A Poem for You
I wanted to write a poem
so full of spirit-lite™
that my father would finally like it, that would bring him easy peace.
to write a poem so wise, yet tailored for one sitting
that even Mom would understand, and say:
Yes, in that way women agree with each other
about how their husbands are just so messy
but they still love them. They say it over and over
My Husband. I wanted
to write something called:
Portrait of the Immigrant as Your Little Pony.
About how all over America
I travel to sing my song that there is no song
About my bombed body as the site of abandonment,
& I’d be the critical darling, and they’d say She did it—
no song came
not anti-song, just nothing
I just sat there on the train next
to the guy watching Mad Money on his handheld.
By the time I got home I was so tired. I pet the dog.
I want to write a nice long poem for all you straight girls.
Your religion’s rose and glass castles
hold no place for me, I’m out of my princess phase.
Your pink pony wants to fuck you
She’s limp with longing from being
always touched and hollow,
comb-tugged right out of her field:
Oh I’m too tired to worship at your kittenish emptiness.
For years my emptiness echoed into yours: Oh Hai!
For years I’ve been your pony, and I wanted to fuck you
without your pink dress, the glitter and the organs,
is that so wrong.
I’m over it.
I can’t even look at myself naked
while I change out of body into the poem.
I love someone now, she’s teaching a class,
she had a bad dream & threw the lotion
at the hurtful door, and I love her, there’s nothing hollow there.
There’s no void in the straight girls either, not really.
This yard in you, ladies,
green and moon-lit, where you prance like difficult adult Bambis:
that’s not desperate, that’s beauty. I only wanted
to have my fill, as I fill her:
undo you first, then balance out the void in a weighted way
so then you’ll now: How
do you do a Barbie?
With meaning. Women, I’ll defend
when no-one else will: when you’re lacerated with IVs
and wrinkles, I’ll say how I filled you with Awwww.
When you’re a crazy-eyed teen who hears voices & sings them
out at an American Idol
audition, a sparrow
aping the starsong ringtone—
I’ll get it. I love when you’re not quite right.
Secretly, I’m a believer. Dad, are you really a believer?
Will my child still inherit the land
if she comes out of the womb of the woman I love? It’s too late,
though. I imagined that land,
it already fills me up:
white lichen + snow meadow I
ate like stranded travelers eat
their frozen companions: first out of need, then…
I locked it in a deed via gaze.
And after all those centuries, Mom, why do you still worship the boys?
That’s why I can’t write you a poem. I can’t write it for my friends either,
I don’t see much of them. I live where people live now
lifelike, their ideas like crabapples.
I look at my yard like I’m a real sort of person.
I sit at a desk of someone: I hear she wrote.
She trained for some epic war
that would always keep her cellared, always longing: bang!
that mirror was green & breezy &
she longed the hell out of it. You could say
she’s too full of readiness: she trained for everything but this—
bureaucracy and happiness—
but I have to learn to write about just living
so close to the voids.
To write in a speech I wasn’t born mouthing
about the ground I wasn’t born sniffing
My face stuffed full of the land and the language of longing
hell yeah. I’ll learn to write just like you,
green stems are growing out of me, I belong everywhere
in you: Hi, I’m you, it’s so filling
when there’s only one of us here.
War on a Lunchbreak
What’s war? You’re not able to find
the other dark pearl earring, and you don’t really care, except:
that earring’s your brother. He’s dead,
and there was only one, you’ll never
see him again. What’s war?
Lady poets writing about cock,
not thinking about gender. My friends married in Vegas
to good-ol’-boys or hipster drummers, just ‘cos they can, or
when I contemplate
so I’d be “the bomb,” or. I’m sorry
I keep tossing & turning. My livelihood here
depends on people who’ve never tasted
war, and act offended when one leaves work
on time. Not that I ever lay hiding
dying in a ditch, but if I had, I think that I’d
know much about dry grass, the incredible value of it:
just to see the stalks
move would be enough.
I’d like to have time to type this,
but all day long they’re looking over my shoulder.
feel sorry for them. What’s it like
to care so much? Talk morning and night
to a proctor-god, tidy your toy box before bed:
to get degrees, have interests –
is that the anti-war?
Is that why I can’t even read? I know there’s war all around me,
and inside there’s war: who died, who cheated,
when will she look at me like that,
what language is this, I hope no-one breaks in and rapes us.
I never see sunlight.
The sun in the yard is so
contentless, it almost heals.
It is a series of chambers
where I’m shown
what I do have: weight.
Electricity. A sense of balance. Can that be enough?
I don’t know how to end this:
a fadeout on the grass? A copout.
Something a sexy girl poet would say, like
“The terrorists have won, kiss me awake”—
encore, cock your boot, show us your boobs!
I’m so fucking tired of the sound of “sexy”
of me being sexy, muse-body
with ship-launch face:
I can’t read because I’m dying, that’s the truth,
I’d rather take in this sunlight like a dog.
You theorize your own way out of this paper bag.
I feel the sunlight but I keep asking why.
Ana Božičević came from Croatia to America and wrote “Stars of the Night Commute” (Tarpaulin Sky Press, 2009), a Lambda Literary Award finalist. A new chapbook, War on a Lunchbreak, is out in Fall 2011 from Belladonna*. Ana works and studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY, translates Croatian & Serbian poets, and soaks in a claw-foot tub.
9 thoughts on “Two Poems by Ana Božičević”
Very much enjoyed the poetry and the strong and active voice, all the images like a collage that sweeps familiar, yet with a personal vision. rg.
Holy SHIT those are good! Especially War on a Lunchbreak.
The best poetry I have read in a long time–and I read a lot.
Ana, this is My face stuffed full of the land and the language of longing and all of it is so gorgeous that I imagined your voice your exact voice even though I’ve never actually heard your voice. I imagined you standing there in that beautiful dress hearing your voice in my head. Thank you.
Strongest and most compelling poems I’ve read in a long time. Thank you.
Hell yeah! I feel like I’m reading the queer Croatian Parra. That’s high praise. I hope Bozicevic considers sending us work at honeybeepress.org sometime…