Natasha Burge is a Puschart Prize and Best of the Net nominated writer
from the Arabian Gulf. Previously the writer-in-residence of the Qal'at al
Bahrain Museum, she is currently pursuing a PhD and working on a novel.
Her work can be found in The Smart Set, Roads & Kingdoms, Tinderbox
Poetry Journal, Syntax & Salt, and Forge Literary Magazine, among others.
I think of six new streets before breakfast. The earth is a grandee and some of us live here. Be my mind, be still my mind. Catch up with me. Lark for tongues and the taste of bark. A body pressed to wood. I took this from a miser, this coil of an eon. Mind your footfalls when we climb the leaves, this is a way to fall. Dumb heaven has arrived. I snake your chin. I am still thinking of the streets and the shops on the streets and the pour of people from former bodies who are also on the streets. A riptide awakening, that is all. Steal a shovel and dig. Line a casket with patience. The division between wet and dry is new. It alone understands. Water from skin to air and yes, this is a communion. A damp collar and a tongue for the damp collar. It is every boy ever. The frequency of concentration, the reason for these tremors. I will clap and sniff and blink. You pour laban over ice. We is the way to explain because agreement. The ravish of regret. Steal me. The rhythm is the heartbeat not the mind. Bigger. Aliens. Steel from stars. A slat for seeing. I peer. Gone. Testament from the before times, before I made a worried thought. She is still wet. She is half wet and half dry. It is a comedy for only her. She will do it again. I will do it again. I will clap and sniff and blink. Barks that are not dogs. That is me. I can voice the cats. A string of syllables that spoil the air. The air is getting wet. It is a change for the skin. The skin of my arms is waiting. It is something to anticipate. I have found too many streets and these streets and pouring people. I am already who they were. It is not rhythm, it is a vision. Eyes can pump blood as well as stones. It is in your hand. I am concentrating. It is not ready for explaining. It is the way you sip your drink. My stolen youth had a border around it. Steal another shovel and bury. It is the body of man who was a dog. This week I learned to void. Still I string syllables for the cat. Every boy knows the damp. Awake and wait for aliens. Steel and slats and the wet that dries. Slowly. A shudder beneath clapping. Shake our hands. Lift up the mission. A pool for feet. I will clap and sniff and blink. I voice a tongue that tastes of bark. I voice a body pressed to wood. Dumb heaven for right now. A snake on your chin. In the street I find the rhythm. A pour of caskets. Dead is not dead but only gone. I peer. A slat for stealing. Explain the argument you made over me. I find no difference in the skin, wet or dry, all is motion. It is the streets and the understand. Barks for testaments and strings. Who they were in a vision for stones. The hand to explain. I do it up again.
A House with No Rooms is a Catalogue of Madness
A house with no rooms is a catalogue of madness,
each labor hidden beneath a rug of empty hands.
We agreed that variant formations were the future
and enshrined the majlis with small porticoes to furnish
with the lie of children. We glutted ourselves on the uneven
dispensation of nature's largesse, torpid with nostalgia
for more definite times. We purloined grifters to track
deformity and tell us the lie that wedded bedspreads
harbor clots that blood the chimney. Our only mirror
was fogged by a nimbus of prayer.
You cobbled together a table made of pills and declared
there would be no convolutions—that predictability
would render the egg astonished. But every broken
door was a handbook of judgement as even the
unwashed floors mimicked the slur of my vowels.
Final betrayal of inner tides and the cruel fiction of bone:
forward movement does not always beget a startling newness.
Now, every thought is a parcel of marbles. Nameless
days lift from lamping moths and settle in the knowledge
that there will be no becoming. Symptoms still line the
walls of our hallways, though, framed and peculiar, words
like felt and tongue and syringe, words like skull and drought
and coil, phrases that echo in bold with recursive desire.
And over the sink the cabinet is full of their little faces.
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