Upturned

Written by Sukie Keita, 1995

Please view the choreography inspired by this poem.

Mask the cracked pepper eyeball
red underneath thirty lashes of salty assault.

Ask what’s wrong
just don’t demand no smile and shine,
nothing to upset her sand blasted finish.

She planned her execution 
for ages, draped

in a collage

of fish scales and
robbed rose petals that
lost their allure before she

could draw them upon her
hollow stem frame.

Crown carefully arranged
by some unaquaintance
piled up higher than rare sorted hopes
she lay parallel to the horizon.

Daring one scream after another
into clouds utilized as pillows

thrown upward by some wild temperament.

flinching she

forced quiet the void’s mouth.

Her angels were absent

as she begged access into
recesses where
shadows might be eradicated

and contrast might be misted
over between what she wanted to be

sublime, surreal
and what she found printing foot steps.

Immersed web like into
sinking wet
pavement, her footsteps
blared weakening testimony
to her matter

color

moisture

she wished to record only

one skeletal scheme —
bar all extras from the set —

peacefully float and never
fall
feel the air

streaming through serrated ribs,

perhaps even catch a merciful frost.

She wished
no one would pry open her pelvis

make serene

display of what hidden
vice operated
live long day
like never unwound clock work.

Most basic
formula turned
alchemistic voyage as
refuse entered domain
stripped her esophagus and
boiling below
was sent surging up
through polluted pipes of a
ne’er forgiving alloy.

Assured rest by pain
she cut curves
of confidence
missed veins by
winding wide around them.

Outside,
skin shallow walls
pretended protection.

Blanketed wish
to erect ugly
make-shift shelters
she could blow down
with a huff whenever
she saw fit.

Gaze turned away
with posture
imprisoned,
her soul steered through

sunsets as body
rehearsed glory of punishment
for flaws
and trespasses to come.

She wore layer

upon layer, dressed
to subdue stares
scatter

suspicions
but her frame shook and
sunned features lost

illumination.

Was she a mate of the stars?

Over head
the circles overlapped,
capping her breath

too short

to cry

She screamed
ever into pillows

jeering their plumpness.
what shame! this
generous stuffing.

I am hollow!

I am not of your race!
Flesh no longer of use

she vacated.

Unwinding mummy bandage
to a bleeding beat
abrasions sabotaged

forced unsuspecting
upward.

Zealously abandoning

hope of
heaven
where thread-

bare wishes could soar,
she resigned to win
one race,
deserting the space

above and below.

So despising
her destined realm
and denied by
her chosen one
she reasoned

at least shadows

creep like vines,

and turned her face

upward.

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