From “R E D”

chapter viii

Tired    I walk toward everything except fear

over seaweed-covered rocks

I think that someday some new women

will be allowed to see each other happy

happy more than usual

I looked in all the other open rooms of my heart

A vague fear obscured the whole scene into a diorama of ruin

As sharp as a sword-cut    the light struck    a half-reclining cloud

Time and distance trembled in my body


To become in love with everything apropos of nothing

To see without seeming to stare

To change in the reflection

To appear peculiar


We never refer to sadness

as something that looks

like secrecy

but it does


I drifted on the fresh breeze

I did not like it

Joy     joy     joy although not joy    a bad thing

I can feel it wet against my bosom

My journey is mapped and ready

I am only taking one dress


I don’t want to talk     of infinitesimal distinctions

between man and man     see no difference     between men and maidens

I am the modern Morpheus
I made the minutes disappear
I am thin
an errant swarm of bees
a naked lunatic
a tiger
immensely strong
a wild beast
a paroxysm of rage

chapter xiv

After a bad night I lock myself in my room and read

I had only imagination

I remember how on our wedding day    he said

I shall never let trouble or nervousness concern you    you can trust me

I must not forgive    I cannot    

I know the real truth now

My imagination tinges everything with ill adventure

I suppose a cry clears the air    as other rain does


I have a good memory for details

it is not always so with young ladies    or so it had been said to me

I cannot comprehend this husband

Women all their lives are interrupted    considered hysterical

summoned to make children for the strong and manly

and for his sake must smile and not speak

Now this man I began to think a weak fool

I had trusted him    my husband

even half believed his words when he said

I would have an ordinary life    without dread


Let me tell you from experience of men

his brain and heart are terrible things

This man    impotent in the dark

He succeeded in getting me to doubt

everything took a hue of unreality

I did not trust even my own senses

You don’t know what it is to doubt everything    even yourself

I am a wife he fashioned by his own hand

to be sweet and earnest and so kind


An idea struck me

Following great loss     people see things that others cannot

Men want to explain explain explain

see themselves new    pretend to be young

Ladies’ bodies are deemed unholy

by the very men who burn them

Generations of men believe that women

walk amongst them without knowledge

My thesis is this

I want to believe    to believe    

to believe in

a universe    willing

to understand

chapter xxi

A detail in a pool of blood

the body gathered in an awkward kink

I dress myself  in easy anything


I softened into a swollen confusion

only slightly solid    I was shining

He beckoned

His hands    a dark mass like a thousand rats

A cloud closed over my eyes

I moistened myself with brandy

I held tight to life

I became like water


Kneeling on the edge of the bed    his face was turned

his left hand    held both arms    his right gripped

my neck    blood    a thin stream of it    his nostrils quivered


I lay in disarray

my eyes    and from them came    an endless moment

Cold moonshine dazed me    I began to pull on clothes

I drew back    unclean

Shame folded me like steel    tried to twist me in obedience

I could not feel the rise of reddening dawn

Silence    the sound of  what happened


I want you to know all this

understand    how much I need to show you

It was he who caused me to disappear

My husband    my husband and other men

hunt me and command    my flesh my blood my brain

This is my pollution story


The eastern sky became clear
             as the awful narrative deepened
                          in the morning light
                                       when the first red streak shot up my flesh