issue 17: fast love, slow love

Umoja

- t.l. (bio)

A familiar cut
Between young thighs

Hiding a child
From preying eyes.

A sheltered love
Of mothers
Far and wide

Mother earth
And no father time.

Unity.
A net for you and I.
Ebony breasts unshielded
From naked eye

A wife,
Or 2.
Maybe 3 or four.
A dowry and nothing more.

A massive auburn eye stare.
To rise from ashes.
And eat men like air.

Hookup. (haiku)
- n.b. (bio)

 

Outside his bedroom
she wipes off her smeared lipstick—
strong teeth, ripened peach.

Bella Donna

- blake edwards & l. trammell (bio)

A


In that cloistered place beneath the roots of Belladonna’s shade,
all stories have been sown and their paths already laid,
and set around them treasures out of twinkle-twilight made.
In their luster, all memory of earthly diary days fade.
In their leaving, all debts are by tide and time repaid,
in this place where great and terrible souls are made, unmade, remade,
in this rowan-hemmed glade beneath the roots of Belladonna’s shade.


B


Sown have been the stories, by waxy-way poison petals swept
'neath the roots of Lady Death’s wolf-liquor blood-red dress
where yesterday’s ghosts beneath her timeless tears have slept,
in this place where wounded lovers wailed and frail mothers wept.
'Neath these roots, where from time to time the old Gods have stepped.


A'


In this cloistered place beneath the roots of Belladonna’s shade,
all stories indeed were sown and their paths before now laid.
Tales of imperious heroes and virtuous villains here too have strayed,
as Wyrd sisters sow by cock’s crow the seeds of every story ever lathed,
spinning destiny from one-eyed looms, fates ready to be weighed.
In this place where wicked souls rest, where they might yet be saved,
in this rowan-hemmed glade beneath the roots of belladonna’s shade.

For You, My Dear

- l.c. (bio)

 

I did not change for you. You and your shy smile,

your full lips that shielded your sharp teeth.

You and your big hands that caress and clench alike.

You and your tall body that towers over all that is in front of you,

under you. You and your

      swishing,

swooshing,

hair,

your eyes so deep a shade of brown they look black

– no – they look like me, reflecting within your black orbs.

You consumed me, your sticky frog tongue pulled me into you

and you chewed me, savoring the flavor of my blood on your tongue,

your tongue, a slippery serpent that wields lies better than love,

spits poison more than passion;

the split in your tongue is probably a metaphor

and not an accident from your third birthday party;

this metaphor waggles each finger at me leaning in the door frame,

it wants to come in but you, my dear, do not need such tact.

Your boot cladded feet, gangly from puberty, sound like cloven steps

but I won’t take the bait that easily.

Clop.

          Clop.

       Clop.

    Clop.

  Clop.

You come in my dreams, you are the figure that lurks in the shadows,

that haunts under beds, and stalks down corridors.

I’ve always loved a good scary movie: the jump scares, the gore and the horror.

But that’s changed.

 

These monsters, ghouls, and killers are all you.

You bare your vampiric teeth, show your claws and serpentine tongue,

your hair is the fur of a werewolf.

And I tried to change you,

putting my head in the lion’s mouth.

I pressed my lips to yours so I couldn’t see your daggers,

I put your hands around my body so I was in your claws,

I dug my fingers through your hair trying to untangle the knots.

I tried to tame you with words and proclamations of my love.

My words circled you and I meant them as they fell from my swollen tongue,

but I did not change for you. Underneath my soothing tones was my fear.

Underneath my fear, my contempt.

You knew, though didn’t you?

Is that why you tried to tame me?

I could not escape from you.

You were the eyes in the wall that followed me,

the predator and I, the prey.

Know that I thought I loved you, your smile,

your jokes and that cool skateboard.

The one you loved more than me.

That skateboard you beat into the ground when you had a bad day.

Oh, your suaveness was alluring to a girl worried

she wouldn’t get puberty like the rest of them.

      

I did not change for you, but you changed me.

I am hesitant, careful, “close to the vest.”

I am the girl that became a woman,

the curve of my body reminds me of you

like the scars that mare it; I can count them on my hand:

they trace highways down my legs,

they pinpoint on the map of my skin where you have been,

it is marked “You were here” – you were there,

your lips have kissed my skin,

your hands have wrapped around my flesh,

dimpled from the pressure of your palm,

your eyes have glided across my body,

you have towered over my small frame.

 

Yet, I no longer feel indebted to you.

I no longer care to create an accurate portrayal of you.

Don’t think this is unfair to you,

you have – to me – defined yourself as the bad guy.

This is your truth.

You and your swishing hair, sly smile and dark brown eyes

have desecrated the valiant knight in shining armor.

Your story is in your hands and you, my dear, met a writer.

Tough break.

Yet, your story does not end at you.

That girl hunkered in an alley,

pulling her knees to her chest,

found your discarded armor along the trash she hid amongst.

She tried it on for size

and liked the way it shined and shimmered,

like a lip gloss that repelled all eyes.

She liked the way her armor, stiff and rigid, kept her upright,

liked the way it deflected punches,

liked the way it sounded when an insult dissipated against the visor.

She kept it.

 

I like the way my armor feels cool to the touch,

I like the way my armor is my choice to take off or put on.

My armor is my choice.

That girl is no longer afraid of you –

the figure that lurks in the shadows,

that haunts under beds, and stalks down corridors.

You are the monster in your own story,

but the valiant knight in shining armor has dethroned you.

 

But rest assured darling,

your name will always fall beaten and bloodied from my mouth.

You are immortal, you are forever a part of me, isn’t this what you wanted?

Didn’t you want me to be strong? A fighter? A force to be reckoned with?

Because that is what I am, and you did that for me.

Mini Landscape 3

- anon

Mini Landscape 4

- anon

end of issue 17. go back to issues page.

the poetry juicebox
an international poetry & art publication
the poetry juicebox

 © 2019 by the Poetry Juicebox. All rights reserved by poets and artists. All work is original.