English Verse

Maternity Ward

I wore makeup in piles and scores

I punctuated checkered floors

Coloraturas of my scores

Could send a Boy Scout troop aflutter

I could have danced have danced all night

A Broadway troupe fell left and right

Like dominos in black and white

A fan of cards to my staccato

My score of fans I’d idly browse

I’d rock Marika Roekk eyebrows

Ida Lupino lips and blouse

And Idared my apples cheeky

The seven changes – little black

Gabbana red, Gabbana black

Mañana red, Romana black

In heaven, cheek-to-sheik-to-chic-ey!

But it has washed me cleanly clean

Milk, Vaseline, milk, Listerine,

The tidal needs the tears marine

Blue eyes, white skin, nightgown and clean scent

Soft and transparent here I lie

On laundry lines I hang to dry

And in me you can’t wrap a lie

But in me you can wrap an infant


And one and two and three and four, who is this knocking on my door, the eyes are downcast, demure, the skirts are riding up, impure, your stocking seams, they laugh and tease, above your knees, below your knees, across the floor, across the floor, you are knocking harder on my door, stand still and nobody gets hurt, I run my hand across your shirt
Of velvet.


He dips, she snaps, he dips, she snaps, she will need therapy, perhaps, your stocking seams, they burn and sear, my life revolves around you, dear, you are the gritty grain of sand ‘round which this stunning pearl is built, they way you handle me, offhand, the way off kilter me you tilt, the way you flirt and then revert, I’m glad I ripped into your shirt
And found you.


A torn silk stocking on my knee, remember me, remember me, now break your gaze, avert your face, give me one very last embrace, his velvet touch, her lashing lace, one very-very last embrace, his victory – what is it for, her sadness dragged across the floor, now I have stopped, my heart is stopped, collect the pearls that I have dropped
And keep them.



There I stood in a dress, on a small dainty hill
I decided on love, so I stood in a dress
I decided on fame, so I stood on a hill
With my booty my beauty, my fortress, my buttress
My forte, my butter and bread
With my flowing tresses in glowing trusses
My trust fund, my treasure trousseau
In my gauzy chiffon, gazing hither and yon
Cutely clutching a clutch, a desirable lady
Hope someone took a picture, I looked like a winner
I looked like I could be a winner already

And the whole horizon was prettily dotted
Swiss-dotted with whispery wisps
With desirable ladies who were also running
Although they were standing on small dainty hills
And gossamer gossip power lines
Were webbing them into a web

And some were rotating with the façade always facing,
Façade always painted around and around
Men who looked very busy amid all this twisting and torsion
Men whose fascination usually lasts as long as the commercial

I stood there looking killer, looking like I have my crap together
Looking for someone to kiss me apart and then kiss me back together
And every once in a while a woman would start erupting in firsts:
First baptism, communion, prom, wedding dress
One pretty and next one prettier, next one prettier still, has to be
Has to be or you lose, or you lose
And here and there were the old ones
With moth-eaten dresses on flea-bitten bodies on worm-ridden hills
And a woman would dismount the hill
And disappear
And I would look away
And clutch my sequined purse
And sequence my poses to the music
And twirl
And twirl
(Or you lose, or you lose, or you lose)


When I’m asleep – when I’m asleep – the upper lid – the lower lid – when everything a point in time in space and goes into the tunnel
A needlepoint – a needle point – a needle ear – the camel through – the camel goes through pointy ear and goes back into the tunnel
Then it unfurls – a leaf of tea- a tea of leaves – portending doom – a promise melody a threat and goes back into the tunnel
I only dreamt of you three times and maybe never will again but when I dreamt of you three times you didn’t make it to the picture
First dream – it was a worry dream, third dream – it was a gossip dream, they burrowed through my furrowed brain and then went back into the tunnel
The second was my favorite dream it was a mute and lovely dream you sent me something in a bag and something I could not decipher
And then I knew you were a gift, a gossip, worry, but a gift and that is how I choose to see that something I cannot decipher
And then I close around the gift, I close my shell around the gift and stash it in my furrowed brain and I go back into the tunnel
And every time the day is nuts my weird one I take the shell and mutely look at what you chose to send me mutely– peacock feathers


Have you ever met anyone you had to leave?
For if you didn’t leave then you would never leave?
You would follow this person all around universe
And nothing would ever get done?
You’re just different enough: I got brains, you got looks,
And in general that type of interesting thing.
You would sit mesmerized, slipping, slipping to fall,
To fall into each other and then there you’d be:
Two very tight people who wear cool jeans
And don’t need anyone in the world?

