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12dresses poems & PHOTOS BY LAURA KELSEY

12dresses poems & PHOTOS BY LAURA KELSEY

digitally published by Šlaura kelsey november 2016 raw unedited dress photography taken in b.c. and original poetry written in a duncan forest this book is provided as a free download in hopes readers can donate items or funds to a local women’s centre or to The Shoebox Project for Shelters www.shoeboxproject.com

with thanks to M.H. for your care and support

dress1 a summer’s day and she’s swaying greyscale in the barn focusing the mind knowing the magic will happen she’s been there before so she sucks and she sucks thumbs or thoughts to push them to the front don’t ask if it’s there memories jostle for attention before the breakthrough breeze tickles the bottom hem over the hairy, swollen ankles of final farewells gone wrong a summer’s day a child held back in the hay with a shaking head

dress2 “but just look at the fabric” at the shop before Yale vultures shot over our heads in a sharp arrow now spiders suck mayfly cocktails around me open the window for them but they choose the web it came from St. John’s Street the day that Anna moved vivid red with Aztec eyes unworn and antique 11 giant birds riding the updraft naked pink heads scouting for carcasses along the Fraser, the valley

dress3 his stare made me cringe and his words made me gag “nipples - I can see your nipples” a baggy dress to hide a bad diet an attempt to blend not to attract “you look like a goddess in flowing blue” as I stood on the street, either side my large dog leashed a day on the wharf with an ex-lover who is trying to take me home posing pretty for the camera because I know I won’t go false passion on a stage of wood the gaps in the boards too slim for your ego so it stays and it bows to anything that will notice it

dress4 toenail polish to match the dress the package was returned, torn open too much in the envelope undeclared he had said the colour reminded him of me every stoplight, every sunset my hand on his shoulder he was in California for the summer and I was eager, waiting a naive lover not over 16 always returning the colour, unblemised I’m smiling in the sun on the lawn my feet are flexed toward the camera a toothless smirk reflects the light while you are having sex on the beach

dress5 what is clean? scrub all you want but have you changed the atoms the essence of a moment imprinted on a virgin cloak black with hate or wet with tears? here’s the wine, the constant stain seeping into the deepest recess of flesh and nudging it longfully with its hips knowing no matter what it will remain so what is the point? try as hard as you can but have you made progress a pointless monkey in a hologram black with hate or wet with tears? here’s your crime, your shocking sin that won’t let you start over again begging on its knees to let it in let your friends die because you don’t think you can handle it?

dress6 how many times has the kimono come up? always in water, red shades flowing waves and fabric toward the sea a gift from a suitor, with an invitation to Japan “never work again and have my babies� then it returned, in the closet, in photos the bow migrating around the house sandals still wrapped in plastic not worn in seriousness, in love the kimono drowned that day

dress7 photos in the ivy and now the memory defines me when it’s wine-coloured and available the stockings fit right in Angel humoured the experience before we parted ways the boots were from a stripper smooth vinyl glaring from beneath the strangled oak

dress8 you’ve been gone a while a mayfly resigned to a life behind glass trapped inside, diving into a web skipping the starving hours to accept a quick suspended death while I roll out my flesh, making your shape with a cookie cutter leaves plump and dry in the years past a poem denial drinks a naughty scorn too late as you decide whether to betray your cards or hold them *** totally relaxed I watch the canyon ebb and flow with the wind and the wine May 26, just after the full moon heifers enjoying the spring until their babies are taken away I look for a point to this project and see this dress without a form a remedy to what has been an offering to amend and be reborn

dress9 “who gives a fuck about Alfred Sung? a tag doesn’t buy you friends” an alterior motive that left a sour taste on all sides vanity, vengeance and vanquished confidence influenced the scene, bathtub next to the barn technology stepping into relationships like a bad drink on a good night polka dots shared on the lawn the Cariboo had us our boredom, bullied each other until betrayal had pushed us apart bras on the internet, stalkers in the trees there may never be apologies but hopefully we’ve all moved on

dress10 the woman I’ve always wanted to be wearing a plain black dress every day eating a simple meal strong above temptation open only to the arts giving back as much as possible while conjuring a positive life trusting each step to reach its kind destination as I absorb the present moon without reaching for the next gagging on reality a sated gullet dreaming peace living to create and offer aid unaware of judgement, anger or impatience I strive for a life of honest meaning

dress11 maybe it’s about wine nights alone transfixed on work satisfaction men offering you gems a chance between the high notes satisfaction every night at the theatre watch the show-within-a-show satisfaction freedom of expression the korkoro dancer satisfaction giant chimes hanging from the rafters colours beyond our perception satisfaction other souls to influence your design pain aplenty to feed the guilt clings to your bones satisfaction

dress12 supposedly I emerged from the tent taking the breath away before going underground the ceremony was loud, huffing berries and bark before vomiting in buckets later it fell to the earth before a bath of cedar and vision enduring the wood’s ether or curses before dancing in the hotroom *** sometimes with a shawl the dress vibrates a copper light before we know what’s next

laura kelsey is a former newspaper editor; and now a freelance writer, photographer and performer from vancouver british columbia. her poems have appeared in the new chief tongue, the carnegie and stew magazine.