T.M. Göttl is a member of the Buffalo ZEF creative arts community. She has read and performed her poetry at various events throughout Northeast Ohio, she won first place on the first time she ever competed in a poetry slam, and she was a winner in the 2007 Wayne College Regional Writing Awards. TMGottl@buffalozef.net
slushing through the desperate high heels;
the black-light referees; the
gasoline-powered athletes, wearing
incandescent glasses; the Dionysian criminals;
the jester's pet skunks; and
the magazine girls with singed hair
and branded arms and
metal through their ankles; all these
smelling of pre-dawn hours and
melting glass and broken ice
and impossible sunscreen—
who occupy the palace
where the gypsy king holds court.
from scaly hands to squinting eyes,
until altar boys, brandishing
neon hand guns in the hall,
desecrated rose windows and
play-acted at the liquid crystal
blood, smearing their t-shirts.
Ultraviolet racehorses galloped over our heads,
and laundered constellations poured
from the hoof-prints, drilled through the ceiling.
We tasted the polyester, the
upside-down watchtower translations, the
bartered tongues and carnivalized
Covered in shredded paper and
white cotton shirts,
the pieces fell everywhere!
Fireflies clustered in the gaps
between their separated quarters,
and tired of being broken,
of drinking ash and lava
from turquoise bottles,
I closed my ghost-haunted ears
to their pastel siren shrieks,
and followed the splash of constellations
evaporating back into the sky.
Morning fell. Sleep lifted,
kicking the last glittering, cigar ashtray.
And a roadside dove waited,
picking through the still-drowsing
pieces of last night.
The white sun
burned my shoulders.
Finally, I trapped the god,
behind my teeth,
and I stood questions
posed them crouched, as tigers.
I ranted to the god in my mouth
until my teeth turned to iron
and my eyes rusted.
After my flailing and tears
had settled, and only a little
hot dust still hung in the air,
I noticed a man, dark of mood
and dark of face and dark
quietly munching clover
and sipping honey.
His countenance was the windy one
worn by Alpine conquerors.
He fed me milk with strawberries
to chase away the demons and senators
and other hooded thieves
clawing at my shoes.
Then he handed me a cup
of blinding coffee,
spiced and herbal.
I did not realize
I'd swallowed the god,
and that he'd flown out my ears,
Toll Booths on the Road to Immortality
The cliff house built
from pieces of bread and milk
falls apart into the waltzing ocean,
where gulls pick the crumbs from the sand.
The hungry and the thirsty
shatter bottles full of
ice and pepper and hope-tired letters, and
petition the beautiful
glittering spiders for healthy feet
along the metered journey,
while dodging the watery light
falling between piano strings.
Together, we join the pilgrims' hurricane,
tumbling and spilling over the
jagged volcanoes' mouths,
and lift toward the sky on
thin green wings, wearing delicate
silver circles around our
wrists and necks.
We hover above scattered sheep,
those blind and content, who throw
their colored and living flags
to the blaze. But
those shrunken, masquerading ashes
escape and reassemble in the trees,
once more eating bread, drinking
the salty glow that used to be wasted
in the tide pools.
Souls hidden and reanimated—they laugh
at our lost harbors, our street performers,
our mismatched gangs roaming
in search of brightness—
they award satin and
velvet and wings
to the mountain climbers and sculptors
whose hands, daily, bear the scars
of distant, living marble.