Celia Bland


I am chalked outline of story, a pasteurized pubis minus the bone.
I offer my slash, this gasp: a glutinous muscle swallowing the slick muscularity of
water, my air. Bubble. Thrash.

Slip into the estuary’s cloudy bottom. Migrate like eyes.
I am lump of camouflaged cartilage, two eyes on one side tilting the scud current
and refracting our contact.
See me?
I am flesh foundered. I am blunder. God.

God is the current.

Caught in a hook of language, a barbed tsk, I am a flattened sound
sheltering the sand mounded virginally beneath me.
I map a scattered existence, a place you can return to, drifting off in the currents
to describe in detail the world you already know. Pancake.


I stand looking into the window of X. The ground is X and X. X colors bloom across
the surface of the X. These colors emanate from beneath, as if growing there, seeping
upwards to the surface. In my X a bitterness raw as chicory.

My grandmother went a hectic X and shook her finger and her X: no, no when I asked
why my grandfather was so X. White a mere veneer, a Trail of Tears dodge. My great-
grandmother, known in the family as ‘that X,’ glinted in the sun like a broken Fanta,
the sheen of my grandfather’s arms under metal-caged lights, racking billiard balls
at the pool hall. As if the minerals were surfacing in the skin beneath his starched white shirt.

Of my skin — sow’s belly, streaky bacon — my grandfather was so proud, Suzy Q, Suzy
Q. Ditto my eyes for their pale squint. Boring down into the bore hole of the eye —
crater of pupil, in both senses of the word.

What would Darwin store in these craters? Rainwater? Tortoise shells? The roiling
desire to explore? Is change from the inside organic or inorganic? We are after all
leaving skin on every armrest, on every tray table, with every scratch.

Like bundles of shudders, sources of noise

(after a line by Olga Tokarczuk)

When I shot the target there
was a whisper when bullet entered pulp and
formed within that flat dimension a convex tip — a nipple

handy as coat hook or siphon.
If you want to stop the conversation, if you want to fast
forward to the erection —

antennae beaming scratch to ease your itch —
then read this horse opera written for the adolescent girl
in the reign of RPM.

Horse as language of feeling.
Out of loneliness between the knees, heels out, thighs
clenched, back erect. Our gait will be conversation —

moving like a good lie or
lay. Canter, trot,

Horse is customer service, human sweat and
heart bursting at Marathon, at Churchill Downs.
The opposite of arrest.

Heart bursting on impact like a coneflower or snowball —
inverting like gay men in the forties — like hollyhocks.
Bullets never feed another soul with body.

This patch of bloody x, the border of y. Why?
Is this a decision?
Here. Have a tissue.

Have a piece of bread. Here is a book. Here is a ten dollar
bill. Let’s let the language neighborhood
go to seed.

Like a secret. Like blood rushing a blushing
nipple, that other phallus —
faucet turned on inside the body, not outside with a bullet.


I would not like to fly inside the suit
Jackie Kennedy wore in Texas or
breathe its darkest edge
where flying happens. That
miraculously heavy machine that
floats. As if a suit could be terminus not
vessel, fitting pink and smooth and creasing
at the right holes not the wrong holes,
a streaming-utility disguised as comfort.
As if buttons burst like windows in the pop
of air, air slick as scent, air soft
as tarmac, and as
bloody. Windows bust
thunder pluck
half-way into atmosphere.
This authentic turbulence —
this Dallas.

Celia Bland’s third collection of poetry, Cherokee Road Kill (Dr. Cicero, 2018), with drawings by Kyoko Miyabe, was reviewed by Jonathan Blunk in The Georgia Review. Recent work has appeared in Plume, Copper Nickel, Saranac Review, Yale Letters, and Native Voices: Indigenous American Poets (Tupelo Press 2019). With Martha Collins, she co-edited Jane Cooper: A Radiance of Attention (U. of Michigan Press), a celebration of the work and life of this poet’s poet.
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About Posit Editor

Susan Lewis (susanlewis.net) is the Editor-in-chief and founder of Posit (positjournal.com) and the author of ten books and chapbooks, including Zoom (winner of the Washington Prize), Heisenberg's Salon, This Visit, and State of the Union. Her poetry has appeared in anthologies such as Walkers in the City (Rain Taxi), They Said (Black Lawrence Press), and Resist Much, Obey Little (Dispatches/Spuyten Duyvil), as well as in journals such as Agni, Boston Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Conjunctions online, Diode, Interim, New American Writing, and VOLT.