Aberrata/ Unmapped – I
in the library, i am teething on a coffee table book
about the jackhammered brothels of leningrad. all
the tin gods & straw dolls. puppets gutted to their ceramic bones.
next to me three middle-aged mexican students memorize the newest
echelons of the periodic table. ask me to pronounce
radioactive. i whisper : stepfather.
his hand is on my thigh & my throat is full of red sea.
the science of volcanoes is blueprinted in the stomach.
today, his blood won’t clot in a river of molasses.
today, the basa fillet sizzled in lemongrass and cumin
like my ice-nuzzled cheek under his seething palm.
my slit is sorrow. his length is knife.
so i stain his sheets. so he prays between my thighs.
when the blood dries, it turns to the colour of my race.
white linen like saltwater. my mottling reminiscent of thumb-
pressed cocoa. the first time is fear. all the other times - forgetting.
at the poetry performance, someone sings - we are all one earthquake
away from being unwanted. refugees.
at the airport they ask - what is your middle name?
we halt & chew - second generation.
my body is a sequence of stigmata.
my heart is unpronounceable.
at angeline, the iraqi poet speaks of the hunger under the head-scarf.
on the tv 5 ex-jurors wear bands in support of a 14 year old who shot
a 12 year old coz boys shouldn’t wear green prom dresses or high heels.
at the clinic, a transwoman shows me 6 stitches sleeping on her upper lip -
baby snake quivering in the sands. i was just trying to walk home. i was just trying.
fuck those poems about fog & orchids.
fuck the portraits of lavender snow.
if there is something to say
i’d rather it be as hard
& as violent
as the world whose burning window
Aberrata/ Unmapped – II
What is the temperature in Providence right now? Skateboarder with the shiva-blue tattoo & a notebook solved et coagula. It is hard to undo the grayness from the tongue of this cold weather. It is hard to blossom wings out of a shadow. This time, I remembered your birthday, didn’t I? Water sign, the river turning into an ossuary of snakes. I am sorry we have come to be such widening absences to each other. I am reading a poem by Zaffar Kunial and that infallible blue jazz trumpeting behind “Now we separate/ for the first time.” Along the beach, I found a canary yellow rock hibernating inside the wet hollow of driftwood as if the seaweed had laid a secret egg.
Today I am menstrual & untouched : an errored autumn of atavisms. But it is winter where we are. Where we left ourselves be. Where your Moab corresponds to my Yamuna. The sky won’t speak to the oaks anymore; all the clouds are gathered in a salmon pink cockscomb - the throat of thunder slowly bleached into a disappearing light. Once upon a time, our bodies stretched out against each other like tightropes meant for red-mud malkhamb gymnasts. Once upon a time our bodies weren’t afraid of the taut truth; a long room full of nocturnal insects dithering on the dry, dark marble. Everything I am saying to anyone is an act of describing a house from the inside as someone takes a wrecking ball to it.
Hello, weird dirt heart. Hello, blackbird elegies. Hello, Time We Never Had. On 22nd when I write back, it is a graveyard kicking itself out from under a singing cathedral. Subject Line : Help me! I think I am going to kill myself! I know of that precise low in the ellipse of depression where all the feathers have fled the bone, where the skin is only alive with the sense of maggots. I write to you when skeletal & burning. Not for rebirth but for epitaph. Only you could care enough to throw a rose in the shower of soil drizzling over my uncoffined departure. And you do. Again & again.
This hurts more. Everything that has died inside me returns in an epiphany of ghosts. I am conditioned to be most pleasant to those whom I hate most. I nod and nod and nod as if that can eclipse the blasphemy of their shared histories or cure her verbal diarrhea. When I tell you, I am doing well all I mean is I want to quit myself without an aftermath.
Next : I want to go back to the place I erased with my own footsteps
For Greg B & Elmer City
Tonight, I will sleep besides you in a country knuckled by clockhands. In an hour the dawn will hobble on its clotted leg of beefpink contusion.
I will not pilfer the time difference by thinking of your bruised feet - an ankle’s tempera of mulberry flush. Calves swollen to mimic pregnant mackerels.
There will be stilllife, later. Gutted avocado. Honeyed stubble.
Eggs & jam. A full reconnaissance of our circadian appetites.
The bristles of a loud coconut-rind broom lick the angry heat off my city’s streets.
We have already promised each other the somnolent hothouses of our bodies.
This month is eleven days down. Everyday a crow
rattles the spindly arm of my hibiscus with its birdbrained doting.
Your trees are always verecund inside the arrowheads of Seattle’s freezing rain.
Elsewhere my throat is a portico where the casuarina bends into a curfew’s aubade.
I leave you my voice - a beaten mattress in the root cellar -
the way a young boy upturns a mason jar over a glowworm’s filigreed wings.
Month three, I will fillet myself against the metal of your blood
- a supernova of glowing iron or the red clay of a greek vase.
My chest is a duende of soot from the charcoal of a smoked goose.
The jasmine rice pallor of your hands are humbled by the flint of an unbreakable wishbone.
We too will be halved, haved under a cuban moon
speaking the language of old shiraz & railway maps.
When smoke strips the marbled arch of mountains
our skins will shiver their damp of bluegrass baptismals.
I will untranslate you - puente, diente
de león. amarillo. pestaña. año nuevo. cosa salvaje.
I will hum in my clamshell scintilla. You too will
echo in the husky thud of a blue whale’s tail –
briefly measuring a full sea beyond
the scablands in the dance of a single dive.
the hungarian takes me on a roadtrip
& i begin to welter between his crab-claws :
trestles rinsed in homemade bleach and battery acid
my body has opened to that precise page of a midnight
which reads to him the science of an amygdala hijack
(a chorus of orange light meandering in eel
skulk, tang percolating the brainstem eros)
when he is away, he sends crags of photo
-graphs, black agate rock pools, himself -
the skeleton of an inkblot. we climb into
a synapse. we convert to rocket flares.
he says his tongue moves like angler fish
he says, come -
today, i am epsom salt & roseate.
he hints me clean into a godly hunger. gives me rooms
creviced in palimpsests of mussel shells. makes me want
to cut through the curfew static and go drink illegal liquor
mouthful of succulents, tongue netting crabmeat confetti
till we are back in bed, and he begins to undress my name -
snaps at each like syllable like it were a surgical glove,
soap powder synonyms
something that cleans the filth of the years he can’t
wait to unhand
Scherezade Siobhan is an Indo Roma Jungian scarab moonlighting as a clinical psychologist. Her writing has been translated into multiple languages as well as featured in various digital and physical spaces and can be found in literary magazines, anthologies, international galleries, rehab centers and in the bios of okcupid users. Her digital collection of poems “Bone Tongue” was published by Thought Catalog Books and her full length poetry book “Father, Husband” was recently released by Salopress UK. She can be found squeeing about militant bunnies at www.viperslang.tumblr.com or @zaharaesque on twitter.