Cornelia Barber is a New York writer. In her duel writing and healing work she investigates lineage, intimacy, race and the psychic and physical ecologies of people, plants, places and animals. Her work can be found in Prelude, The Felt, Berfrois, Fanzine, The Poetry Project Newsletter, Entropy, Weird Sister and more. Her poem “Pink Metal” won the Luna Luna Magazine inaugural flash poetry contest on the theme of “Death”, and her manuscript “Of Mouth And River” was nominated as a Tarpaulin Sky book award Semi-Finalist. She is an editor at Queen Mobs Teahouse. You can read her blog Poetry Rituals: here https://poetry-rituals.tumblr.
poems from PINK METAL
(I)’ve been a subway rat in and out of my hole in and out of how to be strung out and dirty in the hallway and people scream when they see me like who the fuck is that ugly thing when that one cherry blossom in the park refuses to bloom cause she knows what’s good the earth splitting in 3 to get back at the moon riding the land-waves out with my pussy like Ana Mendieta or Sigalit Landau or Maya Lin my pussy circling these land-fractures lungs in breath out diaphragm open in the hole where I keep my babies and trash and I am a trash collector like the earth like the land where we dump all our shame I am the trash collector and with my eggs we’ll start a new city
(you)’ve been standing in your red dress capitalizing off the blue shore the grey shore the fish squirming in the raw gowanus high rise sitting on the beach at fort-tilden, climbing the scaffold of the old broken and bricks falling water tower leaning over the side picking red berries on 181st beneath the bridge picking the green fruit and smoking a Marlboro red you bummed sweet mint gum the earth lifting itself over (I) keep getting caught in river-foam and tracing the city with my hands along fences that aren’t mine to touch or are they re-calibrating the 40 and tulip and how to get out of this place and how to stay where we are here now you’re leaning over the side your red dress the blue walls the blue space between us old pink metal
(I) stole these words from this land and I want to offer them back to (land) to land to where its inhabitants lie now, in hole, in hole docile to the submission of species Dutch kings fell down to shrug off the animals and (you) animal and (under) animal text that rises before clarity what we call clarity what we call speech where there is no (we) in speech just animal and animal in hole, in dirt, to do, to born, to die, to go, to place, where place became text becomes lying here in hole with you while hole is you and whole is you and this was not supposed to be a romance but thank you for your romance for arms around each other into the forgotten songs our ancestors disassembled these passages when we leave the earth why do our names stay?
we’re fighting for a lineage the re-mastered conduits for documentation how the blood moves through fallopian into sand hot night sparkled in smirnoff ice and 24s of corona the lineage un-mastered re-defined in the new house girls house femme house the pink needles disturb you the blood opening to sack emerging the thick mustard of post-pubescent literality altering the from pushing it forward out of nipple to feel flee find the interlocking zip codes of for decoding what’s left of ritual
the star looks at your breath consumed in the unremitting exactitude of its trail in and out the grace of this gesture or and and the breath of a sentence the forward motion of two the synthesis through breath into what comes after conjunctions as the meeting point for un-rest and anxiety and revolt and exhaustion how we come back to after and after and without the solitude of punctuation and so the communal shape of this lettering the whole as parts congealed in the root watered split picked the blossom and I put her in my mouth and I chew her syrup and I find out her story in this limitless way the cadre formed by possibility