I Am a Natural Wonder
L i ly L a d e w i g a n d A n n e C e c e l i a H o l m e s
blue hour press 2010
Many thanks to editors of Artifice Magazine, GlitterPony, Jellyfish Magazine, Poets for Living Waters, Saltgrass Journal, and Softblow for publishing versions of these poems. Blue Hour Press • 1526 Kentucky St • Lawrence KS 66044 www.bluehourpress.com • firstname.lastname@example.org © 2011 Anne Holmes and Lily Ladewig. All rights reserved.
Banish Air from Air — Divide Light if you dare — Emily Dickinson
I Am A Natural Wonder When spring comes it is me at the front lines. It is me vibrating all over your back yard. Some say you can feel me coming months ahead of schedule, but surprise: Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been here all along. You can tell by the way your plants are creaking, by my small gold body bursting into light.
I Am A Natural Wonder Watch me be so atomic with these handfuls. I’ll put some history into it. I’ll offer you the tip of it. When I say this is all polar I mean I squashed the real live giants. That you’ll think to grieve when we are now in space. That there is no way to stop this half flood. This flowering old man in a fountain. I’ll split it all right into tenths, then leave.
I Am A Natural Wonder I am all about the costume changes. From the waist down a sandstorm. Back muscles are made to be moved. The ripples to look like creases in blue cloth. Everyday I wear my ex-loverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s boxers. I see what you are doing here. You are wrapping me in packing tape. The containment is discrete. I inhabit the apartment. I inhabit all the apartments.
I Am A Natural Wonder There is an occasion in which I rearrange. There is a saying that stuffing fur into everything has its penance. I’m doing a bronze pour over all my best features and you can’t tell me the places to be subtle. At the neck is where I make the shortcut. In binoculars I’m always waving from the tiny end.
I Am A Natural Wonder And on a similar note I am up to the attic in strides. I am putting on these belts all loose. I am suspecting to open space is a trick. I promise in the morning I will appear as if from a thicket. I will say how the house is elevated. How I can think split-level like Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m trained for it. So many closets I am up to my neck in.
I Am A Natural Wonder You are seeing me like a new being. My arms protracting to angles of cloud matter. This requires talent. An aviator on solid ground still floats and, moving with purpose, I too deactivate. All laws of geometry apply. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m looking up all wrong. Such mistaken eye-contact: the edible flambĂŠ of morning. Haters watch your backs. That scalding feeling on the roof of your mouth was no illusion. There are things you cannot learn from books.
I Am A Natural Wonder I turn the seasons backwards and after only a few years nobody can tell the difference. Instead of boring you with the new leaf patterns I’ll just say “reverse snowfall” and you can infer the rest. Now weather bores me. I spend my days practicing a new way to sign my name. I use cities.
I Am A Natural Wonder With my brain I find you in the soundest chair. This is a strange configuration. This is not the type of thing I am after. I see you fully slouched and for once I am glad to be here. I have all these dimensions to keep up and in the meantime nowhere to prop you. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s this warbling in my head. I am full of giant charm but god please get this montage out.
I Am A Natural Wonder This time I am most comfortable with the planets as they are. I have lingered above it all and I am ready to teach something big. First I will ask, where are you now? Have you seen the way I am rotating here? In my mouth are reminders of the places Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve let go. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to tell you this without a face to consider. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard to tell but I can bare my teeth on every playground in the universe.
I Am A Natural Wonder Coming at you like a slew of movie trailers. Attractions. Lately my biggest accomplishment is looking so human. I do what most girls do— stop shaving just above the knee —but my eyes see the multitude of your faces. On Tuesdays I like to peel my skin back a little and sometimes there’s ink underneath.
I Am A Natural Wonder Explosion. Now pick the pieces up. Somebody said I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t give you anything but love, baby, but now I give you the softness of the air pillowing around its heat. Wind is created by warm patches sucked up by the cold. You were created to be careful. You tried clipping the wires. You tried not to detonate it.
