Eileen R. Tabios

Perhaps I could silence this firebird swelling my sails with blood, winds, fevers, but even the Seine today was restless
Anais Nin

Broadway clamored—

mist diffused the boulevard’s lights

from dimness, hands appeared and disappeared
their movements lacking premonition

Once, a hand revealed pale elegance
through red fingernails without
the tiniest chip on their sheen—

almost, she halted before
the presence of perfection—


“The destination,” she recognized
“arrives at its own time
indifferent to organization
and, often, desire”

The leashed impulse
evoked Rome—

the hours searching for
a rusted iron gate
breaking the reticence
of a high, stone wall—

hours rewarded when
she stepped onto
a rectangle of cracked tiles
where light emanated
only from white tablecloths
reflecting a crimson moon—

scent of cigars—

perfume of crushed cyclamens—

aroma of shaved orange rinds—

The Chianti was harsh
but charismatic

Men left her alone, enabling
her savor of each bite
from a bleeding “rib’s eye”

No effort in holding her spine

The present returned
with a man’s bowed back—

indifferent to gray
he painted to life
a tango on the sidewalk

she felt the flare
of a woman’s long skirt
as the artist shifted direction—

she felt the jealousy
on the powdered faces
of long-haired women forced to sit
to watch someone else
govern with immodest limbs

The artist had not yet
painted the couple’s faces
but she knew their eyes
would be hooded flames

The implication would be clear—

when the tango would evaporate
the woman would lick
her astonishingly crimson lips—

her thickened tongue
would slide



pure animal


Truth insists—

Dusk defined as
grey-haired women un-
binding combs seeded
discretely with pearls

Somewhere in SoHo
a nude clenches eyes
to paint a floor magenta
with glistening hair
as witnessed by men
in Wall Street suits
Swiss deep-water watches
and Greenwich wives

I would like to fall
in love with a policemen
who need not be American—
no continent can contain
my fidelity delineated
only by boozy notes
finishing the moans
of sweaty, heavy women—

these earnest women flit
between sequined dresses
and church choir gowns
Their capacities heighten
my hunger and I long

to unite the pristine convex
with the glorious mess of concave


Can a politician avoid
mastering barter
when he (always a he)
inherits a country
pulsating with industrial
waste? And the view
across a border is
the abundance of Brass
-ca napus
, Thiaspi alp
and Festuca rubra?

Allow the heart its complete
measure of each decision
Allow the mind the implication
of the Kundiman, a love
song rooted in a military ballad
                As she fell, she looked
                behind her at the frozen
                silhouette of a man
                who chose not to follow—

who taught lucidity by noting
“Blow up the world if
you must. But avoid ambiguity”

How foolish to deny
a snake the swallow
of its tail. A circle
reveals perfection and
days should somehow begin
and reveal
                something not elsewhere


Because the sky
can never margin
my desire, I

raise my hand
to you, thereby
compelling the
swoop of jade eyes
cobalt breast, ebony
feathers, cruel eyes

I have emptied
my bag of tricks
released barbed wire
from tattooing
my left wrist

choose to believe
all Life ravishing
even its shadows

The Milky Way
that grazes the Maori
mountains of your
birth equals the
silvery cascade
threading through my hair
as my mind’s eye
wanders through a
universe I once thought
I inherited instead of

Something I can paint

You nudge my memory
for afternoons of
pollination: lemon dust
attaching to opened
flowers whose petals
form light’s prisms

The sky, you teach
shall never need
to drop for me to
feel its blanketing

embrace. My tongue
shall become another
bolt of white velvet
I shall swathe
around our planet
and hold as an infant
against my milk-laden
breasts. When the
horizon stuns again

it shall be from your
sumi ink evoking
my hands when, for
the first time, they shall
be graceful as they
dance anew the ancient
form: “Fairy Child
Praying to the Goddess
of Mercy Kuanyin
Shao Ling Kung Fu Fist”


Cosmopolitan, she ruminates

on “the cleavage of toes”—

November is aghast, as
ever, with the latest bellow
-ing wind. She cannot
recall when she last
witnessed a lurid sky—

she has chosen against
the best of psychology—

she chooses friends only
among those alarmed
by a lack of elevators—

still, in her beloved penthouse
where she feels each sky
-line as a zirconium necklace

she looks at a dead
light bulb she cannot reach
to replace, where the walls
won’t stop giggling forth
their cruel question: Where
are the giants who once
walked the earth?


When the walls shall begin
to sob forth their question
she shall paint her toenails
scarlet for Eros has yet
to betray her, cosmopolitan
despite the job she chose
for its absolute lack of challenge

Bring it on, ye histrionic
-ally bawling walls!

I receive, I am
the receptionist. I am
receptive. I receive…

Eileen R. Tabios' poems are from her forthcoming book whose title is likely to include the word "Stigmata." She has released 24 print, four electronic and 1 CD poetry collections; an art essay collection; a “collected novels” book; a poetry essay/interview anthology; and two short story collections. Her most recent release is THE AWAKENING: A Long Poem Triptych & A Poetics Fragment (theenk books, 2013).She blogs at http://angelicpoker.blogspot.com; edits Galatea Resurrects, a popular poetry review journal at http://galatearesurrects.blogspot.com; and curates a number of online projects such as Link In To Poetry, a list of recommended contemporary poetry publications at http://linkedinpoetry.blogspot.com.
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