DRIM & other poems
By Nikki-Lee Birdsey.
Foreclose the days. It is a midnight
feast of St. Agnes; thirteen
years old; we discuss all the
babies we will have with the one
the perfect prince; babies without
sex almost; this the loyal city
of woman, I think solemnly.
Remember this we unfastening
buttons all at once. It is a midnight
but what of bare consciousness
with which I watch the hills slip,
but what of oh my the hills slip,
but what of the succulents I still
make out, the pointed fronds
in faint shadow, it is dark, midnight,
soh tone of close by chime,
chime of breath? Chime of days death,
but the light of, yes, stars, makes
so much light is it because of
the hole in the ozone, little E.
doesn’t need a night light on,
it is night but the light of our pale skin
reflects, shocks against, the light of
white nighties under the moon.
Sole proprietress, dig that commentary.
‘The counted cunt’ is a phrase
I thought of this summer. I was
thinking if I would finally
buy a parasol to walk around
under, as I literally chase shadows.
But only freaks have parasols,
as a rule, and it came to me,
and afterwards I bought expensive
shoes. It is so bright, it is so damn
bright it’s as if we’re on a boat
in the middle of the ocean. I swear
more now, to seem less Victorian
to those not that into it anymore.
When asked about sex I say any
old pronoun will do. Level: ceremony,
Stendahl: Syndrome, I: truly: have: it.
This a version of the triumph
of life. If it’s I who speak, it is
to say, the light of the town digital
clock seems brighter as it reveals
temperatures rising. I am sunburned
thinking. Who the hell counts
lines because who the hell cares.
I count the lines of concrete slabs
of roads un-tarred of faded white
lines of paint of roads, of vertical
poles of fences constantly aligned
and aligning at different speeds
and over varied heights of hills.
The metallic quality of higher
temperatures counting themselves
in and upward, not metallic
but the marrow of metallic.
I count lines of coke and
still don’t care. Do you want to
go back? Do you really want to
The systemic when hidden.
All too easy to slip
the night. Look how the heat
broke at dusk; when people try
and talk to you about your country and
they’ve never even been(!) Look thus,
sturdy study of light shot through
night. I am more and more less
excited by travel, I am more and
more distance in light years
I am more and more less turned
on by you / th I am more and more
left alone with dusk, I am more
and more these twenty-four years
old. Moss covers the place,
they will not be evicted from
the space they created, habituates,
make their way out from a newly
cleared sky, I look and reflect
on the real thing, why it seems
less and less. I say.
If you lie on your back I will
‘fuck the literalness’ of that position
out of you. But that was too much.
But for you, anything. The shorted
stars, staccato seams of (breath of)
one’s dream read: hope is a stern
purpose on this boat. Look at the waves’
camber, like a road in night,
And the veils lift,
and the sails lift.
(Inside the orchid is an orchard) (at dusk I crest the park on the hill) (remember the blue burnt hills of greater cities) (6 park lights––fancier orbs than regular streetlights––turn on all-at-once) (twinkle twinkle, little) (the remnant of dusk-light renders it not menacing or startling: only one paying attention would notice the slight flicker) (almost instantaneous merge of the orbs with surroundings) (trompe l’oiel) (all the overheard parties) (the one who beckoned then led me in) (pulled pleasure in) (I say) (If only the new trend was no trend) (two blue cups get me drunk in the storm) (“where are you going miserable wanderer?”) (Goodbye is said to the air, I am 10 steps closer to ________ ) (o orchids) (I have 2 temporary tattoos left) (tattoo means reward) (tattoo means open wound) (unity of the object) (another word for view) (another word for journey) (another word for going) (another word for service) (another word for exit) (another big may) (nature! hell! force!) (this may violently moment) (absurd how old ideas survive) (sculptors) (I see a perfectly carved ridge in the park hill side) (willed silt) (the air is good enough) (the breeze is like unlike) [(the offshore winds, the marvels of the coast)] (the sun buds for a second, tightening and shriveling its petals) (the moon slowly slung over shallow construction site) (as if the holes weren’t dug enough) (live backwards) (seized with desire suddenly seized) (I want to put everything in a strongbox) (then have nothing) (it’s hot and cold and the sirens go off) (tornado warning, I imagine the wind picking me) (I have to go donate plasma for money tomorrow) (always running out of money not blood) (the rangy plains frontier illudes) (front: here) (frontier is another word for frontier) (I feel as if it is yesterday again) (I’ll stick anything in my arm) (my skin is paling as the orbs grow