So you want to be the one to lock
a lassie with stuffed cotton cake
hole in the bathroom and tweak
her cheeks till the tears come?
You want to wear the shined
shoes you were made to lick?

Then they got you good.
They got you so you
never come out. Always

on the ape, you shit a little
and your eyes glisten at the
chance to compete when put
in a posy ring with one
voluble as a geyser, spewing not
forget-me-nots. And you are off!

Who is riding you riding you
spanking your haunch like a fiesta
piñata to make you spill irradiated kin—
bandana ripped off third eye,
curtain pulled back on the wiz
making kissy sounds into a mike
for a cleft palate mouth under veil
(spotless as tree bark or gene-flued
madness). Sly belly dancer,
shimmy your skin.

It takes the least
to become the aggressor,
little joiner, now you need
a whipping boy. You want
the spiked boot that was put
in your eye, crammed to hurt
you good. Some pain morphs to
shivers that make you beg yes.

You spot a nemesis-crush, a master
to pantomime that sets you yap yap
but there’s a gorgon hole in your fount
a surprise peep an other mouth
and you start to say things
unbecoming. A keg in waves

you have to keep jutting your arms
now that you’ve shot so far from shore.
You are on; pausing to float, catch your breath,
recollect, will not do. Dusky minstrel with
shoe polish to boot, finish the show.

Take her down with you. Heaving as you are,
catfish hugged up and flung in weeds,
you take a lifesaver. Plop her name in
your mud talk, pretend it means something.
Roll an elfin script to push in her ear, or as if
she supine, X her arms over it. Make her thorax
hoard it like a scarab wish bug. Point your ick at her.

Sad mole, to pat your head or pull your hair out—
take your tongue with my teeth? A velveteen
rabbit slumped in shadow is not what it seems.
Do not find yourself alone with this doll in the dark.

Dummy heir, do you like your new suit?
Your lace-up boots gain you a few inches.
How do the mice taste on the hay bed of
your cell? Does the bone crunch satisfy?

Blood dribble on your chin is dreamier
than shut out, but turncoats have a fume
they carry, their head chic in a looped wire
cage of vintage dreams, of branded say-so.
Do you remember the smart of the glowing
stamp? Detail for me your signet, do tell.

Do not come to me with stories if your tongue
gets slicked off. Taking scapegoats like trophy
scalps does not make you resilient as stuffed
museum hogs. No matter what you put under
the boss’s nose to whiff, if you lose your wig,
if you are blessed by accident,
you will get thrown over
like too much butter.

Can you live with that, Polly the parrot, Dolly the clone, after sharing such a long kiss?
      The flag in your tit droops.

* * *

Lianuska Gutierrez studied at Harvard and Fordham, and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in English at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Work can be found in Counterexample Poetics, Wicked Alice, Yemassee, Split Lip Magazine, Eratio Poetry Journal, and other journals.

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2 Responses to A poem by Lianuska Gutierrez

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  2. Lucas says:

    Hey!Yeah, Marlowe was a character. Apparently (according to many acoctnus), VERY out as a gay man, very flamboyant, very much a favorite of the queen, but killed (some say exiled in secret) because of some reason I honestly don’t remember.That’s a GREAT line you are so right, Shakespeare was indeed excellent with the dark humor.If you like MacBeth you MUST SEE THIS MOVIE: Scotland, PA. I can’t BELIEVE I get to recommend this movie to someone who actually knows AND loves MacBeth, after all the other people I’ve forced to sit through the movie. It is BRILLIANT. Simply brilliant sets the play in the 1970s in a fast food place. Really wickedly funny, very well done.Me, I have liked Shakespeare since I first read him in high school, liked him even more in college (thanks especially to a couple of FABULOUS teachers who really brought him to life), more when I saw a few of the movie adaptations of his plays, and then, when I taught high school English myself, even MORE because I read his stuff over and over and over and it never got old, just deeper and deeper.I think for me, Shakespeare was amazing because of his insights into the minds of people. Even today, we can still relate to so many of the themes he explored, as well as HOW he explored them that sort of timelessness is incredibly difficult to pull off, especially when the writing itself is just so gorgeous.That’s a short version of my unhealthy love for Shakespeare (which is a very funny way to put that, by the way). :-)Miriam

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