Poetry from Frances Varian

 

Devotion

Frances Varian

For Dinah’s Christina Rossetti

There is a difference between kneeling and bowing
that has to do with endurance
You talk to God & swim in shadows

you say I believe

while catching snowflakes on your tongue
You recreate the watery communion for the others

My friend will quench the loneliness of
your mis-representation though she may seem an unlikely savior,
you are not the first stray she’s taken in

You could both slip quietly into the fold,
cover your slender shoulders and smile
You could both pretend that faith was more
dumbluck than educated guess

Yet you walk swiftly through
late November, with London’s ghosts
whispering in your ear, you imagine the snow falling,
all the water drops for your soul and yours alone

You will inherit the earth.
good luck with that

I love women who talk when no one is listening

la divina

Frances Varian

if you break
do it quietly so that no one hears you

no one comes running

be a small tear in a glass vase
cunningly invisible
until it implodes from the weight

of the holding of water and beautiful things

christ, if you break that way
imagine what they’ll say about you

regret the hours passed when you stood
empty and unnoticed

do not announce
do not indicate. She

walks in beauty
a weeping Madonna

and her sorrowful story line lifts her
like a beacon above

the choir of whores she keeps
confidence with

she’s got tunnel vision for the business &
a $75/hour ass to boot

she’s so sad you can’t help
but get hard

every time she walks by

& it’s not the sadness that’s got your hand
down your pants
it’s the way she holds it be-

cause it’s precious and she might
slip that pouting frown mouth over you
and suck the evil out
of your heart

leave you spent and empty and free    of your will

which has always been miserably mediocre    baby

it’s the way she holds herself
up around the hairline fracture down the center

the way muscle and tendon have adhered
to the split stupidly obedient science

she is a martyred saint voodoo priestess miracle
with her faith bunched around her ankles

picture perfect

mainlines God and the Devil on alternate days
Mom     Dad the custody battle

anything to hold
on cause she

knows    she’s gonna break &
she’ll be damned it you get her to howl


everyone I love has this
hard dirty cough like they could
push up the ugly and spit it back   where
it came from

but they are victims of gravity
and swallow back into them
the notion the poison and poor
folks are made for one another

I rock myself to sleep for this
and I rack my brain for the answers

to days that unravel like symptoms
in a Public Health clinic

begging for diagnosis
and no money for the medicine

everyone I love breaks down like a car
on the freeway going 70
break down that fast ain’t pretty,
No

the best mind of my generation
is not the best heart

and the hearts of my best loves
watch their cunts poison pumped
by the

unworthy

over & over & over again

she’s got you all jacked up on
possibility and redemption fucking fantasies

suddenly you know, you’d
kill to be the one

sucking the sweetness

making her 30 pieces of silver noose
and 2 air kisses for the trip

you say
fuck-doll
bim-bo
sing-song

like you’re waiting to hear

thank you

you’ve got your hands
down

your pants

precious

fluid pumped continuously through
the veins of the unworthy in-

to the mouth of the miracle worker
you’d turn on a
dime to break her ask
her for change when you’re done


All of my rosy people with
their candy cancer sticks and charming
refusal to drop dead

quietly

they march on

obedient as science
but far less ordered

the proletariat as phlegm in
the lungs of the master plan

I no longer believe in our salvation
welcome, true dawn of the revolution:

so sad you get hard every time

sacred

lullaby of the miracle worker her
heavenly chorus of

“cum on my face”

before this over you will
forever understand that
your redemption was purchased for

$75 and the sweetest ass this side of the
tracks

All of my people have been instructed
to break quietly    a

small tear in a glass vase
cunningly invisible until they implode
from the weight of the holding

I believe in one holy and apostolic church

Now Go Rebuild The World

Frances Varian was a member of Seattle’s National Poetry Slam team in 2000 and has subsequently performed on numerous stages across the country, including the Seattle Poetry Festival. At the September 2004 Bumbershoot Arts Festival, she debuted a feature-length, choreographed poem paying tribute to the victims of the Green River Killer. Her work appears in Without A Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Classtsunami, her independently published collection of poems, is available on franvarian.com [link defunct as of May 26, 2010]. She works as a queer/women’s health advocate in Seattle where she lives with her amazing sweetheart and three dysfunctional cats.

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