Burning

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Autobiographical poem

Submitted: March 27, 2018

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Submitted: March 27, 2018

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BURNING

By Alexander Guinevere Kern

 *There is No Fiction in my Fiction!*

"Alas! do they treat me thus horribly and cruelly, so that my body, clean and whole, which was never corrupted, must be this day consumed and reduced to ashes!"

~Saint Joan of Arc

 

I(Defender of the Line)

A birdless day, hinging on August, parched grass

Humbled down to brown, and the asphalt road

Twitching with the heat shivers. His cracked boot,

Toe-tossing beer cans, glass shards, bottle caps

Metal scraps, spent condoms and cigarette packs.

He curses the absence of shadows, the effect

Of steady sun and studies this field altar

Fallen vacant, scoured and unholy.

Damn rains abandoned us, grumbled the old surveyor

He's sick of quotidian shit, translating distance

And direction into understandable tangibles.

Eyes green as the grass snake, looking for the line

He certifies what's yours and what is mine.

He once considered arcs, cherished the chord

Northerly Lord, Easterly Savior. Who really

Owns these fields? he wonders. (Plot the line).

Knee flush in dry underbrush he stubs up

A dead barn owl, claws stiff as rusted razors

White heart face fixed by the Death Mint, 

Night-eyes bronzed, a clutch of maggots

Wave like orgasms through the golden feathers.

Who, who, who owns the ground now that Owl

Has claimed his piece of unreal estate?

Developer's victim - his forest savaged

They charred his Oak stump, where day clasped

Him sleeping.  Feathered loner, Patron of Vermin

Beneficial Raptor, rare and endangered.

Give us a bearing, God, on the grid of guilt -

His tan hand kindles the carcass with his Bic

And tosses the burning bird on one last flight

In a neat sizzling arc - a field offering . . . 

Smoke black as rage enfolds the owl tufted

In flames. It quick-wicks the dry grass.  Noble fire

Strums in frets, zippering across the open space.

The surveyor stands seduced, stupefied,

Transfixed by a combustion display which

Hesitates over no boundaries.

Suddenly

Fire chuckles up his pants' legs, and

He dances, yea he dances with greater

Energy than he's felt in months, flapping

His arm wings, mercy-shrieking like a

Tortured imagination. Sweat fractals his skin,

A spider creeping. He rolls in the dirt,

Fire lapping his legs. He 

Abandons the land at high speed

And never surveys again.  He does not

Ever want to walk the line -- it is

A phantom, like a dead owl's spirit.

He watched the field fold up in flames

As he swung the truck onto the steaming road.

 

II(Saint Joan - Defender of the Faith)

 

Ezekial's Schizo Sister Joan

Chose her God to be her earnest lover.

He raptured Joan with a lover's changing voices.

Voices, voices . . . caressing her French ears

From a sanctified address.

God burned in her uterus, her virgin womb

Holy hot, no carnal partner dared to probe

Where Demons impaled her with visions.

They astonished her young skull, set

Her small pink tongue aflame, she of the

Martial revelations, wore male peasant

Clothes, rode horses and speared

Accomplished as a general. She hated

The Camp Whores, and worshipped daily, as if she 

Could never get enough of Lord Heat.

Soldiers discussed her breasts, but feared

The Maid, believed her sanctified within

Mortal armor. A slight French farm girl

Daughter of Domremy, won Charles back

His stolen crown, and as a reward.

He handed her over to the English stake

Without so much as a merci beaucoup.

Just like a male, he hated her power,

Probably as a mere woman who reminded

Him of his shame. Though she was his

Personal saint - we all hate saints

And their vestments of flame, their

Dynamic love splendor with the Lord.

Demons let her burn - gnawed nearly to bone

By their audio-video hallucinations.

Her god couldn't spare a holy finger to rescue

Joan's unsullied flesh or reputation.

Sainthood requires immolation apparently, 

Or some other grisly demise. Oh, oh!

I love Joan, though a modern shrink

Would prime her with Zyprexa, 

Stall her voices, until her neurons

Fused and sputtered and she ceased

Babbling all that inspired pseudo-

Religious nonsense.

