DSQ > Spring 2008, Volume 28, No.2

Unremitting Behavior

I am sitting with what I have gathered:

flesh from fingers and heels.

Unnatural petals of geranium, this skin is removed quietly.

Pieces curve inwards, like surrender, desire that disrupts order.

Previously, it was thought, even among scientists, that flowers wilted because of an unregulated death of the tissues.

Skin documents with no future, what has been recorded continuously removed and disregarded.

Because there are no reservations here, like autumn that frequents flesh and copper stains,

I am reminded of existence in boldness, rubicund flowers.

Dahlias have hollow stems, with raised joints where the leaves attach.

Yes, this an image of hand, fingers elongated behind joints, bulbous, thinned paper.

I think full across the urge, every rhythm that folds mercurial, livid like anatomy,

before beginning again in manifolds:

in other words, the flowers don't die of old age. The plants intentionally kill the blooms.

I am aware that disgust begins at the base, always between nape and neck.

When I say petals of geranium, I mean red skin,

what needs to be torn.

The anther swells when the pollen is ripe and splits open, releasing the pollen.

When the skin is dry, and finger bends, the wound re-opens, bleeds.

I need you to remember that flowers, like the body,

destroy deliberately.

Sources for quotations (italicized portions above):

  1. "Longer life for flowers — Purdue Univ. researchers discover genes that cause flowers to wilt and the workings of the process." USA Today. June 1996
  2. http://www.flowers.org.uk
  3. (same as number one)
  4. http://www.theflowerexpert.com

Voice for the Body

When in fear, I became a woman.

- Judith Wright

Purple is a severed color,

but blue and red come together

like memory and emotion

in cerebrum, in synapses that move

like rainwater, daylight through leaves,

and again, like wet stones

drumming against each other.

This kind of memory is a process

that grows belly up, develops limbs,

perfect and quiet like daughters.

Amygdala, circuit, blood, vein:

this is the process of recording.

Emotion is accounted for on the body —

ribs curve inwards like offerings,

a garden of fallen magnolias.

Here is the epic, each organ an equation:

love equals upper heart chambers, equals white

blood cells that protect the body.

Narrative is also accounted for

on lips, same circuit that drives

through pulpy folds and sub-cerebral structures:

the man from middle school who touched her

face, grazed the mouth, the other at the hospital,

who kissed possessively. She was tied

and couldn't move.

Daughters will keep these fierce stories,

epilogues written closely in red and blue

because the skin commits everything:

movement the color of flesh

and ox blood, the same bitter red.


Sin-eaters took on the sins, the waste, of the community so people could be redeemed or cleansed.

Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.

Speak rhythmic, conjure the verb.

Take this woodcutter's aspen lust,

his dervish spin amongst trees,

legs of women. In death, incubate

the heart and bowels. Hold him and move him

younger, younger still. Cry and offer thrust.

(Who is to say it is sin?)

Before the purge, the release,

hold these infant cells.

Eat every bone, even the soiled.

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