| CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
30 DECEMBER 2006
OTHER CURRENT LOCI
"Tennessee" Mary Fons
I wrote this world down on paper/and it is all that I have.
I’ve kept a record of the blows to the head/the words that you said/and the paper lights I have seen in the sky that fell to the earth and died/this is not solid ground/it trembles and shakes when you step down and if you’ve ever been to a paper world you know what I mean/when you walk around you fall/fall onto paper knees that buckle beneath the weight of your legs/paper necks snap beneath heavy paper heads/oh snap/paper clocks tell incorrect time/paper skyscrapers scrape the skyline/and all the city’s citizen’s want what paper needs/strength/strong stock/safety from water but it all comes pre-tattered/bleeding confetti sized ink that stains the paper streets.
and I wonder/how do you keep a smile on a cut-out face when at any moment/fire will ravage earth and space/reduce your planet to ash if you bump elbows with a cigarette or a smoking campfire log/get chewed on by a dog that thinks you’re the news/I have long since stopped getting the blues/there is no color here/on the absence of light/I mean that’s what white is/I mean that’s what white is/right.
but if you are a paper doll too then I shall know you on sight and if you are with me/then come with me tonight/I will match up our bodies by the tears in our arms/we will form paper barricades against matchstick harm/I will make paper love to you for as long as I can in this shreddable world/I will be your paper girl.
and if rage is worth nothing on paper/then I have nothing left to say/but if the greatest words of all our ancestors have been saved to this day on paper/on paper/clinging to paper for god knows the reasons why/then I will write this on paper/and send it up to the wrathful 2-D god in the sky:
make me a lover to burn with and I will be the one who burns it all/I will do your bidding with a smile/but before the cinder sparks and the Great Fall in the Fire starts/give me one day/one day/and I will make a paper boat and sail with him on the sea and after that/will gladly burn down the whole paper world/as long as he burns with me.
cliff hanger: for norma.
cliff hanger : for norma.
the wind is straight out of Nashville tonight/balmy enough to conjure you up but the keeper of a breeze that knocks you out of my life as soon as the heat gets the dimensions just right.
where are you now.
I have reason to believe you are in a motel room in Kentucky/I have reason to believe you are alone/I have reason to believe you don’t answer your phone anymore/because characters from all your former lives are too angry or to distant for you to cradle against your ear.
when you were a girl/you were scrappy at best/you told me this/you fought in the parking lot/defending the turf/holding court/you stuck razor blades in the plaits of the braids of your hair for to slice the hands of your opponent/burned your 4” nails into talons with a lighter/5 crows at the end of each arm/you smeared Vaseline on your face so those bitches would slide right off/you hollered and spat and won/but wars like that turn inward/and battles become meaner still when you hit middle age and aren’t as quick as you were at 16/dreams and loans are deferred/regrets and creditors come calling/wanting what you don’t have/though if anyone could squeeze money or joy from a stone/I reckon you’re the one.
and with a fistful of rocks/I found you/we were each other’s biggest fan/who was who’s sidekick when it came to crimson lipstick on white Russians/we turned mild-mannered Tuesday nights into monster truck rallies and considered hangovers “regrouping sessions”/we hit hotel bars with purpose and direction/”how’s my hair looking”/fabulous/”how’s my face holding up”/divine/we cackled and cursed in taxicabs and ordered a round for Scheherezade every time/she was always good for a laugh but never finished her glass/”thanks darlin’/I’ll help you with that”/a carton of misty 100’s later we still weren’t tired/so unto the morning we slumped/delirious but only half full of remorse/you carried half of mine/I carried half of yours.
I made a 1000 bad decisions when you were around/they live in my body still/here/onboard this calmer ship/these days for a thrill/you might find me enjoying an apple/on Saturday night I might mop the floor/I haven’t lost my edge girl/but I don’t live on it anymore/and when the wind is from Tennessee like it so often is with me /I think of you fondly/with a cluck and a shudder and a shake of my head/if you’re still that wild/you’re probably dead/but if you’re not/and like me you slid through the closing door/moments before the room went up in flames/seconds before all was lost/if you’re not stuck in Kentucky with one bag packed/come back/and we will turn this mother out again/girl/just softer this time.what once made us happy can do so again/we just have to think bigger/we just have to not try so hard/Scheherezade.
