Peaches

I realize the bright billows are from dainty cigarettes held between pale fingers with pink polished nails.
Every great villain wields a cigarette!

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Peaches

Who doesn’t love the sweater girls at the Fair?
They look like peaches.
They smell like bread baking and the icing on cakes.
They are warm, yet delicate like sunlight through a car window that rests in the palm of your hand.
Not solid really—
Their flesh barely reaches the outline of their bodies.
Their edges blur.
They are ephemerally beautiful, impossible to pin down…
and no one suspects their dishonesty.
The lies they tell become orange and purple gas clouds,
lightly wet like the edge of spray from a sprinkler.
I walk past them on my way to the Ferris wheel and my mouth and throat are suddenly full of candy colored foam.
They shake their ponytails and I strangle on their uselessness.
Still, I forgive them.
I swear to God I am made of steel.
Or is it string, I’m not sure no one tells me these things to my face.
No one except the sweater girls from lipsticked smiling mouths, teeth gleaming,
eyes like hard, glittering jewels.
Their soft cheeks briefly distract me and then I again feel their eyes staring coldly.
Surrounded by sensuality and warmth their eyes remain unaffected and unmoved like white wolves’ eyes through heavy snowfall.
Gunshot glances.
A predator’s eyes.
My fear of them reduces their clouds to ash and I think of escaping while the ashes are the color of flowers.
Not grey— not ash colored.
I realize the bright billows are from dainty cigarettes held between pale fingers with pink polished nails.
Every great villain wields a cigarette!
I am a child among them and I decide to run while there is still the possibility of blamelessness.
But I look down at my ticket staring stupid from the palm of my hand and I realize there is no leaving now.
One girl stares directly at me, her gaze a lance that has run me through.
It hurts from both sides and yet there is relief as I bleed my awareness and desperation.
I am left feeling lighter, cleaner.
I smile back at her, my tongue sweet in my mouth from a peculiar birth after death.
It is then that I notice I am wearing a sweater too.
It has a sour smell, and as the girls all turn towards me I realize they all smell this way.
I hesitate before taking a step towards them—
My mind holds a single thought—
“What if I’m not ready?”
I decide I don’t care.
I decide I never did.
I look over my shoulder and see my picture tacked up on a board full of flyers.
There is writing beneath the image of my face but I can make out only one word—-
Missing.
All at once my mind turns completely white and I recognize this as surrender.    A single tear escapes the corner of my eye and slides down my cheek, sparkling in the afternoon sun.                                        My white mind holds onto this as I wipe away the tear, my fingernails now a quiet bubblegum pink.  I link arms with the girl who’s smile tore my heart from my chest. Now eye to eye she is grotesque.                  I whisper to myself—
I was here once.
I was here.                                                                  I turn once more to see my picture fall from its place on the wall. A child runs past trampling it into the dust.

Kimkoa 2018

Black Sheep

You should try falling from grace, it feels better than staying neat and acceptable inside that empty outline our lovers draw for us—
The thin shape of our childhood by accident.

Black Sheep

I see you there with that fat, dumb baby of hers
and something in your eyes…?
That should be enough, except you have to win this don’t you?
I would rather swim through an ocean of mistakes than settle for a world like yours.

Is this what makes us enemies?
When you fall to your knees I stare at black branches.
I am transfixed by how they reach across the sky like wild arms waiting to hold me—
It’s funny falling in love and failing miserably every time.
It’s funny over bottles of beer.

You should try falling from grace, it feels better than staying neat and acceptable inside that empty outline our lovers draw for us—
The thin shape of our childhood by accident. Who knows? Perhaps you have already fallen and landed in front of me half dead, blind to your own ruin.

It’s ghastly when the air stops moving and the smell of everything fills my head and I’m suddenly screaming without sound.
You could never understand that.
While you’re out in the world I can see the fat girls with too tight shirts and too tight bras
and too tight gazes.
I pity them.
I pity you sometimes.
One had blue ruffles like a doll’s dress all down her front,
mascara eyes leaking.
Why this sad reality without explanation?
She was like a stuffed bird—
It made me sick and I had to stare deeper,
past the pretense because I can’t ever let go of the lies people tell each other as if they believed them…
Like a platitude that brings joy
despite an unalterably human condition.

I would rather shrink to almost nothing than fill a space with the absence of what I could be.
I would knock my bones against bars of the cage of my body.
I would press my tongue hopelessly against the teeth that grin rudely keeping words stuck high in my head.
I would fight to eclipse the ballast of you and your enormous face that won’t leave me alone.
I don’t mind floating.

If I left myself as a watermark on paper would you understand then?
No, no, not you and I couldn’t even have that.
Because death is never what it means to be except in movies. Where no one really dies.
It comes down to submitting and God knows I can’t stand that.
I’d rather drown.

You’re a believer in boxes and pieces of stupid little love songs!
You know nothing of love and I tried to teach you but you threw my words away without hesitation.

