Cajun Mutt Press Featured Writer 06/03/22

DRIVE

Anne drives.
Right foot presses gas pedal hard
hard as a pair of ruby lips smashed
on red wine
stained chin
bleached out collar.
I sit behind.
Blackberry vinyl resin sticks to hairless legs
holds me stiff as a cross
as she weaves her nineteen-sixty-seven
crimson Cougar in and out of cars
yielding to her yellow roar.
Anne’s tongue
laps up virginity until it is dry.
I want to be her kind.

Red dress wears her femaleness
the way a thin line draws a silhouette.
Not a child or woman
ambiguous and shapeless
I see words as words
inscribed in my body’s mind.
The rev-rev of Anne’s liquid laughter
turns high beams on high
mixes with air
excavates sound from my lungs.
Inside
a voice surfaces
begs me to slip on the costume
of brave Anne
still haunted.

Her marble eyes grow greener.
Anne tells me
I must learn to create my own room
my own audience
muster every chalk in my bones
let the words find me
until nothing is left but my sex
before the opposite of the poem
the opposite we both know
hides like a seed
grows like vine
inside a gravedigger’s
pocket.

Crimson Cougar halts at the Ritz.
We sneak inside
order martinis
stingers
two-for-one and knock them back.
Poets dressed as salesmen
waiters
homemakers
surround me
cat strut the aisle.
The podium is taller
then I remember
as words crumble in my mouth
fractured bone letters ash silent.

Anne waves.
Tosses my pages into choked up air.
I have not done my hitch
my half.
Part of the road
I am asphalt
not whole.
Back in the Cougar
the seat rubs under my thighs
shame fills the blanks inside.
Salty smoke swirls
around Anne
as she cures herself
first
last time.
To fill Anne’s dress
I must grow
I must burn
burn to render the madness.
I want to be her kind.

1976

In quiet acceleration you drove.
Left behind sprinklers
Kool-Aid
bare feet racing to sirens
mating cats in the alley.
You left a house filled with curtains
wooden spoons
your name.

You were dark
mother
always squinting something awful
through your eyes.
Bruises disturbed your inkblot face
credibility for the insane.
I was seven
buck teeth towhead
hard to feed insomniac.

That night you gave up
motherhood
crawled into my room
after mixing cigarettes with men
wearing perfume for the whore
polluting the air.

You swayed above me.
Beads of sweat on your neck
glistened a string of white lights
around your tree.
Cherry flavor wax candy lips
sucked dry by whiskey fumes
kissed me once for goodnight
once for goodbye.

Through my pillow
I could feel the garage vibrate
your Nova engine rolled
backwards
asphalt still chewy
from July’s heat.
Echo of an echo
your life faded into slumber
haunted my mind’s cave
preserved for harvest bloom.

You left three dead kittens
tied in knots
placenta thicker than my hands
could pull apart.
We buried ourselves
next to the robin who fell
dog who hung
a tail
from a goldfish
appetizer.

Night is never good to me.
Under the covers
static electricity
my only light
betrays
my shame.

LIKE JESUS

One sound grunts
from a toddler’s tongue.
Swells
like an awkward penis held
by lithium shakes.
Pickled lips struck
howler’s position
four-legged bitch
dog
not human.

The idiot regurgitates
chunks of verbiage.
Shrapnel circumcises
baptizes
tongue drags across
hot carnal skillets.

Ashen lint
hair snapped from calico dust
follicle colors of bone
taste inside her nostrils.
Words gestate a call
leap forward and back
wade in the bog.

Whose alphabet
hangs from vocal cords
fixed in amber
no one knows.
Under ice
thicker than the bed shared
she is buried
edible
quiet
aluminum.

Plastic doll eyes stare
at you and them
matted copper frame
against blue sky.
The idiot feels your blades
vibrate
glide
shave figure eights.
Fingers point
sharp steeples
poke her loose
rippled bacon skin
swat that ass good
to make fire.

Floppy head cocked at the sun
you pretend to hear music
belonging to the salvation
of fake tears
sacrificed Jesus
burns
black winged smudges
form a V heading south
somewhere
beautiful.

©2022 Chachee Valentine All rights reserved.

Chachee Valentine

POETRY & NONFICTION
My work has appeared or is forthcoming in the following publications: Words & Images; Uni Southern Maine, InSite Magazine; Boston, Stolen Island Review; Uni of Maine, Lullwater Review; Emory University, Fugue; Uni of Idaho, Prairie Margins; Bowling Green State Uni (2010 & 2022), Askew Poetry Journal; California, Alchemy Literary Magazine; Portland Community College, Eunoia Review, The Parliament Literary Journal; New Jersey, Creative License; Georgia Perimeter College, 11 Mag Berlin; Germany & The Bitchin’ Kitsch; Colorado (2021 &2022).

My poem 1976 placed 2nd @ Lullwater Review, and was a finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award @ The Salem College Center for Women Writers. My poem Drive won the Rosemary Cox Poetry Award @ Georgia Perimeter College.

My short story Prick placed as quarterfinalist @ ScreenCraft Cinematic Short Story Competition.

My essay, Unfolding Creation: How Chantal Akerman Ignited My First Film, was published by Michigan State University’s writing, rhetoric and American cultures newsletter, Agnes Films.

SCREENPLAYS
Like the Moon placed as quarterfinalist @ The Script Lab ‘21. In the same year, LTM made the top 50 list @ Cinequest Screenwriting Competition.

EXPERIMENTAL VIDEOS
My first experimental video, La Flamme, screened at London International Short Film Festival October, UK and was awarded Best International Experimental Short Film. Other screenings for La Flamme include: Paris Independent Film Festival, Chhatrapati Shivaji International Film Festival, Filmideo, Mediawave, Magmart, Bideoromo International Experimental Film Video Festival, Film Vault Presents and Traverse Video.

The Music Taken with Her, my second video, screened at Kinosmena Short Film Festival, Russian Film Festival, London International Short Film Festival, and Pugnant Film Series.
My third video, Self-location, had its debut at London International Short Film Festival and screened at Film Vault Presents.

Feel free to take a peek! https://vimeo.com/chacheevalentine

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