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Some of these poems have appeared in Blazevox, Otoliths, and Listenlight. BLUE HOUR PRESS • 1526 KENTUCKY ST • LAWRENCE KS 66044 • © 2010 Letitia Trent. All rights reserved.

TAB L E OF C ON TE N TS Blue Velvet 7 Picnic at Hanging Rock 8 Baby Doll 9 Picnic at Hanging Rock 10 The Dreamers 12 The Innocents 13 Shivers 15 Dangerous Liaisons 16 Kairo 18 Picnic at Hanging Rock 20 The Dreamers 21 Kairo 22 Mullholland Drive 23 Secretary 25 Hellraiser 27 Lost Highway 30

BL UE V E LVE T (D IR . D AVID LY N C H , 1986) Slowly, we come up out of a bullet hole. It’s Jeffrey’s eye. Dorothy’s apartment is GETTING DARK. The MUSIC is breathing very high and around and starts taking off her dress. She takes the record off. We are detectives in the texture of her breasts. Slowly, we come up out of her music. It is GETTING DARKER in her dress and she takes the record off. She says I sometimes get so mixed up. Jeffrey’s eye is the texture of shock. Very sweet MUSIC becomes fainter as if in front of the sprinklers. Slowly, we come up out of Jeffrey’s jacket pocket. I get mixed up when I see her float up to the ceiling, waiting. He touches her stomach; it is filled with helium. The record plays YOUR PRECIOUS LOVE. She is in her panties. She takes the record off. She is turning. She starts taking off her dress. She keeps her body in the light as it floats down from the ceiling.


P ICN I C AT H A N G IN G R O C K (D IR . P ETER WEI R, 1975) Did I mention the boys as the girls undone? Boys watched the tidy, final beauties straddle the river. They watched a sickly girl run. Watched one in glasses utter lace and sickness. She hides. She collapses. Up stockings their bodies are made painful about desire. Pitches of a poem release distance, loose thoughts. But later, that girl was found by the taller watching boy. Let them cross.


BAB Y DO L L ( DIR . E LIA K AZ AN , 1956) We got a lovely rococo frame for her in hair ribbons: doesn’t she laugh so heavenly? There in her marriage house the film leaves holes--each leaf-littered childlike moment, the sexiest cinema thumbsucking. We got a lovely rococo frame for her to be the one who desires. There’s just something about a child when tickled, a pencil mustache, like a hole punching through 1956. A lovely rococo frame for her crib, so glad desiring. Desire sweeps up the rafters in heroine disorder and what the body wants, the body wants her desirable in his lips. There was just something about that child. It is possible for me to cry before a photograph of just her window.


P ICN I C AT H A N G IN G R O C K (D IR . P ETER WEI R, 1975) The ones who came back were still intact. The girls had left in bridal dresses, lace wings on their shoulders. They read poems. They uttered oracles. Their soft bodies made a drupe around the rock. They went up and up, stockings undone. The first survivor was fat, a whiner, and the elements queased her like Marsala on an empty stomach. She rolled in the weeds as they uttered the tidy, final couplets of a poem about desire. Did I mention that two boys watched the girls cross a small, spontaneous stream of runoff? They noted one’s sweet face, the other’s good shape beneath the wings and lace. Only the sickly one ran down the rock, the ankle roll path, and back


to where the others napped, their hands pillows under their loose hair. One lost girl was found again, a blow to the head, her nails torn clean away. But she, too, was intact. Only her corset lost, along with the angel-faced Miranda and the serious one in glasses. The rock is semaphore. It utters painful pitches. It collapses distance. It hides crevices and chambers, drops and croppings, all of the multiple points of penetration. It utters lace, sunsets, girls, and sickness. It looses thoughts in the boys as the girls straddle the river. One of its larger mouths still releases several varieties of snake and lizard.


T HE DR E AM E RS (D IR . B E R N AR D O BERTOLUCCI , 2003) We want inside them brother and sister good skin and a punctuating angel boy lipped as any innocent all crumbling beautifully we settle for mumbles and fuzz in the theater whirs


the cracked eggshell edge blood against her lips smokes over dishes hard clicking kisses Shadows move drunk in and out of arguments we inhale the girl’s throat the made bed her sweet flower belly up her eyes


you aren’t in this movie


sleep sorry

T HE I NN O C E N TS (D IR . JAC K C LAYT ON, 1961) 1. I love children, love the sylvan steps it takes to reach them, love how they hide and I must find them Don’t be afraid this is heaven for children Don’t be afraid. Big rooms get bigger at night—you look into the dark your eyes open to it fill with damp wind leaf shifts the odor of flowers depetaling on every reflective mantle 2. The boy’s tear reflects my face The girl is just heaven, heaven in a fine-spun skirt the girl hums a tune for dancing the boy’s covered in pigeons but how they loved their formers, a man wicked in his drink, wire-haired, and the woman who still follows the man’s long shadow


hungry even in death for the weight of his hand 3. The children are clean, sweet vessels for vinegar wine gloves to cover the blood on the hands that touch them And imagine what they’ve seen, eyes open to the dark minds bent as a dead dove’s neck


