catharine bliss

As far as I know
Slow cars sound like  
someone following  
me;  
  
I learn to breathe in  
an air thats smoggy,  
not mine,  
and believe in a world of  
terror, not mine.  
  
I need to be outside (walk  
on water, count down the   
streets, don’t blink).  
  
Tall grasses make  
wandering difficult  
when every living thing  
turns to sniff.  
  
(Fuchsia, lavender, periwinkle,  
means you can rest assured.)  
  
As far as I know,  
the passing is not wide enough  
to cross  
(yet).
Absurd reasoning
Meaning is lapis lazuli
these days,
not quite enough for me
to risk my life.

I went to the well today
just to feel unwell.
In order for no one to hear me,
I buried my mouth underground.

The world is way too big
for me to not slip through its fissures,
I drown and disappear
underneath its weight.

Misery is a large enough price
to pay for a chance of joy,
the mountain of rock towers over
the mound of green.

Meanwhile I’ve blocked out the sun
with my own stormcloud clothing,
and there is yet anything better than gold,
or more precious than diamond.
a prayer
awaken my heart,
i don't know what peace is yet.

what would it be like for the ants to crawl over me, 
make me their own,
their home? 

awaken, my heart, 
unsettle out of your fear-induced lethargy, 
you don’t know what peace is yet, 
you only know the taste of hope-filled solitude. 

heading in one direction, i ended up in another; 
sights set on safety, i missed the rich soil of affection. 

in health i have forgotten the feeling of being lost, 
the ants up and down my skin i welcomed. 

awaken my heart.
Death of a quiet saturday
Were you just something to hold onto
while I waited for the clouds to pass?

I want to raise a family
in a white-walled house,
with a piano;
I want to wake up to quiet saturdays;
I want to make my own peace.

But seasons pass
no matter how tightly I hold your arm.

I don’t want a coffin life
or a fixed minute in time.
The clock my grandmother made me
hangs blue and still
in a place I abandoned years ago.

If I wiggle my roots down here,
it will become the 
loneliest forest in the world.

And what do I expect of love?

What will move time forward,
not forgetting to take along
a single precious thing?
july 7
Perusing through my memories I
found a wilted black rose, de-thorned
and a breath away from dust. My
charcoal heart had yet to be compressed
into something much, much better. Turning
away in shame, rain dropped from my
closed eyelids, through my body entire,
and onto the rose. The ink, blackest black,
stained the white flag I had been carrying
around as justification. My naivety in that
moment, spoiled, fell into the tiny hands
of the infant inside of me. Screaming
a horrific song, I mourned the loss for
twelve months. The ash I covered
my skin with never rubbed off completely,
stunting the growth to come in the
proximate bloom. I never forgave myself for
all I couldn’t help but destroy, and for the
child inside I couldn’t bear to lose. While
my powder heart yearned to return
to dust, I closed my eyes never to
open them again in hopes that the baby
would grow up and that she would
save me.
Solaris meadow
When I feel like I am about to die I
go to lay under the glass sheet
above the bed of grass, where it is
raining,
raining,
raining,
lightly——
I am not wet but every wish of my
two lungs
is fulfilled,
breath become green become full,
come spring come bloom come peace,
my ears are watered, sprinkled with
the negated sound of chaos,
I am enveloped by the silence of the grass,
I am become soil become soft become rain,
I am the only one——
I always go back.

When it is finished I
breathe until night falls, and I
thank God for rest.
None but the Longing
1
take the narrow way home
until there is a dip in the mountain

picture this: a lipped cup filled
four times over, a tasteless way
longer than the night; did you see
blue when you woke up the lovely
green, which is lime, which is wrong?
and got to thinking that a longing longer
than the day sits still implanting
itself below, say, where do i stand, say,
will i be there? it was shaped steep
to keep the excess from splashing out
just to hold me together
to bring us home

2
better to slumber the white train
ride through the sky, archive it too
far away, below the hip bone, right
to our final step when altogether i
decided to trade the prize for the
search, the instant before the shadow,
disappearing, fell over and took away
the concept of fear with it, we were
left with our carcasses in baby blue
nausea when i found out you were
waiting for me and it was too late

3
rolling down the window she is
waiting always for the rest of her
life—the rainstorm, the rainstorm,
the rainstorm, the mysterious pains
of childbirth, her life, she is rolling
down the waters and it is always
raining, and i am always waiting, the humid
embrace, the rainstorm, the rainstorm,
for it to overtake me, my skin the soft
soil, digging for a long breath, for the
rainstorm, for the rest of my life

4
that aching place where i do
not have a sister to eat at the
place i prepared for her that room
lit only by absence of filled only
with nothing for, and i brought you
only once behind a mirrored glass,
i hardly think you noticed when
every north star dropped at once
behind our eyes, below our floorboards
it was then that i knew she wasn’t
with me here yet somehow still
you are

