POETRY BY MADELYN BIVEN; ARTWORK BY VIDA VILJOEN
I see a grey scarf and know nothing.
Yellow-nosed nobodies bake bread on the
sun. You strip tease hot details into batter
and utter disaster, deaf diving like snow.
We grew up watching ladybugs mish mash
in discreet folds of the earth and now that
we have roads you love to seam-rip and collect
brands of unusable dishware. Lather me in cream pie
and eat me dry, all parts are left and right. Seeds
split refrains in mid-air. I drop in threes
something stark naked, blind, and stupid.
(Two plus four equals nine.) An opaque shade
lacks us together. I lay tracks, you divide
parallel lines, I am eager to weigh you again.
(A lot of things have to do with lines.)
You fire clay pieces without fitting
your hands into me. Our shapes are unfinished.
Triangles in the waste of your mouth, on the lace
of my mouth, in the pace of your mouth, in the way
of my mouth topples out eggshells from the breakfast
we shared on the roof of your house. In fat
silence we watch seagulls spawn and don’t speak
of what will never match. I see a white scarf
and know numbers. Let me start here: marine biology
is skin graffiti, surgeons invent paper dolls, freckles
gash when they aren’t really freckles. My eyes steam
images into one type of lithography, my sockets
emit a grassy smell. Your sockets are lasting
objects of your transparency. Only now
you don’t listen and I don’t tell and what surfaces
is residue of last year’s milk. (Two sevens
equal nine.) You make cat licks to spill day
dreams. I baste you in cinnamon and
absorb your taste. I watch you wither gold,
tear rouge, bruise tough maroons when I sing soft
shoulder. You clutch my ribs and tell me I spin
like smoke, split like stitching, itch like pollen.
You used to say I could blind you. Now when
I point out the weather, you say it’s only starch.
Madelyn Biven lives in Hawai’i and is exploring island culture & her native roots. She has danced in the Bay Area with companies including Project Thrust, Ziru Dance, RAWdance and Alyce Finwall Dance Theater. In college she won the Ully Hirsch / Robert F. Nettleton Poetry Prize for Creative Writing. Madelyn has been a figure model for artists in NYC, the Bay Area, and now Hawai’i as well.