1. segmented

    We are near the historic and refurbished train station, sitting at a picnic table made of metal laced together in a diamond pattern with the seats and surface attached via awkwardly bent and connected legs. The sun is bright and I am wearing sun glasses sometimes pushed up on my head. The ground is too much concrete and the air feels like a thing passed artificially through a prism. Nothing about the scene is cozy. 

    I recognize that my body is distinct from the cottony clawing bubble of your admiration, which has engulfed me like a thick woolly cloud for several years now. I see myself existing free of it even as it hovers like a black, livery, lung of a placenta in the air between us. Slick and crumbling, a playdough ball of pickled meat. I am elated with fear to be outside of it.

    You are proceeding with what you are good at. From the ball of matting you wield deftly a conversation, woven, net of words that snares me only superficially. I can see the oily elixir as a separate entity and the embrace extends just far enough to run it’s hands over me. It cannot make purchase or establish its grip. 

    I am free of it and I watch you staggering, drunk in a pool of intoxicant desperation, grasping at me with all the reasons she is not my answer. Correct as you are it won’t matter. You no longer have the power to snatch my hands for holding. You need me to reach for you. 

    And in that moment I know. From then on my knowledge of it never falters. If my demeanor seemed at times to waver, it was mere slippage in the facade of time. I will never again hold out my hand in your direction. 

    We were sweating, then, and the bench etched its diamond pattern in the fat on the back of my thighs. The flesh oozes through the holes no matter how skinny you are. The mood was too neutral to be cold. Just hard and plastic and over. 

     

  2. i am a swollen bellyful
    aching hope
    embossed in links
    embroidered
    spine neat on the surface
    decorative and tangled
    hidden insides
    danced tentacles scrambling
    climb cords
    pulled and hung
    through holes draped
    along the base of my neck
    a curved shower curtain
    haunted with beads

    my chest a fountain
    brims with too much

    spilling over
    water runs

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  3. dear universe et al
    cosmic co-conspirators
    having received my four a.m.
    wake up call
    this letter is meant to inform you
    there is nothing even penciled in
    on my official schedule
    at this hour

     

  4. alone

    there is coming into your own human
    body
    there is the deep sensuality of cat fur
    bellies
    there is lathering your naked limbs and torso with soap
    in the pouring rain

    there is the wound of humanity
    and the wish to be unique
    and the truth of it at any rate
    of exchange

    there are dreams
    there are responsibilities
    there are touches

    there are the maimed
    held careful in trembling hands
    specialness fingered well
    made real

     

  5. the lighthouse shadow

    a pile of the giant’s
    flat skipping rocks
    stacked on the edge
    of his backyard pond

    ocean shoreline
    to my minuscule human
    form

    smooth hard black
    mattresses hot sun
    magnets

    where I lay
    cheek pressed
    eyes fixed
    on waves

    pleasure
    bellied down
    knuckles against
    stone

    wind blanket
    pulled up over
    my back

    ecstasy hidden
    in hands cupped
    under

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  6. last words from the hatch

    cackling the rabbit
    spoke to the brothers
    told them all about
    his laughing place

    charming he zigged
    flirting he zagged
    pulled out hidden eggs
    to make his case

    in the final chapter
    amid thunder clatter
    just before he left
    without a single trace

    he made sure they knew
    however large the yard grew
    it was one big briar patch
    from which there was no
    escape

    he was the hatter
    who held the magic
    after all

     

  7. what happens when
    our bodies
    round the corner
    run bumping into
    their kindred
    spirits

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  8. her corner

    when she is sure
    you are aware
    of your space
    in the corner

    she will rescue
    you be your
    {expensive}
    savior

     

  9. our bodies are in conversation
    surrounded with pitch black silence
    your flesh screams into mine

    the communication delivered
    at the speed of night

    wrapped in dark
    invisible light

    grafted skin to
    skin sent
    to scent

    defiance our faith
    empty space
    dead time

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  10. the music’s timing undefined

    For weeks now I’ve been thinking about scales. The scale of sleeps. The sound of octaves of consciousness dropping out at the bottom and the time it takes to move up and down the days of a life of lifetimes. 

