blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Are you expressing a desire to know me?

a. Burton Barr Library, Phoenix

‘Jonah-the-Whale’ the Navajo
lives in the adjacent park—a boy whose Coke’s so full
it spills onto his shoes. Point-of-view:

his black cowboy-hat with a macaw feather.

b. Walking Behind Adrienne Rich in the Hotel Lobby

Beam of light through blue glass earrings that fall below
her lobes. She doesn’t know me.

c. Love is Feminine

My students divide everything
by two. Technically, I find myself saying,

consolation is male and objection, female. Delicate
ends of fishhooks—I say this
is what the Entire American Psychiatric Association says.

d. Row of Three Glass Elevators

The child in red rides them all as much as possible. Brown sweater
over the library vents because he’s cold. On his t-shirt, Falcon. On mine,

Warrior. The thing that used to piss me off most: Nobody wants

to play.

e. Play Isn’t Disgraceful

She crawls through the stacks because she feels
like lowering

her red hair and crawling.

f. Memorizing the Bus Schedule

Child in the seat next to him asks if he’s gay. The child’s mother says that’s not
a nice question. He asks if he can answer. Then:

              - Do boys like red?
              - Where are you going?
              - Home.
              - To my house?

g. Do you mind if I answer?

That hickey is a kiss. Like a plaid dress with a bow
on a dead woman. Raven

and grizzly-claw marks
on my silver bracelet. Fingertips red
red red.

h. I have a desire to know you.

Long, quiet hair. Established that the feathers were the most beautiful
ever seen over that Frenchtown Pond.

i. When I got over being a child

Technically, I’m specific
all the time: abridging and combining

like asking the child. Like a hand between the closing
elevator doors.

j. Keep it to yourself.

k. If everyone decided to call themselves a girl

that word would stop. Dried-fruit necklace in the rain sticking
to her neck. Her necklace of clear spheres.

Remind me—

l. Are you gay straight or bi?

There’s a cop to make you choose. A house that’s only
one person’s house—do you mind if I know

the kind of question my people ask.

m. My backyard is for flashers. Their hands

like rainbow notepads. Screen door—lawn sprinkler—

leather tops of the mountains.

n. The backdoor opens out

to cabbage. The lamb and the lion with votive-fire
hearts. There’s your uncomfortable metaphor. Living room—

it’s something that closes. Looks out onto anything
having to do with carbonation

easing out of clear glass. Heart. heart. heart.

o. This location’s sister

is another tire-pressure gauge. Purse arms twisted
over and over. My apartment lives in summertime,

looks out onto birdseed. I say bullshit

I’m not hard to understand. I’m not.

p. Love is famine. I’m comparing my home to an animal.

Smells of black acrylic paint and my lover’s legs open like the opened arms
of sunglasses. Children back from the stars—their fingertips
glowing out the

q. clear bags of its windows.

Green, practical car. Buildings, like clear
bottles and a line of airplanes over them.

r. Eavesdropping on Adrienne

She’s speaking about heating
her home with sunshine. About not swimming
in Frenchtown Pond

right after rain.

s. The Barbara Jean: 212 ½ E. Portland Street 

return to top