Poetry / Poets / Writers / Writing

Poems by Rebecca Irene

Shrug
—————————
gentle lift of the left shoulder
slight downward turn of the face
meeting at the blade
aint nothin nobody can do to her
that aint already been done
                              she returns to poor grammar sometimes in her head
do all women feel this way
dangled on the hook of a small narrow mind
waiting to see which fantasy will feed
gentle lift of the left shoulder
slight downward turn of the face
meeting at the blade

Illusion of Fire
———————
I have always been asked
about my preferences.
Questions often involve
death.
(Women are seldom queried
blonde/brunette choices.)
And I thought I knew for sure
that I would rather perish
by ice instead of fire—
Age clouds certainty.
For after the shivering,
after the inability
to distinguish
friend from foe,
comes the burning.
Clothes ripped off,
one tries to burrow, naked,
into small caves or trees.
These actions have kind,
poetic names:
‘paradoxical undressing,’
‘terminal burrowing.’
(These movements are not
unfamiliar to the female.)
The women I wait on
are usually of the flushed
short-haired set.
Large diamonds, small smiles.
I don’t blame them
their cruelnesses.
I am, after all, serving for tips
in my forties.
I remember what we were like as young girls.
Heads thrown back, fiery mouths waiting to be kissed—
paradoxically undressing in the wrong bedrooms,
terminally burrowing under sheets.
Imagining such bodily fulfillments
while we froze to death.

Your Floor is my Ceiling
————————————
Sometimes I see you
on the street,
hanging around,
as I leave for work.
Many mornings
you are presentable
almost hopeful
in your posture,
perfume,
powdered face mask
from the night before.
But, when I stare at you
in the evening
you are transparent:
slouch, sigh-step
your way in.
I know your number.
We shower toes to head,
inches away.
Our night routines
are the same.
Parallel pantomimes
readying the body for rest.
What we have learned
from our childhood:
combing teeth,
lapping water,
emptying insides out.
How much harder to ready
the mind for rest.
Women’s minds
in particular
are dangerous things.
We should have been taught
different bedtime chores:
binding thoughts,
covering questions,
erasing discontent

about how the world
treats the fairer sex.
We should have learned
early on
how to cling together.
They wouldn’t be able
to ignore the desperation
in our eyes then.
The look we acquire
trying to survive
paycheck
to hands out.
Days and days
until there is nothing
to show
for your years
but this. This

which is worse
than nothing
because nothing
must be filled up
while This feeds
you lies of comfort,
tells you at least
you have
a ceiling
over your head.
Number 31.
Number 21.
Number 11.
We live on top
of each other.
Stacked up cages.
Sometimes I see you
on the street,
hanging around,
as I leave for work.

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9 thoughts on “Poems by Rebecca Irene

  1. There is such depth and vulnerability in your poems. They speak to us on a deeper level while at the same time touching our “here and now.”

  2. Such deep elements of truth. Wonderful to read, yet a little scary too… coming from my woman’s mind, you see.

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