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Christina Conrad
POEMS FROM All along the dark avenues of the soul (Soon to be released, 2001)
sacred logs

in the kauri kitchen
the smokey lamps
were dimmer than the candles
except for sudden
mad flaming
the small black-eyed sons
almost engulfed

adept at handling flame
the swung the lamps
as if on a ship

they wheedled sharp knives
slaughtering vegetables
hacking at logs
with little axes
stoking up the fire
until the chimney trembled
flames licking the ceiling
until it glowed
bringing the father down the hall
to accuse us of burning all the wood
instructing us to burn
1 stick at a time

we burnt sacred logs
gazing hungrily at furniture.

(for krishna & julius)

black shoes in bed

on the hill behind your house
'mongst pigeons in the karaka trees
cut flax

you wove me a basket
you filled it with red apples
you sent it to me

you say you are going on a journey
same time last year
you returned from a journey

you went where they left turtles to die
on their backs in the sun
where people were hungry

you strolled under palm trees
dressed in white
you ate little bananas

you came back in the dying sun
i did not know your face
you lay between me and my child
we both had colds
we barked like dogs
you were surprised to see my child wearing
black shoes in bed

i write in the dying sun
i have made a clay pot
its mouth opens in a gasp
the gasp is silenced by an egg
the egg has exploded
leaving the pot

(to Paola)

room with black stove

the room with the black stove
small- bare

its window- cracked
the child played in this room
on a cold night
creeping over the floor
with dried oil paints
under a naked light bulb

in the corner
above a huge mirror
was a hole in the ceiling
shewing the dead leaves
of a rats nest

around the peeling walls
were pictures
by my first born
of people in 2 faces
their hands
exploding fireworks
whirl pools

(to Miro and Paola)

white coral cunt

when we were homeless
every house we looked at
you desired
as if
a woman offered
her rooms
spread out

i am just
a figurehead

in borrowed rooms
my flesh
has grown

i cut up cloth
with blunt scissors
thread rusty needles
with blind eyes
conduct fear
as i slice the collar
off a dying tiger coat

yesterday in a rag pickers market
i saw a white coral cunt
on a plastic dish
midst black bowler hats
mens suits
on wire coat hangers

i asked you for five dollars
to buy the coral cunt
too expensive you said
i've seen lots of these before

alone on a remorseless couch
i fondle
the white coral cunt
put it in
my glow mesh
put it in
my long pink bag
put it in
my black

straw broom

your body
i ask you
to place
the straw broom
with the long red handle
the bathroom

i must sweep
naked floor
so many crumbs

(for stoneking)


i never wore my stitched coat for you
coat of agony
coat of deep rivers
coat with ears of wheat
coat with protecting eyes
coat with savage teeth
coat with stitches of minute agony
coat i stitched
with my painting, a deep wound
coat i stitched with my bosoms,
heavey in milk

i never walked with you
in red dress & stitched coat

you never felt the stitches
like secret scars
in the sun

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Copyright Christina Conrad

published with permission of the Poet.

All rights reserved