Hey There Wildflower

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In heat

andy rouse.jpg

Leopard in Heat
I excite I carry excitement, transfer excitement
he slung onto the skin, I swung into his
sprayed rainwater on roast broken asphalt
road when tasted, pepper, paprika, pine

once the mating begins it is a non-stop
affair, filled with uneasiness, violence
honeybees caught in saliva web between
fangs stinging the doublechamber echo.

The Organ of Jacobson:
Patch of sensory cells within main nasal
chamber detects heavy moisture-borne
odour particles.

Curling around your waist, yipping
hyena on the good and fetid stench.
Rose bites risen on vine, glowing up
our spine, slipped on saliva crescent,
purple vessels broke upon crooked neck.

In heat where the hot pores leak,
where the gorge is a bulge whose
hole is full, not hollow. claw
hooked on muscle, fur, mange.


Who: (grand) poobah
What: meatcleaver massage
Where: cotton skirt
When: flying a kite
Why: “the wow”
How: MO

Reach a conclusion, then break it.

When he was good, he was the best of good.
When he was bad, he was the worst of evil.


aroused mesolimbic pathway
your gruesome appetite
lug wrench

Fat Cat cat hunt

kill leopard

Fat Cat cat hunt
Brain is a paranoid organ
Why eat brains, organ’s
paranoid oeuvre

Who is hunted and how
do we devour its detail;
end trail’s detour.

Learn impersonation
of victims to lure
your predator in.

He writes signatures
in severed ligatures,
uniquely knotted knots.

Operating for decades, upon
autopsy, clearly the eye
ball, skillfully removed.

In folds of flesh — detritus.
Obsession with obsessed lust,
dread of being torn, chewed,
spit out, turned excrement.

They say, curiosity is our brain
operation removing its uncertainty.

a wildfire season

lubroth6It is wildfire season
her mad red sun dusts ash on the high rise
where disaster pales on your forehead slick
with grease and particles from another town.
The ash coats us, tigers in the zoo, and our laptop computers.
Picture a future museum for the next millennium’s imagination:
stone bodies, one headed, two legged.

In the future, you won’t be here. Sprawled on the bed, 18 and naked.
Your mother’s hair, a black, shell beach spills onto tiled, white stairs.
Hot in his body, your bald daddy pushes down, her spiraling hairs.
We eat pie, fucking and fucking in your pool outside, 17, and 16.

My hand in your golden hand, crossing a river together, staying together, becoming jaguars of the forest, sooty, hot cats in the jungle where love
can’t be eclipsed by its violence. Our wildfire after we roamed the brush
with black feet and long hair.

Picture your mother’s hair whistling against law enforcement. Plodding along
our sadsack beach, a hairline receding into the rain clouds. But the fires in your belly hunt after each other. Crocodile scales between your claws. We ate iguanas together. We smoked in the cold of a moon passing over the sun. Purple lips sucking up the flesh of frogs. Your blood pumping in my jaw.

The undercover claw–

a snail sliding home; rolling me
down, jangling stone after bone.

Scorpions kiss to make smoke. And you
always come back, stinging, to wrestle
my body open. Naked with skin thin
enough to shed, always.

May I become gelatin, calm, home, slumbering.
A tail in my teeth, bone by stone, velvet spot
by spot, on my tongue.

The jungle is green and gold and limbs restrict it. Jungle wet
and burning moon, pecks the branches with her cutting beak.

Sweaty on the mattress, sleeping forest. Sleep forgets

if pain is a room, my bones and your bones are a house
sex sleeps inside like pus. I don’t remember the details.
But the details made us this way.

Pacing the bumps on your skin for a home, placing your fur on my flesh.
Eating you piece by piece. Becoming instinct in each other, and feast
under cover

threads returning to you, belonging to bed,

and yours again, I am your mother’s bruises
smiling between our bodies like wet mango
and soured avocado

In the Eye of Rosettes


In the Eye of Rosettes
In coming back to my body, I lost my body.
Reconnecting atom to atom, pore to follicle,

bone to cold, skin to fat.
Is it still? It touches you.
If it’s still, it touches you.

