Empty Sucker

You fucking sucker
Motherfucker
Lying
thieving
cheating
home-wrecker
Loveless
soulless
druggy shithead
Shoot-up
fuck-up
lifeless meathead
Care less about
your kid
than you did
about your fix
Care more about
yourself
than anything else
Use up
eat up
drink up
fuck up
take up
more space than you’re worth
Empty smile
empty heart
empty promises
empty bed
Fill your fucking veins with junk
Empty soul
and a body full of toxin
Empty the trash
and you in it
Empty sucker
Motherfucker
You made me
hurt like this

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bones

You dig at my door
wearing nail marks in my frame
and hand prints in my handles
Your begging voice through walls
whines and moans
grating my ears with why won’ts

You know why
You were there when I jaded
You plead with eyes
that are sunken
dark and unseeing
unseen in the dark
The porch is cold
even the puppy door is closed

Behind the walls
bones on mine
skin stretched against them
sliding on sweat lubricant

Remember nights where I
hung ’round your step
scratching at the door
rubbing against the poles
My mark was left
But not the nails that dig your back
Now she’s jumping in your arms
she may break your neck
but she’s something I am not

Delicate.

But not the nails that dig your back
or teeth that tear your throat
She’s not the one who is on top
She’s not the one who drags you home

She yowls to the moon
between the leaves above the lawn
Pacing circles in our crab grass
Making face-prints on the windows
Impossible blonde-blue eyes
She pleads in Hellish tones

But inside
bones on mine
skin stretched against them
sliding on sweat lubricant

Energy Between Us

energy between us
swells and crashes
live-wire strung lips
poised, soft-wet
tongues entangle
fingertips to faces
palms cradle dizzy heads
butterfly eyelids flutter-close

eager hands explore
quest soft places
map trails of our passion
snaking up under clothes
straps slip from shoulders
pants from hips
bare bodies fall into bed

trunks flush
limbs intertwine
you grow, I blossom
sweet welcome
whispered names
petals parting
entering with a gasp

drum-beat rhythmic
catch-release dance
hips arc to meet
hold deep
hot breath quickens
opera of moans
symphony of climax
trembling into other worlds

energy between us
magnetic fingertips
tracing magic contours
sweat-wet skin
salty under parted lips
whispering promises
starry eyes hold each other
sigh to still
and I welcome the weight of you

Gods of Saturday Night

I wake
too early for a Sunday
mind still buzzing
memory of a kiss between my thighs
still aching, pulsing
I can almost feel your body
still pressed against mine
almost feel your hands
and your fingers…

I love your fingers
Just one fingertip
I lose my words
lose my mind
tongue-tied
heavy eyes
ragged breath
wet and wriggling
beneath your touch
and your mouth…

I love your mouth
manipulating my body
manipulating my mind
your tongue lights fires
but you don’t leave scars
you leave memories
smoldering in me
body begging for more
just one more taste
just one more time.

Your lips kissed shivers
sprawling to my toes
I close my eyes and try
to recapture the night

You say there are rubies in my fingertips
and perfection in my pussy
and with your words and lips
you rewrite the map of my erogeny

You say one day at a time
I fear to look into the future
I didn’t see this coming
I don’t know where it’s going

Moving blissfully moment to moment
if a moment is all we can count on
let’s not keep count
just enjoy

I wake
too early for a Sunday morning
memories
buzzing in my mind
wearing your shirt
the scent of your body
clinging like a ghost
I bury my face into it
praying to the Gods
of Saturday nights.

Light breaks free
from our smiles
bounces off glittering eyes
blinding us to all
but each other
Cheeks sore
from holding our lips
from our teeth
while laughter rolls out
between them
filling the room
It must be made of a gas
lighter than air
We float

I Need Warmth for Home

I cannot live in unpainted rooms.
No wall is left white.
I need warmth for home.

Honey walls beside pumpkin-spiced walls. Amber wood-grained lacquered doors. Warm, red, glossy door frames painted deep, wet red.
Chianti curtains. Lush, waving drapery hung ’round midnight’s windows. Drunk, long curtains falling slack and hanging on
to swirling wrought-iron rods.
Silky, oak barrel flavored rooms.
Rooms with tannins.

