Issue 24: Kat Addis
creation of parsley
In the sweetness of the first stage
he who hides, sees. It’s all as green as grass
something grows in a type of time, the iron will, my bad.
Why sing the sickness that neutralises
I will sing as I see myself in freedom
while love disdains to stay in my hotel
then surely it is just like how he increases
too high of that which predicts me
of those who are made the example of men.
Even if my hard scampi
was written off for a thousand penises
they’re already tired of it, and in almost every valley
the sound of sighs is winding.
They seek to earn the trust of a virile life
and if memory won’t help me here
sea urchins might the torments
one thought remains but it is frivolous
everyone else is turning their back
it makes me sweet in my own strength.
I hold something inside me, I am the scourge.
I confess that from the very first sex
attack many years have passed
so I have changed out of my youthfulness
and I am making ice creams in my heart:
mint, having almost adamantine qualities
distancing left hard
tears not anymore bathe my breast
nor break the sound. What I didn’t possess
appeared to me to be a miracle in others
the answer to who I am is not who I was [Alas, what am I? What was I?]
the end of life comes, loads up the evening
sensing the crudeness of my reasoning
over the skirt up-hitched
rudeness or a self possessed woman
for whom little already never danced
cunning or strength or demanding an apology
I will transform into double that which I am
making myself a living man and a green laurel
in cold stations don’t lose the layers
what makes me when I first realize myself
in the metamorphosis of my person
a glimpse of my hat in some green fronds
they all hope to have for their crown
the feet are mossy and rooted
as every membrane responds to the spirit
daisies bloom over the woody earth
watered not by a penis but a completely different river
my arms mutate woodily into two branches
nor does it distress me more
to find myself covered in white blossoms.
So this is how I protest and die,
my hopes, as we know, mounted too high.
Because I didn’t know where or when
anyone might find me alone and crying
by the well where a washed mistake might go
seeking inside the waters a sense of time
was already never then, my tongue not touched
I saw power and his malignant fall
from which I absorbed the colour of a swan.
Then I thundered along the lovely banks of drink
chattering and singing always
calling for mercy in a strange voice
lemonade sweet and wine-filled
this loving racket was designed
to humiliate my fierce-pipped heart
in the past that is, something recalled
but much more than that too, for as they say,
from the sweetness comes the bitters.
I have to say something
from the position that I’m in.
This evasiveness has infuriated all the animals
one of them lunges for my chest and grabs out my heart
saying understandably “I can’t make words out of this”
he divides it, dressing each part in its own outfit
so I don’t recognise them. My sense of human!
The truth is an anorak’s hood blown taut with wind
using TetraPak to body out my buzz in
a kalaedoscopic clutter-fuck of cowboy figurines
one of whom is secretly alive. oh boy.
She spoke as her eyes misted up like car windows
and an earthquake ascended from tremors in the stone
I listened: “you don’t have to read this but if you do”
she said: “please don’t condemn me for my simplicity”
How I don’t know, but you showed yourself independent
you are not as responsible as I am
I put everything there is between life and death
but because time is short
there’s pressure, the lead breaks
there are more things on my mind than are written
some trespass, I speak of it to someone
they give out shiny medals to those who listen hardest.
Death becomes an urge to
pull up the potatoes with both of your hands
please give help to the afflicted virtues
the living voices that have been forbidden
to shout ink at this birthday card that will get lost in the post
“I’m not even mine, I have no presents!”
I did believe her eyes
the indignity of doing that repaid my dignity
this ball of dust was arduous to catch
it felt like tailor-made humiliation
there’s something about sepsis in your chart
were you ever bathed with a sponge?
who did you pray to when you wrote a poem?
looking for a reason roundabout the place
like someone who sleeps in back gardens
and wakes up one morning in grass shivering fragments.
stand around accusing the evasive tabloid of your own thoughts
as some generic water swells the break between paving stones
that you always try to never step on
fall in and disappear under
I feel that with time I will come to be less
bury me in a waterfall of pies while I smoke a pipe
clunky make me humid and take me on a journey,
perhaps do you dare to carry me to the baptismal font?
The manifestation of a speaking cunt
God will mix your spirits for you
you are already above all thanks
I want to haul you back into your maker
you wizened loaf of bread, you sage stuffing
you come blood yourself up in humble colours
and bow to me. To me?
Like a contrarian peacock I sustain myself against your style
you then are eyeless, and I am a pack of sharpest needles
that had better not be repeated
one weird thing can give birth to so many others.
Porky Madonna is making a fuss
about miracles and the recognition of her life
I think she is sick, inflating in the radius of pity,
it might be kind to let her go back home,
for nothing in the world could have prepared her for the faith of men
which has more bone-breaking reprisals
more dryly turning away and scorning
and bottling up bits of you in ancient reliquaries
than the other option, which is to die without a name.
A very painful and erroneous poltergeist wants me to remember
my pilgrimage of coins across the desert
but it was many years long and arduous
and it all came to a very bad end
and I returned to the damp earth
believing that that was the most pain I’d ever feel.
I, Louise, followed my own desires
and through all the chatter
presented myself, beautiful and crude
naked in a fountain
I was as strong as any rope
I existed because I was incomplete
I murdered shame, so they stopped to look,
in broad daylight
I sprayed cooling water on their faces
I said things that were true, although they sounded like lies at the time
I drew myself in my own image
and though that was lonely as a marked deer
I translated myself from forest to forest
and felt even more myself as the siege on me intensified.
Song, you may be nothing more than a cloud of gold,
a fire suspended inside a book
but there turns out to have been an angel up in the air
wrapped in boiled cotton, lifted up
she knew a plague in 1564,
I want to be her sweet little couverture
and she knows it: l’amour Lesbienne
[This poem was written on the basis of my mistranslation of the twenty third poem in Petrarch’s Rime Sparse, or Rerum Vulgarium Fragmenta. The texts in italics are quotations from, in this order, Diane Di Prima’s poem ‘Babylonia’, Petrarch’s original poem 23 translated by Robert M. Durling, and Louise Labé’s poem ‘Elégie 1’.]
Kat Addis is a writer and experimental costume maker working on a PhD about race and slavery in early modern European epic poems. Recent work has been published in The Chicago Review, ZARF, Tears in the Fence, Stand Magazine, and PELT Vol. 4: Feminist Temporalities, a publication by the Organism for Poetic Research. This poem comes from her first poetry book Space Parsley, forthcoming from the87press.
Copyright © 2020 by Kat Addis, all rights reserved. This text may be used and shared in accordance with the fair-use provisions of Copyright law. Archiving, redistribution, or republication of this text on other terms, in any medium, requires the notification of the journal and consent of the author.