ISSUE  1   2   3   4   SUBMIT

FIVE POEMS


Alexandra Grilikhes

Target
           lithograph, Jasper Johns, 1960
 
the metaphor;
sum of your aims
those you don’t know of
those where your eyes lock,
tear away
avoid each other
when you know you’ve
struck been
struck
 
Sum of your aims
those you don’t know of
those where your eyes
lock, tear
away avoid
each other
when you know you’ve
struck
been struck
 
 
 
Signalling Through Space Without Wires
 
Music is ground, you
figure, that moves swiftly past me
in this bitter light. Fixed
as if into the wall I
conjure you outside my hands, all
sound, the scape of it
burns
my
skin
like
sun
I
let it happen
as I let you lean, crawl, lurch
in my life and waver, putting
feelers everywhere, sweetening the room
a little, pleasing and paining all at once
the teasing rituals of the telephone a
game we (didn’t) (want) (do) couldn’t
play. The
ground shifts under me.
             Without
moving I turn only in my head
signaling through space without
wires to you, deaf.
 
 
 
Torment
 
you know how certain people torment you as you
walk home in the rain on a day in february
feeling desolate,
saying to yourself, she torments me and I don’t
know why. She torments me. She is one of those
people who torments me
 
and you walk in the darkness, it’s raining,
you’re cold and feeling not unhappy
but not happy either and
she is always under your skin,
something you can’t describe
 
and you know if you say one word about it
you will lose it completely, that she torments you
and you want the thing about her that torments you
to keep on hurting
 
 
 
Vacation
 
death came to me drunk
wearing a new white island outfit
she’d bought that day. The men
on the road called us cunts.
“This is my dream place,” she breathed,
“I feel so alive here. Fuck me on this
bench.” On the half-lit porch,
the watchman taking a midnight nap
around the bend, I did as I was
told for a long time thinking I’d
please death this time at last. Later
she rolled away and in the morning
rose early and left. I bought
death many presents. She bought me rags.
 
 
 
The Plates
 
don’t touch the plates
don’t unpack the plates
don’t look at the plates
keep away from the plates
 
the plates they’re untouchable
the plates they’re taboo
the plates are a forgotten dream
the plates say touch me
the plates have a force field
the plates have barbed wire around them
the plates are electrified
 
the plates are what I can’t face
the plates are what I can’t do
the plates are waiting for me
saying open your hands, we’re your
mirror your sickness
the plates say
 
 
 
 
Since her death several years ago, as of autumn 2006, the only book (sad to report) still in print by Alexandra Grilikhes is her novel Yin Fire (Haworth, 2001). Her numerous books of poetry include On Women Artists, which was highly praised by Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Audre Lorde and others, Isabel Rawsthorne Standing In A Street In Soho, her long sequence Sea Agon, as well as The Blue Scar and The Reveries. She was the editor and publisher of American Writing Magazine, as well as the founder of an experimental film festival of women directors. For many years she taught a popular class on “The Artist As Shaman” at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts. She was also very active in the alternative medicine communities of New York and Philadelphia, in which she co-founded and co-published Green Fire Journal. Grilikhes’s poems are reprinted here with kind permission from her literary executor Michele Belluomini.