to 5

    on the 5ives




I was a tomboy and fought on open fields. The days passed unmarked and I called them: Mrs. Days. “She is a different child!” I heard the women say even as they were forgetting me. And while my sisters practiced their stitches in the parlor from the light of a beaded lamp, I stood on the battlefield with what I thought was a gun in my hand, but it turned out to be a bright green bird. Thankfully, an opportunity arose to chart well-charted republics. I sailed east in front of viewers. With body erect I sniffed the air, tilted generously with numerous impressions. Someone said: “If there is a wound then bacteria or peroxide will take care of it one way or another.” I heard someone say: “Bring your body closer. Bring up your five parts.” But
I was the dancing girl for my own army after all, and a vixen.

Following various maneuvers of unperceived longing I was hit by friendly fire. With a faded silk backdrop they said: “Your particular brand of animation will be honored as we advance, blessed among nations of grandfathers, all dressed up.” We rested together in courtyards, wriggling in short gasps, holding hands and shuffling towards dumb
philosophies. We took trips to gardens to lie in the grass and ride the throb of our own barking language. I let them full blast into my glittering body. Yet I spent evenings fumbling in a universe of unceasing apprehension while they stared out at landscapes reflecting themselves: webs, censure, paved roads. In this way the years passed
only at night and with them went my present face.

I was ill-suited to their diligent, glacial, grammatical ways. I had too many adjectives in my mode of parlance. In fact, they told me they were working on a way to move beyond verbal communication altogether. Fascinated by what they saw, they stood in front of mirrors. “How do you know what is attractive about you?” I asked. To which they replied: “Non-linear speech patterns are the shop windows of tomorrow.” They loaned me books I never returned. I didn’t even read them. Since the period of feverish kissing games I hadn’t been able to keep up with their process of analyzing the black holes, knick-knacks, battlefields, etc. The books simply piled up on my body. I waited for
months. I figured: Let them return and call me handsome as they see the great hump forming on my back. They did return again to tell me: “I was moved when I moved with you.” It suited them to have me as intimate friend. Since they no longer knew how they evolved, they counted on me as genealogist and biological entrepreneur.

So I was once again made willingly, pleasantly, prototypically stimulated and wholly admiring of their reasonable world. They pinched my ass as they followed up stairs. But my rebellion against these so-called classical structures sprang continuous once I was remade as their tight-bottomed cheerleader. I knew accurate records would be necessary; I took photographs of the things I saw: broken contracts, joints, unknown regions of the body. Their forms were elegant in the slopes of my thighs, but flashes of recognition kept me ungenerous.
They said they didn’t have time for my questions and insisted my torso distracted them as it pertained to lingerie. The way I walked was too sharp. “Do I know anyone with such hair?” they demanded as I stood
beside them in hallways. But I never really believed in my own involuntary animation until they asked me to coo softly while they slept. I said finally: “This machine of platinum and conquering does not suit me.” I considered a move to another city but could never escape them since I put myself together out of what pleased them and
have to carry my face like a mask. Then they caught wind of my camera, which they claimed did not record colors as they occurred. They said: “You are the assassin as well as the doomed man.” They still don’t have a word for me.

Now I’m a horse, a gun, an ebb. I’m listening for clues to their code. My research indicates that nearly every thinking person can come up with a slogan. What Has Been Done to Death Will Be Done Again. With my zillions of statistics I could presently attract the eye of any
modern scholar, but I discard their paradise like chewing gum. I could have sworn there was something to this fight, something to do with the openness of the field. I walked many miles to get here, only to mismanage my life.



the portrait of a lady


danielle dutton