Excerpt from “Cruising the notorious other self,” a long poem

by Joanne Arnott

Joanne Arnott is a Métis/mixed-blood writer, editor, blogger, and arts activist. She has nine published books in three genres. Recent poetry includes Halfling Spring: an internet romance (Kegedonce, 2014)—shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award—and A Night for the Lady (Ronsdale 2013). She is Poetry Editor for Event Magazine.

A high proportion of my elders
have found me a very
irritating girl

I have learned not to hide my
ignorance, my failures
but i have not learned how to put
my full weight
into my teacher’s hands

My spine stiffens
my muscles freeze
my mind becomes thick and slow

Somewhere beneath all of that
is my rage: why the fuck
should i trust you?

Elders
don’t like the taste of that, too.

 

Making love is like becoming
a production factory, clotting the air
with colours

I learned this from my daughter, who drew
a picture
to show us how it works—

love flows
freely from the breast

 

Making love post-puberty
is just the same, after you’ve cleared
your partner
examined all his credentials
slapped him down a few times
with your bad-man stories
and found, still, you want him—
you like him quite a bit

I can’t be bothered to make love to a person
i don’t love, my whole life has been
arranged
around the avoidance
of un-love-able fucks.

Making
friends with structure,
i build a strong house
which allows me to exult
in my deep freedom.

 

When we build ourselves a landscape
colours of love
the sea of longing
the gentle breeze of touch
the fierce winds of desire
clotting the air
with our riches
I always have that one, un-grant-able
wish:
I would just like to live, right here, forever.

 

When my soft body blends
with another
my hard self puts her boots on

Determined to protect my
soft head,
she tries every trick in the book
to drive him away.

 

My newest strategy has been
to find a man
as deep as an ocean
to pour myself into

When my crow-like eye is distracted
i receive little vibrant, savoury packages
from the people of the world—
i pour all of that into him, too

You have never seen a man
so full of men!

You have never seen a woman
so full of new waters

a watery trap and release—

 

Go on, world
flow, flow—
i will not stop you.

 


Joanne Arnott is a Métis/mixed-blood writer, editor, blogger, and arts activist. She has nine published books in three genres. Recent poetry includes Halfling Spring: an internet romance (Kegedonce, 2014)—shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award—and A Night for the Lady (Ronsdale 2013). She is Poetry Editor for Event Magazine.

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