Dance with the Dark Goddess

Monica Mody

bangles

Myth of Loneliness

& it is almost too easy to believe a lie
many-petalled lie

I am only following the arrows
but the arrows in my heart
each one I remove has an animal on it
tongue lolling

animal looks at me in terrifying compassion
but my heart is empty
my eyes are vanishing into darkness
& the stump of my body walking by itself
cries into a jar
& the jar cries for wild & vine & green spirits
but it is alone & the desert is real
of mind of nature

someone’s shaking me awake but my stump pushes me away
mama
mama
you extend your bangled arms to me & they are blood
I want a ladder for my fists
each rung of the ladder
each with mouths of arrows & they are singing for me
& I believe the song is mine but song has too many sorrows

each song becomes a tear in my eye
& you drink it up
clock bell strikes
I am dangling from it & my red dupatta
is flying in the rain, toning

Myth of the Wound

“I am doldrums drumming with an incarnate,”

darkness hums in a seedy voice. There, everything has gone to seed & will never grow. Metaphors are tired & doled with shame.

Livid person, whose side do you take?

You try to blow a comical into a comic picture, but the elephant parts that zigzag their way into your memoir crush every hope every luminosity. You are living under a boulder. The landscape changes every instant & is charged with a banshee’s screams. The pain that lives in your gullet is booming & your head is a black minotaur of pain.

Archaic monoliths of pain hulking around the interior. Interior is a wall thin as a slippery sheet of ice cracking & its shards are cutting into your eyes.

Myth of the Muses

What they say must be written is a lie. I write but this is not me.

Fake charms of a canute glisten with bird-meanings, & the meanings I try to listen with false ears.

Give me eyes instead of ears. Give me a mouth instead of fingers.

I fear you will stop speaking to me. I fear straight messengers.

I laminate your words but what you want is shinier, three drops of spit, serpent’s kiss, so much snake-love,

so much love for that black disappearing tail, a tale of two sorrows, you & I—snake & woman—heart & city;

I want you to live in me so I trick you but your agility saves you—you cut me down, cut my throat & I bleed, coming, I sob onto paper—

you know it—

(only) (you) (know)—

Fair sorrow, you have the blackest of eyes.


Monica's first book of cross-genre writing, KALA PANI, is out soon from 1913 Press. She has published two chapbooks of poetry, and her work has also appeared in The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry, Boston Review, Upstairs at Duroc, Pratilipi, Pyrta, and RealPoetik, among others.
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