Session Five Anthology
MENTOR: Camonghne Felix
Walk with me—
an invitation for Haruko to move his castle into my inner landscape of Björks Black Lake
I welcome you to my
soul site construction – one wound one world into another half, moon
pale yellow down another rabbit hole into blisters of joy – bluecold eruptions
spinning above that old place unforgotten, alongside with the sound tap of
dew moss drops down my Achillis‘ heel shift, out of the blue but steady
boots crack meadow beats and tender roots starting
to foster lighthouses of sorrow
sewing down wrinkled wings into pulsing streams
inflamed by the fear of leaving
the house you have kept yourself in, away from moving ahead
always on the road, but never
home rolling lights crackle with our pace
too fast too strong too much
When brother commits suicide by
shotgun no one will hear him fall to peace. Hope splattered against kitchen tiles. They will gather at the tombstone. Closed casket. Pastor says let not your heart be troubled by skeleton rotting into rest. Mother says don't look. They are singing hymns but her lips keep schtum. She preserves fear in ankle bones so shake her core turn her out. She hears the graveyard beckoning. Bone collecting. Crucifix resting on breasts is powerless. cannot ward off what lives in you. Mama the keepsakes you hang on bedside tables lock/ jaws/ lock/ drawers /lock doors but even darkness is opened by slits; towers on stilts. There is too much unsaid. Here his spirit occupies floor tiles. A sudden breeze. A flinch. Her stance leans into combat, belly unnerved. She returns. Herbs on the counter- turning rhythm into surrender. Hand finishing a lecture with a knife block.
& the white girl tells me i need to marry a Latino man so that my kids can be the world
if there was a time when no one had yet convinced me that i am more suitcase than body / i do not remember it
my greenfruited organs are tasked with a premature gorging
but i am 10 or 11 & so is she & maybe we just finished a chapter about columbus & maybe that is why she has this fascination with turning me into both shipbelly and cargo & so i nod my head and smile
through baby teeth / my baby limbs apply herself onto papier-mâché globe
i am from 3 continents & settled on a 4th that whispers in my ear / that antarctica is uninhabitable / that indigenous australians do not exist
& so all of the landmass south of “America” becomes the final acquisition to be made
my slumbering womb / a feasting palm
i name the children globalization&postracialsociety but they are pronounced like imperialism&imperialism & i place them in daycare but they get devoured &
sometimes i have dreams that i am pregnant&choking & i can’t tell the difference
& i am 10 or 11 & already terrified of penetration&appetite &
the white girl tells me she was a Petri Dish baby & yet i am the one that is experiment
& everyone keeps saying mixed kids are always the most beautiful at me and my brother without bothering to floss first &
first grade i watched the movie The Blob with my grandparents & cried because what kind of Thing eats up people & is still shapeless
& sometimes i have dreams where i awake already engulfed in The Blob & didn’t even get the chance to run &
awaiting my period feels like awaiting death
if i don’t have kids do i stop being beautiful
10 or 11 year old me hopes she might be sterile like a mule
i don’t want to be beautiful
i want to be swallowed by an ocean i can call my own
if children are legacy than let mine be
every nectaring kiss i place on a friend’s cheek &
every drop of non-land my skin has ever touched &
every pink eraser scrubbing away a penciled boundary &
every pleasure that blooms across my landscapes &
every inch we shift back towards pangea &
every time i say no thank you
& my kids will be the world & my kids will be the world & my kids will be the world &
my barren body will dissolve its borders into nitrogen and phosphorous
& one day will birth a tree bearing every fruit
I am pulling at the chords
to make the anger sing.
The drumbeats of war
so I scrub the moss from my limbs
aching and awakening a demon
growing in my belly.
There are throats without mercy
raw with silenced screams.
But some beasts must be born.
Rupturing from my lips
the raging creature stands
we go hand in hand.
Amanda Wood Amanda Wood is a writer based in Toronto, Ontario. She is a graduate of The Speakeasy Project’s month-long poetry program. The often haunting, mythical themes in Amanda’s writing tie into her
fascination with the intersecting identities of women; with a focus on mental health, healing, and our connection with the earth. Amanda is a winner of the City of Toronto’s public art project, My City My Six and is looking forward to future community-based collaborative projects.
Ode to Avril Lavigne, Ending in Time Travel So My Eight-Year-Old Self Can Put on Eyeliner for the First Time
after Hanif Abdurraqib
No husbands. No growling men to be a pinkened
otherbetter-half of. Snap, just like that.
It’s 2002. I’m eight, hair entirely Shirley Temple
in a middle-parted glass. Glasses. Androchild,
too born-yesterday Puritan for a border of smudged dark
or even Sharpie nails. By all accounts
a good girl. Wouldn’t even sing damn
when it’s With You and the chorus is swirling
out of the car window like a spell. But oh,
I stitched my lips to that bad. That off-brand
Kohl’s-product-placement bad. Watered-down-whiskey
-in-a-Dixie-cup bad. An earnest kind of rebellion,
too closeup on its own ache to know who The Man is.
I’m eight. The Man is my third grade teacher
and the lengthening shadow of the scale.
I get older, meaner, think I’m cool because now I like
a whine with more bass in it, but it was always you, Canadian
cruelest-month version of a hymnal. It’s still you. Find me
in the church of my bedroom each Sunday with the good word
liquoring my breath. I fell in love and in trouble,
crawled across the underbelly of that bridge, muddied
my mouth so much I cuss now, and I’m still With You. Damn.
Every poem I write is just metaphor scrolled out
over that warbling call. Every time I let myself remember,
there’s a girl in the mirror unspooling her fists.
She skates chewed-up nails over the pages to yield
a dripping chorus of ink. Like every good refrain, I know
what happens before it does. She rings
those un-bagged eyes; like any good betrothal,
I am done and undone. I do.
Love, you know I do.