you

I believe in everything

Brown bodies in a salty river

Your praises in their swollen cheeks

I must be the B-side

clipped to the editing floor

A gold road paved with me

And Jesus said medium rare

And I bowed quietly eternally

Cleaned his cup on my apron

and poured him his blood

In this parable I am the goblet

Crater of birth and service

I leave no trace

I become the smallest book

Smooth vellum pages

Anciently flaking

With these thorns I thee stroke

And lie down under questions

Jesus what can you offer me

Will you return from your journey

across skin-colored sands

to wash the feet of other women

and touch my head with truth

I will be waiting in a doorframe until harvest

Until the sky is so clear I see

my lipstick reflecting in the olive trees

Take the fever out of me

Come in and rise again and again


***

The Hypno-Domme Speaks, and Speaks and Speaks

by Patricia Lockwood

I was born as a woman, I talk you to death,
or else your ear off,
or else you to sleep. What do I have, all the time
in the world, and a voice that swings brass back
and forth, you can hear it, and a focal point where
my face should be. What do I have, I have absolute
power, and what I want is your money, your drool,
and your mind, and the sense of myself as a snake,
and a garter in the grass. Every bone in the snake
is the hipbone, every part of the snake is the hips.
The first sound I make is silence, then sssssshhh,
the first word I say is listen. Sheep shearers
and accountants hypnotize the hardest,
and lookout sailors who watch the sea, and the boys
who cut and cut and cut and cut and cut the grass.
The writers who write page-turners, and the writers
who repeat themselves. The diamond-cutter kneels
down before me and asks me to hypnotize him, and
I glisten at him and glisten hard, and listen to me and
listen, I tell him. Count your age backward, I tell him.
Become aware of your breathing, and aware of mine
which will go on longer. Believe you
are a baby till I tell you otherwise, then believe
you're a man till I tell you you're dirt. When a gunshot
rings out you'll lie down like you're dead. When you
hear, "He is breathing," you'll stand up again.
The best dog of the language is Yes and protects you.
The best black-and-white dog of the language is Yes
and goes wherever you go, and you go where I say,
you go anywhere. Why do I do it is easy, I am working
my way through school. Give me the money
for Modernism, and give me the money
for what comes next. When you wake to the fact that you
have a body, you will wake to the fact that not for long.
When you wake you will come when you read the word
hard, or hard to understand me, or impenetrable poetry.
When you put down the book you will come when you
hear the words put down the book,
you will come when you hear. 

***

BOYS. BLACK. A Preachment

by Gwendolyn Brooks

Boys. Black. Black Boys.

Be brave to battle for your breath and bread.

Your heads hold clocks that strike the new time of day.

Your hearts are

legislating Summer Weather now.

                Cancel Winter.

 

Up, boy. Boys black. Black boys.

Invade now where you can or can’t prevail.

Take this:

                There’s fertile ground beneath the pseudo-ice.

Take this:

                Sharpen your hatchets. Force into the green.

Boys, in all your Turnings and your Churnings,

remember Afrika.

Call your singing and your bringing,

your pulse, your ultimate booming in

the not-so-narrow temples of your Power—

call all that, that is your Poem, AFRIKA.

Although you know

so little of that long leaplanguid land,

our tiny union

is the dwarfmagnificent.

Is the busysimple thing.

 

See, say, salvage.

Legislate.

Enact our inward law.

 

In the precincts of a nightmare all contrary

be with your sisters hope for our enhancement.

Hurry.

Force through the sludge.

Wild thick scenery subdue.

 

Because

the eyeless Leaders flutter, tilt, and fail.

The followers falter, peculiar, eyeless too.

Force through the sludge. Force, whether

God is a Thorough and a There,

or a mad child,

playing

with a floorful of toys,

mashing

whatwhen he wills. Force, whether

God is spent pulse, capricious, or a yet-to-come.

 

And boys,

young brothers, young brothers—

beware the imitation coronations.

Beware

the courteous paper of kingly compliments.

 

Beware

the easy griefs.

It is too easy to cry, “ATTICA”

and shock thy street,

and purse thy mouth,

and go home to thy “Gunsmoke.” Boys,

black boys,

beware the easy griefs

that fool and fuel nothing.

 

I tell you

I love You

and I trust You.

Take my Faith.

Make of my Faith an engine.

Make of my Faith

a Black Star. I am Beckoning.