Amy King


What Paint Does to Light

It’s never boring with these girls. But my adult size is big,
no escape chute. You've traveled back in time to be me.
You want to repeat the pain I held then. Seriously, I get drunk
to get there, away from everywhere. I have a very long, curly
yellow mustache, invisible now to brightly-colored sight.
Like I put it on the L train, the best philosophy is a photo
of mystery distilled in outlaw feelings, feelings
that come on gold leashes in cowboy boots
that won’t recognize the South’s authority or how Godard
changed the face of cinema with his wedded camera hand-cranking.
He just went there, winning the screen.
There’s really not much else, except strings to the human
in womblike conditions. Like the vest a doctor might wear
to the opera of diagnoses. But that’s just rape-in-remission,
and not really gender-specific. I’m patient-savvy for the sake
of everyone involved, Dear Freudian benefits.
Everything else is marriage by envy. Exchange the light and how
it bothers our favorite facets. A woman-colored fog descends,
glimmers the sky-shaped heaven, skimming
across the Spanish buildings a lot like Gaudi to land faces
freshly the made-up-less amid snails mingling
in dead leaves beside her. Seated, a bit like Art is the raft onto
which we clamor to save our sanity, she bakes community cakes
in ancient hieroglyphics so that we might become learning itself
in refracting magnolia, a past to read some future ago,
people passing in envelopes between us in retrospect.


God’s Religious Positions

The air is a sweet fake, gradual with essence
spilling off your face, flashbulbs on sequins, a dress
and you with summer drink, your thighs between us.
We move full of flash, and I will tell you now
about an abusive father. He’s a harsh mistress, said,
Run Boy! to me nightly
hard on the heels of dreams, full of wheat fields
drowning bloody corpuscles as though veins
are the eye’s vines that could not contain anyone.
I should drive dune buggies across your scenery.
A whole choir of holy spirits also undid what I knew:
A woman is a conviction is no woman at all.
She should be castrated, deboned and shoved
back up the cunt until she flows, coming
to the tune of her own second novel,
the silky black negligée of night.
Who ever said persons needed friends?
When you take on the downhill gods, they guarantee
Sisyphean stones. I hear voices in that likeness,
a transparent culture of images, mirrors
of sticky membrane and people that contain
me once again. As reward, I throw crushed souls
at shadows they break bread with, great machete flakes
of who I can become, flakes glued into moppish mounds
like so much cardboard. The stones know us by name.
Aim at targets in the heart, when applause sets in uphill.



Amy King: Of her most recent book from Litmus Press, I Want to Make You Safe, John Ashbery described Amy King's poems as bringing “abstractions to brilliant, jagged life, emerging into rather than out of the busyness of living.” Safe was one of the Boston Globe’s Best Poetry Books of 2011. The Missing Museum is forthcoming in 2014 from Kore Press. King also teaches English & Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College and works with VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.


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MadHat, Issue 15, Winter 2013-2014