the poetry that matters

Melissa Bobe

Melissa Bobe holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Literary Translation from Queens College of the City University of New York. In 2011, she was a writer-in-residence at the Louis Armstrong House Museum Archives. She founded and taught a creative writing workshop for teens at a public library for six years, and has taught nonfiction prose writing at Queens College. She is currently pursuing a PhD in English literature at Rutgers University, but still calls New York home. Her work has appeared in Phantom Kangaroo and Steel Toe Review, and you can keep up-to-date with her at Don’t Let Me Burn the Coffee, Emily Dickinson (http://burningthecoffee.blogspot.com/).

“softly as they leave”                                                              you

beatbeat out
beatbeat out
in         in         in         __

Obscured, she //bound/, was somnambulant in her wooden bed. His approach, slow(sustained—) up [to the open grave.

Will you join me in a pas de nocturne?
I will.

One grave, one shrouded, one treading, one box. A body//a body. Two. There are two. There are absolutely two in [this duet;                                                                                it is a duet.


                                                                                                            (Can you trace the places
                                                                                                where the hands graze the sweat and
                                                                                                breathing flesh? Can you find the
                                                                                                shadow in the shadow in the empty
                                                                                                and abandoned grave? Can you hear
                                                                                                the tap and turn, sinew under
                                                                                                suspended skin? If you can, you are
                                                                                                surely watching someone else’s
                                                                                                de deux.)


Plurality ((Canvas:_textile

            I saw in miniature, a thousand times repeated in front of me, like some carnival mirror that fragments into multiplicity, my own self, but each self was different//distinctive::

like so many
perfumed ants, but___
no magnifying glass here
to entice an incendiary perspective
(Chorus) voices) of this voice;
I heard (all) pitches, tones, timbres
at once
was I strangled [cutshort
            weeping, tear-stifled
            asphyxiation (accidental via dolor)
was I bubbling, flooding
            twee laughter-voice
            deluge, say you cataclysm, say I
my fury, my whispers, my bewildered murmurs, my moans of orgasm, my chattering broken voice in the cold my incredulity at the institutionalized and coddled prejudices I have had the retro- passé- distressingly contemporary-experience of raging against my honey-dipped chuckle reserved for when a child says something dear in the dark silence of a theater and I remember why it is I love children even though I don’t wish to produce any while I still have the right to abstain from a politically mandated broadening mutating of my innards

They have my perfumes, my movement, my expressions [facial, uttered
Gathered at my feet, I was multiplication and profusion
simultaneous self-ocean

And suddenly
it occurred to me that there was no undoing what had been generated that I would be this many forever in perpetuum and that my portrait would be strange if ever painted


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                                                                                                February 20, 2012