by Maya Owen
[…] accumulates where the voice demurs, rescinds its music. Where the body admonishes the body. The banality of corsetry, crinolines of the unspent verbs. Sophia says you can cut bread with the word knife. I believe it; I’ve chiseled an eyelet out of as little. And would you believe? in the future, every heart ajar. Keyholes engorged and disclosing their clandestine board meetings. As women know: the grotesque is tolerable, the tolerable grotesque.
[…] including the madness of hope, whose poison proliferates dreaming. A vision or two, in the thin season. There’s a kind of translucence peculiar not to the seen, but the seer. And what is the work of women and seers? To tend the world’s wounded knowledge. Who believes us? and who is believed? Our resistance—to unmake a snag of the heart.
[…] is all, now, that remembers our mothers. Whose history succumbs to concealing strata—ochre, paper, ash. And how can we know who has mothered us? We are the exact size. And shape of her grief.
[…] incriminates its remedies. But what then? at the end of the ordinary assuagements. Raise your hand if you genuflect to a soluble pantheon when your diminishing returns. Though it’s not the cold unpronounceable book, nor lozenge-haze, nor the cud of their fatted minds we prefer—it’s this. The poem’s applied psychosis. And anyway, to what did all our effacing amount but a crass motif, gesturing unsubtly to the larger themes? our shared obsession with enclosures and wings.
[…] bewilders the sane. I’ve milked this, of course, for permission—been brazen. But lately, I obfuscate only in order to speak of the dead—who begrudge their disclosure; flinch at the brightness of air, the gaucherie of the living: their hungers and flamboyances. Whose chafed shards of speech and listening are sea glass, ransomed back to us for touchstones. And who dissemble like the shadows of branches that moonlight tattoos on an attic wall when asked what it’s like. But then, who’d believe them? and who’d be believed?
[…] is a history of women and gloves: glove of their sex, glove of bad medicine, gloved voices, gloved verbs. It’s women I love most, ungloved, women—some membrane broken when we fuck. And when we sing.
[…] or at last, an honest hagiography? It’s not suffering that beatifies, but beauty, and leveraging the one for the other. Not only gods mete out stigmata. There are those for whom a trumpet of human bone is a sacred thing—think femur, think knife, yes. But the crude parts come holy, they say, when it’s hewn from a jagged, a difficult quality of life, and of death, and the song suffused—listen. I believe it; what else are we for? if not finding a use. And a music for this. And everything’s grief.
Maya Owen writes and sings, mostly. Her poems appear elsewhere including Muzzle, Rattle, and Glass, and have received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net Anthology. She studies at Goldsmiths, University of London, and is on staff at Monstering, a magazine by and for disabled womxn.