Juliet Cook is a poet and the editor of Blood Pudding Press. A few of her recent publication credits include ‘DIAGRAM’, ‘OCTOPUS’,’WOMB’, ‘Sein Und Werden’, ‘blossombones’ ‘little red leaves’, and ‘Prick of the Spindle’. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and currently has a poem representing in Sundress Publications Best of the Net 2007 Anthology. A selection of new poetry is also available as the first edition of Volume #2 of COMBATIVES, a single author zine series affiliated with H_NGM_N. Her latest chapbook, ‘Planchette’, can be procured from Blood Pudding Press at http://www.bloodpuddingpress.etsy.com/.
That warped horror soundtrack I heard in the shower
might have been ruckus from rusty pipes,
might have been a man with a knife,
gearing up to hack mounds of flesh.
My flushed breasts, my gory rivulets,
my frantic bubbles rising into steam.
I had to let that music keen;
cut its way out like a switchblade
bar room brawl to make way for the steep
incline of more precise strains. Not that indistinguishable
growling in the pit. When my mouth was masticating,
it was just another small machine doing its commonplace job.
A nameless cog, I wanted to strip my gears.
I wanted to bend my spoon backwards. Fling.
(The only acceptable foodstuff was ice cream and only if snuck in the dark and then even ice cream was marred by the uneasy sense of furtiveness that surrounded it. It was stuck in the bubble wrap with me. In the bubble wrap was: sneaky ice cream, chicken bones with gory rivulets of flesh still clinging, small mounds of carnage building up almost automatically, dog shit, leaky toilet, clanging pipes, expanding hips, horror movie music, knives, flesh, fainting, long distance relationship, public transportation, boiling water bubbles. It was bubble wrapped beaks and wings. It was boiling water bubbles inside bubble wrap, steam clean or a random series of inconsequential explosions. A spattered cocoon of bubble wrap and blanched chicken. It was the antithesis of epicurean-ism, the antithesis of libidinousness, the antithesis of precision. The only acceptable solution was industrial-strength cleaning product. Scouring powder. Newly-cultivated lust for flesh-dissolving solvent. But my swallowing mechanism was grossly swaddled, was muffled in the bubble wrap. I wasn’t getting enough oxygen to the brain. If the bubble wrap was in my brain, was it an invasion, a perversion, or a preservation? I couldn’t ascertain. I couldn’t escape the stuck gears, the dull hooks of undifferentiated, unsubstantiated pain. I couldn’t escape the cash drawers, the snack packs, the plastic utensils thrusting themselves into my face. )
I wanted to hone my own finessed utensils.
Flay the muddled layers. Trace the gleaming details
of tibia, femur, vertebrae displayed like perfect syllables.
I wanted to revise. Crush marrow in mortar & pestle.
Devise a new underpinning that would glow
beneath my skin with cut gem precision.
Then my fainting spells would taper.
Then my vision would stop blurring
fuzzy sweater sleeves into stunted wings;
into indefinable stings and squawks as I tried to gain accentuation
on another slasher flick stage-set check-up table
with another ambiguous layer removed.
My sharpened elbows exposed in their transitional pose.
My new beak-job too sore to peck out those awful eyes.
Those indiscriminate spies, how dare they
take my bait before I’d even hooked it.
Those gluttonous sluts. I hadn’t even cast myself.
This flesh for cash hack-job was not what I wanted.
I hadn’t even sexily spiked myself.
(There was no excuse for a fuel breakdown. I should have been able to fuel myself with anything. A pinch of powdered sugar, bug guts, rogue hair pins, tiny snips of my own cuticles. There was no excuse for coming to on someone else’s table, a huge vessel of sugary orange juice and a camera thrust into my face. I never thought abstaining was sexy. It was just that I should have fixed my own drinks. It was just that my mouth was turning into a small machine shaped like a grotesque prefab chicken beak, operated by tiny wheels and cogs. I thought that the operating table on the stage set was real. I thought that the orange juice was mixed with anesthesia and they wanted to sew fatty breasts and gristly thighs onto me in some sort of hideous surgical pornography. The camera might have been a heat lamp. There might have been a damaged piston at my core. Some broken rotisserie spit they intended to restore. In one scene, I was on my back on cold cement at the bottom of a flight of fire escape stairs and I didn’t even care if I ever made it up again. My mouth was stuffed with bubble wrap.)
I finally escaped with screwdrivers. Figured out how to unbolt myself
with three stiff drinks. Until I’m almost flying.
Until I’m zooming in & out between my own double vision
and the periphery of everyone else’s attention.
I am disconnected flapping sleeves. I am shiny sheathes
of feathers in numb, frilly disarray.
I might pluck them off. I might get naked
as everyone’s mouths move meaninglessly.
One mouth forms the phrase, ‘painfully skinny’.
One mouth drools at my bony bar room sprawl.
From this sticky floor, the ceiling fans are small machines whirring.
Plastic spoons stirring at another congealed snack pack.
Another fat man licks chicken wing hot sauce off his fingers,
then tries to pull my skirt down. He drags me towards the door.
He positions me on an incline and thrusts
a tube of glucose into my face. I cluck
at the line of people buying tickets.
makes her mouth open like a snapdragon
color-coded pollen slots
color-coded landing strips
unfetter dress bodice release bees
‘her faithful warriors, her very own daughters’
pour from mouth parts, lady parts
o the honey-seeking spill & thrall ‘the yellows
begin to tear down their own walls’
diligent fur-bodied swarm buzz fuchsias
o the sweet alignment of stigma, style, ovary
modified ovule breach lust for evolved leaf
ripped from her sticky spine torn from her milky stem
severed equals free
coda for a complex “tongue”