genesis

Yesterday, my person being remote and hermitic,
I stood in the way of the sun, absorbing the rays in
my flesh, denying earth-bound life their sup;
I endured as the roots swallowed my feet, and
soil decomposed my toes, worms wriggling through
the holes in my fragmentary being.
One-hundred-years work accomplished as my eyes
blinked the sun out of their irises.

Like spiders’ legs, my lashes disrupt the visions
afore, garish daydreams that seek to feast on my
peace and pick their teeth with my dissipating bones.
Crack! Tremble with consternation as you question
whether you tread on my splintering bones or the
oft fell branches from ancient trees. As you race
away from the scene, you can only but persist
in crushing bone under foot.

I open my eyes to the blistering light of day, and,
in the radiance, terrors are vanquished. I am yet savèd,
as an ocean of cold water washes over my sins,
gently undulating my hair in ribbons away from
their burdened origins. I recall myself to my feet,
I am standing on concrete, no longer remote, not
entirely hermitic. A sea of women, a sea of beautiful
women walks towards me. I am unrelated to the party,
but a smile stretches from shore to shore. I feel them
wash over me as I obey their portentous pace.
Their auras pierce me, gently and all at once, I am
realized in the presence of their feminine energy;
Reflected and emboldened, I feel whole, in this
gynysis*

© Kat Manica 2017
(*please note, this is poet recognizes that there are many genders; the use of -gyn is not intended to exclude but to reclaim. If you feel it is problematic, please write a comment, and I will not change it but add an addendum explaining so others may learn, too. Thank you.)

penelope

illustration © amelia giller

remedy

click here to hear it read aloud.

You’re asleep, and I hear the mattress
groan as it stretches sleep out its
anatomy and sandman’s dust from its eyes.
The room is dark,
and the only light that smoulders is my
orb-like gaze as I count the lines on
your skin. I lie perfectly still, and my breath
is deep. I wish to wake you, to tell you
everything

But, as I lay here, staring into your flesh,
I know I couldn’t accurately form words for your
wakeful mind that describe the story I want to
narrate, irate I wait for morning to pull you
into consciousness.

There is an apprehension that
guards me, swathes me in a protective layer
of skin. We are perceptively divided;
I can feel the heat of your skin on mine. Two
distinct, fragmented bodies, aching to entwine,
knotted into one, but we are forever discrete
bodies, celestial spheres divided
by an infinite
expanse.

I want to ask you if you’ve seen the other
side, too? If you can read pain in the lines of
faces, and if you can see the love someone needs
from the negative space etched on their
skin. I see sorrow where joy once caressed
tender lips, and I see how burdened eyes move
in comedic bodies, performing artifice on the
world’s stage.

I eat their sins, in the darkness of the room,
opening my mouth wide to consume
disquietude. I oppressively swallow un-
comfortable gulps, like the crust of dry bread
cutting open my throat; my teeth dissolve as they
gnash against the grain.
Still,
you sleep.

I’ve seen the other side, love,
a porous boundary that threatens our
wholeness, our divisiveness. There was a time,
before this contemplative empathy, when I could
not see the rainbow for the rain. Perhaps,
this is when we lose ourselves to
the other, when we become enmeshed, matted
together, solving the ache;
compassion, is the remedy,
love.

© Kat Manica 2017

giphy5

An Early Spring’s Vision

The sweet spring air beautifies as fresh-
formed buds expand to kiss the sky,
Sun beams set the heavens ablaze in sparkling
fluorescence, whilst wind caresses my dew-
dampened tresses, long fingers brush out
wind-tangled knots, and thus I hear the Queen
Faerie’s chariot within ear-shot.

Her vessel is woven from fine hair borrowed from
fluffy tails brandished by squirrels as they burrow’d,
And she sails on the waters of a sweet lovers’
draught, her oars are petals from a daisy’s
fresh bud, the mast a nettle that bites like
witchcraft, her song is heard by poets and
birds, who trill to the heavens the thrill
of the night, a long winter manifesting frosts
with a bite, melted by the golden light
of vernal, cardamom-scented daffodils.

I lose my fingers in forests of grass,
as the birds chime again in hopeful
chorus, away are the days of cathartic
tragedy, and here is the birth of ye and
of flea, to nip at the flesh of spring’s youthful
children, eased from the grip of winter’s cold teeth,
Arrives the Queen whose nettle-sailèd ship
brings solace and solstice to all at her feet.

Sweet-fragranced flowers stir memories once lost,
Of birch and of fir, of trees I have crossed,
In spring’s subtle sun, I dance with shut eyes
deftly on paper-wingèd butterflies,
We sup in the forest amongst Queen and
field mouse, badger, and fox, drinking
cups filled with wine, we are drawn
to the stars, like a beaconed light-house.

