Big Bridge #10

Export: Writing the Midwest


Kimberly Lojek


Self Portrait in a Silk Dress
Three Paintings by Frida Kahlo


in further view- flattened glass
most elaborate of Bradbury paper
angles of centipedes meet intersect
and extend from their original foothold
tangle in a crosshatched lawn. fold
the mouth like an H leeches to an n

hands reaching toes and your backbones
prickling through you- skins, medallions
shed, your eyes' ease, an amulet
of slitherings, the epidermis
tree's growth rings, temporary enclosures

the comma the parenthetical the transition
the run-on           between bodies
subcutaneous                               intramuscular
silk of a single black hair
that may not even be yours

but let's pretend to get
from her to here to that leathery thing
left behind. my hand clutching
a clump of hair, cold acrylic
at the nape of your neck.


this tastes of your bathwater.
metallic venom vines slender mercury
climbed moonflowers among your spine's
architecture buttressing arteries, vegetation
clamped within temporary time and space
cease the blockage of ventricles.

sometimes within a frame
a stranger tastes your tears, steel
tares though you never have.
oil on your lips. the deadly
V  your dress makes out
of the body, half an X
half in black: an amputation.


when he injured you
time and wound ate into

sutures, divided by
removed, I hold books
of pictures that talk
to nobody but listen
closely to me talking
to myself, faucet trickling

about the pictures, temples
that crumble about the toes.
I don't see about the voice
a fat corpse and can't hear
the Mayan piggie, a story
that can't be diagrammed

though I imagine a scar
is a diagram a narrative
in a painting idea in the
diamondback's warmarks
in a dark room
an equation into hue

half of some heart lumped up
in porcelain jars. others hold
organs that testify the violence
to a body within the body
they speak as they turn black

they say:
This has been dead for some time.


B Poem

B Poem: s'abimer / to be engulfed
                                            for, with, and after s. s.

hand pressed to chest, pressure's derivation, I thought
I might have, maybe just
may  be
                   I felt       a pulse?

but the pulse I felt was the thumb- my own
thumb has its own
unlike the thin ankle, the left chest, the bird-winged wrist
or jugular flesh-  of a neck. a vulgar

bit of french on me, my neck, pivot
and less -entretien- let's get inside
of things from the insides

of insinuations, we get to incisions
a prism pursues its own cuts, extensions
of itself.  sinews.  (is such an overused word)

or unidentifiable flying object an
anything        (did you know that I'm in love
         with a dead French gay man?)

hear it.

language is a skin: he says
         in my bed
touch it.
I rub my language against the other
it is as if I had words instead of fingers.

then speak.
as if the tongue were a hand in grasping
maybe holding

or fingers
at the tips of my words.
as if teeth had their own teeth. as if the lips
were tiptoeing, eye's inaudible pause. its punctuation
but never the same sense

the colors gems catch
when they're caught
(bodies) the object
absorbs, absconds

and we begin to see what is, has been, lacking
to call it less would be nothing but poetry

the word.

so we begin to burn sugar
to clean each other's wounds
subdue veins with vinegar
and call it sweet



all of these women-
said they've lived
among them

sharpened their claws, dulled
their teeth along the edge
of words, birds call, bark's
blade but never got smarter

never learned how to turn
off the lights before leaving
these deserted rooms we return
to, find ourselves still sitting,
rocking in the same chair

as though we've never left
that shawl, something of moth
winged markings, delineations
of light deceive us, over shoulders
we can't help but look through shadows
crocheted, admire what we think

we see and walk into walls
as a tribe of trees, trunked
lung splintering, lampblack
in brachial, the road its rafter
how lovely it would be

to listen and not know
what this means to us
to make no distinction
between butter and firefly
lit wick or humming wings

wood's crackle at the back
porch, tree's bark turning
away from itself, so loud
we can't even hear

paint flaking off
or our own voice
calling us back

The silk-hung nowhere
Dedicates its duration to the ray.
here I can
see you
--Paul Celan

the unforeseeable reappropriation took place, the return to itself of the silkworm, which lets fall its old body like a bark with holes in it, what happened then, what in truth, I must tell you, happened once, once only the veraison...

Sero te amaui
So late have I loved thee
--Jacques Derrida


Bonne Vivant De La Lune

the moon never seduced me
the way luciferin the way veils
when a woman the way she plays.
polyester and velour. charmed

quarks and charmeuse. savoir
and sericulture. the physics of
jeans, the needle of spiked
heels. transparencies worn well in

the way light is made by mingling
O and artificial. it smells of cigarettes
laboratory emeralds, expensive
Italianate necks and threads in

pellicle's I overexposed. chemical,
vulnerable. the prints my back took
of the moon, the upholstery. epidermic
surface your fingers traced paths

maps, altered places I've already been
there done that, played with a prayer
for you. macular degeneration. I'll pretend
this is new because you don't

-they say-  write poetry but
know how often this has been
rewritten revised movements
from bar to boudoir

to morning's vestige
of an unmade bed, an imitation
Picasso. pixels and pores.  nonimage
in imagining us. something dior

something I could never afford

in the post-post-modern poem
we'll sleep on the streets, our dreams
will be the new breed of black
apartment buildings blocking
in the city. we will only speak
american french

in the post-anti-aesthetic poem
strangers aren't lovers. a beach
isn't but a backdrop; its charcoal
smeared protoplanetary
under eye. fashion victims

let's only wear black
for morning. in the lint light
we'll wear  things that make them want
to watch, to touch, to lick Alaska
off our fingers. icicle or zirconia

the sun is not sexier than-
than say- the things we theorize
are sexier than sun or moon or
stars burning out to be given

copious. accretion. infrared
and poets should write about poetry,
critics-- the afterlife of
lights. know when to walk
or wade. stencils and pencils

lame and lucida. paper mache
the moon. the doctor is in
and taking victims in his darkroom.
he's wearing a too fitted white suit

lined with poems and silkworms
good, good morning moon
doctor. you look lovely
in my lipstick.

good morning moon, doctor
do cells really commit suicide?
lens in tandem? sacrificial image.
post-post-modern-deconstruction. the
afterlife of lightning bugs. listen-
listen doctor.  get your stethoscope.

science is the sexiest.
biology, a tillith. a shawl
to be taken off.

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