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Tiffany Ball

January 2009

Southern Woman at School


to talk about children seems suffocating now.

mortality. immortality.
mortality. immortality.

bubbles and steel. bubbles and steel. bubbles and steel.

i was placed into a dryer once, to spin round and de-wrinkle myself, to be moist-less and air-pocketed, to be clean and lean. then, taken out and hung up to dry, imagining drowned babies and damp yellow hats. all the people i know are pregnant.

to talk about children seems repetitive now.

boy, girl, boy, girl.

in the morning, the day will return to its technicolor existence.

i was part of a ceiling fan once, to be at the whims of an on/off switch, to be the yellow-brown blades forgotten to the dust, to be shaky and loose. then, replaced by an wall unit air conditioner. all bellies are stretched from pregnancy and burritos.

run-ons, not married, separated, taking care, and not cheating.
“I just wouldn’t do that.”

but there’s a rumbling in my lowlands
for mello yellow hair
and smooth faces.
mumbles and hums.

“He wanted to be a man. He didn’t want to be inferior to no body.”

to talk about children is manifest.


this is not a very lyrical poem, whistles in the dark

dear gods,

sometimes it gets into my skull,
sending my head to buzzing.
my mind lifts up in a soggy fog,
my eyes search for the perpendicular meeting in the certain cloud,
and my tongue instinctively reaches out for my lip-skin deserts.

i have to tell you the silence is oppressive,
but probably not on the level of the dizzy stomach stitches
we all see parade around in fuzzy furs.
speech on this topic, after all, might be worse.
i am at the point where my mouth is so dry;
i might take out a loan for the water tower.
the moments left inside this well are sparse.
no sounding laughter can pierce this militant-tongued pillow talk.

i can't enumerate the miseries
of nights with men drinking out of dark wine bottles,
nights to reinforce the dialogue of normalcy.

i am not so literal as that.

i will not give this woman that i love the ghost of a self. 
i refuse. 
i will not invade her psyche like some Conrad wraith, sneaking into her eroticism. 
i won't bear this mockery of her.
there is a difference between looking and penetrating,
and even  i am able to penetrate like the ones.

there is a point where one's eyes become supple cylinders,
tricking small circles to join up and move in;
but then push, push off all that bears up.



noodles that look like ties, or family on white bread

tan buildings always remind me of home.
so do popcorn ceilings.
so do wood-paneled trailer walls.

(but, then again, that last one's pretty literal.)

and i remember when i told my mother
i wanted my spaghetti
on bread.

like a sandwich, i said.
she laughed at me,
but i know that
deep down
she imagined the taste in her own mouth.

i ate that miracle food
one piece at a time.


"suppressed randiness"

i took that inventory
that i had meant to take.

i'd been snacking on apricot and plum jelly,

where's that whole fruit?
the kind that reminds me of my sins.
the kind that reminds you of our...
                                               oh, you know.

(when i eat in the morning, i'm hungry all day.)

it's kind of like when you cover up a week-old stench with a pile of clean clothes, laundry.
that's tawdry.
a bawdy whisper,
an invisible whisker.

but i'd still like to see Orlando's ankle.



i found a hotel room
for cheap

and i met her there.

like they do in the movies.

but i'm not a man,
and this means no difference.
but it means difference, too.
of course it does.

for cheap,
a hotel room.

i can't remember the number on the door,
but the light-fixtures—
they were spikes
and they were circles.

Photo taken and edited by Matthew Straw. More of his photography can be found here: http://www.thenewhumanist.com/Matthew%20Straw.htm

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