:: Article

How the Strip Club is a Constellation & other poems

By Julia Clare Tillinghast-Akalin.

One of Those Things Everyone Knows about Astronomy

I think this man is sending me texts tonight because he wants to have sex
but I’m tired, plus I ignored him earlier and I do

want to say no and I do
want to tell you that this guy wants to fuck me,

right now, while you’re doing whatever in your
apartment or at a party, and I am just reading

silk and silent words marching like ghosts in bed
waiting for a text from you talking about how

this afternoon we saw each other,
played pinball, ate kale, left before dark that says

thanks for hanging out with me
the clouds today were like marbles,

see you later, sorry for anything,
have a good night, ok? And the bed

is silk like a web
a quiet like a

material that’s just cooled
after spinning out of a live body,

a quiet like it’s late night early morning
before a baby is born, or when a star

leans on its side at night in the galaxy,
its reflection down on earth, in a dark sliding-glass door

where a man is at a party
half talking to someone, his head tilted

like he’s listening, seeing

a swimming flame, hot
on the glass,

a drink in his hand,
and he is thinking

it’s a firefly and she is thinking she didn’t die
a million years ago, which is how long it takes light

to reach a man.

Yellow Days with Whoever

Somewhere around last year

I realized that the scarf strangling

my city could be fatal, started

trying to loosen myself

from myself wringing myself

with marigolds, which scare off ants

like lions uttered in the tongue

of human anvils, conquering lawns,

scaring God with eyeliner,

Mitzvahs and singing come in shudders

stretching across seconds, sailing

now I’m thinking those are the way out

sunlight stamping through the fabric

with its blades because the end

is muffled and it’s behind the only one

coughing and when I close my eyes

I can share in your smile, and I think

that takes some of the burden off

being you.

How the Strip Club is a Constellation

I told you I was going to the bar to meet my friend,
but due to some of the things you said to me I was driving

on a drawbridge, and it lifted. Behind the bar are blue bombs
of nitrous and the music the girls are dancing to melts into a coating

like water silvering a one way street, the calm of looking but not
even being able to touch, of skin saying even though, life.

After a certain amount of time, glass gets powdered with wounds
shaped like a pixel too small to see.

There is no repairing of glass like that, there is only to melt it
down into molten and begin again, with a fresh soul. Inside

the shock on my skin right now, inside the mantle
that tells me I ought to be sorry, I ought to feel more,

I ought to learn something, and be alone for a while
is the pulse that chants about what I want to do, what I need

to do to be happy, how now that you don’t love me,
I can fuck dudes who are way hotter than you,

or just somehow different from you, the part that knows
I must plow through happiness, clearing myself a path

even with a machete, even with a spoon, the prosaic,
elbows and then under that, a mouth that wants

just to suck on human flesh, see the health
of a naked girl’s skin and feel

I am going to survive, feel that the world is truly
a marvel, and inside the body of that body

inside me, licking at the world, is the heart of that girl
whose love is as pure and simple as lust.

Julia Clare Tillinghast-Akalin is from Michigan. She studied poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and Virginia Tech, where she received her MFA. She has spent a number of years, on and off, living in Istanbul, Turkey, and is Co-Translator of Dirty August, a selected poems of the experimental 20th-century Turkish poet Edip Cansever. In addition to translations in Agni, Guernica, Arts & Letters, Poetry Daily, The Boston Review & others, she has had or has original poems forthcoming in Passages North, Sou’Wester, Pank, and The Bakery. She lives in Portland with her son, Hamza.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, October 26th, 2012.