All Dolled Up


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All Dolled Up

I curl my eyelashes with a black cigarette
lighter. Paint my palette with sugar water and
liquor. Gasoline flowers blossom: dark-violet
on sore gums, where enamel spires are, (warped and stained

by poor creatures’ sinew, competitors’ marrow)
in honor of my emperor tongue, erected—
hand-carved jewels to crown my mouth: calloused wound; narrow.
My hair: where sparrows’ nests and cargo ships are wrecked,

a snare for vipers; coils about my silver pierced
earlobes. My eyes: garlanded with acrylic mud, fierce
as lukewarm puddles in a predator’s afterbirth.

Now, in gnarled lumber, soiled silks, rings and bracelets, I’m prepared for war,
or conversation; either way I am armed with
the vacant gestures of an apparent actor

The Demise of The Mask

“Often, we are our half-remembered notions of a nation buried beneath the waters. We still sometimes notice the soft toll of a bell reverberating up through the currents from a drowned cathedral. We are moons, the effulgence of distant astral bodies radiate and bounce from our soft orbits.
When microcosm meets the macrocosm it is only a matter of mirrors, mirrors upon the walls:

We are all jewelers immersed in crystal structures—
We are all magi with incantations on are tongue,
We endeavor to conjure ourselves—
We are all chemists attempting an appraisal of essential elements:
—Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, Sulphur—
—Innocent, Orphan, Wanderer, Warrior, Martyr, Magician—

We are open wounds, which we dress with gauze of every hue: chosen by our perception of propriety to reflect the measure of solemnity or sense of dalliance that the circumstances might require.”

—from Apostle Lacreo & The Teachings of Pako Schwartz, Minister to The Church of The Agnostic Fish

Mirror I

Spell each letter that builds the word
and spill the world upon your face
An elaborate alphabet
To cover us; To cover us


and over the world we know. Now,
Come, See
Take Up and Read

Speak, with which catastrophic metaphor to
approach the steps of little deaths, and seeds
that gather, that fall and float and gather

With which to measure the width of a circle?
We change face in the chemical abstract;
with which to approach our little circle?
Who knows?

In collision we come

In collision

We go

We lie prostrate before
the ephemera of
yet another bardo

Only to collide back,

back to square one…
and circle takes a square,

which we measure
in the hierarchy of
angles to be equal

We reveal our new posture
and reverberate
Let your lens linger on me
Let your lens linger

On me—

While we can,

Before we are another

No, we are not false

We are lost for words at worst

Lost in—

a lexicon


And who was I

That haunts the head?

The patterns and apertures we wear for evening’s hours

are requisite and manifest;

As is our circuit of meat and our recondite lights

(all elusive constellations)



shed and evoke

shed and invoke

shed and evoke


We collide this way:
attempting to interpret the semaphores of synapse and neuron,
which twitch their slender arachnid limbs
We collide this way:
with our newly borrowed raiment and our daily coronation;
what a world we made, in which we swim
We collide this way:
further into endless nexus chambers—pliant concatenations
adorned with our cerebellums,

ladders, wet mirrors
We collide this way: from our matron’s orchard to the crown of nothing

Mirror II

Tell me, what caused the demise of the mask?
O all those sodden hours of other
lives—emerge from doldrums’ cinder, ask:
Why was I never quite qualified for
more than three evenings? Why asthenia
follows hollow pockets—soma’s sojourn?

—To endure long nights of white detritus,
searching through thin lumens of my retina.
I was painted with pale expletives, learned
behaviors—attended by my meninas.

Then one night, immersed in coquette chit-chat,
all my elegant masks fell aggregate
in gutters of manufactured offal—
slough of necrotic tissue—they all fall




(dust motes that lilt

under the stone-blind sun)


{—we just negotiate these personalities—}

{—best believe it hurts to reverse the surgery—}

Brittle literature, ciphers, sigils;
all burning down on Paternoster Row,
amid barricades of imperial
muscle and the mystery of sorrow.

Kabuki Queens (collapsed beneath burden
curtains of artifice) retired to bed.

Zygotes blossom: some strange, old specimen
within a crucible of soft, black lead—

Matchbox-pinhole-cameras capture and release

Let your lens linger on me

Let your lens linger

On me—

In lament, I
lost talismans along with discarded

husks, but



’Cannot breath under there—

…Remnant vestige; I was once an aristocrat of ersatz abandon

now found as

a nude organ;

compost rose tossed on a marital bed;

potent flotsam in the chromosome mud.

Mirror III

…and so it goes

from insular Zero (o)—to—(1) undone One

the circle distends into the linear

then the cell-division of Adam & Eve

then the coupling

into Two—into One

as we traverse arm-in-arm down narrow arterial roads into the interior

of mutual other loves, other lives—closer,

ever closer, closer

closer to our reservoir heart


I am getting somewhat closer to my truth:

Less wedding dress;

More undergarments.

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