I Am A Natural Wonder Time is for crying about. I am for the slightest pyramid built out of neighbors, the face I have drawn that is now in fashion. Imagine me a nose that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist. Pitch me a question that has always been certain. I know all the means to flip a switch and never come out altered. The way I am blinking says enough.
I Am A Natural Wonder Because I am so beautiful I see the world differently. Trees are brighter. I can cross rivers without getting wet. I am so far from blind. I see every color. On good days I see peopleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hearts beating under their shirts. The quality of light is always fluorescent but never vibrating. My good looks donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t affect my taste buds. I taste ham sandwiches the same way that you do.
I Am A Natural Wonder Where there is wetsuit attraction is where I go. When I am singing to the showers there is no stopping it. I swear once in your town I appeared as if by wave. I powered your well. I jarred every ounce I could touch. Now I know about conversion, about which of me is best. All night I have been swamping with these legs full of glint.
I Am A Natural Wonder and it’s baby time. In the Midwest the mothers are young. Their blonde daughters are there to match. They know something about football. Fathers forget their motorcycle helmets on the kitchen counter. I pour out of the faucets tasting metallic. We scream our baby screams. They call this “prairiestyle”, not an ounce of cellulite on it.
I Am A Natural Wonder This bathtub isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t a place to make home but you can sure cradle me in it. You can scrub my shoulders for hours. On holy holidays, all the piggyback rides you can take. Do you understand how habitable I am? Do you know how to build a room? Watch me. I fold hospital corners into everything.
I Am A Natural Wonder Embodiment is a luxury but it will keep you up at night. Pouring myself into blue jeans to fit in. Expanding my arms like a scarecrow. I would rather turn this waterfall into a burlesque show. I would rather be doing anything other than flapping these wings at you. Go ahead. Try to point this arrow at my heart before I disappear on you and you can smell me everywhere.
I Am A Natural Wonder This year Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m available in extraordinary varieties. Sometimes my hands are plastered to my hips, other days my hair is the fiercest crimson. And just in time for the holidays. Advertisers had a field day. I was given away as many gifts. Soon they were imbedding magnets in my skin to keep me upright. I started moving with the seasons. Then I was moving on my own.
I Am A Natural Wonder Therefore I fear nothing. Do not write poems about nightlights. Sit in turrets playing sticky catâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s cradle with spider webs. Staircases pulling at ghosts like magnets. When I wrap around the comet it becomes the Great Comet and retains itself on my skin. Behold, the glimmer burnt into all points of contact, dyingout the way of the Shaker.
I Am A Natural Wonder Kissing cousins never had it so good. Bats caught in the force field of my invisible hair. I had night vision from too much bat blood in my eyes. Point me in the direction of your existence and Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll power the all-night generators. A sustained flirtation never hurt so bad. So I say I like you like I mean it and this creates the friction you require. All the weather gone out the window.
I Am A Natural Wonder Now I am just the phrase you think in between thoughts. A gigantic machine privately whirring. When I am in a parking lot there is an overflow feeling, my ribs swarming so hard I barely echo. Look at me wrangling here like this. If you are thinking about time pockets I am the one swelling in the corner.
I Am A Natural Wonder I wear my birthright just so. Here are my bestsellers I’ve stacked them high. Here’s the situation: there are crossword puzzles in your pockets, there isn’t a ring on any finger, and New England all around us. I literally stole a page from your notebook to sleep with your handwriting, the sloping. The hem of the mountains a real purple like the meat inside my stomach. We’re still our own two bodies, living things living at night.
I Am A Natural Wonder In the end there will be taxi drivers. I can’t tell you the face I’ll have when emulating the parade but it will be like the first days. I most resembled a pedestrian. I have a picture of it ready so you know I’m the purebred. I am dredging for my head again. Of a million backseats I’m the one filled up to here with swimming motions.
This book was designed by Justin Runge for Blue Hour Press, printed digitally, and distributed online. The bold font of News Gothic, designed by Morris Fuller Benton, is used for the titles, and the text is set in Adobe Garamond, a variant of Claude Garamondâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s renowned typeface.