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artist's diary writing


[be careful with a woman like me] [Frida] [Kore of the Incantation]
[border girls]

Click [. listen .] to hear spoken word

be careful with a woman like me [. listen .]

be careful with a woman like me
who lives like a drunkard
for the grey honey of the sea
who sends her singing voice to distant coves
like a hurricane trapped in a green bottle just to see
if shrouds can be ripped & the dead raised.

be careful with a woman like me
who sharpens her heart like an ivory dagger
& howls her monsoon music to the moon
who wraps her secrets in silver cloths
to hide beneath deck & makes no promises
who is a cloud no hammer can nail to the bed
who will keep you restless & well fed on blackberries.

be careful with a woman like me
who dances in with a brass band
then slips away like a line in the sand
when the slightest wind moves.
it is not that i can't be true.
it is not that you are a red lacquered door
to open & quickly pass through.

but what appears to be
a delicate locket hanging
from a gold chain at my neck
holds a private tempest & the shipwreck
of every storm-torn night my skin eats.

be careful of a woman like me.
i am true the way rain is true.
i am pure & vanishing.
when the thirst of brittle leaves is quenched
when the land is a screaming emerald
it is clear. i am no longer here.

i am as restless as a sloop at bay,
swaying with the seducing wave & her dark granite gaze.

i secretly flunked the school of manners
though i held my spoon at such a graceful angle.
i disguised my dissent behind the careful lifting
of the teacup & memorized the map of their make believe.

i breathed heavy in the bed of my enemy
so i could overturn the twist of the sordid fist.
i oiled the gears of my mind like a pleasing machine.
you should be careful with a woman like me.

all the while i trained in guerilla warfare
chewed rabbit stew, sank my teeth
into the neck of a god who does not topple
at the earthquake of the shrine.

i crossed seven purple mountains on my knees.
i sucked on stones until they turned to bread.
i gave my heart to a hungry harlot to eat for breakfast

& you will find only the grey honey of the sea
rocking, rocking
in a woman like me.



"I paint myself because I am alone." Frida Kahlo

She drops yellow petals on the grave of her mother. Long skirts sweeping the dirt. Turquoise rings on every finger. In sunset lipstick the mouth opens. "I am alone." Eyebrows like rough wings, unbuttoned brown eye. She fondles & smokes the hand-rolled cigarette, tells a joke.

Red clay beads & shells drip from the throat. The thorns fist around olive neck & the blood beckons & the blood becomes the book of the unspoken. What is a body? Mirror of silence? Ghost house?
"I paint because I am alone."

On the day of the dead: red fruit sacrificed, candies & marigolds at the headstone, Mama. Blonde bones dance, drink tequila. "I'll buy the next round if you dance on the tables with me."
Kick down a few chairs & spark votives at the foot of the shrine.

Fading photograph in locket sways on red ribbon, braided into her black hair sweating down the back. This is the offering of sugar skull. She sleeps here all night throwing dolls into the dirty palms of angelitos.

Canvas carries scream. The monkey hungers. Banana peeled, the cracked seed, eucalyptus panting beneath the sun of Mexico. "I paint myself because I am alone. Alone with the withering leg, alone with the wounded womb, alone with the betraying spine. Corset of steel. Burdened by memory that is not my own."

In her canopy bed, the dead men dance under sombreros, pick guitars while the dead women strut with pink flowers behind their ears. White frosting shaped like twisting bones. Sweet egg bread of the dead.

Vida. Viva. Frida. See her. Sketching yellow horse, swollen breast, green wing in the diary of last days.


Kore of the Incantation [. listen .]

stage light one. scarlet spot. she enters.

Ladies & gentlemen (with sparrows sleeping in your
overcoat pockets), dream-Eaters, Calvary of the New Elite,
Crew of the Crystal Ball,

you know well the name of my mother, the One
you call Demeter. i am her inheritor. Yes,
and can any of you in the burgundy rows guess

what gift has she given? can any of you in yellow
chiffon gown answer this?

what has she given?

answer: "mink." applause. no.
answer: "land choking on diamonds & oil gush!"
applause. no.
answer. hoor-ray. no.
there is but one inheritance:

i must be
possessed & possessed undressed
by man and woman teeth in this life & the next.

(blinking, mouths limp, clearing their throats of thorns).
Men throw pennies & crow. the women Chatter
& curse while smiling (expensive smiles).

Someone wants
a piece,
a pole dancer, an answer.
SHE would love this:
an audience for the sacred slaughter.

they still believe she wants to save me
from the callous hands of my rape(her), my underground
rapper, lead-eyed husband who loves the way
chains hang across my slender white oleander body leaving silver bruise
(captive's adornment).

it is not true.
tell them of the sacrifice.

(should we even waste the baby's breath
on this crowd of lepers who rave
for the slut to shut up & dance, dance, dance, slicked with olive oil,
in the hail of change?)

Yes, i have called her Black Madonna
& licked the arches of her soiled feet,
but let me tell you what she has given me.

in the blue playroom on high
the gods passed me round
like a jeweled doll for thrust & barter,
toy for the famished pantheon of girls & boys to mud up,
drop from the top of lewd stairs & lipstick with dirty words.
"Cunt, whore...ADORA, ADORA!"

it is a miracle!
you cannot break her. she is invincible,
invisible & when she bats her lashes the coin
comes (cums)& deals are done & everyone shakes hands
& signs on the line.
snorts another snake of coke.

who is the master now? who will be liquor poured over ice?

do not be struck numb. the mother does not come
to save. she wants to drink my maiden
head forever & splash & suck the fount.

i was faun in her fingers served up for the desolate feast
along side the barley drink & sheaves of wheat.
(you are still not convinced that she is
who i say she is).

enough. no more introduction.
let us just say i have succeeded
in being


Lights Down. Curtain.


border girls
for the women of juarez

foreplay in the desert
(purpling with her molasses)
the murdered body swells. she devours herself
from the inside out, pink snake feeding
on its own tail.

all war is waged to kill a story

the fingernails remember.
the remembering: black. border girl.
scavengers leave gnawed leg. a shoulder missing.

exposed the bones. screech of teeth. growl & grovel.
maria vanished. after scratching 'round scabbed
mountain sides, cops find wrists tied with shoelaces, dark flare of hair.
brown border girl, strange girl, silenced in sand, shrubs & trash.

i hear him whistling
sharp on the bottle. taunting red
gaze, the crazed slits. the howling show
for the streetcorner shackling.
i am in love with blood i have never seen.

her body bloats in white sand.


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