stronger) (my limpid transparent shallow) (kindred tastes clear the piecemeal air now disturbed by sound by pedestrian sight by a darkening by dusty clumps of roses by weightless gnats by a miller lite can lampooning its consumer as it sails passed the sidewalk and onto the grass) (the branches of medium-sized trees rub up against the air still more erratically) (this must be the opposite of still) (fleshy blooms of orchids are still as they are so heavy) (it is almost disgusting) (a person covertly kisses another person in the gazebo) (don’t they hear the alarms) (what if they started fucking and the gazebo collapsed by an F3 or 4) (real “superstorm”) (I swing slow on the swing) (soon the wind swings me) (perverted grown) (I want to sluice the face) (Beethoven would go good with this) (the sound put put put in the park on the hill) (below men in helmets and boots and dirt leave the construction site) (they empty into a truck) (the truck empties the street) (the street never preps for anything) (I feel already deep in the June) (so not to hear) (limned roving frame) (close my eyes) (drim) (stride) (tease) (I am the rushing swash on coast) (these winds probably touched coast once) (I hear clutch whispers) (suddenly the hail) (beautiful spinned crystals that hurt) (deep dropped) (there is some simultaneous rain) (the 1st drops so
fasten / unfasten)
The white cabinet rectangle above the white
stove next to the white microwave, next to
a white doorframe rectangle filled by beaded
cane curtains below a white-faced clock
next to a tall cascading green plant, with a name,
the bottom tips of leaf match a white reflected light
next to the light that comes from the nearby
The house gets dirtier and dirtier each night,
I forget the word for trash, what to do
with the soap eggs unused, look at it, the laid out
objects for a photo on a blanket spread
on the floor, an orange plate with others underneath
it next to cups, sieve, sauces bottles, a hat,
behind all this a table I no longer recognize,
light-pine, and then a black shelf with something,
a disembodied cord dangerously organized
for instagram, which sounds like drug
measurement, depressant or stimulant,
still or excite? look
I know what happens when you get to touch
something, a sudden violent noise, pulsed possibly
upstairs sex, when in tough spots I react like
what happened happened in a movie, holes
for people to crawl out of and into are tough
spots and a small animal sound outdoors
unfastens some strings from this side, and the
room gets bigger and more relaxed. I remove my watch
and it makes noise that just kills this, I’m done looking
Source text. Description of a tiny crouched
figure, on knees to take a picture, near submerged
crushed by curves of a building if not
for the white sweater, modern sculpture prizes
in a distant hazed-green lawn, but mostly
this gray concrete in arched semicircles
with dark alcoves, light source indeterminate,
tonal pigeons in tonal action, segment grooves
in ground, like, if you find the pattern,
solve the problem.
I, outside, everything seems underwater,
approve the dimmed silence and am
rewound to that war where one side sinks an enemy
ship and the Major boards the slipping vessel
to find his son on deck just before he dies.
Watch out as you never know if you’re seeing a proper
emotion, outside just turning now to chilled
sections of night, which really reminds me of college.
In the contained spots of brightness leaves turn on flesh colors
signal death, except my house plants inside my house
spoiled by my atmosphere, sit sad at the window,
Witness day run into another day
recreating itself in indiscreet journey, you can’t
pick the structures you keep: pine table, building,
kettle whistle, but you say look at the card your
mother sent you,
on front “Every day a new story begins”
inside “and YOU get to write every chapter”
pen marks crowding the white page. She sent
that from far away but I forgot when it arrived.
Arrange task constellations, presentation today,
pick up movie, walk home, meet you at 6:45,
but too hungry I come early and read magazines,
a Chilean story that ends in condoms, eat
chicken sandwiches, play “world in flames”
play decomposition, today was being
shot for showing up to the battle drunk,
and there’s the officer chaplain giving
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nikki-Lee Birdsey was born in West Auckland, New Zealand. She is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has a BA from New York University. Her work has been published in The Broome Street Review, the Claudius App, Petri Press, Fogged Clarity, Hinchas de Poesia, as well as poems forthcoming in Handsome and others. She is also the author of the chapbook Free That Hooker (Aero Press, 2012). She will be teaching poetry at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand in the spring.
First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, August 1st, 2014.