To clone a predator, tether her to her tormentor.
Killing is survival. Killing is food. Killing is fun.
Two truths and a truth, once done, twice done.

My father played a tiger in a play, except the stage
was the forest, and my tiger was not a father.

My lover played a jaguar in a play, except the stage
was the jungle, and my jaguar was not a lover.

My mother played me in a play, except her stage
was my body, and I, myself, was another.

To clone a predator is to create a new victim.
A human chewing his own ear off, wearing a tiara.

I do not know how to leave this place.
Walls of fur and walls of silence.
Where the whiteness is a house.

Wait until it snows to kiss me for the first time,

again. Unweaving a funeral shroud for a man who is not yet dead.
(The only true father is a dead father) light as a tether
in my throat.

My lover was
a predator

and I’m another.

Immigration and the Loss of Practical Good: The City in Which I Love You by Li Young Lee


Song of Songs (or the Song of Solomon) is a basis for Li Young Lee’s poem, The City In Which I Love You. Like the Song of Songs, its central narrative is a meandering search for God and community. Lee’s use of mixed metaphor, personification of objects and elements, and objectification of body imbues the speaker’s spiritual odyssey with a viscerality rarely assigned to spiritual realms. The poem is at once supernal and cutting to the bone — a contradiction instinctively felt and understood by the living. Here, mind, body, and spirit are one, indivisible.

The speaker’s odyssey is set upon unnamed cities, fixed on the idea of cities rather than specific qualities of a specific city. Suppose the concept of “city” is a manifestation of civilization — and civilization itself is defined by a set of rules arisen from human nature pondering itself.  Using this logic, separation of civilization and consciousness is irreconcilable. Without one, the other is impossible. A human exiled from their community can not be truly be human within the essential framework of how we understand ourselves. Exile, then, is dissociative: Man without city, like the soul without body; and city without man, a body without the soul. Heidegger’s “Building Dwelling Thinking” illustrates this concept with the following passage, “Only if we are capable of dwelling, only then can we build… Dwelling, however, is the basic character of Being in keeping with which mortals exist…”

While much of Lee’s poem engages one man’s exile, stanzas 16-23 pose a divergent meditation. Through dissociative observation, the speaker is capable of imagining the pain of others (those he sees, and those out of sight.) He is careful to observe himself defying the instinct either to consume or be consumed by external pain. The speaker anecdotally bears witness to the death and dying of others (strangers) while he searches for a dwelling where he may capably love an idealized other.

Stanza 16 reinforces this divergent tone by acting as a grammatical continuation of stanza 15, but unspooling a subjective retrograde, “I called to you, and my voice pursued you,/ even backward/ to that other city.” The two stanzas construct a visual and linguistic breaking: the literal stanza break, the literal page break (stanza 15 and stanza 16 are presented on two separate pages,) and the linguistic break of calling the other to the self, and the voice’s subsequent pursuit of the other. The voice depicted by the poem skews traditional “call and answer” song formats by constructing a loop or echo effect which behaves in a similar pattern, but is different because it is perpetuated by a singular entity, moving forwards (calling the external to the self) and moving backwards (pursuing that which escapes.)

Stanzas 17-19 again, are a grammatical continuation of stanza 16. Each stanza break creates literal distance between the bodies of the subjects, living and dead, between the dead body and perceived intent, and between speaker and subjects, respectively. The scene depicts three characters through the speakers’ lens. One man has killed another, and a woman tends to the dead after the fact. The speaker watches all, observing that he is not the woman, he is not the dead man, and he is not the killer. He does not bear their consequence of death, killing, or bereavement. The woman acts to preserve the sanctity of the dead by fanning away/staving off flies with her handkerchief. The dead acts dead, still, a false foil for the living. The killer acts with nonchalance or anxiety — depending on the reader. The speaker’s detachment is twofold: He separates himself from his subjects, and he recognizes his subjects’ ownership of their lives and deaths. He does not search for his beloved in the pain of strangers, and he does not call forth his beloved to ease their pain. Presumably, in a dying city where he is other, the self destroyed, he can do neither.