Regardless—
And still—
My joy creeps up despite all of this. Despite you and your facades.
It weaves through the pores of my skin.
It lives in a different sort of woman staring back at me.
A woman without fear, her heart like a steam train—
Brown eyes like wells as intense as mine.
I am a child again!
This is my space and there is a lock on the door protecting her and I—
Just we,
No pretenders allowed.
We laugh like magicians, like poets…like little girls.
You become a pest.
She’s made you as small as you were all those years ago—
And the relief is almost unbelievable.
Buzz off shit fly!
My time is fleeting and I’m saving my moments for moments without you.

Kimkoa 2012

The Gate

I myself might have caved were it not for the gross realism that surrounded me. It was a pandemic, all this honesty. It made me sick before I fell in love.

The Gate
While setting traps for unsuspecting do-gooders
I came across an early
Mother’s Day gift,
Where the actions of one girl with dark hair changed fate.
The heavens opened and would you believe the sky rained a gorgeous electric water that sizzled as it hit the ground…
This sounds impossible and yet you might wonder if?
I would like to remind the denizens of culture that they may find themselves beneath options weighed precisely in time with their acceptance of all things familiar…what can be compared to knowing a great fuck?
I myself might have caved were it not for the gross realism that surrounded me. It was a pandemic, all this honesty. It made me sick before I fell in love.
Ha-ha I would like to say, except I can’t ever laugh at anyone without the maudlin afterthoughts— these of course being a necessity.
I am hiding underneath misrepresentation. I’m using the sky for a blanket, which does not console, not nearly. Oh, but there’s a trap set for you too, marauder! Settle in for captions and bite-sized apologies because by the time the beatings start the whips will have been long gone.
That is when you realize you’ll have to tell at least one lie to get past
The Gate.
Kimkoa 2018

Seasons of Change

The weather connects us to our past. It dictates our days and nights. It holds us hostage when it chooses. It sets us free at a whim.

 

Seasons of Change

We are between seasons in this part of Alaska. The mornings hold a fall chill while the sun fights against the oncoming winter by surrounding the afternoons in warm rays. Children throw off their jackets and scamper delightedly in damp grass that is still cool from the previous night’s rain. The end of summer dances with the brief kiss of fall. From the tops of mountains white snow looms, threatening to cover the earth in a blanket of white. “How long?” we wonder, looking up at fat grey and white clouds. How long until we must stuff our children into snow pants and boots? How long until the days recede into mere moments? Collectively we hope for a drowsy, wet October, warm enough to unzip jackets and show off Halloween costumes. Warm enough for cider sipped in sweaters on back porches amidst not yet barren trees awash in orange and yellow leaves.

The weather connects us to our past. It dictates our days and nights. It holds us hostage when it chooses. It sets us free at a whim. Long ago we assigned Gods and Goddesses to the wind and rain. To the Sun and Moon. To the earth and its many complex happenings. To the birth and death of plants and animals. We even created a deity responsible for our very souls that would measure our worth and design our eternity accordingly. Still the weather guides and defines.

Norse Mythology describes a Hell referred to as Helheim ruled over by a giantess Hel, half living, half dead. The region is described as generally cold and lifeless; A place of eternal winter.  The Greeks also assigned Godly personages to the changing seasons. The myth of Persephone and Hades explains the seasons through desire, capture and enslavement and an agreement between the deities that resulted in the seasonal patterns we have now.

As Persephone was stolen by Hades, King of the Underworld, from Demeter’s, her mother’s, life giving, fertile bosom and spirited down to the underworld with him, everything above it began to die. Tricked into eating fruit from the underworld Persephone would be forever tied to Hades as her husband.

Ultimately as the story goes, in order to appease Demeter Persephone would spend part of the year above the earth with her mother and these would be the spring and summer months when life on earth would flourish. Flowers would bloom, people would harvest their hearty crops and the sun’s rays would shine down in a delicate balance with spring and summer rains, gentle enough to coax the most fragile bud into a blossom. Then when Persephone would sink below to spend her time with her husband Hades and rule the underworld beside him as his bride, fall would come as the air cooled and the flowers and crops began to die. Winter for the ancient Greeks marked the same lifeless frozen world described in Norse mythology. People were forced to create warmth for themselves with fire and blankets. They prayed to the Gods to survive the winter. This was no guarantee.

As a child I reveled in winter. I dug forts, made snow angels and threw snowballs at my friends. I loved the snap of cold air into my lungs. I loved the way icicles formed on my eyelashes. I loved the taste of a snowflake falling straight down onto my waiting tongue. My daughter also loves the snow. She finds it magical. However she struggles with January and February as do I, the fierce cold overwhelms her. The oppressive darkness and unrelenting cold of those months do indeed invoke images of the Hellheim described in Norse Mythology and the Greek desolation of a world without its maiden Persephone.