S HIV E RS ( D I R . D AVID C R O N E N B U R G, 1980) You think I find myself making love beautifully, then untangle my legs, spit the blood from my mouth, and sit down again in the glare of the kitchen.   You think, before long, doubts begin to crowd my throat.   That isn’t how it feels at all.   I consented to appear before the doctor. He examined inside my ear, my abdomen. He could not catch the wriggling thing. It bit.   Listen, I said, putting his whole ear inside my mouth. I’ve got something to tell you. Breathing is erotic. Dying is erotic. He listened without comment. Breathing, I added, is an act of thankfulness. He said nothing. By then, he was dying, and it was really moving, despite   all of his rifling in my hollows, despite all of the things he believed about me.


DA NG E RO U S L IA ISO N S (D IR . ST E P HEN FEARS, 1988) They powder their pinched breasts dead. Fingercurl the stiff wig. Hand-embroidered layers, fleshy ends of the ribbon-laced whalebone. Under the dead hair the layers of silk, the hip-cage, the body pinks and stranges—it’s a high-shelved book, the forbidden pamphlet’s mandrake sketch. It’s foreign and funny, this thing in silks and stays, its blood steaming, hidden, even as the fans flick, as the lady titters, as the dinner’s ladeled. Here, the villains paint their lips, pluck stray hairs. The victims wear their bodies free, advertise every vulgar pink and pale—


see their red tongues, their veins along the throat, their inner linens when their mouths go Oh? For the villains, the hidden body pales and wrinkles. Call the body the canvas, the furnace, the bones of the brute, many-windowed building. Part its reds and enter. The structure cannot know when one small, bricked room is burning.


KA IRO ( DI R . K IYO SH I K U R O SAWA , 2001) The fine-boned girls in ballet flats ride the subway alone, hugging their elbows in the women’s car as velvet and red as the inside of a mouth.   Their school skirts flair around their thighs. They arrange their shoulders in shy positions. In Kairo, young men and women shuffle around each other in small rooms, a flicking screen sending a weak   green haze over receipts, noodle boxes, bundles of ribbon. The rooms are bare and simple, by our knick-knack, poppy wallpaper, plaid-couch estimations. How do they know   each other? We ask, uncertain how to understand their relation. One girl folds her long legs under her thighs and waits for the television to erupt in static. One slips


a black bag over her head—it fits like tape on a spool. There is a ghost in my computer, the boy says, but he’s alone, in his room, and the telephone hisses. They come together in just one moment. The girls in sweet, flitting pastels gather around the boy’s screen. It’s a dim, coarse image, but we can just make out the edges: its them   looking into the screen, and on the screen, they’re looking into a screen, on and on until there are a thousand tiny men and women buried inside it.  


P ICN I C AT H A N G IN G R O C K (D IR . P ETER WEI R, 1975) Oracles. Their soft lace wings were still intact They read poems and sunsets. They uttered chambers and drops. One was lost down the rock. See the lizards and the serious bridal dresses. Those girls were lost, along with the blow to the head, their nails across their shoulders. Their mouths were left intact. And so the rock, the rolling path. Who came back? Pay attention. Their hands in pillow position were important semaphore.


T HE DR E AM E RS (D IR . B E R N AR D O BERTOLUCCI , 2003) They lean against the basin and yawn and bend. All’s soft in their lips—a little fat for words, obscene, blown up on the screen Nothing between their arms and each other, their bones and me. They lean into their shapes. Objects hang and pull, as if to escape. They fill the screen like women as they argue beautiful roles in the bathtub. Soap bubbles erupt when the girl enters, her bony elbows, the violin she walks in. Their words dissolve. The temperature dips. Her blood fills the basin.