bicycles are universal/but they are made for girls/they fill the space/some rock the basket/some ring the bell/some race/some ditch the Schwinn for the 21 speed/gotta get there mama/playing the fuel/the engine and transmission on metal thoroughbreds wrapped ‘round with rubber/we learned this as kids but these days it’s better/coming up on your left side
I think/therefore/I ride.
there is another dimension/where it is always July/and I am always 25/pedaling fast on the lakefront path/grass stains on my knees/handfuls of skirt at my waist/ribbons laced between my fingers and kissing potential lit up on my lips/this is how I would come to you/so many nights in summer/you would get me/panting/at your door/but you never saw what came before I rang your bell/that was mine darling/the stillness at high speeds/the breeze that blew through me/waves that licked the shores on my left/trees with leaves like so many fans formed a canopy/tanned skin and bleached bone moved my bicycle toward you/two hearts leapt when I arrived/but I fell in love on the journey/one rotation at a time.
girls/ride to lovers and pick your dimension
my heart is breaking/and my country is at war.
in Richmond, Virginia/five basic women brace themselves for a 21-gun salute/their sons are dead.
bang/that boy could eat
I don’t have a son/but I imagine if I had one/I’d want no body bag/
and it seems to me/in times like these/American soil lovers should cleave to one another/if no boots are being laced/if no deployment letters have come/if sergeants aren’t barking orders and no one’s loading a gun/the unhinged heart ought to stand in the stead of the purple one/it seems to me/in times like these/two lovers ought to keep kissing each other awake in the morning/keep making love that could heat the sun/but he’s leaving me/and mothers may weep into flags while CNN covers sports/and another soldier died today/but all the bombs in Baghdad can’t make love stay.
bang/his mouth was a cradle
ladies and gentlemen.
spring has come.
if I were better at descriptions I would say she has come on winged feet/playing hope on violins/I would say we have just been given back that singular shade of lilac that completes as lover’s sunset/if I were better at this/I would say spring just illuminated the silver stripe of flesh in gold goldfish that slip through the lake/proving to the skeptics of whom I am quite sick/that change does exist/examples of this are delivered in well wishing breezes that charm the buds out of gardens tended by old but contented women who waited all winter for this communion.
spring has come.
if I were bitter/I would ask her what took her so long and who does she think she is anyway/putting us through January/the punishment of February and then/as if that weren’t enough/waited as we suffered the cruelty of March/the month that masquerades as her youngest but tricks us every year.
because I’m so glad to see her/however/I replace the sour taste in my mouth with bursts of honey from petals of clover that decided to come to the party after a long layover in April.
young and old/rejoice!
never before have I sounded such words/didn’t think my heathen heart could cook them up and let them pour forth from such a burning throat as this/but I surprise myself/how can I help but give thanks/spring has come to this hitherto now barren place/easy weather sings through my open window/my dry mouth is given cool water to drink/ten toes are tickled with blades of green grass/at long last the sky proves she can be blue if she really wants to/heavy air gets thinner now and smells of bugs and soil/when the world changes this way and winter slinks back to the cave from which it came/when the day ceases to be black for ten hours straight/I know no matter what happens next/that which has been broken is about to be fixed/spring is responsible for this.
welcome back beautiful/you have been missed.
"TENNESSEE" MARY FONS (an Iowa native) has been writing and performing her poetry and other solo works around the country for the better part of 5 years. She has been the featured performer in over 30 poetry slam venues, including New York City, (Bowery Poetry Club/Urbana) Berkeley, (Berzerkely) Kalamazoo, Minneapolis, Boston, (Can-Tab) Seattle, (Seattle Poetry Slam) Austin and Vancouver, Canada (Vancouver Slam.) In 2003 she performed her poetry with the Joffrey Ballet and can be heard on the CD accompaniment to The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Slam Poetry (AlphaBooks, 2004.) Her two chapbooks, ten by tennessee and the texas EP are available via the author herself. Let her know if you want to buy one and she’ll send it to you. Get ‘em now, while they’re only five bucks. Before you know it, Mary’s poems will only be available via A Big Awesome Publisher and won’t be available for under $29.99. Visit www.maryfons.com for more, more, more!