by ARIELLE GREENBERG
Here I am, your fondest lugnut,
a shifting kitty towards the star of you
floating across a constellation of tattoo,
the firmament. I am firmly. I am yours.
Heenayni, Here I Am. Here I am, God.
I love you. I swear I’m not hiding.
I don’t know where that palm frond came from.
I’m all yours.
Your drifting sheep-herder. Your pile of wool.
I know, I know. I know what you’re thinking.
I got a bit caught up in the fratricide.
But I felt like I was glowing barium I was so findable,
his blood an x-ray through my blood.
He bloodied my indignant before he fell,
but I held on to the squint.
I went South. I didn’t forward the mail.
But I was just waiting for my next instruction.
I thought that last arson was my sign.
So I stayed in Arizona. I wasn’t hiding.
I was listed. I was in Tempe.
I was washing dishes.
Maybe you couldn’t find me for the suds:
it was all kind of squeaky for awhile there.
But I’ve returned, your mistrial,
your yellow morning cake.
Heenayni. As you know, I was never gone.
Arielle Greenberg (1972-) is a poet and an Associate Professor at Columbia College Chicago. Her work is best described with a term she coined herself: “gurlesque.” “In Gurlesque poems,” Greenberg writes, “the words luxuriate: they roll around in the sensual while avoiding the sharpness of overt messages, preferring the curve of sly mockery to theory or revelation. Gurlesque poets are unafraid of making poems that seem silly, romantic or cute; rather, they revel in cuteness, and use it to subversive ends, complicating the relationship between feminism and femininity. Gurlesque poems own their sexuality, wear it proudly, are thoroughly enmeshed in the visceral experiences of gender; these poems are non-linear but highly conversational, lush and campy, full of pop culture detritus, and ultimately very powerful.”