Cholla Needles Issue 9

"Twilight Send-Off"

 

I’ve camped out here

on the page

in an effort to see you home.

There is enough paper here

to get me through the long nights,

enough love poem to satiate

and embarrass me.

 

I am doing the work

of sliding you through this

fence-work of words.

Of finding the loose verb

to lift on a school night

just past nine o’clock.

 

I’m talking about you but

I make sure not to write your name anywhere.

Though every word will tell.

The loose lips of the alphabet.

Its tongue is my english,

my saying, saying, saying.

 

The year has seen me here.

I wear it like a twig and flower crown

before a backdrop of cricket hiss

while enacting the heavy load of constellation drama.

Holy Queen,

 

Holy Mother!

The sky at night

in the backwoods of forgetting!

It’s enough to make me want to reach

one more time.

 

---------------

 

"My Psychic Mutt"

 

A romantic is a hell hound.

Puro dog.

Sniffing out the sex, the fate,

the signs not obvious to the masses.

Nipping at the heels of the leaving.

Coming back and spilling the beans.

Eating the gum off my future lover’s shoes,

packing it between the fangs

that glimmer through the dark bedroom.

 

He will love you more!

 

It’s a threat

as real as its shadow.

A comatose state of bold affirmation

in the face of the facts—

wretched dog food I try to feed the thing.

 

List up, mutt!

 

But I’m a worthless crony for the truth.

My altar is by the book.

No guts, no heart.

Paper idols and typed up eulogies.

 

I’ve tattooed the hound below my left breast.

Had his tongue colored red,

his eyes gold.

¡Vete!

Find me the lover,

the long-wound coil that I might

slip myself into.

Bring him back in your teeth

before the window turns blue,

after the altar candles

have gone out.

 

---------------

 

"James' Prophecy"

 

When I was nineteen

a boy called me the devil.

He was only half-joking.

I was only leaving.

 

Today I am wondering

how true it was.

What else could a woman be?

In Colonial American logic she is

something so unexplainable

she must be bad.

An esoteric tongue turning

forked in his throat.

His Adam’s apple in her claw

and her pointed knife teeth

whetted by saliva alone.

 

It sounds evil by any standard.

Except that I barely knew

how to kiss.

How to lean over the stick shift of his red Camaro

without knocking it loose.

And if that doesn’t make me innocent enough,

it helps to know

I didn’t wear makeup or

take my hair down from its permanent ponytail

to reveal that predictable ugly kink like an oversized halo

sitting on my ears.

 

But today his prophecy catches me

as I wander through the house in my kimono,

snakes of wet magenta hair

resting like pets on my shoulders,

swirling a spoon

in the black cauldron of coffee,

incense burning on the dresser,

the High Priestess face up,

and this poem in my head

like a spell I’m about to cast.

 

---------------

 

"Dream State"

 

The Aztec believed all life is a dream state.

 

I was born into a religion called

America:

a faith in reason

that beats all mysticism

with a stick—

arrogant backswings,

murderous blows.

 

None of it feels right.

It was the wrong time

to be born.

Too soon or too late.

 

But here I am,

out of place,

invisible in the middle of it.

Dreaming

as though I could find

a hidden door that opens by only

my finger, my breath, my kiss.

A palpable desire for one so alone she

wears her headdress to bed,

swearing on ancient magic and

the sacrifice of her sex.

 

---------------

 

"Fixed Star"

 

There is nothing here

for my starry fixed-ness.

All the world is wet clay.

If I stay still long enough

I can prove it to you.

 

Even as I write

the next page cannot stay put.

It flaps and flaps against my hand,

nudging the pen to write

faster, faster,

hurry, please,

the world is changing

and we are not reconciling the past

at the same rate.

It is what I try to do here

everyday,

but now the moving page says

Impossible! and Next!

 

Then who will be the poet?

Who is the examiner

of all things dead and gone?

 

Quiet, page,

I am thinking.

 

About my place in the universe.

How I am a bowling ball on a taut bed sheet

bowing spacetime with an impression of me.

 

No wonder I am alone.

No wonder when the earth rolls past

I shine on.

 

http://www.chollaneedles.com


The Opiate - Winter 2017, Volume 8

"Cocktail"

 

Biting my tongue

is in vogue these days.

 

The taste of blood

is a cocktail at the end

of grueling times.

 

Hours of smiling and nodding,

of being human—

 

no ice please,

I take it room-temp

then warm it in my mouth to ninety-eight degrees.

 

It is relief,

the tiny taste of red

staining my teeth pink.

 

The sure gate of my lips concealing

my injured tongue where

 

I bit your name off the tip.

 

https://theopiatemagazine.com


The Opiate - Online

"Expansion"

 

The furthest thing from me

is resolution.