This year I plan to hang lights in as many rooms as I can in our house. I’ll have well-placed lit candles, the fireplace burning, two Christmas Trees; one upstairs and one downstairs. My daughter and I will make snowflakes out of paper and hang them from the ceiling so they can swing gaily as we pass by them. The appearance of my sons will fill her with joy. Lighting up an otherwise dark and dismal time. She is already making plans for her brothers. They will make a snowman. Pelt each other with snowballs. She wants them to eat the snow with her. “But not the brown snow,” she clarifies.

We will make our way through the winter taking comfort in the festivity of December. We will hold each other close, as in the last months of winter the season tightens its icy grip in defiance to its eventual melting and disappearance from the surface of the earth. Eventually we will rejoice as we jump in puddles between melting piles of crusted snow and call forth the blessed spring and the promise of new life. We will grow and thrive with all life on earth, nurtured by summer’s golden grace until the circle once again stops its spin and the needle rests in winter’s icy palm.

For now I’m content to relish in these last days of summer. The roses still bloom from their pots on the deck. The tomatoes still grow in the greenhouse. The lawn still needs mowing. And my daughter throws off her jacket and runs barefoot in the yard. These are the times we wish would last forever. At least one can take comfort in knowing that even though it will leave us, like a devoted lover it will return.

Perfection

It is.
This hideous beast inside pretending at destruction
that releases glory suddenly
like a storm cloud that reveals
a single perfect ray.

It is.                                                                   My obsession that keeps me up long past the turning of keys and the clicking of lamps
and the rustle of sheets on a bed
that misses the weight of me.

It is.
An omnipresent loneliness that swallows me whole and deposits me— undigested,
Slick with self loathing and causeless fear
into a place I’d forgotten about.

It is.
A pulling up and out of myself the guts of me and spilling them onto computer screens and sheets of paper while unoriginally searching for meaning, perhaps even absolution.

It is.
That cavernous space between my lover and myself full of pit traps and mines only recently discovered and not yet admitted to.

It is.
The nobility of happiness despite the mundane death after death of all aspiration.

It is.
One life with all of its small joys and deceptions—
fragile, perilous, unrelenting and ultimately unavoidable.

It is.
Perfection.

Kimkoa 2018

 

Christmas Trees

This year I would wield the axe and hack ruthlessly into your side,
grinning like a mad woman—
Again and again goes the blade!

Christmas Trees

The dominoes are falling
one by one by one.
I lie beneath a heavy wooden wheel
while days pass.
In winter the world astonishes.
I am still beneath a hanging branch and a white and grey sky.

Enormous evergreens dark under drifts of snow seem proud.
Not yet Christmas Trees.
But oh, how we’ll wound you!
Tonight it feels almost holy to shed your blood and this truth burns from the inside out.

This year I would wield the axe and hack ruthlessly into your side, grinning like a mad woman—
Again and again goes the blade!
You break surprisingly softly and I feel cruel, yet purposeful.
At last I’ll carry you home and the fresh scent of you will bring us joy.

Still you live!
Each day drinking the water and gasping for air.
I marvel at your dying, jealous almost.
Are you surprised by this murderous intent?
Perhaps we are monsters after all.

The season passes…marked for me by the momentous occasion of your surrender and for a moment I feel unblemished, relieved.
This of course does not last.
What once was mighty has been erased.
And only the roots are left.
To wind deeper into the center of the earth.

Kimkoa 2010

Easter Baskets

We think we know what defines joy and yet we run through the days at light speeds missing each occurence.

 

Easter Baskets

I kissed you today-
And for a moment it was as if nothing had ever broken.
The sun was all around your face and I felt like laughing.
I wanted to stay there- fixed, encapsulated, unchanged.
The heat of my happiness set off  explosions in my brain and I remembered you- drunk and smiling, dropping the Easter baskets all over downtown.
That day you were beautiful…you even pissed your shoes!
We think we know what defines joy and yet we run through the days at light speeds missing each occurence.
You’re sleeping now and I check and check
and check again, to see dark hair strewn across a pillow,
and one foot out of the covers,
While the stretch of your arm reaches out over my absence.
I want to pull you out of the bed and onto the floor.
I want to hold your face and cry out now!
It is now and we may not always have it!
Just today the cymbals were crashing and I’ll stay up all night to feel this in love.

Kimkoa 2010

 

Banana Milkshakes

I will read you every word so you will know I’m smart like you are will you stay with us I won’t be loud I need you even though you have to go

Banana Milkshakes

Foam the milk with fruit it’s not as sweet as I was hoping can we add some ice-cream please I had a dream that you were gone don’t ever leave us pink and red I wore the shirt I know you like and maybe if I watch you closely I can stop the clock from ticking I will read you every word so you will know I’m smart like you are will you stay with us I won’t be loud I need you even though you have to go I’m still not ready it’s ok I know you love us give me reasons to accept the way it is and has to be I need a hug don’t change or grow I love you mom I love you mom I love you
just
the
way
you
are.
Kimkoa 2010