Mad Queer’s Love Song
after Sylvia Plath1 * i will spend my entire life yearning for everything we couldn’t sublimate * i cut my wrath into grief i don’t need a rose to waste a body, enter a land i remain ugly in the episteme of my body * it’s mourning, and i want to kiss you in the stark. i seesaw your smile. didn’t i? how did we get to this place? these frenzies — i just want the suddenness of — (as if i could confess to meaty contagion smearing itself between my fingers) i hunker down in this mirror of self state dressed up to collapse, allure of i want to cut myself up like that too i want you (mirror) to clutch me there, that soon, & hate me clear as art it doesn’t make sense that we can’t kiss without bones gnashing — the accumulation of dread. it doesn’t make sense at all * & could we shift this floating someday? — room stripped down — & then i won’t be cunt exposed like some seedy omission & there’s nothing revelatory in the kiss of history & that too is a language beleaguered against an other box. which is to say will i ever? chalk boots through gender will i ever? be red velvetine * i trade one half of white for your faction. i measured it like some inexplicable cultural memory a newer place to dream of death again out of frame, meteoric but it’s just not a good century for a recluse * i wanted to be loved into luminosity loved with the irony of history2 effulgent and craved i wanted to be cunning & all i devilled was a sore nose, sore throat. * & i’m so tired of teeth rotting then scrubbed again yellow seething into aftertaste. i wait and wait and wait. i slumber into the waiting. * am i just a repeat of constance, beautiful at the expense of barbaric? i don’t know if i have made myself up stuck in this perpetual stage of queen jane3 too fundamentally here to disavow i’m bad at groupcool groupthink i never whistle the world into dazzlement * you blurred the moon for me catalyzed planet into desert & still i’m red red for every mere mention — i meet you in the crux of the unforgivable safety was only ever a liberal coercion but you would never meet me — not in this grub of gold & shine. * i made a window to let you mural me into winter so that in the house of your dreams we could disentangle ourselves, grocery desire cascading into opulent shelves. is this the everydayness? * i whiten in the year of my room as you billow off — off, off. i dress like a pregnant shop auntie cheap cotton balakrishna 1527 at the hem i buoy and sway and arc into lumps of pink then brown spots under my flour bags of breasts off-white pushed to the edge of tan * quiver4 pulsates at my worn wrists & what about the silvering dance of me? i want to write about you, or the creaking knees of me here’s the drop-ceiling of sky & black hairs eschewing contagion vegetable broth of cellulite teeming till i’m just a landslide of joints and cracked heels in free-fall in my head i’m doing the splits all over mahogany & mirrors i rear back my head & smile raise the fuck for the fount * so i’ll scrub myself into femme, chop myself into butch. i’ll grab & punch my breasts into a photograph. i wanted to be god like you. & isn’t that romance? to slam my body against doom. as if i wasn’t dripping snot from my cunt. as if i wasn’t languishing on a toilet seat. as if i wasn’t splaying toothpaste on the mirror, burnished blood in the sink. no, i’m all cellulite and cushion. i stretch into keratosis. we become into matter. detritus at dawn. * i scorch the earth. i scorch the earth for you, love. isn’t that enough? i run into you. i run the wild into you, love. i fling the world into reverence. helix and jar. i could not have wilded you any less. but you can’t wield it. this wilding, this brimming. * instead i make a crater to flounder i punch my souring pelvis into gratuity with every semi-squat i reach for evidence lying with pooled absence in my every tract so i come up & push again. to linger is an affront a prime malfeasance coiling itself around a name * you give up on quarantine & marry the man pushing you into the ocean. & would you drown for that monument of erasure? * if i could only paint you queer would you win in another continent? are you my crushed echo, a misgendered self? she walks down the road becomes a question mark split ragged & who’s even writing this aftermath suddenly you are no longer here. suddenly i want to rescue you into performance. i am so tired of abstraction. what is this damn box. no anchors anymore. clash of expected symmetry. you could never be ready for the muck of me. like every god your figure crashed into gold & what a cruise it was. what a fucking soirée. * what must it feel like, hair still so silky, shimmering and gone. & maybe if i was lean like a dream, one black boot up against the brick. putrid with glitter, tracking orgasms like sand. & maybe if i could sway into every dank alley. & maybe if i sauntered my hips onto a stage, burlesque & brawn. & maybe if i was just girl enough for mystery. no, baby, i’m the wrong one. what a delight it is. what a fucking cheap shot. i’m achy without age. i carpal tunnel & fibroid my every move. every inconvenient creak & crack. i lie in bed. i embellish my fat, strain into obscene. * did i get lost in the invention of us? you only want me if i crumble into jars of leaving. & you fight for this solitude of near-death. oh, how i’d wrest it from you — how i want to dive into every reptile coat of an attempt * so i wander within like a bruise has taken hold of me like sugar like god lost in marginalia choose me. i’m begging you my bruise choose this shade of me 1 Plath, Sylvia. “Mad Girl’s Love Song.” Mademoiselle, 1953. https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/sylvia-plaths-mad-girls-love song-from-mademoiselle# 2 Quote from the following novel: Ondaatje, Michael. Anil’s Ghost. Vintage, 2000. p. 12. 3 c.f. song: Bob Dylan. “Queen Jane Approximately.” Highway 61 Revisited (Album). 4 c.f. song: Lonas. “Quiver.” Quiver (EP).
Shana Bulhan is currently attending the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where they are also pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies. Previously, they studied Critical Social Thought at Mount Holyoke College. They grew up mostly in India, but they have been living in Western Massachusetts for more than a decade now. They recently won an Academy of American Poets Prize selected by Bianca Stone. Their work has appeared in Meridians, smoke + mold, the Asian-American Literary Review, The Felt, Datableed, and other publications. For more information, please visit their website, www.cruxate.com