Like the furthest galaxies

it flies away from me

at top speeds.

There’s no use chasing it.

No lasso that would catch it.

Now

is an undone dress

only halfway buttoned up.

And some buttoned wrong.

Mismatching keyholes in a rush

to get downstairs and out the slamming screen door.

 

Already my closure

is passing Mars and then

 

Jupiter (this takes time,)

 

Saturn and her stony rings (a dangerous business,)

 

Uranus (nothing but a cold shoulder,)

 

Neptune (my ruling planet,)

 

it comes to Pluto (counted and counted again,)

 

then zips out into the dark beyond.

 

 

I am left standing,

my hand outstretched.

Barefoot in a haphazard ant pile

and just before they sting

there is a pearl of hope.

One vast twinkle and I think,

perhaps my ending will fall.

Not like a guillotine.

More like a baseball.

As if the gravity of our painful planet

could tug at something so far gone.

But the ants bite

like the opening seconds of Stravinsky’s

“The Augurs Of Spring.”

I am reminded of myself

on planet Earth

and I know this is how everything is.

Unpunctuated.

 

---------------

 

"Lemniscate"

 

Boys in white sneakers

are a sure sign things have changed.

Craft beers and button-ups

additionally.

 

I want it to be black again,

all around me.

Boots and leather and

music for young anger to cut its teeth on.

Ancient cigarette smoke and dingy towels.

Warm whiskey burning an arrow down my throat.

Dipping my hips in close to

you handling me.

Realizing we are both drunk

enough to go home now,

to stop.

 

But as always

we look at the clock and find

ninety minutes that form a lemniscate.

That feeling where

time is not only a friend

but a co-conspirator.

 

It’s gone.

Along with you and I cannot think of a moment since

when I have thought,

oh thank god,

there’s still time.

 

---------------

 

"Genghis Khan Strikes Again"

 

Dust settles

all over me.

It’s not that I am still.

No, I never have been.

Only, it is that I am

untasted,

untouched,

still wrapped,

still done up.

Like a Russian princess

in her abandoned castle that

emits purple smoke,

the remains charred from rebellion.

 

I’m waiting and waiting and waiting.

 

In the room next door

Genghis Khan strikes again.

It is not the nature of my mature years

to be jealous of her ransacked womanhood.

Instead,

I am wistful.

Dreamy-eyed and hopeful.

 

But the dust never stops falling

and I begin to wonder

if I would not have fared better

as an Egyptian princess,

her time

eternal.

 

---------------

 

"Buffet"

 

Single late thirties is a buffet

of cold meat and

that pizza you cannot will into being delicious

no matter how tight

you shut your eyes.

Besides,

you’re still not sure

if the $7.99 plus tax

will overdraft your account.

It’s hard getting down to the business

of eating fast enough

to forget there’s no taste—

the spongy meat breaking apart readily

like an asteroid in the atmosphere of your mouth,

rice hard as pebbles because

you should have scooped under the surface,

the tepid mashed potatoes

might as well be ground cardboard—am I supposed to forget

my worth

in order to have a mouth

to kiss?

All that glitter tongue

I had in my twenties

was wasted on a hotter buffet

whose only secret was

my punctual arrival

at noon.

 

https://theopiatemagazine.com


Pour Vida Zine 4.1 - Autumn 2016

"The Opposite"

 

The planes are flying directly over me today

Their paths aiming for the crown atop my head

Little Mexican girls rarely get on planes

I am thirty-six and this is still true

But the last time I did

You were there

 

Now you are nowhere

The opposite of my abuela's Jesus

And what is the opposite of faith

Faith that one of those planes won't

Drop out of the sky at just the right angle

To form a trajectory

From cloud to girl

The opposite of faith couldn't help

Resembling its rival

Just as the opposite of north is south

Yet they are both directions

Just as I am no more to you

And you are everything to me

Yet we both exist

Me, waiting for the planes to drop

You, who knows

 

Pour Vida Zine 4.1


Potluckmag.com

"Red Fountain"

 

It is worse in the evenings

At first I blamed you

You fucked this up

Still, even now

It is your fault

Evenings press on

Winter days pass

I am having a hard time

What was red in me is now

Sun-faded wagons and chewed cinnamon gum

Is it that I finally see

The gore of each day?

I am a funnel and cannot help

Swallowing, gulping

The oncoming sludge of evening

After evening after evening after

Then

The feast of night

A zillion stars to eat one at a time

I am appeased because for a second

You might see what I see

Magic

I go inside thinking, no

If you had

I’d still be red

I’d be a fountain

And at evening I’d call to say

Get ready for the stars

 

http://potluckmag.com