Not the sterile walls of rental houses. Not the over-clean of the office.
Not the eggshell, ivory, dove or linen of my mother’s homes.
I need warmth for home.

I need fields of strawberries in the Summer. The rusted undercarriage
of my Chevy truck. The soft, parted lips of a ripe woman.
The red of clay on the mountain side.
Barns, tractors, black eyed susan petals.
I need the coffee-stained color of my father’s teeth.

Sepia-toned, wood-framed photos smile at my warm rooms.
Frankincense and myrrh candles light the corners yellow ocher.
Bay window for winter mornings. Lattice shelves full of rose quartz.
Sunlight glitters through to highlight the cherry red Formica counter top.
Sunlight splashes on the teracotta tiles.
Sunlight rolls up the walls
I rag-painted myelf
while pregnant with my daughter.

I cannot live in unpainted rooms.
No wall is left white.
I need warmth for home.

Pinky Fingers Crossed

Sliding up on Locust Grove

Foothills speak of mountains

Red clay feet

to find our way

and ears to hear

your dark banjo sing

Patchwork leaves

 

Olfactory memories of a change in season

We roll along

past Atlanta’s maze

and look for roads

to cut walls through slate

 

We can trade

instrument for steering wheel

every couple hundred miles

Creep outa Georgia

singing Nashville songs

Wander trails

with our pinky fingers crossed

Ten Years

I was seventeen when he promised he’d come back to me. We’re both pushing thirty before he calls. We sit across from each other on my screened porch and talk about good times and old friends. We watch our daughters play fairy-princess dress-up though the sliding glass door. I remark at how well they get along. I can’t believe it’s been ten years. His face is the same, just a few pounds fuller. His smile is the same. His eyes are deeper. He holds my stare. He is saying something I am not really listening to, and he moves his knee over one inch to rest it against the inside of mine. For three seconds I can see nothing beyond his pupils and can only hear the sound of the hot blood rushing beneath my skin. I think I feel the porch catch fire, and everything melts. “I have to get something out of the way,” he says and he kisses me with a mouth as soft as I remembered in a hundred dreams. His left hand is in my hair and he brings it to his face and breathes in deep. “You still smell like you,” he says. My heavy eyelids blink only twice before I am called inside to make dinner for the princesses. Over-easy free-range eggs, straight from the hens in my backyard, fried lightly in coconut oil and smothered in organic catsup. He laughs, “I can’t believe I’m in love with a hippie!” I ask if it was the armpit hair that tipped him off. I smiled so much that night that my cheeks were sore the next morning. He never called again.

Colonizing Gender

One of the hardest things about social reality is that it is something that we don’t see – it becomes invisible.”

-Dr. Ella Schmidt

Through Irene Silverblatt’s book, Sun, Moon, and Witches: Gender Ideologies and Class in Inca and Colonial Peru (1987), we can see how 500 years of limited transformation within class and gender (due to the conquest of indigenous peoples by the Inca’s and then Spanish) has transformed the social structure in the Andes region of South America, particularly in gender relations. You can see how women’s status shifted as the Andean social structure evolved from one with an emphasis on kinship ties to a society with institutionalized class hierarchies. This power shift is seen again in Susan Kellogg’s article, The Woman’s Room: Some Aspects of Gender Relations in Tenochtitlan in the Late Pre-Hispanic Period (1995), in the Mexicas (Aztecs) of what is now Mexico City. Where once men and women functioned in “semiseparable domains” where there existed “parallel male and female spheres in which men and women played significant public roles” (Kellogg, 1995), colonization has worked to squelch the woman’s power in society and limit her domain to the household.

Conquest has an immense influence on culture. Indigenous women, in general, lost extraordinary space in society when the West took charge. Women’s power and place in society were demonized and dubbed as witchcraft. Over an over, throughout the globe, you can find examples of indigenous societies practices and beliefs turned upside down as colonial powers take over and work to spread the ideals of the West. As these powers have written and rewritten history, what we have come to think of as “history” has truly been a one-sided account of historical events. It has only been recently addressed that there are gender biases due to the fact that these historical accounts were told by and through men alone. That men were almost always the ones observing, interviewing, and being interviewed, it was men’s views who were always prioritized. On top of this, colonial powers systematically worked to destroy indigenous women’s status in their societies, which was many times much more equal than in Western culture.

