Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Featured Poet: Marushka Mujic

"Arrived from nowhere anyone would remember unless a decrepit face told a lie and claimed himself my caretaker. Came to New York City hoping a time machine would launch me backwards into Allen Ginsberg's lap but didn't find one so started filling notebooks instead. Live in Brooklyn near a church where old Hispanic women sweep the sidewalks and sing. Wants to live as America's phantom limb, lurking, quick to linger, heavy to hear, working always toward breaking gates. Took a leave from college to turn a trail across the country and began writing a novel in a basement. Writes because some things need to be said that aren't yet written and no one's gonna do the job for you, sir, you better get down in that dirt yourself. Down in the dirt. Writing a novel. Turning a trail. Sending [O Sweet Flowery Roses] some poems."
Angels and Arms
Oh my country
Come now
crawl those
two tied up legs
Hitch them
to my breast.
Those tombs for eyes
Rest them.
The grave of my hollow chest
bears you,
-the mountainous cradle-
that Bore
Because I see you
Hiding. In my bed clothes.
Gagged, as I,
with a mouthful of
cloaked in enamel
and blood,
I hear your gurgling outcry
at night.
Oh my country,
Once you sang me lullabies.
Have you abandoned
your children
Because God abandoned you?

Not long ago I
saw Angels in your arms,
But now,
far as a I travel,
long as I walk,
heavy as I dream,
I see neither Angels
nor arms.
I haven’t gazed
upward since
I died.
Have you?
Speak to me.
I know I am deserving, I but, one, and many.
Because I caught the Northern train’s
whistling sigh and
sealed it in a bottle,
Because I left your boots
out to dry on the wrong
side of the River and
returned to right the error,
Because I drove the county lines
of New Mexico before
settling down in Memphis,
Because I prayed until my
words repeated and my palms
burned, dry as my mouth,
Because I saw American naked.
On accident. And apologized
Because I respected your cry
for privacy “No Girls Allowed”
And kept good faith and humor,
Because I loved you when others scoffed with money-
filled bellies,
Because I loved you when my
Father walked a bloody
trail back to Europe and
damned your very soil,
Because I loved you when I
did not love myself
or men or murder or making
love and making money,
Because I swore all over you,
considering your borders
the very chapters of
a child’s Bible,
Because I fled to New York
City to smear your good
name clear across
Eastern faces no matter
how cold or lifeless,
Because I had no God but
called you God and
worshipped from the pews
of my vermine-infested
Brooklyn apartment, smiling
over hellhound neighbors,
swearing you would show up,
But Jesus let go your
shaking hand and you,
so eager to prophesize,
behaved strangely when I
“But can’t we hold the
world up with rocky hills
and agitated youths and
beautiful melodies and
pregnant mothers and
Masters of Ink and oceanic greatness
even without the Holy God who
gave us up?”
We haven’t spoken since and I
can’t say I know why.
I’ve since taken to
looking for you
the Super Market, hospital, newly
renovated elementary school, laundry
mat, Washington Square Park who
itself lies sadly broken.
Who in their right mind allows a
protest against God to ramble, cowboy-
legged, rattling across the nation
awaiting accusation? Who in their right
mind? Thank God I’m not.
This raving bursts a vessel.

I got the blues, America.
But enough said. Enough about me. What I’m asking now is:
How are you?
We Long Lost Things
Women cried out
with their
Mother’s wails of
unbridled affection and
Barking to the New York
“our Hearts lay
battered and
burned up!” in
Empty gutters,
pollution and
Leaning their fingertips
toward Heaven,
droning prayers of
Godly relief and
but, Silenced.
by Duty, and
no congratulations spoken
on this wordless wind,
(whose Abandon
chilled us with
the solitary strain of
weaving Nurture from this
ripping thread
of girlish
We get The unholy Truth:
Our discovery, and
Feminine Reckoning
with this spot of soil
Standing! in sightless
of a Partner...
Nothing but strength sewn
atop our breasts,
mumbled in an afterthought at
ill lit
festivals commemorating
our partings
our flight from this
earthly land
of Hunger.
and leaving humble traces of
Oh we could laugh,
-spark a pretty fire
with the winter air-
that gleamed and
threw back our lonesome childhoods
by the fistful
in brave attempts at
Contrivance, seeming happy so
and never
Women should [only] smile
But all those uncharted
waves of sorrow
would soon swing their
muddy tides- greedy, horrid
and poison-mouthed-
to sail us back
to Satan
betwixt the ruddy undertow
and noose of seaweed-
fragile hands Stressed! with
age and galled by hellish grip
to Fight
the tempting tenor of
in dark water,
So we would claw at
as through feverish
Hallucination, demented by
But knew always
no cradle
or chest called Home
to tend our sunken bosoms
and sore eyelids,
bent with the
Heartbreak of all humanity, And
We were Strong,
We were Everlasting,
We were Holy, coveted and
Craved as
rare crystals- unearthed and cleaned
by Man’s passing curiosity-

But Lingered
full of Quiet tidings
spurned by
the ingurgitate Love
(we violently required
to preserve our virginal robes)-
to Remain
Whole and
Beautiful and
As long lost women always should be.
Empty-Bellied Trumpets
Empty-bellied trumpets
blare a melody
fit for fistfuls
Bound there
by the murky
Blood shot
Organ, cradled in his eyelids.
Because he does not sleep.
But runs
with nightmares
At a pace of
Steads and Chariots
For whom does he wait?
-that restless trembling
Steadfast now
From a thousand years alone.
by the water,
I offered him my pale,
With a smile did he answer,
a soft touch
at the
Bed of Leaves
within my hair,
But turned
And did not take it.
Submerging my
I called beneath
The Rippling
magnets of Brooks and Streams
Thinking he would hear me better there.
he retrieved me
Held my bones with blistered hands
But let me loose.
In his tattered coat
an engine turned
Behind a gate
of straight-faced
Buttons, laced
To keep me out.
I plucked a thread,
from his lapel, and
Borrowing what I’d seen,
I made a quilt from my mouth.
A kingdom stitched
To Secrecy
Warmed my tongue, then
Enough to keep in silence.
-Never to sound out my
Whistles for
His empty-bellied trumpets
-My head bowed near the buckets,
and, wordless by the baleful,
To watch
with Grave Respect
for Whomever it is he waits.
(Though always sorry
In fits and starts
For my bugles,
heavy with song,
For keeping quiet.)