Moon’s winking eyes twinkle in joyous
delight, as we consume the splendour with
ravenous appetite. My eyelids are heavy, and
the Queen bids us fair night, as sweet slumber
enchants us, decants us dulcet-toned dreams,
as the moon, in her esteem, sets the world to light,
kissed by gentle illuminations of her soft-hued
beams. Lashes flutter as I fly from this chimerical
invention, every detail forgotten in rapt
inattention.

© Kat Manica 2017

this one rhymes.

giphy4

Animation by AISHWARYA SADASIVAN

I, Eurydice


Press play to hear it read aloud.

When I get to this place, a place where my
finer sensibilities are dulled, I feel as though
I have lost the way back to you. I am not
lost in darkness. It’s a different kind of veil
that disentangles us limb by limb, nerve by nerve.
Its opacity blinds me from the possibility
of your tranquility, and I am left quite alone.

Have you heard the tale wherein
Orpheus crosses into death to bring Eurydice
back to the mortal realm from behind
the veil of last breaths, whence she fell?
In meeting her eyes, she was wrenched away from him,
And so Orpheus re-lived the agony of their parting,
immortalized in the story of their love,
a life and love from which Eurydice was excluded.

That kind of love ensnares, for we desire to
hold a gaze as we contemplate beyond
mortality and mortal flesh
but what happens when we see each other,
are we endlessly drawn apart, on the cusp of be-
coming.

But when I’m here, in this place, this no
man’s land, I lose all discursive dexterity.
Rather, my thoughts are quietly meditative.
My heart is so slow. I feel only
the echo of momentum, as I fall.
For you, love, I fall.

 

 

 

© Kat Manica 2017

 

 

Some Context: This comes from a really odd mood.

 

giphy3

Animation by alcinoo

pen-sieve ii

Press play to hear me read it aloud:

There is a cloud there, portentously
bearing the weight of my duller senses,
In lighter moods, they dance into shifting
shapes, reflecting the sun in pleasing ways,
we see the lightness of our hearts reflected
there, shaded hues that taste like the pith
and rind of a sweetly sour orange.

I am fragmented in these lighter moods,
flitting from focused intention to indiscernible
and unearthly domains. Arms and other limbs
grounded firmly in the earth, mind alighted
in cosmic swirls of astral belts and milky ways.
I am pulled apart endlessly, an ever-expanding
universe of remote but fruitful thought.

All at once, I am thrust into wholeness by your
merciless measures, wholeness cannibalized
as you lick your lips hungrily at the decimation
of my being. As tears fill my eyes, you relentlessly
dig flesh from my bones, I scream in tormented hell,
Although people hear me, they refuse to see that
my shredded hope is worthy of comfort,
I’m not sure which torture is the worse
to bear.

And so I build, I built the borders of my being
strong, impenetrably so, neither cannon, nor
man, nor arrow, nor spiritual whim can pierce
my strong-willed fortress, protecting my
splintered self, but it does not dull the senses;
feeling is magnified, as I am cognizant of every
reverberation, every ripple in the sea of human
consciousness and experience;
My lips force down bile, courageously,
as I walk alone, gently smiling at birds as they
sing: tra la la

© Kat Manica

giphy2

Animation by cintascotch

luke warm

‘It’s just sitting there, right there’,
I say, gesticulating to some point near
my sternum and between my breasts.
‘It’s an anger that feels luke warm,
but infuriating all the same.
It catches my words, and as soon as
I feel I’ve caught my breath, I’ve nothing
left to say’.

Silence hangs in the air, choking us,
the pain still lingers, where my finger
crashed into flesh and bone, where
nail struck bone, nail struck bone,
nail struck bone, over and over again.
There is no penance, there is no rhyme
nor reason. Perhaps, there is very little
meaning, as fomenting flesh melts from
form to shapeless ease, where no words
exist.

Space lingers between us, as your empty mind
races to hapless conclusions about
women and their need to always feel things.
Why can’t they just not feel things for once,
I can see you thinking that, I can hear it
as if you’re shouting it millimetres from my skull,
the heat of your breath on my forehead.
You’re wringing your hands, and I begin to think
you’re going to leave.

A groan. You’re groaning. I want to ask what
it means because I ache for meaning more than
anything else. I crave it so much that my whole
existence hangs on that groan. Tell me what it means,
I need to know what it means. You’re still
groaning. Is there silence or deafening noise
in that groan? It is cavernous.
All vibrations cease. You reach out to where
nail smashed bone.
Your warmth washes over the wounds
men left as they stole my trust, smashing
bone and shattering heart.

You look where I said it hurts, not in my eyes,
and you begin to talk, as though the beige that
sits within me is worthy of time and consideration.
It still permeates my body, this unfeeling feeling;
it doesn’t melt right away, but I feel the tension
release, nerve by nerve, breath by breath.
I don’t hear every word, but I hear the noise
I crave, the noise of your lips as you
whisper that what I feel doesn’t need
your validation.

