Poetry, Summer 2001

by Alison Daniel

20 Kinds Of Women

There are 20 kinds of women
10 of them protected from theft; 
the gift of a garment buys 1 
something as soft and sensuous as a remembered kiss
or the ceremony where a woman is dipping
her hand in water
and slave girls magically turn into brides
telling fortunes exchanging gifts
the ritual of possession
not sleeping too late
like the girl captured in war
or a temporary wife
the woman with a turban on her head
or the woman cleaning sheets.

There are 20 kinds of women
and there is 1 who is happy;
her laughter ripples the muscles
between his shoulder blades
she watches him move
his finger between her legs
and smiles with intimate eyes
she spreads
until the strain of the sockets of her thighs
surprise exquisite tender flesh
with her sound
coming in waves on his face

42 Lotus-Moon Sun Disc Seats

A woman’s elbow, now pink and worked tender
after sex with him. She lies on her belly,
exposing the knuckles of her spine,
the bones of her neck. Death throbs in her hand
like tattooed threads when rituals of alchemy,
benevolence amongst flames of tongue and
smoldering rites of power, exist
in that indestructible drop glistening
from the tip of his cock. Every time they kiss,
it decorates her skin, a gesture
as primitive as possession, as familiar
as a lover’s scent. It perfumes their breath
with the fragrance of a fear captured by

The Sign Of The Cross

These are all practices of devotion. The sign of the cross
to ward off that woman who thinks Jesus is the same
man she embraced when she copies Mexican art,
the placement of paper icons on her alter
of remembering his hand in hers, a map for the street
of manifestation where people eat stoned fruit,
their teeth busy with separation, they chew
and spit the stone, now clean ribs thrown away.
How easy it is to brood for the stash of glittery Madonnas
in stark wooden chapels. They belonged to our tree. And
here they are, splintered as a bed of nails. Meanwhile,
Holy pictures slip from unused envelopes like Frida Kahlo
expelling untold truths from her womb. There are many,
perhaps as many silent mustard seeds
in the crucible of night’s pale light. The aborted grief
inverts to suffer something deeper than any mural
hung in red spasms, clotted on a wall
when she mouths his word as if in birth, she becomes
his breath, or a celebration of his tongue
delving the center of her flesh, her sex
with a man inside that man who travels to the Mexican heat.
Even in the desert, she’d like to think Nirvana exists.

Eros In Wonderland  
(Originally appeared in Poor Mojo)

Taut in a place of glorious sleep
the stretch of night
slips from altars
to altered oracles about Eros.
He promises paradise
a garden chained with a pulse
tighter than Aphrodite’s girdle
where dreams of Psyche wait
for black heeled death
to break her pretty neck.


© 2001 Alison Daniel

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