Shimmy Shimmy Shimmy

Spiders all in tune

There is a glue that binds us, you know.
The humming of vibrations tie our molecules together
and we shimmy shimmy shimmy through the break of dawn, yeah. 

I think me, I want life.
Yeah me, I want a house and a wife
and the slow disintegration of the days of wine and doses.

You’ve still got a weed tray.
I’m just drinking more coffee
and listening to these bands play.
I wonder if our hands could mold sound like clay.

I haven’t found a way to look sincerity
in the golden fucking fleece
of a face and be the first
to break the gaze.

My thirst for the unflinchingly genuine
suspends judgement and forgives sins
committed in hazy tenements.

My thirst for the tantalizingly tense
derives no pleasure from this
sudden desire for your smile.
You’re not allowed behind
this picket fence.

But me, I want the cackle and grin
that you wear with such permanence.

Me, I want life.
Me, I want to circle round the universe
with an array of tethered satellites
at differing distances for the rare instances
I need the extra signal.

Because, yknow, I might: I keep them all strung tight.

I think me, I want to know what you meant
by what you said last night.


Demise of the Matriarch

Our Shared Past: The Cummer Museum

Do you think she understands now,
her chin protruded permanently
under the weight of her old age,
how our speaking roles decline to walk on parts? 

From center stage to LazyBoy reclined.
Her whole life has passed, her pace made slow,
her cartilage sparse.

I wonder if she knows.

I wonder if she sees the life that glows under my skin,
and mutters under patient breath an ancient prayer of revenge.

She never leaves her chair, the dreads matting her baby fine hair.
Fox News blares.

I can’t shake the smell of piss, I can’t accept
that so many years of careful and modest control come down to this,
I can’t believe that all of life comes down to this.

In another century the bedsheets flowed from her clasped arms.
The promise of the days within her leaked in bright colors,
the direct ray of her charm constantly spilling
into the varied pigments of happiness untold,
saturated and seeping onto collarbones,
the most beauty she would ever hold. 

Her shoulders are not yet stooped, her back has no hump.
The children have not striped her, he hasn’t beat her yet.
For the moment it’s still soda on his breath.

I found the picture, I put it back.
Her skin only knows the white and black of history’s grey concrete,
the colors settled down and faded, the crossroads long deserted.
The cream of newlywed flesh now angular and jaded.

Paper thin and paper white, I put the picture away.

I wonder if she knows.

I wonder if, when her eyes are closed,
she wakes back to her reality; a photograph reanimated,
her bliss refusing to be sedated by time. 

It hasn’t happened yet,
the desiccation of hands into skeletal spots of terror,
it won’t ever happen either.

Listen to the frantic denials
of a woman soaking fact in ether,
setting truth up high on dusty shelves
with all the other trinkets life’s bequeathed her.

The present day is beneath her, and me too,
and we choose to stand before projections of the past
plastered high on museum walls like canvas shrines to shadows
and the lives we cannot stretch to last.

"The Rise of the Matriarch" by Chip Southworth // Our Shared Past: The Cummer Museum



Granules black
like coffee grit
between my outstretched toes.

Pajamas black
and lumberjack plaid
chosen for camping in the cold.

All the bridges broken down and stacked
in the back of a pickup truck,
neatly arranged in wait of that spark,
the spark I can’t not write about,

the spark that fizzles out

and tries again to catch
and grab hold

and set roots.

Around a hearth with laughing faces
that spark outpaces me.