Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"Madwoman" finalist in Glass Woman Prize

Thanks to Beate Sigriddaughter for making my prose poem, "Madwoman," a finalist for the 11th Glass Woman Prize.


by Larissa Shmailo

here I am again walking among these vague and tepid people they evoke a slight feeling of distaste in me they smell my pain they have no idea I just hold my phone the cellular phone I use for a disguise and I talk, talk to the ultimate answering service I walk and I talk to God

when you died I ripped the electrodes out of my skull and ran away from the land of cables and TV sets great battles of television were fought here great battles were lost Soho is no different from uptown or downtown it's all money and talking and bars sex and cars job job job so I went to see the trees

the trees were beautiful the leaves forming patterns of light on the ground and as the light played on my hair and my cheeks I realized that no one ever dies they just become trees even Marilyn Monroe was alive in a leaf I saw for an instant your face all aquiver in the shaking of a fern in the light of the wind and I kissed the trees so I knew you were not dead not really you would not be so cruel as to die really die

Under the West Side Highway I met all the men who lived there and one girl she was 22 and pregnant and had AIDS I didn't stay long but I stayed long enough under the West Side Highway I slept with Jesus in a cap talked madman Spanish with Tito and the dirty apostles I knew there would always be enough loaves and fishes for me knew that no matter how hard it got I would always be safe and held near close to God it was my destiny to be greatly loved

I chose then to be close to God to throw away my clothing and be close to God there were times when not even a shirt came between me and God

under the West Side Highway I spoke to Jesus his face always changing now Alex who lived in a tent near the wall now Panama drinking wine now Juan in his tin and cardboard hut

you followed me watched me you were worried how would I get home and back to the life I had known and I said look who's talking you died after all it's hardly for you to criticize me if I go off the beaten path a little too

and as for the others they worried too unknown to them the protection that I had and had always had I said to them all don't worry I will love you pray you home look can't you see I am your guardian angel and you thought I was just homeless and mad as though God hadn't made the whole world just for me

well now I am cured I go to the bank I take pills I sit in restaurants have a job I worry about money and whether my new boyfriend has AIDS we don't even have sex he's too busy with his job it's just as well none of these men have anything that would compel you or keep you through the night its just banging bones after all

you see very few men have souls and very few men have courage the few who have the courage to follow their souls are mostly all dead lost in leaves people kill them you know I don't know any more I take pills and talk into the cellular phone sometimes I think I hear your voice sometimes I think I hear you and then no its just the pills I get a hum in my ear its not you

I know you are not dead but you're not here either and I miss you

I am cured so they say but you can't really ever take the gift of madness away once you have been stripped by God of everything clothing family freedom senses you are his for life and I was stripped oh yes dear lord of everything every last thing God took everything leaving only my soul but I found that was enough

and you you people think you have things but really the next breath you take is the only thing you have so how different are you from me

look at us again we the homeless and see us for who we are the archangels of God

you can not take the gift of madness away I will always know about trees will always see the arch of my lover's neck in the patterns of their light I will know that the patch of

sky between the birch tree and the willow is him his azure face and I will always hear the voice of God wherever I go no pill can block him out no TV set can drown his voice no fool can block the face of God from me

look at me madwoman I am Magdalene I am Joan of Arc I am St. Marilyn Monroe and I will always be your angel baby I will always be your saint pray to me.
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