This is clearly evident through Silverblatt’s research. Inca noblemen, and Spanish conquerors and explorers (who were also, of course, men) wrote the history of the Andes. Silverblatt has tried to tease out the truth of Andean histories amidst all of the biases written into these historical accounts. What she has given us is an account of women who were viewed as an integral part of society, who were allowed rights to “land, water, herds, and other necessities of life” (pg. 5). Andean society pre-colonization contained a bilateral system of descent and parallel transmissions of inheritance. This meant that histories were traced back and held importance for both the mother’s and father’s families and that property was passed from mother to daughter, father to son. Even as the Inca created a class system by establishing themselves as the noble class, Andean society still operated in this way. Wives and husbands saw themselves as equal and complementary. Though there was a division of labor based on age and gender, both male’s and female’s work were viewed as integral. (The drawings in Silverblatt’s book perfectly illustrate this.)

Much like the pre-colonial Andeans, the Mexica “structured activities and ceremonies so that women and men had semiseparate responsibilities and organizations. The structuring of production, politics, and rituals ensured that women had access to positions of authority and did not differentiate strongly between public and private realms” (Kellogg, pg. 571). This parallel gender structuring allowed for space and autonomy within gender. A woman was not, then, defined by her association to a man. However, colonization changed this system.

“True to the ideology of the conquest hierarchy, the Incas intertwined gender hierarchy and the formation of class as they consolidated imperial rule” (Silerblatt, pg. 81). This meant that Andean women were now seen to be there to fulfill imperial needs. Women were valued then for their ability to perform “women’s tasks” – such as spinning, weaving, and the preparation of special foods – and for their chastity. Here enters the Madonna/Whore dichotomy in Andean history. The most beautiful and chaste peasant girls were literally taken in by the noble Incas to live with the higher class and perform these special women’s duties.

Women lost even more autonomy with the Spanish conquest. “The Spanish tribute regimen had prejudicial consequences on peasant women. One of its effects was to undermine traditional patterns of land tenure and inheritance whereby women maintained independent access to lands. Owing to Spanish law and the nature of the tributary system itself, men from the Spanish elite, as well as from the native peasantry, were induced to wrest from women their pre-Hispanic rights to autonomous control over productive resources” (Silverblatt, pg. 131). This meant that the bilateral system of descent and parallel transmissions of inheritance were effectively destroyed, leaving in it’s place a patriarchal system.

To fast forward to how this change has affected women of Central and South America post-Spanish colonization, we can look at the film Retrato de Teresa (Pastor Vega, 1979). The movie follows Teresa, a mother of three trying to manage a house, children, full time union work, and a philandering husband. Life is really hard on a working mom, as the movie clearly illustrates. Many times, the woman ends up doing the brunt of the housework and childcare while also working as many hours as her husband. Essentially, the mother is still the manager and full-time employee of the home while being a full-time employee outside the home, and she usually runs the social aspects of family life, such as holidays, visiting relatives, and extra curriculars for the kids. The man still expects to be treated like the “man of the house,” even if he works less, even if he makes less money, even if he moves out and takes another woman outside of the marriage!

While the film depicts a Cuban woman who is characterized by marianismo (a selfless woman, like the virgin mother, Mary), this female ideal can be seen in many, many cultures. (In the same way masculinity and femininity are compliments, marianismo and machismo are complements, and one cannot exist without the other.) This ideal is left over from the takeover of the indigenous societies mentioned above by colonial powers. Had this conquering not taken place, perhaps we would find cultures throughout the Americas that more closely mirrored the pre-colonial Andean societies, with emphasis placed on the complementary nature of the genders rather than the oppositional nature which defines modern gender relations.

And here are some great quotes from the film to highlight the modern woman’s plight:

Nobody is indestructible. We’re all made of flesh and blood.” -Teresa

I’m working like a slave.” -Teresa

I never did anything to upset him. That’s how we raised kids together.” -Teresa’s mom

A woman belongs at home.” -Teresa’s mom

Tanka

frost and fog
first golden rays of light
break through
on a highway of sepia fields
a young bull eats cold hay

I count stars
while Chorus Frogs sing
Summer nights
there is a wildfire
in the bed of my lover

friends encircle
the backyard bonfire
familiar dialog
drums slowly begin
to sing to each other