5
blinking away hot flashes
i got to thinking, could i give it to you?
the windows of airports
tall with a sleepy sobering traveling alone
could you wish it not so? could you wish
it not sleeping for? not eating for? the gift
follows me around taunting first yet use
me for last could i at least tell you? by
wandering in the same direction away if
we cry out it will come to be
if we cry out it will come to be

lambs made to stray in pairs

with nowhere to be
are we wandering alone there?


june 12
The wasp, lured into flight, enticed my eyes upwards. The curtain was quick to fall. I compared him to a bee, to an apple, to a tree. The glint in his wing echoed through my eyes. The crying out of the wind was indistinguishable from the inside—a thick pane between me and that immaterial honey. It would be an almost; it would be a not quite. Yet I went down with the curtain, following it asleep. The sweet tooth of my heart wished to hear the crying out—the wasp’s load. Filtered through his bespeckled sight comes the light, even still; it will reach anyone. He is gone but his cries still multiply; without a path he multiplies. Without a glass pane he carries everywhere his curtain, keeping warm and robbing the shadow of its light.
may 31
i went to the place  
overlooking the city.  
the leafblowers were blowing;  
the trees were shivering  
in their shock.  
i did not see your face.  
there were just  
wavering edges,  
knotted tightly.  
and so i went back down  
into the corner  
yet undisturbed  
by the hale of tension.  
i did not see your face.  
doctor nolan
isn’t it wonderful, the
grass-soaked denim,
a future-swallowed cushion—
curated straight until empty,
hardened blushing until full,

the treasure of the
cloud-padded bell jar,
the mile-wide sea train—
flushing planes until blue,
swallowing red until yellow.

my residence is to the
onion-shaped bloom,
the feather-small life—
urged pale until ripe,
made traveller until still.
chambers
pool swellup,
thinkup a solution to
your brim problem; the
water keeps filling,
stinging, round your
iris, melting ice, their
nauseous glass, tubs and
tubs of it, gas,
guest, fill me
with a sign that
we’re the lucky ones,
fill us,
monoxide,
noise,
cancelled.
good morning sylvia
there is a panic
here;

i don’t know how to
finish
sentences;

i feel
watched;

there is a tapping
here;

is it a man or a
mouse
come to see me?

let me
out

of this horror
here;

i don’t know if it is a
life
or a death.
where no one can reach
you,  
not withering away,  
silently,  
not shriveling,  
shivering,  
not dying, not dead,  
what is death? to you  
anyway,  
what could you milk  
from me?  
but the magnificent almond  
at the center—  
it took years of  
sweat, tears, fluids,  
not daring, not great,  
not wise, not yet,  
yet this little tree,  
breaking its back for  
the caress of life,  
to come yet,  
its prized fruit,  
its single pit,  
yet you took it—  
from me.  
downtree
downtree,  
a croaked out beat,  
said the frog  
with nothing to lose,  
when she showed me  
all this place meant  
to her,  
and for a while  
me, with my  
pink streaks—  
surprising,  
sullen,  
hell-bound;  
i knew it would stop  
the trains,  
i knew it would scatter  
the pigeons,  
but i had to wear the  
tornado eye,  
i had to strain from you  
a dye of importance,  
a dash of worth—  
that i might remain  
with you here,  
and that there is yet  
something left  
to lose.
OTHER PEOPLE  »  »
i don’t mind
your
by and by’s,
your house—
high and dry;
your
hiding place
between the
other people;
by and by,
it’s time
for a new
kind of weather.
your way—
my days go by,
and if it’s the
right time,
they won’t
mind.

THE HOURS / ON THE SEA »
so that you could see  
    across the hours,  
i perched up here  
    to catch your cry,  
so that you could find  
    where i’ve hidden  
what high tides will not   
    drench,  
a wave out on the sea  
    waits for you,  
so that you could know  
    your place in me.

p.m. rhoda
linen planes i do not want to remember
flatten along the manila folders of my memories
like a sigh in between a cough and a worry,
washing away with it phlegm and crumbs
and aches and cancerous growths and all.
knotted black webs of ago split
the eggshell walls of this room and flashes
of humid rain blanket down and suffocate
like the ago without the remember.
a.m. rhoda
from there to here i  
  say, through it all—  
backwards spinning—  
  cubicle disc of  
cutting flame, through  
it all, backwards spinning—  
i will say:  
    it could not have   
    happened any other  
    way.

catharine bliss   »  
it must be crafted,  
and the crafting takes    
peace,  
and the crafting takes,  
and it takes,  
and it takes.    

i was listening to  
a heart aligned,  
spilled-over nectar of     
a heart content,  
i was listening to  
peace.  

i took a year to  
listen,  
it took a year to  
wait until the buds   
became ribbons limp,  
golden bathing.  

it takes until  
the crafting stops,  
looseleaf amounted to breath,   
a heart still, un-rosied.  
it begins with her breath,  
a mother’s peace.  





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