Stanzas 20-23 explore dualities of the universal and the foreign. The speaker recognizes the shared human experience of suffering, political oppression, interpersonal violence, and joy in communion with nature. In stanza 22-23, he removes himself from personal culpability for the intimate personal and structural workings of foreign entities. The flag image in stanza 23 recalls the image of the handkerchief in stanza 17. The handkerchief is mechanism for swatting vehicles of decay (maggots) while the image of the flag suggests a bird tearing itself from a decaying institution (the national bank.) The language surrounding both images is reminiscent of birds (flies, flapping.)

In stanzas 24-25, the speaker directly addresses his beloved, a presumed source of meaning. Our speaker meditates upon the suffering he has witnessed, finding only meaninglessness. He declares the “otherness” of his beloved “perfect as my death.” Until the fact of his death, his death is abstract. Until the fact of some permanent transformation of the beloved’s “otherness” in relation to himself, the otherness of the beloved remains an ineffable barrier to their union.

The beloved can be a woman, a feminine apparition, the embodiment of spirituality, communion with God, a church community, or all of these at once, whatever the reader chooses to project onto the text. Only through union with the beloved can the speaker become whole, and only by finding a community where his love is possible can this union occur. The line “Everything is punished by your absence” suggests those forced into exile, incapable, like the speaker, of expressing love/practical compassion in service to their obliterated communities. Human upheaval, then, results in a catastrophic loss of practical good. Belonging to a community not only endows man with a sense of identity and purpose, but also with a share of communal resources.





it’s true. once in the springtime, long ago,
i murdered a frog, in cold blood, stone dead.
first, i pulled off his legs. my hands, aglow
with green guts and frenzy, itched to behead.

in my paw, i held the stiffening thing.
it no longer twitched. i retched, petrified
by shame. gloom came that same spring:
fewer tadpoles. i could never confide

the misdeed. and— years later, someone said
that famous killers, in childhood, killed.
my future was set. my hands were frog red,
tainted from babyhood, stained sick by thrill.

i have an excuse not to be purer:
i’m a fated serial murderer.

La Brea Woman


La Brea Woman

The excavator gazing upon her skull
thinks not of death, but of treasure;
a tale for whom nothing pleasures.

Why put up with the insults of life?
The mad lover begets a mad lover;
predator makes play of predator.

This is the cycle of the tarpits:
rest, devour, die, be eaten, wake.

She curls her lip, and, revealing the ectopic
starlit tooth, snarls at his quavering body.

The body has a fearful look and hormonal stink
she associates with eminent alleviation, bliss.

She dreams of sucking down his teardrop kidney
from a sweet summer cornhusk. His sunken belly,
never the vessel, but sustenance nonetheless.

She remembers the first man who gazed upon her flesh
ensconced skull looking not to love, a look to steal.

Woman of the tar and of the angels
through whose socket groans an ocean;
and with ear to yellow, cranial shell,
transmits the voice of nameless jezebel.

A skeleton they do not want us to see…
intent for Yorick not to be or not to be.

The girl with the saber tooth
in the lady’s chamber of tar,
grinning skull painted ear to ear,
to kiss the cavity which belches dirt
without recollecting (or reckoning)

The dust of hair, mud of skin —
shivering in her skin of grief,
and decomposing cats.

—The Poisoning—

She traveled far by foot from her home, the scorpion tree.
crouched over the blue sea stone creature with its sticky
skin and dark eyes, sticky eyes and yellow racing stripes.

She bends over her friend’s blue stone head and stokes his yellow stripes
with the spine of an unsheathed dart, an extension of her fingertip…

She drags the tip across his slick back.
The harvest of poison is a nonviolent act.


A traveler from scorpion tree, once a woman, evolved
into a predator. On the record, none predated her.

