EXERCISES IN PAINTING
______________________ the abiding of temporary failures
To give anything for disarray tends toward fault.
Some hotel rooms scream a going-along to ignore. Some men
so slim they can't exist inside enough women. Could an open mouth
ever not be an invitation to whatever curious appellation passes by?
This untold scuttling has to contain more than its remainder.
This habit of breaking whatever presents itself for presentation's sake
as distraction. Too-intricate curtain rods don't make good subjects—
once upon a time choices had to be made about fucking and a clean
feeling of surprise. Once upon a time knit blankets meant
a warm head in the fucking snow. Silhouetted
apartment complexes don't seem as deliberate as quilts
on a bed in an old house or even a squirrel on the edge of a bristlecone
branch, so browse for a real thought: i.e., showers make the best
escape from those who need more than privacy or takeout, and
Andes mints left on a filthy sill do, in fact, become filthy.
How do these interchanges work? Fight diminished to sleep.
Faded noise is still noise. What endless feels like—
delay of hand-sewn raw silk and raffia hat. Look up:
the ice-gray sky has a calm splitting open with calm.
_________________________ a performance with little evidence of research
Use the crouching woman
covering her ears—in new drawings
she should wear a nude suit
under harem pants. Consider control
vs. giving direction. Observation vs.
action. Expanded emotional levels move
from humor to grief. Master
the modulation. Crank up to hellish,
yet very subtle at first.
_____________________________ with quotes from Alex Munthe & a cartoon
The wild, cruel beast is not behind the bars of the cage. He is in front—
I despise all of you
who hooded me
so I couldn't feel
my hair anymore
Important at the time:
my damp head
At the cigar shop
I could scoop all the men
into my eyecups &
my salt/pepper head
& look as long as I wanted
as long as I didn't go in
Down into the mystified head
my blue head
I listened for the small voice,
the undefended, I heard it break
Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit (Black Goat/Akashic 2008) and Black Peculiar, which won the Noemi Press book award in 2010. Her most recent work is I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men and What I Had On, a digital chapbook from Sibling Rivalry Press. Visit her website: www.khadijahqueen.com.