It is existence. This feeling here.
This love that pours through the colourless
fog of my mired thoughts.
You shattered the ice that once sealed my
death fate, and I gasp for the breath you
remind me to take. You know that I don’t
need your hand, but you will still offer it,
You will sacrifice your warmth for
life in my body.

 

© Kat Manica

 

(I’m actually quite proud of this poem because I’ve been feeling in a bit of a creative rut, and creation feels so good. I finished this out of breath, which is just another reminder how visceral writing and creating can be.)

giphy

animation by Ilisăi Andreea

m e n t h o l s

Do you remember when we
used to smoke menthols in the park,
late at night, drunk people laughing
in the distance, and we were
sitting on swings. I think that
was the last time I felt like
my feet could touch the
ground.

We held them in our hands,
like little torches to guide our path,
‘peppermint breath,’
you’d tease, and I’d smile with ease,
exhaling the puffs of shame from
whence they hugged my heart.

I remember looking beyond the
trees to the midnight sky, to the
stars that shone, and my lungs filled
with clean, fresh air. I’d let fall the butt
in the sand, dropping all pretence.

‘Fly me to the moon,’ I’d whisper,
and I knew you would, as you told
me things no one else had ever heard
you say. I didn’t hear them either, because I
was absorbed in memorizing the lines
of your face, the shape of your nose,
and the gnash of your teeth as you
chewed your dread into dark matter.

Do you remember how we’d laugh
so hard, and we vowed never to smoke
again so that we could laugh like
this when we got old. I never have.
I’m still waiting for my feet to touch
the ground, love.

© Kat Manica 2017

starppmm

Animation by ABBEY LOSSING

(N.B no butts were littered in the sand; don’t litter please.)

ribs

Your restless legs jump as you
sleep in our bed. The cold sheets
cradle your dreams, and your
breath is deep and clear.
Your nose is a gateway to your
brain, where your big thoughts
form and disintegrate into
infinitely flickering particles.

Your lashes flicker lightly over
impenetrable dreams.
I venture to whisper into
your ear and change your dreams
with the soft songs of our waking
hours. Stillness, I wonder what
fills your mind, as your leg stretches
and then recoils languidly.

Your breathing varies as you seem
to encounter something behind
your eyes, and your hand lands
near mine. Gently, so as not to wake you,
my fingers trace their glacial pattern
over your warmth. Like frost upon
a window that protects the warmth inside,
I long to peer inside, but only succeed
at making my view more opaque.

I roll over, nestling my back into your side
and as I reach into my own impervious
night visions, I feel you running your fingers
down my spine, as you count ribs,
resting your hand at the end of your count,
and, together, we trek into our dreams,
patient and expectant to meet on
the other side of night.

© Kat Manica 2017

giphy3

art by: ELENOR KOPKA

Dance, baby, dance

I just don’t understand why
everyone isn’t always listening to
music and dancing in the cool,
damp air.

I want to see your arms move
through the air, as though you’re
floating, luxuriating in water,
Your lips stretching into a
smile, your eyes closed to external
realities, stars twinkling through
your whirling ecstasy.

Your hips sway out of beat,
sometimes, hitting the mark,
music utterly filling you,
peaceful serenity or rapturous
jubilation bursting forth,
You could change seasons, dear,
with those hips.

Fly, baby, fly.
I’ll catch you if you fall.
You’ll tumble
into sweetly-scented fields
of green and purple blooms,
into my soil-scented arms.

You float through great puffs
of smokey clouds, that suspend

y  o  u

in the many universes in which
you dance.

 

© Kat Manica 2017

 

giphy2

(gif by LIBBY VANDER PLOEG )

wander home

Walking through the darkness,
with you occupying my thoughts,
and music consoling my ears,
I feel the power of each step,
and the resolve that glistens on
my brow.

And, as I walk, headstrong against
the wind, the cold, aching, yearning
wind, the sonorous melody of a
blustering breeze accompanies
the tinkling sounds that clutter my ears.

Darkness fades into more darkness,
but now are our bodies embraced,
dancing to the beat, humming
against the buzzing bees that touch
golden suns in dizzy, somnolent sighs.

The wintry air dissipates as
shadows consume our borders
and, like smoke, we swirl infinitely
intermingled in the aether;
Our vapours sympathetic to the
haziest euphonic vibrations,
we disintegrate into each
other.

The soggy earth beneath our feet
pulls us back to reality,
the overcast midnight sky
opining confidence only in that
rain shall fall, but your warmth
reverberates viscerally,
as the last notes finally
wander home.

 

© Kat Manica 2017

 

giphy1