zoe baber

"THE EMPTY-TONGUED WORDSMITH"


i saw myself in a dream, and i beat the thing senseless. i am used to this, now: pulling

the self out of the self.

there was something limp about her even in waking. there is a place to leave that,

somewhere, or so you once told me.

yes: dispose of it all. take the dream out of the man, or maybe the man out of the dream.

i do both. i can't remember. you've told me too many things to count.

down the drain of the dream: your words. my body. there is something for everything

somewhere.

i fall, and i watch myself fall. turn around like a fish in nothingness night, watch myself

stand above myself.

gravity does not pick favorites. not if it's me.

your eyes, have they always been this blue? the dream falls out of the man.

everything falls out of the man.

secrets spill. this is the poet's nature of things. salt water spills. the salt makes things

more lively. the salt will taste of blood. the man is familiar with it. the fish will run. yes:

lively.

he was a gunman, before he was nothing. he took the man out of the man.

he fed the earth.

the earth screamed: not like this.

secrets, salt water, dreams. and blood. lists, lists, lists. sounding something like you. a

mockery. take what you need and go home. this is the order of things. dreams do not fall

in order. turn your world upside down for a script and find nothing.

there are no lyrics here. there are no lines.

i watch gravity take me somewhere. maybe home, if i am lucky. i'm usually not.

"ODYSSEUS PAINTS THE TROJAN WAR"


that's not quite right. more red, red
on everything. red on green, red on blue tide,

on tender lovers' necks.

the hilt of a sword looks prettier in paint.

prettier in the moonlight. prettier when it can't

tear you open. paint sound on color. paint crowds jeering.

fight, fight, fight. we are pawns in god's colosseum. him here,

and him here. this preceded me. this preceded everything. the lumps of clay like people, or

people like lumps of clay?

yes and yes. the battle rages on in its stagnancy.

the amber tint of fire burning, animate the slosh of wine down

scarred throats. helen in her fine dresses, watching the world burn. something beneath

the wooden horse and you can't paint it but you can feel it,

canvas trembling beneath the weight of many men,

heads trembling with bloodshed. add more scarlet.

we slice each other up and mourn the parts. how lucky that we don't paint souls:

i could not scour the world for enough dark

to cover this pain. to cover this mercilessness. cover the men in sunshine instead, helios

watching on and doing nothing. swirl heavenly light across bodies,

and this is not quite right but what can you do. better to make them heroes,

better to make them pretty.

beneath canvas,

darkness rages in our chests.

Zoe Baber is 16 years old and lives in Southern California, where she writes and makes music as much as possible. She is in her penultimate year of high school and hopes to afterwards further pursue an education in English literature as well as psychology.