She learned to unbuckle from his fingers, to slip from his arms into sleep.
When she woke, her tooth stung. Thick spittle stuck in the throat.

From his rib, she carved a knife, from his shin, a scythe,
and prayed never to wake again, a woman.


What begins with blood proceeds with silence…

She shot from the grass with the power of her mouth, her breath, the divine tooth. But, outnumbered up close, they used her own weapons against her:

Smashed her skull with an ax fashioned from the pelvis of her dead lover.
She received the burial of hunters: body tossed into the pit with elders,
mothers. Sabertooth sisters sleeping with each other’s hungers.

Who Hurt the One Who Hurt Me


Who Hurt the One Who Hurt Me

Narcissus saw himself in a pool, and supposedly fell in love with what he saw, or was he hypnotized, glaring into a graveyard of underwater  bones.

Huge wooly creatures peered into the pools too, thirsting, not trapped by the reflection of themselves or the truth of what sat beneath (like us.) Bodies of ancestors and ancestral enemies. The darkened veil, eyelids of tar — drinking the sour liquid of dying flesh. Where skulls — masks of faces, stare vacantly despite the full history of the world in their DNA.

Mammoths in marching order huddle over the pools — mourning their stinking brothers. Trunks undulating in the black water, a nest of snakes, worms, limbs, appendages slipped from the bone.

Prey and predator together. Mud magic awakens in the socket.

Forget me not, cried narcissus, into the pool of death, his death, the death of himself, his body, his grief…

He stared into the pool and found tar blackened blood and swirls of gas, the eye sockets of his father staring ahead.  Can you see the flesh of your face transposed onto the corpse?  Little fires burn in the swamp –- a skull with your father’s face left to churn.

He’s lead me to a swamp of bodies where there are no safe paths. The only path is out or in – eat and be eaten.

I wonder, what it felt like to leave me, and which moment did he lose me? Driven by righteousness or poor instinct — a survivor’s adrenaline flashing in the belly, rising in his throat, to the brain.

Narcissus caught site of something in the water, saber tooth visage superimposed upon the skull that was his father, the predator who seeded in him the instinct to kill.

Your broken front tooth snaps in the act of devouring — eating the flesh of your father like he’s another teat to suck on. Communion stolen, not taken.

Family is familiar. Narcissus looks into the pool and murmurs “who’s there” to the bright and beautiful corpses.

I’m there. Your father’s there. You’re not here, but one day, you too will sink into the mire, swallowed by earth’s core. And we will not be as you left us. We are fuel for the fire and as fire will consume you.

Touch the corpse with your snout. Smell me. You cannot reach me, you cannot touch me, I am only shapes to see.

A quiet place for a corpse eater to become consumed by a sea of corpses, angels.

Petroleum bubbles rise: the secret history of angels, city of light and city of movements  — dead gray shadow against the drying mud, bleak and oily blue.

We love you from an upside down world. The grave you give us.

In the Rainforest Where Blood Is Green

jaguar  croc.jpg

After Dying

after dying, feed my body to a captured cat so it can taste coagulated blood and smell mean skunk on his breath–

to know the gut feeling of human inside him, an anchor in the belly.

to be shit, a bloody sausage, malingering in the grass.

Use me then as compost for a rehabilitated forest he is destined not to haunt.

Crocodile Vs. Jaguar

She snaps her jaws around his jaws as she laps up the blood. His snout trembling shut, hers closing tremendously, inch by inch, splintering scales, piercing the brain, like arrows through apple, spoiled in mud.

heaving from her golden nose and eyes blasted backwards with madness

Anaconda Vs. Jaguar 

The whirlpool snaps her paw and flings… leaves froth, stuck on writhing bodies:

a swarm of slimy greenish bricks and flaming amber rosettes, their tales erect, two stems crackling, antennae in the electric eye…

ribs snap like popcorns. Half decapitated, the bulb, stuck on fang, swings from its punishing body like a loose door.