KA IRO ( DI R . K IYO SH I K U R O SAWA , 2001) The fine-boned girls ride the sugar bowl alone, holding their sizzles in the women’s candy stick, as velvet and red as a mound of lilies. Their short slashes flair around their thickets.   For eleven thousand yesses, a man may enter and a young woman will stand, clutching the bat in her throat-buttoned blossom. For twelve, she’ll moan in alley cat.   I don’t understand their rickety-raw. Nobody kisses in grinding. All glad girls catch in lathers. Some are deadlights already, their pale skin thin over winter bonfires. A girl folds her small lemons under her thingamy and waits for the telophile to erupt in static. One slips a black bag over her heat seeking missile. There is a ghost in my compulsion, the boy says, but he’s alone in his room, and the tender button hisses. 22

M UL H O L L A N D D R IV E (D IR . D AVID LYNCH, 2001) 1. Betty has come here to be loved and cosmopolitan. Her phone rings in our dreams of lipstick and colors we associate with sex or the night, growing darker as the stars on Betty’s pink dresses. 2. The women in our dreams of lipstick are not the women who want to be mothers. The women who want to be mothers wear pink dresses. They head totter-heeled toward innocence in nude, pink lipstick. Who was that woman? I don’t remember. I only remember her entrance. 3. In films, red can mean the night’s tall palm trees. The woman who wears red gowns wants to be loved to feel an expanding room with studio lighting inside her.


4. Who is the heroine? Red is associated with assertion. The heroine, Rita, has permanent red lips. She leans into her name, which means red in cinema language. But it’s blood, too. A color you know that makes a color you have been. Her red phone rings in our dreams of women. A voice says that we are all red from the same terrible accident.


S ECRE TA RY ( DIR . STE P H E N SH AIN BERG, 2002) Eyes? Pink lids. Collapsed, shed snakeskins. He makes her fetch. She bends over wide. Makes her examine her mistakes. The double I in her type. She bends deep— rows of band-aid stripe. Something in his tamped eyes—dried petals—brights. She ties it in the bow around her throat. She throws her scalpels, razors and scissors into the river. Viewer, do you understand her, do you want to please him? It ends, piss on her dress, his we can’t do this forever. Her why not, her red hands on the desk until he comes. She remembers, rapture, how he tugged himself and stared, but refused to touch her. It ends in white, a run across the chemical lawn into his grim leathers. Viewer, I want to know, do you think Why Not? all in capitals,


Why Not? She takes his instructions, but tucks a bug in his tight, precise bed and little smiles. She sees— but we cannot!—the future: a calendar full of morning glory pinpricks, of petalmottled reds.


HE L L RA I S E R ( D IR . C LIVE B A R K E R , 1987) The itch of the clean, deep cut, the pause before it fills and spills down the river-pit grooves of my palm. It’s not that I like to do it to myself, but the body’s brick red bandage seals and smells like pennies, and I cannot help but pick it, the itch of healing hurts and delights, I’ve lifted the hatch and let the pressure go. It delights like the slight tear, a little pink pool left behind, passions proof


that the virgin had wedded truly to the good work of the body. The lover’s body is piston-perfect and classical, unified in one fine narrative. I have not fixed mine so singly. If his hidden pipes and chambers showed like an anatomy book diagram, like the high school textbook I scribbled L + Z in, would I want him anyway, would I want to help make him whole again? The turn of his sneer, his beer bottle throat across his thigh-he didn’t notice my lips reddened, my ribs unlaced and split the skin that held them. When he’s whole again, it might happen, his body


like a punch to the gut, just in moving across the carpet, Jesus, I want that slide of muscle under skin, that peculiar stiff-armed run. See the scene of consummation, candles and trappings, rain beating the window. I’d look out it, and finally not want to be outside where my body moves and speaks, I’d be right here, hands in his blood or mine or anyone’s.


L OST H I GH WAY (D IR . D AVID LY N C H, 1997) The marriage house is perforated. Call me on the telephone and I am inside it, watching you sleep in gritty video. Your wife’s black bangs hide her horse startled eye-roll when you ask her what she’s up to tonight. I cannot tell if you hate each other or are afraid of the answer. The marriage house looks like a punch card, all smooth and solid sixties interior design. She can be in bed, holding her heavy, lipsticked mouth, and at the same time in the bar on a man’s arm, money moving on her body. The marriage house is perforated by time. She called your name in the burning house— you remember it now—you were there in the bedroom but you would not respond you were in your underwear, the front pocket folded neatly over, and you would rather burn than join her. This was the last time: your wife’s eyes flared momentarily alive when she saw you they went as dead as you always did inside her. Do you remember? Don’t be upset, she said, her soothing blade side down. I’m used to it. I’m used to doing even this for you now.


This book was designed by Justin Runge for Blue Hour Press, printed digitally, and distributed online. The text is set in Bodoni, a didone moderne typeface first designed by Giambattista Bodoni.


A chapbook by Letitia Trent.

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