Poetry by Christina Olivares

Girl

I dreamed myself close to a body before I knew I was real.
Here’s an antidote to survival: imagine a closeness where there was only cosmos.

I’d wanted it to be that tightly alone and rootless was what it must be but

then I dreamed of that specific garden at night, and
to make it beautiful, my dream-body imagined it as it is: castigated

by moonlight. Stunted and overgrown same. Smelling funky–that deplasticized green
of night trees exhaling sex sex sex

with sky clouds dripping humid, ever ever. Who’s gonna chastize a tree
for being too much? A garden or not–not a garden. No. Just syringe-speckled dirt

with too many trees, too many roots, crowding in the dark, all dead fuel or
deliverance. Up in the Bronx, the dream says, after burning. I was there with my cousins

in real life, I thought when I woke. Halfbreeds we were, in that city-owned lot
with a trippy, torn up foundation, that almost-field junkyard bordered by buildings,

babies happily siphoning earth from garbage and fingerpainting cradles
for our tender-dropped seeds. Even then I sensed my difference. The earth herself

was the muddy finger on my tongue, curious as I.
I wanted the labor and the fruit, bud and vine. To know and know. Be a girl

rearing her own damn self. This a demanding love. Dirt under nail. The garden: a thing

built, wholly burned and unburned. The un-garden, an undisciplined girl, desiring.
Simultaneous: her body construed as a wild, to be burned by some men who would.

I imagined a body close in the night.

When I opened my eyes, I was afraid to find
she called herself girl, like me. Eventually I was less afraid.

 

 

 

Bronx Antipastoral (#1 – #6)

 

1

 

 

a homeland that’s constantly shifting into other homelands, or

unpracticed parent
unparalleled lover

her body as grass

shock of a love: discovering there was this growing thing in us both

i mean the burning a body does when it is touched
i mean the burning a building does when it is torched

 

 

2

 

 

what             you imagine?

can              do             will

can’t         don’t        won’t 

 

 

3

 

 

tell me in how many words do you come from

this is the queerest thing i have made
a love song to a place

a place that is queer

a love song to a place of queerness

a love song to queers

a love song to the queers i love

 

i speak in unfamiliar languages
none mine                                  ausente como

 

 

4

 

 

are you lonely

in america                                  the answer is yes

 

 

5

 

 

the city burned–no
we burned

smoke does an eye. smoke in an eye:

curve in the lens

deciphered
thing

a girl tonguing smoke

   enjoying it

borough that is not an island
only borough that is not an island
full of sea-creatures, island-people,
costenos, land-fastened at last

mythmaking is                           key to self-invention    or the invention
inventadores
i got handfuls of absent keys

also

burn the seeds for harvest
necessitate burn my body
the body a beautiful flag in an unpatterned field
the body a seed for harvesting
the harvest a seed of the body
an ember            a wilding:

birthings, harvestings, letting go:

i save all my wishes for
when the light slants in these apartment windows                  over and over

for actual closeness, though, there is no adequate language

 

 

6

 

 

 

parts of my body are big like a whale
others are snappable

still the skin reveals nothing (everything) (unsupple) (here)

diaspora rooted                      in new light / antiparadise

we can grow

anywhere

when I was small

before we lost all our homes,
we dug in the earth, put seeds, they grew, midborough off the D train

 

without nostalgia i claim our wildness
our desire to find the astonishing: sprout, needle
stink and cling of earth, satisfaction of sweat

 

compass point needle iron ironwork etc.

    Related Posts

    Apogee Journal Issue 11: Call for Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry
    Don’t Pander to Your Presumed Reader: Jamel Brinkley in Conversation with Crystal Hana Kim
    Call for Fiction Readers

    Leave a Reply