Tick in the Windswept Grass
Blown back—air rivulets
and calls itself a formed thing,
without a name, that tosses
the tick from stalk to air
and the endlessness of being
carried off into an object which is not
an object, which is only air, after all,
but isn’t it? Endless, the feeling,
and it does end, from air to stalk,
another place to dream of blood,
the nectar of those who take
from the earth the nectar of those
who take from the sun. It’s
some horrible gift, to be treated
by something so tiny, as a flower
(with as much chance to exist,
granted), and find another
existing who has your needs in them,
and to drink of them, and be filled
until the drink is undrunk, until
another call to thirst is called
from somewhere outside the body.
From where does the impetus to feed
attack the body? To be diseased—
to be filled with the memory of being drunk—
to be so wholly devoured by the tick,
atrophied, made useless, for no body’s purpose.
After language, what remains?
Once the seed of language is cleaved
from the sonorous tree it once contained;
Once wet sand leaves its leaves
pickled; once you have forgotten
scheme, its tincture will dissolve
all you once found rotten.
The clock-hand long passed
recompense; the overwritten
poem shirks form because it’s bored,
or because it went to the dark fields
of memory to recall. Sacred words
blossom into dreamworlds,
saying things like are you listening?
That’s good. To write is to build
precarious nests, strong
in the sense of twigs and pine-needles,
component, breathless, unwilling.
The poem is: wrought of conditionals.
Is: a never-ending sip of the Big.
Is: traveling through tunnels
that ancient language-voles dug
and filled with dried chrysanthemum.
Go somewhere early, somewhere fog
touches itself to the fuse of your genome,
and touch yourself there. This is painful work,
admittedly, but don’t allow yourself to come
to conclusions. As you walk,
unsatisfied, consider the trees.
joanie moss braddock is a queer trans poet based in Buncombe County. She believes in cultivating and sustaining community through artistic, political, and personal work (which are often the same) as a means of resisting alienation.