ASHLEY-ELIZABETH BEST is from Cobourg, ON. Her work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in CV2, Berfrois, Grist, Ambit Magazine and The Literary Review of Canada. Recently she was shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Her first book Slow States of Collapse is forthcoming with ECW Press. She lives and writes in Kingston.
Adjacent Species Like You
Us drawn nightly
as lipless evidentials
and notional genitalia.
The body query,
my bedspread left
NSA might miss
the thread count
of our grace.
My clutching Pygmalions’s
Your head braised tender
in the oven,
the touch of our hands,
the tacticians pierced
navel bound umbilicus
and my spindled mess of ethernet.
I will awaken with frothing
demand for third wife, and you
will brush your teeth.
I will tell you “manic pixie dream
girl” is white man’s phantasm,
140 or less of my character
jotted on the wings of seraphim marginalia,
and away, butterfly,
Oft’ as you’ll go
on other beds of air
Macaroni (Song for Bomkauf)
Who begat this smooch, this peck, this crack piped kiss,
the jangled keys to a menopausal sedan,
Detroit’s inner thighs housing phantasmic mortgages.
Who begat gun barrel suckled conception-nipple America,
Lothario’s charming comb, the revolutionists’ rusted beard,
Gil Scott Heron sung wilted to paramour.
Who begat Raggedy Ann or Ragged Dick,
amethyst lesbians lounging in pulped beds,
parishioners doused in the eunuchs’ chorale ejaculate.
Who begat third legged mandingo, his mythologia
well endowed, and what it means to choke ahistorical,
a whatchamacallit gagged reflexive.
Who begat fortunes crumbled cookie,
ordered flesh to-go, satori for takeout,
lo’ steamed dumpling orgasm.
Who begat chiraqi jihadists seeking Air Jordan
martyrdom, yelling “Allahu Akbar”, leaping
out of failed state gymnasiums.
Who begat cathode millenials browsing
secret anode minds, snooping
around the zeitgeist litter box.
Who begat plausibly denied oranges
plucked from simulacrum tree
as we watched Joseph’s amazingtechnicolorhomicides.
Who begat my Saturday mornings’ syndicated toe tag,
the laughing artillery of Mickey Mouse
and all those other cartoon gloved pistoliers.
Sister, what is left of us in this place that we loved?
Things change faster than you’ll notice—epochs of compressed
dust speak the facts of decay.
An early autumn moon ripens over the horizon’s light, sun dragging
the unwilling carcass of its shadow, over the islands of its spine.
Age has thinned our bodies into submission, forming knots
within the safety of our own diminishing.
The weather plays dead against scrolled curls, the nonsense of your purity.
The centering personalities of our childhood gone, the old gods lost to this landscape’s
cloistered convent of Precambrian shield.
We preside over the shoulders of a small waterfall shrugged up.
In this, our second sorrow, the scrawl of fossils on flat river stones read runic.
With the dream past the reality of our task, we lower ourselves
into September waters, feet sinking into the mud of a river’s bottom
after such a sad long time.
I can’t look at you, to a face closed off to me.
My body scrubs over the river’s palette of blue, its bedrock pelvis heavy
with leaf litter. A bridge fastens it together, keeps it from splitting open
the thrust of its widening sides.
The gut of its wanderings swells with arteries of fish.
Age massaged from the surface of stones,
a sudden chorus of rain delivers the sky of its body.
Here we are sister, bruising the waters of our youth, thoughts vacant
in the land of my body, divinity lodged in the flesh.
Sea-caved mouth sharing a grief,
sweater mounds on her conquered
body, a woman of semi-rural
mettle. She’s primed to birth
the solid urge for substances and
leave it to die on this floor.
An itchiness, like just before taking
a sip of whisky, hassles the upper lip.
Trembled gathering of lost gifts
in the city’s belly, a bar within
spitting distance. That tumbled
tangle of guilt, wish for nothing
but annihilation. This is the shallow
that moves to displace itself.
If you wish to read the poems in page view, the following link will take you to a PDF – Jenson Leonard and Ashley-Elizabeth Best Poems
All works published by the Glasgow Review of Books are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License and the journal reserves the right to be named as place of first publication in any citation. Copyright remains with the poet. http://www.glasgowreviewofbooks.com