Amy King (New York City, USA): Two Poems


Fire is my fence with gravity to grow
from. With stenciled-on feathers,
lovers count backwards from infinity
reborn, then anxiously land where
no darkness can guide us.
I was sick as a stitch
falling higher on valium and
how much I missed your luscious night.
That’s how sweat passes, a translucent gas.

Everyone sends notes of promise.
Everywhere I go I meet them,
those sympathetic theorists,
those college classrooms on wheels.
People don’t graduate to ignore conflict.
They are seized by repertoire appetites,
by the dirt on crisper bullets
of the world-not-them.
They make haste and say things like:
a struggle induced to shed luck,
the luck of language hanging on,
the luxury of land to be speaking from.

Come along with us, they say –
but mean it? If they follow, we’ll
never escape life-like people
with mission bells tolling.
Secretly, I am doing a Fellini;
I am hosting the minstrel man.
I too like to play along, nodding
and bobbing, but they scream
into the bright night, You lit us up!
For the worst in us,
there’s only a distance of eyes
gauging flight from a grounded earth.

Handwritten words grope the chords
in our necks, knitting out a less-than
rotation of women on fire,
our sparkling genders debated
by the work of people unspoken.


She lifts the ocean to sky
(don’t try this at night):

Does it cost you to talk
from elsewhere
you, antelope
you, beer swigger
you, alien-masked
masticator with
the double chins?

For your meat-eating daisy,
I’m building a skin-felt
ladder in space suit
to climb to
the cradles as they
sway in their rockets’
polished torn hymens—

And the backyard becomes
our fertilized guppy-pond,
a counterfeit sea to float
flesh-eaten songs upon.