Kalistae and other works by Jackqueline Frost
Jackqueline Frost, 22, was raised on the outskirts of Lafayette, Louisiana. As a high school student, she attended the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts and studied English at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She now lives in Oakland, California and performs her music and poetry regularly in collaboration with four other women. Her latest chapbook, hot spell, reflects on her upbringing as a woman in the deep-south. She curates a reading and performance series called hold still, featuring Bay Area artists.
where are you going?
take me with you.
tie me up in a bindle and we'll hop the next train outta this heapin rust. cuz rust
don't care what it eats. and im so damn sick and tried of being anything and
maybe sleepin in boxcars is enough like dying to make me new, shook in the
quake of her smithed body departin,
and therewill be no light to set the day from the night
so surely i'll be born again beside you in a rusty box.
gainst the rumble i will listen to your ol songsi once knew evry word to and bein
new have neva heard and I will want so bad to see the way yur body looks while
you sing, but i can only make out the shape of yur mouth and it looks mighty
thirsty in this dark.
we will hop off in the slick of mornin, git torn up by brambles the whole
way down and as i pick thorns from yur thumbs you will see something gorgeous
and precise in the way my hands dig yurs with a needle and make em bleed.
peelin off coats the color of rust, we head up the tracks. you will ask me
where i cum frumand as i putmy new throat under what must be the sun, ill say
you will find the creekbed by the smell of water
and she has a sound like fourteen petticoats rippin
slowly down a mountain.
i will ask you to cover yur eyes, as i strip stockins and slip, havin forgot
that once evramornin you saw all the almos red parts of me
and would say my skin felt like suga cane lef in the sun, so you will turn
and hear mercy as i leave a puddle of rust
takin into the woods, you will say something about how many nights
there are in days and how we might be dreamin all thisridin a train through a mess of
valleys in California,
i will say ireckon that's likely.
you will ask if i know any songs, and ill saysugar, all i know is
that train bore me from coal steam
and it's a miracle i can walk on these strange and tiny bones.
i will have forgot how you are endlessly dreamin of mechanation,
locomotion and of conductin light,
so as you prop a mirrorgainst the mouth of a cave, she cracks in a
dainty waterless floodso iwill see what are surely ghosts asleep in the
creeks of her ceiling. youwill consider the time signatures of echoes and
then of rust. the gloom of moonstone will bend the cavern light
with a sorrow in them, i recollect, is called fire, andi will say, bet we'll find opals,
which are rocks made of water and sunstone, an aventurine, so soft we
could mine em with a buckknife. iwill swear i know all the faces of fool's
gold and white turquoise, and recall how quaint the rose quartz and yellow
serpentine, how handsomely wicked the black tourmaline, and you will say,
ithought you were just learnin to walk
(and it is nowthat iremember pannin for gold
in cold white water, the soot in my father's beard ,
the garnets he brought into the firelight to
show me the stillness of their blood,
how he told me that copper can only be a heart
broke on a hundred thousand years, the way it grows
mean and dark in the air,
how he said that people speak of gems as flawless, but there is
nothing flawless, not even something precious or golden,
and how one day I tripped on an agate id
meant to split and how the rushin took me under
to watched my ghost,
pale as polished silver
leave my body in the mud)
andi will not tell you any of this, because it's a story full of words i don't
remember, but i will clear my throat and sing you what i heard before i was born
beside you, all thirsty and new, havin forgot that, long ago, we fell in and out of
love so fierce it killed me
andi started to rust,
forgettin that neither of us, darlin, can hear this song
without splitting like stone fruit, in an ole tymy orchard like way.oh my.
In Fallen Fruit the Sun Ungathers
renderedversl'ouest, dressed in buttermilk
so for once his hands unbramble
as spunfigmeat, asloomless
lesmaringouin, moustique, sang swollen,
makeorgan music in their nets;
but trespass in salt and trepid light on
to in meek the earth inherit
and bear black pollen like a voudon instrument
brine ghosting fish bones a country
of prayers in puddles of rosary sweat
mais les revenants, opaque, undream
legends soiled, (sale os)
armed with wasp metal, mise the okra en fleur
to harvest her coy maroon gorge and
so suffer some exquisite headhunting
our sisters in swamp seam stress
in awe burnt whiskey
til tender as T-Hanna shelling shrimps
orolNacin, pirogue beached on duck blinds
to watch cotton e-grets eat thiercotonmouths
in fallen fruit the sun ungathers,
creaming aluminum honeydew soot
Wallace celui seed your Language,
athroating of rust,
the winter of a cane knife
teeth of the shepardess
slick with dialectes all mud
underthe dock au Cocodrie where Roland, all-souled,
sleeps, dark as a lily is
imagine her words sugar hatching.
in the rougeatre days of his body
Roland drafts in steam
to ferry thecauchemar of his people
drown its ass eye limbs in serpents
and offer to methane a wreck
but what a bone yard this is.
A Hold Up
well, i was a tough southern girl of a shotgun
barrelssmithed brassy, perched on a red wood,
seldom fed spoons of black powder,
soi got real good at bein precious
my father from his horse
was a shadow fallin and i caught his hurtin
cowboy in ma chest, slept with a evra bottle a easymountain
Georgiabythesea and these dreams
in the biblereadinrockinchair quiet,
momma ate raw vidalia onions and told him,
ifi had a gun,
id shoot you in the head.
soiain't reckon i'lleva go back to florida,
where men hold up thir women like liquor stores
with steel in a glove, til we wives tremble like wicker
and put ar hands where they
can see em.
persephoneis keeping her beauty for me
in a black box. fetchingfrom under the ground.
awake for the winter fruit, it's waxing collection of bloods.
the only notes you know are devils' tones, you
sounda ferocity. butisn't your sex an evening apple halved,
an algae bloom, dripped as low light. no virgin merciless.
and what is left of you, anemones.