Addiction to the Dead

By Margo Tamez b. 1962 Margo Tamez
I lift my body one leg then another over the cold curve of
the claw-foot tub
Like a walking stick with a colossal cocoon attached
A beast and a mutant   I am this

Hooked on the steam of hot water I
Negotiate stretched skin   a sore spine   the splitting of imminent birth

What do you want

Mammoth   a domemoon stomach
Carved by spidery trails     former settlement

You in there   baby     think you’re ready for this

Sing soprano notes   sing sounds of upness
Says the midwife
She says go ahead   smoke some marijuana   you see she’s our
motherherb   sacred medicine   not for foolery and
selfishness   never to be used in that other way you know
she works deeply niece   can take care those injuries
bad mister   wrecks   he set     snaring you
this medicine   will   show you    the things killing
all of us

         ----------

This is what’s necessary     I sustain you
You are not ready for me   what is out here
Cruel minds separate small girls from girlhood
Fists pound your brother’s brains through the wall
Yellowdrunk eyes from a failed mind   lick every pair of
Breasts in the room
At home the smoke shop the wake the burial the ceremony the
Indian-taco stand—

I’m done

         ----------

Just keep sleeping on my mucous pillow
And don’t push on me

O     pouring bowls of light
I see the horrific truths
The most beautiful lie
Will never fool

Never fool
Never fool
The fool

         ----------

What will be the venting of this
Where will we be
How will the vault be lifted

A tinny sound     the drip of persistence
Water into water looking for its level
Always seeking level

No more a drip now a stream continuous motion
Unified atoms
Pearls cells   threads cries

The house and early night are each black and black

One a lonesome gaping mouth    the other a safe place
To plan
The real fact of spirit leaving body

         ----------

You push to be born fully alive
You press my addiction to the dead world
Birth me out a muse

         ----------

Ancestors glide
Landing on the levee where the DDT   petroleum  and tobacco
Burned my grandfathers’s flesh    Emiliano    and fueled
My mother’s resistance   Chata

Ancestors scold me     the lanky child running through
Glossy fields
Crabgrass Indian gum plants johnsongrass

Waxy from spraying    the continuous spraying
O freedom of the green revolution     O  postwar
Stockpiles

O     fucking   inheritance   of the ethnic poor

O    how   we’ve     been    fucked

         ----------

I go through the window opening after opening
Memory buried upon memory      that’s how this appears

Skins    burst   unseam     and inside these is me
A skinny dark girl with a dark brain and a dark mind

Seeking the deja-vu   Zone of Time Flow
Outside of fear

O   no one    can see me    or see what is real
The invasive spray seeping
Follows me and flows in my blood through decades

To my room and the ease of dark and sleep
Dreaming how I’ll wage war on my raiders

O settlers of the empire
O land thieves
O scalpers of my grandfathers
O slave traders of my grandmothers

Books   stand like enemies
Rapists    who’ll conspire to kill me
They wrestle me    I wrestle back   kicking their spines
Splitting their black seeds with my knife    the little
Black letters ejaculate from
Their splintered and crushed chaff

My uterus stops     the surging jolt of you     kicking
You will not miscarry
Not one more
Not ever again

Margo Tamez, “Addiction to the Dead” from Raven Eye. Copyright © 2007 by Margo Tamez. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.

Source: Raven Eye (University of Arizona Press, 2007)

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Poet Margo Tamez b. 1962

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Living, Death, Relationships, Nature, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries

Biography

Of Lipan Apache, Jumano Apache, and Spanish heritage, Margo Tamez was born in Austin, Texas, and grew up in San Antonio. A teacher and activist, Tamez earned an MFA in creative writing from Arizona State University in 1997. Her collections of poetry include Alleys and Allies (1992), Naked Wanting (2003), and Raven Eye (2007).
 
Tamez’s poetry is informed by an awareness of the culture of indigenous people, social inequities, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Death, Relationships, Nature, The Body, Arts & Sciences, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

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