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WHITE WHALE REVIEW
Diane Raptosh
Diane Raptosh teaches literature and creative writing at The College of Idaho, where she also directs the program in Criminal Justice Studies. Her fourth and most recent book of poems, American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press), was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award. The poems published here are from a new manuscript tentatively called Torchie’s Book of Days, a book-length dramatic monologue. She lives with her family in Boise.
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Diane Raptosh

Jeez

 

 

I’m starting to back away
                                                    from the world slowly,

 

in order to become pure ear.
                                                           Air. A mule deer.  Maybe

 

Karen O. We are who we’ve been
                                                                    waiting for. What’s taking place

 

now is free of time—tents
                                                       quavering like moon jellies

 

in the L.A. sky.
                                 Heart’s mind says to itself

 

I am free to move about.
                                                    And also, I am afraid.

 

We cannot have any unmixed
                                                            emotions, says Yeats.

 

[....]


Diane Raptosh

And so, Readership,
                                            have a little faith.

 

You had me at hello.
                                           You have me

 

speaking fortune cookies. Jeez.                                       
                                                              Believe: Ours is the age

 

of pre-post-hope, and I frickin’ own
                                                                        this language. BTW, I love

 

the way you gloze this
                                                with those fingertip licks.


Diane Raptosh

[   ]

 

 

Since I continue to have you

under my auspices, hostages,

 

I’ll slip you this [  ] :

chi-squeeze, gut-clasp, hug for the horse forequarters

 

of the hippocampus.

Take it.  Sometimes you have to

 

close your mouth

to keep the heat inside but I am in the mood

 

for verb: quiet and wolf are a pair

of my favorite cross-dressers.

 

Life is too short to eat

what’s in you: heart

 

[....]


Diane Raptosh

cells titivate and renew

in time— thanks to small molecules

 

rousing them to. Men

have come and gone

 

but mites have hardly changed.

And might not

 

one’s separate quiet

dust up something like decency?

 

This world is gravid

with better lode, the way

 

that crack in Africa may coin

a new sea, the way beetles are born

 

in a nougat of mother-muck

then carry an armored suit

 


Diane Raptosh

made of the stuff, brindled

as magnified sand. Thinking thinks it’s

 

aided by the shoulders’

sloping closer

 

to the brain.  And now

that word shoulder

 

wants to turn

suddenly strange:  ou grim humerus,

 

dread’s knapsack,

florid hump-backed fly—

 

Is there anybody there?


Diane Raptosh

Simmer

 

 

Today is the first day of summer.
          I first entered simmer.

 

As we speak, I am writing this quote:
          Women are the less

 

monogamous gender, more
          carnal-anarchic than men.

 

Science says.
          It strapped these girls

 

to a plethysmograph  and taped

 

some measures. The sight
          of strangers, either sex,

 

stirred eight times more blood
          than a beloved. 

 

[....]


Diane Raptosh

A t = 0 the universe
          unfolded. Before the printing press

 

Beauty threw on and off a grab bag
          of gowns made of mayhem’s

 

alphabet:   beauitye,  bewtee,
          beaute,  buute, and  beaultye  are but a few

 

she finally let dangle over

 

what I’ll call here her pedestool.
          I have a fallen ligament in my pinkie

 

doctors tagged swan neck deformity
          The third man I left

 

dubbed the tub drain-catch
          the pubic library.

 

We laughed about that as we lay on a knoll
          one day and watched a cloud-clod

 

[....]

 


Diane Raptosh

leave its mark upon the world.
          How a part so fine as swan décolletage

 

can spell disfigurement   
          is past me, but I am

 

what one might call
          a flame fatale. We ourselves

 

are only 1/10th human—
          ten microbiota for every cell

 

in our physiques. I love the soft-fuzzed
          Latin word for nose holes:

 

nares. I, too, like it
          when people call the eye naked. What

 

are you looking at? You bet
          I’d take it straight in the ear from a swan.

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Diane Raptosh. White Whale Review, issue 6.1


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