Larissa Shmailo (NYC, USA): Four Poems


1. I saw you first, writing in the sand.
I couldn't hear you: they were cursing me,
Throwing stones, screaming
Bitch Cunt Whore Bitch Cunt Whore.

I couldn't hear you.
You were quiet and
Papa was holding me, whispering in my ear,
Telling me I was a man's woman,
A natural born whore,
And Mama smiled and turned her head,
Paid the mortgage on my back,
And spit on me: You parasite, she hissed,
You little bitch: You made Papa bad.

So I ran, ran, ran for my life
In any direction I could
Like a dead leaf I rode the wind
I didn't know that
You were the cloud that would carry me
Didn't feel
Your wind beneath my veins
Didn't hear
The birds I followed with my eyes.
I flew without breath,
Running for my life.

2. I couldn't hear you;
You were so quiet,
I still don't know why.
And the pimp's voice was soft,
Hissing in my ear, telling me
I was damned if I didn't
And the tricks were leering, saying
I was damned if I did, but
Do me baby, just do me now.
And their women, their thin, cold women,
Just told me I was damned.

3. I saw you first, writing in the sand,
Even as I ran for my life.
The mob turned to you, saying
Rabbi, should we kill her?

And you laughed.
And I saw the word you had written in the brown sand
And your hand writing twice just in case I didn't see
And I saw the word as I fell to the soft sand,
The word of beginning, the word in your hand
And I took the word, and wrote it all over,
And I laughed and I wrote and was free.

4. Stations

I was there, I saw your face
When you fell for the third time,
When the cross dragged you under,
When they nailed you at last.

I was there, I saw your face
When the pain of betrayal
Would have made any man
Sell his soul to be dead.

I was there, I saw your face,
When you cried to the heavens,
Eloi, eloi, lama sabachtani.
And the heavens split open
For the grace of despair,
For that prayer of despair,
For the gift of despair.

5. The Second Coming

It's time for the second coming, boy:
I just called to say
That the boys are back in town,
And I'm with them
And we're ready to rock,
Ready to rumble,
Ready to roll.

I know I've been quiet
But I've been thinking about you, no one else.
I guess I've been shy, haven't spoken my mind.
They told me not to:
Told me it wasn't nice for a girl.
Told me not to climb the mountain,
Not to teach in church,
Not to drop the cross.
But like you say, fuck 'em:
I don't care what people say.
So come see about me:
I can stay out late tonight.

I want to come with you,
Be your biker chick, your angel,
Your new cross, a true cross
A cross with breasts.

I will soothe your Armageddon, your Jihad
I will be your avenging angel,
I will be on your side this time,
For you are my vehicle, baby,
And the kingdom of heaven
Is mine on your wheels.
Let me be your cross.

The soul of a woman was created below;
Now you know why.

This time, next time, now:
Raise an army for you
Harrow Hell and
Find some roughnecks
To kick down the walls of your tomb.

Listen: Hell hath no fury
Like a woman whose man has been
Gone a long time.

I will not let you be crucified again.


Cellular grandfather, pity me: once it was understood
how things were done, how the boiling ferns invited the
glaciers to come, how the dinosaurs asked to die. Os-
cillation: The world was born in swing and sway, and I,
fasting slowly, am not random nor mad, but large, and
more precise than you. My blood makes air and cells;
my moon subtends the sky; my tides squeeze life out of
rock. All my night journeys find a sun; I leave orchards
and olives behind.


He follows her with his voice; she sees him with her skin,
and drinks him with her hands, in the storm touch which
will crush his chest against her breast. The poppies pour

their juice in the red rain which will crack, in time, all o-
ther things. She drinks him with her hands. He follows
with her breast. She sees him with his chest, in this bo-

dy not her own, but which, in the night, is hers. Like the
heat that swells all things, she sings the night with him.
He follows her with his voice; she sees him with her skin


It’s not the ops tempo it’s the boys

have financial problems they think about looking

at those rigs in Basra. Noncoms got body armor we don't

get suicide prevention teams this ain't Nam & only

189 under 25 did it & less than a thousand tried

what do you want: there are stressors and

the guns are there.

© Larissa Shmailo 2008