    The way small animals that don’t live very long still have to contend with the same number of hours in each day as humans do. A whole life in three years or less if you’re a rat, still less than that for most insects, barely more for a toddler. Something miserable in between those spans and a human lifetime if you’re a dog or a cat. Lots of trees and some other creatures live even longer than people.

    But for all creatures, the planet spins the same. Their night dark as long as my night, their days bending the same stretch of sun away as mine. The seasoning of time in a year. 

    I am preoccupied, too, by the scale of accumulation. How much longer is a ten-minute wait to a two year old who has only lived through 784 nights compared to my own tally of over 17,000 sleeps. As the insignificance of ten minutes confronts me so does the changing rate of the time that is left, when compared to what’s passed in the past. 

    When I was five and six years old I used to be consumed with the nonchalant attitude the grownups had toward Christmas and birthday celebrations. My horror was only compounded when I figured out that it had taken only thirty-some odd seasons for my parents to grow so jaded. It seemed to me, clearly, that even a total as large as eighty Christmas celebrations in a lifetime could not possibly be enough to make it routine. And here I am, twenty-years an atheist in my forties, shunning pine trees and wrapping paper with equal vehemence. Leaving the candles off my cake as if my remaining years are a dry forest in danger of catching fire. 

    I guess my biggest burning question is how we can even agree on anything as abstract as a definition for what constitutes life. What arrogance we assume in comparing everything to us. We can’t even keep decent track of our planet spinning and waltzing around the sun. We are so uneven, unmeasured. What a crazy unkempt cacophony of a symphony it would be if anything even remotely like a human was in charge of keeping time. 

     
  11.  

  12. was the color

    cold swollen green was
    the color of my tuesday

    night’s pink brown fluff on an immature cardinal
    back falling behind a clear air hammock
    dropping him free of the tree

    my dream was skin stretched
    twisted under a tourniquet
    to jangling slices of sensitivity

    my waking was warm deft
    fingers grazing better than cows
    but less rigorous goats trip
    highlighting skim over me

    my sleep was not enough
    time released potency
    diffuse emergence

    settling burnt
    clean

    against the day

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  13. still ringing

    the conversation without words
    I heard in the sound of your voice

    Tagged #poetry #jillc
     

  14. nowhere far

    A creature soft sleeping curled around a chest releasing puffs of breath turned woolly. Floating up with neck stretched, comfortable but back to raise exhales, lifted through mist with cloudy insistence.

    Light ballast against the slow floating sink of soothing moving down and through with gravity’s steady pull toward a root. Bedded in the floor of the deepest chamber, magnetically. Held in a warm round vessel of strong liquor swallowed, a tummy of heat coating and splayed out. An echo ellipses through limbs, swims trailing streaks back into the middle. 

    Into this fiber, from another side of life in a different time and place, comes a needling with no string drawing through. A tender snag, a snippet gripped gently and pulled back. To another plane. 

    A level below the bottom, follow an opening, cotton strands of consciousness banking and sliding, gliding deftly pouring over a lip soft full-edged ring-sucked, like wet sand down the hourglass. 

    Afterward, a doughnut of fluff, cupped in the palms of gentle hands. A vortex empty center. Lifted up and encouraged to stand on legs wobbly, inhaling deep to fill the space beyond tired. Engulfed in the exhaustion of traveling within. 

    A cat named sleeping betty, her claw a spindle, spiked into a spun sugar bouffant dream. She pats at me, toying. Gracefully, she places the pink pads under the silk fur of one paw across my tail. She smiles as my spinning legs wheel in a direction that takes me nowhere far from here. 

     

  15. the descendant

    freeze warning on tax day
    my body clenched in a flinch
    the dog started an argument
    between the teenager and me
    he cannot see how numbered
    our days are because wolves
    are wise keen and less than
    greedy