Roughcuts, Fall 2010

by Minka Hoist

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1.
Gonna have to get me a new old ladder The one we’ve had I’m leaving you The old new one we found wrapped up downstairs And used to paint the ceiling trim We used to paint the town the color Of the barn hulking there, empty bird-spattered The shattered stalls for the animal teams The dreams of clover and chicken scratch Did we really rescue that clichéd neighbor’s kitten? Then sitting up there in the dark pine limbs You glimpsed a nest we both thought long abandoned Then standing, stretching spied a clutch of three blue eggs I’m walking outside ’neath your chill window pane The rain sheets off the second-story eaves My right sleeve’s wet though I’ve twisted back my shoulder It’s colder than it would be if it were snowing
2.
Whatever came of that traveling man? Got a few keepsakes, fewer plans Goes to the garden when his money is green Has a few odd children he’s never seen Man traveling Floats his own canoe you know he fires his own train Flies in the gutter, sometimes runs down the drain He dreams in gesture, he rises in blood He falls uneasy, he rides in love Man traveling Man traveling He dreams cinnamon, he dreams sage Acts out his birth sometimes, never his age He’s got a memory for tight spots and trends And a few rough gems he calls his friends Man traveling Man traveling Man traveling What’s left in the breadbox gets wrapped on the bone He’s got a rough lover he calls home He lives in her purse and those of two friends He dreams everything he never spends Man traveling Man traveling Man traveling Traveling He goes overland, he goes underground Goes air and water stowaway – ’less ’n’ he’s found He looks under rocks when the looking is good When the looking is bad he looks misunderstood Man traveling Man traveling Man traveling Traveling Traveling traveling man
3.
03:44
Ginny Mean, what did I do to you? Ginny Mean, what do I know? Ginny Mean, mean what you say to me Ginny mean baby, don’t let go— Ginny Minx, you pull it out of me Like a splinter greased in fat Ginny Minx, running the farm for me Running my trapline with the eye of a cat I want your blind babies I want your frying pan I want to be your ball of fire O Ginny, I want to be your burning man Ginny Maiden, form up your squares for me Build me a platform, make me a brand Ginny Maiden, made in Japan for me Shrunk in plastic, stuffed with spam Ginny Mild, soap up your hands for me Soap your swellings, soap mine too Ginny Mild, fall in the can for me Like I fall, baby, hard for you You say woundsalt is a remedy To quench the thirst within You say thrown stones form a symphony Like the rain on this tattered skin of tin Ginny Martyr, bearing your cross for me Bare it all, baby, all through the dark Ginny Martyr, roll in the grass with me I want to blast that egg right out of the park Ginny Moist, let’s make some cake tonight I’ll work the sponge, honey, you wield the toys Ginny Moist, box up your tears for me Box my ears, baby, but don’t box this voice Don’t care about your surname Don’t care about your hound Go tell all your long goodbyes Long as you, Ginny, don’t make a sound Ginny Mourningdove, polish my head for me Buff it blooming brill as nacre and oil Drain and fill it with my daily quart of medicine And I’ll bow deep, milady, from you to the soil Ginny Mark, mark how you sniff at me You spray, baby, like a Gatling gun Ginny Mark, you marked the man in me Your turning from the man makes me a setting sun
4.
My archipelago My archipelago The night is cold The water, blacker yet Night is cold The water, blacker yet The flight is swift The fall, faster yet The flight is swift The fall, faster yet Water laps Laps after storm The water laps Laps after storm Death is long Song, stronger yet Death is long Song, stronger yet My archipelago My archipelago My archipelago My archipelago
5.
Paper doll, you hold the scissors Candy stripes up to your knee Toadstool dress, and blood-red lipstick You’re going to cut yourself free Close your eyes and all you see are ink- Mare spatters and drips Other eyes and other tongues and teeth And pale joyless lips      No walls are real      And yet they surround us      Flat as they feel      Their surface astounds us White tomorrow, blank on both sides But she turns the other way Snowfield cut from postcard pipedream From hothouse bird and bloom bouquet      No walls are real      And yet they surround us      Flat as we feel      All surface astounds us Paper doll you’re your own plaything Fold the tabs, hold out your hand Paper doll leave off that nightdress The white dress waits for your crayon      No walls are real      And yet they surround us      Flat as we feel      All surface astounds us      No walls are real      And yet they surround us      Flat as we feel      All surface astounds us
6.
And that’s the hardest part The hole burned in your heart Its tissue in the trash The cardiac ash Your heart’s remains will not be seen Just felt as lead inside your dreams An anchorchain round your throat An unanswered ransom note She was a smoothskin crocodile Trying to walk on hindfeet She slapped her tail and toothed her smile And eyed you like bushmeat And that’s the way it’s ended That’s the way it’s gone – it goes Your heart is running down the highway Running with no clothes And all of her changes And all of her twists She liked to keep you guessing But you never guessed this All the restless mornings All the restless nights Wondering when – without warning – She would take flight And that’s the way it started That’s the way it went down (down, down) Restless ain’t worth a quarter And you know, that’s scarcely a crown Restless as a trailer Restless as a pig Restless as a sailor After three days in the brig Restless as the monkey Hiding in her briefs Restless as a pilot flame In a kitchen of grief That restless muscle is still atwitch However deep you dig However high you pile it on There’s throbbing in its forked twig They say scar tissue’s Stronger than the rest of your skin But it aches – and besides, that’s not the organ Your scars are situate in Your restless heart does not want to heal And it will not relent Your restless heart won’t relinquish the wheel Refuses to pay rent Now you can call it telltale Or faithful as a dog But its strings, they must be snipped To release you from this fog And all of her changes And all of her twists She liked to keep you guessing But you never guessed this For that’s the hardest part The hole burned in your heart The tissue in the trash The cardiac ash

credits

released October 11, 2010

2-5 engineered & mixed by Daniel Rasmussen
painting by Julie Nord, julienord.dk

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Minka Hoist Århus, Denmark

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