So you left that someone. You had to leave,
For if you didn’t leave then you would never leave.
If you followed that person all around universe,
How would anything ever get done?
You’re just different; one is a schemer, a crook,
And the other a blunderer-through, that’s the thing.
It was very unwise, slipping, slipping to fall,
To fall into each other. So then there you are:
Two very cool people in very tight jeans
Who don’t need anyone in the world.


I’m ready
For anything
And if the only thing
You ever say to me is “darling”
I’ll stay
Be happy when you’re calling
Be nothing when there’s nothing
In my mailbox
Your life important
Mine unused
Your life behind the fence
I run my stick against
To hear my days knocking off
A ring of sterling

I’m ready
For anything
And if the only thing
You ever say to me is “dinner”
I’ll run with it
We’ll do the usual
A ring of gold
Around the block – the fights, the square dance, the children
Will hate the sin, forgive the sinner
Mows that lawn
They all
Have those dandelions

I’m ready
For anything
And if the only thing
You ever say to me is “never”
Well, then you are that kind of lover
I’ll stay with it
All that is doable, the fever and the lava
Get thrown out that mouth
And then cool down, dry up, that sliver
That cinder
A fly in amber
A ring of sterling


We do not walk the Honest Path: you Speak and therefore you Sneak. My Precious, you have caused my Wrath. My Precious, you should know I’m Weak, and I will fight with Seven Words, and Wrath is just a Warning Sign, and I will smite with Seven Swords; the Dart of Wrath is brined in brine,
‘T will swelter faster, fester, swell; Scammony Root to purge your Scams but I know you and know you well, you do not give two bleeding Damns about my Feelings, so you see, I’ll give you sweet Complicity. My Thoughts and Feelings I won’t flaunt, you will get only what you want.
Complicity’s a fine Flambard, a sly Assault it does Retard, vibrates your own vibrations back, against yourself your own Attack. Then comes a Laugh Rapier so thin you do not feel it going in; you go about your business days and Nights, but word by word it weighs
Upon you; hurting, still you live, you Thief, a dripping bloody Sieve, and though Nettles is my Tongue, you cannot see where you were stung. Behind the Veil, behind the Fence, behind the Babalon Incense (you called me Whore; my heart is Black) – Dogbane for Love and Heart Attack.
Seduction’s Javelin obeys: its tip comes off and then it stays. Your games are low-level games – you are my Game; you are now in Flames. To help me through these Murky Waves – Cutlass of Grace; oh, Grace Enslaves! To help me catch you, Slippery Fish –Trident of Kindness; oh, you’ll Wish
After I’m done with all the Love that you would Kiss my Fencing Glove, but Silence is my Seventh Sword -it isn’t a Misericorde! You Walk, but cannot Walk Away; you are not allowed to Stay, but Stay; there is a Wound but not Offence; don’t care what happens to you Hence.


One more hour, one more day, one more month, one more year
Disappear in the distance
One more friend, one more love, one more pet, one more child
One step closer to gone from existence
Would you terribly mind to allow one more time
To hold your face sweetly
Make a memory print of your eyes before time
Erases your features completely?
The clock strikes twelve, then the clock strikes two:
An illusion of a reversal
But look at yourself, you have wrinkled into
A decidedly beautiful person!

Here’s one from the time you were terrified,
Here is one from the time you were sad
Those were funny times but I don’t know if I’d
Do it over again, like I said
Here is one from the time you abandoned all hope
From the time your cried yourself blind
If we do have to tumble down this slope
Hold my hand like I like Iike I like like I like like I like it

Let us lie in deep silence and drunkenly stare
At Christmas lights twinkly and winky
While time is running away down the stairs
Flipping over itself like a slinky
Yes I know you’ve been bad – what an odissey is
This Las Vegas of fear and loathing
Do not cover yourself because modesty is
Only vanity in sheep’s clothing
The clock strikes twelve, then the clock strikes two,
The Yule Log is spitting and hissing
I am flawed you are flawed I invite you to
Skip the pageant and get down to kissing

Cause sometimes you wanna be glorified
Other times you just wanna be held
Those were funny times but I don’t know if I’d
Do it over again, like I spelled
Here is one for the time you abandoned all hope
For the time your cried yourself blind
If we do have to tumble down this slope
Hold my hand like I like Iike I like like I like like I like it


One thought on “English Verse

  1. Catherine C. Payne says:

    Oh, Anya, your way with words is enchanting! Each passage evokes a different feeling or, in an exciting way, a completely novel way of seeing issues, relationships, or seeing my place in the world in a completely different way. Love it!

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