That time when you left and everything blew up blue and I, undone in the earliest splintering of day, rebel-yelled no to the nothing. Here and there, my water colors: rowdy with oxygen, buzzing along the green blood of my arms, the softer velvet of my thighs—let us in.
I am one percent less water without you. Drier than the average gal. And that possibility, the rosy roe gleaming little god drops, my chance/long shot/my bambino—oh, he slipped out red as a tadpole. When I’m lucky, his dream body sits straddled across my body and his knees are eggshells. The pearly half cups of an angel’s nest. My little hemo-goblin, all plasma and pang. I am waiting and the sludge of other worlds slicken the window and I have waited too long, the bright bolting from me until I am shocking and empty.
To the infinite maw: let me snick through a slice of your breast and trip along into elsewhere—humming to the boom boom boom of your big thalassic heart. Your oceanic insides draw me again with water. Screaming and singing are both born from the same mother. Sound is shivering itself into objectivity now and finally my never-still hands can build a goodbye.
Down to the sea glinting go I. And pushed, wave stung again, once more, alright, my sloshing is all inside and it cries to the salt, We are coming! The slip scrum spray, mouthwatering delight: the blue which is really millions of molecules all saying yes. There are beasts now, bumping and showing their pulpy cheeks. I am buoyed by flippers. Remember, the first animal- jelly and gentle as a ghost, learned to become electric. Gathered currents beneath her wings and exploded with light. One hot mama.
The ultimate insult: You are a jellyfish. Beautiful in your marine vulnerability, your absence of bones. Hollow and stuffed with sparks. Out of water, you are just a drag of gelatinous nerves—a smear of some deep-sea ejaculate. Spineless.
Reduce me to soft, to remember yourself of my insides so easily overrun. That shimmering flank of my right and left side so many seas have ridden, yes I know I absorb easy. I am Medusa as I yearn, as I devour water; my own locomotion lightning busting inside my phantom flaps.
More of me is a smack.
It was a stupid day, grey as loss. And you kept repeating a cold fish theory on natural selection, something that settled comfortably around your teeth, a boon to make me lose. All I can remember is your eye and the color of soup.
Medusozoa. A word to scream as if I were inviting you to war.
But as you decrease me, my pithless stunning body—on my back with an oceanic expulsion (the salt dries as diamonds), as you squeeze the sting from me and I am translucent, a stained glass through which your wantings spill colors as violence, light a shine unasked for. The bubble crack of my would-be babies like little burps—
I hold your bruteness in my hand and its mouth is silent and open, moving back and forth yes yes no no no please more I can’t breathe and I love it.
The H and O of me. A shell is just a quick fix for something that can’t stay. Eventually, you will split. Change your body as I always slop-soft my corners for your passing: I want you horse-tame and rippling, I want your shin bones to glow the nearer you grow to me. Docious and fur now, I am speeding evolution like a Morning star, one-armed and calcified with creation. Here, beneath the moon curve of my femur, buck your neck. I will hitch a ride on your storm.
Now that you are listening, let me tell you this:
There was a girl, woman—what does that mean? A tuckered-out priestess with one eye made of copper to repel with. Every dawn that bloomed pink and frothy, she watered her horse. Its legs were gelatin still and it couldn’t yet walk or carry her. She fed it words she trusted, only the best for her foalie.
I am relentless in my theodicy, love does not embarrass me. And only the best are burdened so. The horse understood. To be ridden, she explained, is not to be broken. Remember the power of your teeth, God has the same smile as we do. Patience is born in muscle, tissue are threads of sound—that is why your body sings as it moves.
Is this string theory? asked the horse.
Man will/does do harm to you: there will be something of you that goes missing. Like being toothless or bare-breasted in a dream you must contend with this. Copper present in uterine fluids will savage all biochemical squiggles.
Your skeleton—the moving kingdom—secret underneath what has been built from experience, from snafu. It’s all bone broth, baby. Don’t sweat this life, there are others.
The water purred in between the horse’s tendons.
I’m getting bigger! he cried.
And here am I, river hanging from my mouth, my empty magnificent womb cavernous as a dead god’s ribcage. Here I endure, wow what a beautiful day, glory be to the spark that keeps on on.
When you asked me: who do you think you are? I replied with a golden scream. In the ending, exhausted as the hours get these days, their poor mouths battered, and panting, it is important to see things for what they are and not wish for more. I am a remembrance of movement, a duality of odds. My throat is splitting with song.
And where do you think you’re going?
That old road of heroes. Copper oxidizing to blue, ready to blend to the great above should you think about hurling me upwards. I calm (sometimes) any gross dereliction that howls to me, offering me a Forget- viscous as a siren’s vulva, and bow to the fiends who dance my way. What is a person’s place? What does it look like, this pocket between being and not? Where is the water that buoys the too-heavy grace?
Who cares when I have talons to lift me? And this, my own making—I am the alchemist who has molested my metals—the bird who flies solo. Evolution took me from teeth to madness; we come as salamander spawn and leave as eagles. I am shedding fears as feathers. Where is my Mother sun?
Above, circling and insane as my liquid dazzling eye.
My memorials—grains of galaxies, the soul fluid that makes me, or even better: my rage big bang hot and eloquent. I am proud of My; I am all forms of loud.
Here my many, my clamor—my up and up roar—
flying—half-filled because there is so much more to come but dangerous—
multitudes whirring within me as a shout of sand in a disaster
I have the gall to go full fire
these little devil tails of flames—
catch me by them
I’ll only plant a flare where there was none.
And where does your sleepless looking lead you? I once was a nightmare of too much.
All the world came to stretch out beside me, and its back was on fire.
The ocean: a constant within, the body is a house for the water that continues. Where I am given, I will buoy a roar of waves so as not to forget to become mercy. The body is a dream draped in muscle and mama love—the only two things that will move mountains. The body is an accident that corrects itself as it grows.
Your wings are inside you, beneath switchblades of bone and shimmering sinew little crisscrosses of blood roads; there they are lying and twitching in silence.
Gabrielle Jennings is a multimedia artist and writer whose work mines our collective unconscious through appropriation and the autobiographical. Her poetry appeared in the most recent issue of Fence Magazine, and she teaches in the Graduate Art program at ArtCenter College of Design. Jennings lives and works with her family and menagerie in Los Angeles.
Aimée Keeble has her Master of Letters in Creative Writing from the University of Glasgow and is represented by Ayla Zuraw-Friedland at the David Black Agency. Aimée lives in North Carolina with her dog Cowboy and is working on her first novel. She is the grand-niece of Beat writer and poet Alexander Trocchi.