Statement of Record

3 POEMS / BELEW

3
By Kate Belew

Beartrap Bipolar

I hesitate bipolar. Just outside its whiplash pendulum,

hunting knife on wrist to head out the window howling at the moon, whole.

Was I hunted or the hunter? The fox inside

myself? Or just trying to kill a ribcage Vixen? She claws

those bones. I have this bear trap on my foot.

It doesn’t discriminate by body shape. But then I reached

in my jaws and found bear teeth, gnashing. Looked in the mirror

to see only fear. If I really wanted to leave enough, I would, which puzzles me.

Thought lying facedown in a rainstorm would be enough. I bring my head up

from the mud to find only a lack of self-control. There are so many things I wish

I could take back as my own. Thin folds of skin, more fingers than ten.

Canine incisors from my past stole my smoothness like spoons with teeth. Saw my wild

carved out and shuddered. There are so many selves that I can’t seem to stay one.

I would swallow the ocean if I could, if it wasn’t already in my body somewhere.

If I wasn’t already either hitting my head against the wall,

Or singing.

Chach

M16a4 Service Rifle

-Order of Operations 

Firing, Unlocking, Extracting, Ejecting, Cocking, Feeding, Chambering, Locking

[Charging Handle]

We fire our way up. To the bottom

of mattress love, of  bullet lips,

and my hips, and his eyes,

and his eyelashes.

Charge me up, buttercup.

[Forward Assist]

Grab hands and pull, calloused

from one too many shots

of automatic fire. Let me take

a shot at him. And we laugh, and we

laugh, and we laugh, but his eyes are different.

[Pistol Grip]

Hair on my scalp stands on end

by the force of his hands, makes

me look him in the eye, and then unlocks

his grip. Who can hold on tighter

to the other’s skin? Doesn’t mean

he won’t leave.

[Fire Selection Lever]

Semi-automatic. Sweet and sticky

like syrup. French toast, French kiss me.

I mess up his sheets.

What’s the difference right now? It’s all sweet

like powdered sugar, and dangerous.

[Compensator]

Pause and then dive in, drown

in jungles of Vietnam, sands of Iraq.

Assault rifle he assaults me well.

Steel, alloy, his steely hands know me,

and I steel myself for the fall.

[Brass Deflector]

High velocity impact like nails around

my soft waist. Soft feathers on air

flew out of the pillow like rapid fire

that sears the air with its honesty.

The extracton.

He deflects my questions

about him losing sleep.

[Chamber]

Inhumane damage would make

me unable to love somebody

else the same way I love him. Broken

the way a bone is. He breaks me beautifully,

and I ask for seconds.

[Buffer]

Barrel of the gun to my temple,

I’ll do anything for him. So hot

like no sex after seven months.

So hot like the smoking gun of nighttime.

[Buffer Spring]

Recoil from the kickback.

Eject.

Love is two sided, looked

at from behind or in front of the muzzle.

We both have things to lose in the aftermath

[Magazine Well]

Devastating love, doesn’t

like it when I touch him when he sleeps.

I bite at his skin, and sing AC/DC.

He dreams of losing his rifle.

[Bolt]

Because, I don’t take no for an answer.

Bold, I was raised well. Strong one

with his shoulders like thick branches

from a tree, hold me up and hide

me from our tangled questions.

[RCO]

Impeccable aim. No where to hide

from the snipers of unrequited love.

I was quiet when I shouldn’t have been,

and I screamed when his parents were downstairs.

I couldn’t help it. It felt good.

[Rail System]

Spring and recoil.

Cocking back.

Hot enough to melt flesh. So, do it.

I dare him. Bruise my ribs with gun

hands. M-16 loving is for the brave.

[Front Site Assembly]

Enhanced grip, better than other

weapons. Sex always wins,

and sex always sells. The hot commodity

for the holidays this year.

I just want him to come home

for Christmas.

[Bayonet Stud]

Piercing tongues, piercing bullets.

Piercing firecrackers on the Fourth.

Feeding

that makes him flinch, and then fuck

fuck, fuck this night time, cold for July.

[Bolt Release]

Swan necks fragile.

Weaponry of the tongue.

He whispers dust into my ear.

Moan in return. Everything to dust

is what I want.

[Magazine Release]

Firepower is what they don’t understand,

like music to our ears. The way to come

home. Fall asleep too early. Six am, kiss

my shoulders while sunlight shows

the dust in the air, a soon empty room.

[Upper Receiver]

Biting lips is sexy. Good-bye sex is sexy.

Airports, they aren’t sexy. Tears

in fucked up hair isn’t sexy. Glances linger

in the air like gas fumes.

Don’t forget your gun, son.

[Trigger Guard]

Hands right here and we forget it.

Chamber our thoughts.

Stand under summer trees, somewhere

else. Lay me down in a field and it’s hips on hips.

We dip together out of sight. Kiss my memory.

Sigh. I’ll stay here even when he leaves.

[Trigger]

I’ll mess with my memories tomorrow.

forget about last night today, doesn’t matter

what the countdown is. I can almost count

the days left on my empty hands.

Locking.

Hands on the trigger.

When he kisses me. He doesn’t miss.

Greta Garbo 

I used to be like Greta Garbo and now I’m not.

Lost my flair for acting and I got hooked off

stage. When Greta talks and she says “Gimme a whiskey,

ginger ale on the side, and don’t be stingy, baby.”

Then what do I say? I never had the knack for memorizing

my lines. Getting cues. I say god damn, give me back the stuff

under my fingernails and my tequila bottle

full of flowers. They make me happy.  My voice is gone,

swallowed by black and white film. It’s harder to write

than to smile, audibly. I turned the noise off on the cable

box of my brain. If I have to make a deal

with the devil of fame, it wouldn’t be for this, no.

It would be for silence and make up remover.

Though I hate to ruin Flapper girl style, pseudo independence.

I can’t apologize for my curves. At what point are we the same

again for entertainment purposes? At what point do we take

it too far in combining ourselves?

Hey Greta, I’ll have one of those too. One of those

whiskey and ginger ales, I’ll have some alone time, I’ll have one

of those wasted lives on the side. I’ll fake a legend’s smile

for one of those wasted lives, hold the Hollywood dream.

Hold whoever keeps that hook threatening at the end of the stage

like a weapon, curved end like a shepherd, like death coming

to collect. Hold them, hold them, hold them,

and then let them go.

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