Wednesday, June 20, 2012

How We Turn Out
for Melissa Crowe  



You, October, crest with ache into the month
of Scorpio, a small scattering of Saggitari.
Your brittle signs drop at the everrunning feet
            of my two living children.

In this weather, orange pekoe burns the tongue---spiky
and livid. I can barely lift my head to meet
the bruised tatter of sundown.
            Everything reminds me of sometimes-Sunday’s fist:  nose burst

blood flooded my mouth hot, hot my smeared chin red. Outside
a garden of dead orchids. Run. The taste was citrus: the huge work-fist
of my father and his shining eyes, his sick scream stalking.
            A continuation of fevers, vacuums, thick books, places to hide.

 A new mother stalks robed and flabby
through her orderless kitchen
and steams things. Copper pots and bad
Investments      haunt her lately.

Soon a lady will come to the door.
She will look like an aristocratic runaway
with her stiff luggage and blank tropical eyes.
But she has cream for dimpled thighs,     and a case of lipsticks.

She     says red.    Run.    “Autumn Red is your best color”    
Her fatpowder pink face crowds the door.
In some other world the lady nods compassion---Sweetie, you look like you 
could use a friend. Instead she bends toward the reds, painful rows of them.

Alicia Fisher, all rights reserved 2012

Monday, June 11, 2012

The LSD Journals excerpt #2

Under the Yellow Tent

South Carolina was a smothered tunnel and we were driving through it. The black roof of the Chevy glittered, caressed by the long girlish fingers of Spanish Moss. We rolled endless miles through sinewy, skinless heat. The day burned: it had to be 103 degrees---the sky was a livid fever, a blue baby born too early. Something clattered and screamed, like silverware in an overheated kitchen.  The air conditioning had stopped working back in Georgia. My forehead was a plate of grease. The sundress I wore, the color of an underipe banana, clung to my ribs and belly. Chip was wearing nothing but cutoffs. His tan arm draped hopefully out the window, but there was no breeze. Only a blanket of damp, unbreathing air. “How far to Edisto?” I groaned. Chip lit a cigarette and told me a few more miles. His voice was hoarse and tired. I made scissors with my index and middle finger, the sign that I wanted a smoke. Thin blue clouds streamed from our mouths and didn’t fly out the permanently cranked-down windows but danced coyly above the dashboard. We stunk of armpits and Camels, two limp and sun-dulled vagabonds in our asthmatic black Chevy. All I could think about was the ocean. I was sick of the south, sick of crackly-looking roadside snakeskin, the endless billboard Jesuses and barbeque shacks. We’d been driving for days and days. I wanted a chilly, bitter beer. I could taste it sliding down my throat, the can’s cold sweat dousing my irate August fever.

Fifteen minutes later the ocean rose up and flashed its salty grey belly: the only thing between us was half a mile and piles of pale, silty dunes. My whole body opened up---I strained to see, as if I were looking into a faraway mirror or a reflective store window. And then I could smell it, haul it into my lungs: the dank, tremulous stink of seaweed; the heavy rind of salt-crusted fish. Soon we were in the parking lot. The car clunked and sighed to a stop, glittering blackly as the pavement. It had been a month since I’d seen the ocean. Chip reminded me to put my flip flops on or my feet would burn to a crisp as soon as they hit the tar. I slipped into my cheap rubber thongs and bolted from the shuddering car. The beachpath was a boiling line of packed sand which lead to a wide, dry expanse of soft sand. I ran straight into the thrilling sea, Chip right behind me. It was the anniversary of his dad’s death, and this was the beach where he and his mom and three siblings had spread the ashes nearly ten years ago. I dove into a wave and stayed under for as long as I could. The salient water pushed me back up: I felt colossal, purified and awake. Chip was next to me, splashing and laughing. We played in the water for a long time, like it was our private backyard pool. I kissed and licked the salt from his lips and felt my 19-year-oldness in a way I hadn’t before: greedy and fleeting, ardently physical. I was a luminous morning glory soon to close under the vigorous complaint of day. We held each other in the immense bowl of the ocean, a tangle of arms and legs---and a restive, sudden grief. Chip whispered my name; I looked into the boiling blur of the horizon where he pointed. At first I couldn’t tell what I was seeing. Slick grey lumps rose and fell in the water, creating a delicate raucous of waves. And then I saw them: dolphins. I knew from the many times Chip had told me that dolphins were his dad’s favorite animal. We were like astounded infants with God still in our bellies as we watched the dipping and rising gyrations of the dolphins, their savage-gentle glide. We watched until they became invisible against the immense grey-white skyline: the place where heaven and earth at once collides and divides. Tears dripped from Chip’s whiskered chin, mixing his human salts with the raw salts of the ocean.  We’d come from Maine to Georgia and down to South Carolina---a crazy mix of brute battles and insatiable all-night love making. He’d wanted me to see the waters that had swallowed the precious detritus of his father.  When the dolphins were gone Chip looked at me for a long time. His eyes were solemn green. Sea birds swooped frantically above us. Children came and went in their bright bathing suits and gigantic goggles. The sky over Edisto was a ragged yellow tent that seemed to be collapsing but would, I was sure, hold up.

Alicia Fisher, all rights reserved

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I will give my body to the DJ

I will give my body to the DJ

No matter the saturnine air   I am
            my body is stunning   nuclear
The music is dearlife thislife afterlife beforelife I am the throbbing

            instrument jubilant apocalypse I taste of salt and ash   
                        My feet are blistered vehicles
arms long pale ribbons   ribs strange   harps plucked by the fingers

of mutinous ghosts   I will not stop
            dancing I will not stop being the fastidious pump
the sanguine sting    I am the truculent one   my torso is your circumstance

Sweet demon    it will end like this   in the glowing
                        and prayerful middle  I will know my death
            in the shattered

dark of the notes as they plummet
            drum-pulse  bass-throb  electric-trill  
                         I am the mutiny
            O the howling staccato bliss of this    my private sacred symphony

Alicia Fisher, June '12