Rochelle Owens: Hermaphropoetics / Blood

Woodcut by Conrad Lycosthenes, 1557
Woodcut by Conrad Lycosthenes, 1557

[This is the third section of Rochelle Owens’ long work to appear on Poems and Poetics.  For previous sections see here and here.  This posting coincides with publication of her latest book, Out of Ur: New & Selected Poems 1961-2012 by Shearsman Books.]

In an early version
a deaf mute

a hermaphrodite
captured after the siege

a hermaphrodite
emptied of allegory

seated on the stump of a tree
wearing body paint

his soaring paper thin
shoulderblades

the dome of her skull
his earlobes

the angle of her nose
his fat ankles

her perfect toes
his legs collapsing under her

multiple hues of flat color
triangles of purple

circles squares stripes
Teasing femme/homme

hypermasculine hyperfeminine
murderous sex cells

her long pale eyelashes
And gazes upwards smiling

An altruistic mother’s deathless love
Deathless love saved the babe

an impure creation
carnal/spiritual

pale and red his lips
she could feel and taste colors

his mouth watering
Meek sweetness the face the face

of the hermaphrodite
her platinum blonde curls

bringing millions to their knees
In a later version

out of a lost narrative
a deaf mute

seated on the stump of a tree
covered with tattoos

an asymmetrical form
vertical/horizontal

an impure creation
she could feel and taste colors

A hermaphrodite
out of the center page

the edge sharp dangerous
hidden before the siege

Spasmodic the spirals of color
astrological symbols

a kaleidoscope slowly turning
purple orange blue

shards of green glass forming
letters abstract designs

His mouth watering
taste buds pulsating a flow

of hormonal forces
hypermasculine hyperfeminine

murderous sex cells
signs and wonders veins muscles

sweat glands ligaments
intertwining darkening ruby-red

burning silver
the marrow filling the cavities

neurological linkings
streaks of burning gold thick thin

strokes alternating
slashes of color seeping

He sucks evening to morning
milk of the mother misery

milk of the father terror
She sucks morning to evening

milk of the mother misery
milk of the father terror

tasting the color drippings
nipples spurting nectar

An altruistic mother’s deathless love
Deathless love saved the babe

an impure creation
carnal/spiritual

the shape of blood poured
into a cracked cup

pale and red her lips
her arms floating above

red and pale his fingers pulling
the spirals of her hair

blood of the hermaphrodite
Meek sweetness the face the face

of the hermaphrodite
his platinum blond curls