I think it preferable that she burned

Than have God reamed out of her heart,

Like lively seeds couretagged from a tomato.

Haldol dries out your mouth

Like a high summer field, bolts

The creative lock, welds rare

Thought.  Clips wings.

Burn and die, Sacred Owl.

Shuffle, shuffle, the Thorazine shuffle,

Gravity pills to keep you grounded.

Routine shrinks *love* the line,

And chain you to the common side of it.

Joan's spare youth was tethered to a pine

Naked so men could solidify their theories

Concerning her tits. She called upon

Her talkative Savior, who was,

Uncharacteristically silent.

Wonder? Freak? Genius? Witch?

Which were you, Joan? Whichever you were

Your heart and entrails refused to char.

Though stabbed with sticks and the fire 

Repeated and repeated -- your legend

And heart declined Death. I trust

You're a stationed Saint now - pure

Approved, perfected by fire.

 

III  (I - Defender of the Fallen)

I'm burning.

My ten years younger lover swears

I love the fire-winged bird inside my head.

He says I've knocked so long 

At the front Door of Crazy, 

They finally let me in.

Help me! I'm burning!

Like Van Gogh I'm tonguing paint-

Cadmium Yellow Light to be exact, 

The color of my lover's

Three foot long hemp-braided hair.

We hear voices . . . 

Notes bellowing forth from our barbecue bed

As the nightingale carves morning

Out of evening with his throaty sword.

Those husky murmurings which

Solder to the ceiling,

Decorate his crumbling stucco,

Aren't ours, we swear we'd *never*

Talk that dirty. My beneficial Rapist, 

I'm Ashamed

Of our rude releases . . . 

Help me! I'm burning!

Guilt, infernal guilt

Plays with its wicked blades.

I've quadruple husbands

Triple children with diverse daddies

29 jobs, 13 shrinks, 1 religion

And a blue belt in TaeKwonDo.

And most probably

More personalities than Sybil.

Each and all claim that I am cuckoo.

When the quantum clock strikes midnight

This pretty blonde birdee

Blasts into flaming shame.

Help me! I'm burning!

Gotta be home before 1 a.m.

My husband, my legal

And polished affection, will wrap 

Murder around him like his geometric

Blue yukata. Delicately, he'll sniff my neck

And say, "You smell odd."

I'll say that is the smell

Of one soul singeing.

But it's my lover's man aroma

Which emits from his beige-furred body

Crisp as Vermont snowfall.

I've a 16 year old Primadonna

Lives with my ex in Pasadena

She tells everyone her mom's an "arteeest".

As if that explained it all.

There's a wick up my crotch

A Bunsen Burner popping in my forebrain

I'm shedding husbands, homes, kids, jobs, selves

Old Comet Queen.

There I go, rocketing over the surface tension

Of space . . . my body white heat,

Hauling my tail of old, dire commitments

Raw umbilical responsibilities

Flaring behind me in a dissolving 

Jet spray.

On my 33rd birthday, I hung

My peroxided, aerosoled hair

Over the company party cake and 

Exhaled with gusto.

33 candles fingered my hair radiant

I laughed while my frightened co-worker

Snuffed out my spiky fire crown

With his Umber fingers. He said

I seemed saintly - my mad grin

Wreathed in light like Santa Lucia.

But I wept all afternoon,

My fried head shedding chunks

Of charred hair and smelling like matches.

Help me! I'm burning!

The final shrink told my final husband

That I can't help it - "That's the nature

of the Beast."  She slyly suggested

I "take something" if I wanted

A rescued marriage. But truth slid through

All my many voices.  "Hell, no,"

I said, "for no one will I relinquish

My beneficial fervor, my savior:

Phantasmagoria. Colorless normalcy

Is varnished Death. Even if I combust

Finally in a fit of fire,

I leave my poems,

And I leave my Art, 

Red hieroglyphs 

Of my smoking thumb prints

Upon their pages,

Upon my children,

Upon my ex's, & their ordinary women,

Upon my husband.

Yes, but excuse me

I'll focus on my torched ascension

And when I go

My body goes with me -

Burning."

Help me! I'm burning!

 

~Copyright 1996


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