Crown: In Which I Compare
Leave me sleeping on the Asheville trolley,
as it stumbles around the pitted wall
of a rehab center where Baby James
covered his cold bruised arms, songs emerging
from industrial grade ink, reminders
of his blood-spotted pillow when he coughed
and shivered without his favorite fix.
Was it the silence or the dope that lulled
him inside this structure where consumptives
drowned, fire and rain fighting for dead space,
flora and fauna of Carolina,
more viper than vine, the smoked mountain air
would fail to resurrect. Don’t peel open
my eyes, I’ve seen the monarch butterflies.
I dream the butterflies in their orange
flight, I touch their awful wings while I sleep
on the trolley and you shake my sharpened
bones, you want me to see the lightning scar,
to gather Zelda’s ashes, my pocket
transformed to empty jar, we return
to Eureka Springs and scatter, with love,
into the sacred water, watch her body
unburning, her lungs unsmoked, her lost hair,
rise, oh darling, her legs will dance again.
I tell you this world is a brambled maze
unsolved, the resurrected must not speak.
Set her on the mantel with my beloved
dead, with plaster hands, untouchable.
Her preserved hands forever in plaster,
I shiver and cough, my favorite fix
three ounces gin, one ounce vodka, lillet
or anything bitter and easily
bruised, while I knit ashes and lightning songs
into the shape of absence and prepare
to board a plane, to travel to jelly-
fish water and you tell me the weather
warning is fog, turbulence a certain
factor, as I rise into biscuit clouds
and leave you grounded with sparrows and vines.
Dreaming of Asheville and curative air,
the trolley where I sleep with fire and rain.
About the writer:
Beth Gordon received her MFA from American University a long time ago and was not heard from again until 2017 when her poems began to appear in numerous journals including Into the Void, Outlook Springs, Drunk Monkeys, Verity La and After Happy Hour Review. Her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She is also Poetry Editor of Gone Lawn.
Image: “Me, Myself, and I” from The Individual series by Deborah Norton. Oil and mixed media on Masonite. 24 x 24 inches. Norton is best known for her layered mixed media oil paintings. Inspired by expressionism including the “combines” of Rauschenberg and the raw figurative paintings of Schiele, Norton experiments with translucent paint layers, color and mixed media to expose life and its’ always changing expression. Deborah Norton is O:JA&L’s “Featured Artist” for March 2019.