|Kelley is a poet from Pittsburgh who is working on her first book of poetry.|
© 2001/2002/2003 Kelley Beeson
I do not know
which to prefer,
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes,
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.
Even here, across
the country, the cadence of kindness remains the same.
morning, the curtains pulled back exposing the Bitteroots of the Rockies,
mommas for the girl who's never been further west than Michigan.
night this was the truth: Fucking is a
need sustenance at Paul's Pancakes in the morning.
this: she trusts anything foreign and invites it through the looking glass,
everything in repose.
Peach crepes on the plate in front of her, two twins in the amniotic sac,
side by side.
months the truth has been this: he is her hip-clinging match.
pacific outline of his face, is his face.
fluorescent lights in the diner; the aurora borealis on the plane the night
passengers dividing down the middle, tipped toward their windows.
screws her in his gray Ford behind the Ace Hardware.
whole time explicating the poem he wrote about just this spot:
the Clark Fork River and the pheasant and
squirrel and the crow.
But the edge of his voice bursts before becoming his voice and she is
sliding panties and truth over her legs and she is not listening.
She is thinking about and how sadness spins and pricks before it becomes
stellar and now her panties glow electric, are diaphanous.
She is lit and transparent and this is the truth: the mythical heart
everything left— a well, pain-deep.
month the body's other mouth opens a gorge,
guileless wound and pleasing.
There are reddened maps— dragons, views of continents from space—
and ribbons of blood on her panties.
She imagines the rods of blood,
split into ropes surrounded by loose strands and fibrous
wakes or jets:
her guides into to the body, so familiar it's primitive:
down at the roots
are days of pleading:
the refrain: you must not let the
from the body, in exile from the flesh yet welcomed into another fold,
she is still split. Butterflied
instead of the moon she listens to the stars:
Go to where
the white road meets nothing.
No, further: the hidden gears in the mobile above your crib.
Further: the genetic spark of female.
Further still: the evening, at Lascaux.
is a flitting cabbage butterfly made of white Chinese paper,
folded and folded again, hinged to those
She is passing , coming undone.
cut cord drops, catches in an electrical storm of hormones,
slips from the delicate place,
frayed and long, a braid of animal hair draped between her legs— a
benediction, a sign:
There are many ways to be saved.
stop to carefully measure the Atlantic coastline.
am not surprised my mother's name, Gail
rises from lively, from stranger.
practical at fourteen.
Patient as violets.
27 everything impractical:
a longing for those heavy milk-filled pears,
the size of her
husband's palms, a belly—
of cane sugar, bulgar wheat, toasted almonds, anything new— pulled taut.
front of the mirror, arms swept up ,
gathers thick mounds of dark brown curls,
a motherhood, calls them forth through the brush,
static— baby shorts and cracks.
This is where my life began:
moment of care for the self before a smaller self arrives,
prayer mouthed against dried rose petals darkened with lampblack.
long weathering had silvered her hair,
her on fire so she would burn up quicker.
I arrived, the amber in the salted ship of her womb
the raft for my nub-body.
of the north.
a true believer's prayer beads should be made of amber.
Women once carried
around in small bags to guard against the swapping of newborn babies.
womb, a purse of sheepskin, tucked like an undercurrent in the ocean
moved through the streets.
turned in bed, amber rubbed against my body, against the chargeable walls.
feathers, small wooden splinters—
loosed from nests— flocked to her belly.
capricious sparks, lunatic currents and tensions, I was sure to be a girl:
daughter of Agammemnon and Clytemnestra.
shoot where promise and fact grow together—
Amber. After elektron. After electricity.
A Sestina of Naming
for the Pushcart Prize in 2001)
this is why I am a poet: I
answer the call to name.
the hours of midnight and four I assign
a name: the small lamp becomes All
the cat, Goddess; the curtains flung
wide, Some Truth
Will Never Close.
Each thing is something else and
beauty that begins quietly but, like impulsive nature, turns,
the sediments of meaning. Turning
early morning into Holy Dalliance
sacred gifts I could give to every tiny hair, themselves
enough to be called-on by name, assigned
special title. Each one telling the
long dirty truth
my life: Straight.
Even Gray, which is all
will be left one day. And then I
will name them all
and love each in its old age as they slowly turn
the brush. I will know I am Old and learn the sweet truths
my grandmother and mother knew. Recording
here: Gail-- Father
of Joy. Shirley-- Song is Mine.
my own name, Kelley-- Warrior Maiden,
confusing in and of itself.
contradiction like me. A perfect
fit. How could they know the self
born, would fit into such a big name? All
it a house for me to live in. Six
letters gently assigned
be me. Or me to be them. My signature, quick evidence of the turns
made in this life. Driver's
Somehow though, it is not the whole truth.
doesn't begin to name me. Doesn't
address the truth
my life: the way heat rises in my
belly as I make myself
It forgets my mercurial cycle, which I name
faces of my breasts, the pawing hands and all
ways I tighten when I am cold, the skin-- Tender
inward. I wish for something that does not forget.
A name that assigns
to every cell. Delight.
designate me alive. One that finds
the sparse truth
the world and includes me in it. The
way waves turn
and back-- Commitment. I will name
in that I will name everything. All
transactions, streets and sojourns, they too will be named.
world lifts up its assignments. Asks
for the names
all its ferocious truths and then turns,
leaving me in the brilliant wake of itself, of it all.
All work is property of Kelley Beeson. © 2001/2002/2003.
© 2003 SubtleTea Productions All Rights Reserved