nthposition online magazine

Venus rising for the first time in the 21st Century & Shift

by Eileen Tabios

[ poetry - january 03 ]

To see is this other torture, atoned for
   in the pain of being seen
   - from 'Spokes' by Paul Auster

You want to see
her seeing
herself. You want

her seeing
her wanting
you behind the wave

foaming
when you become
the sea seeing

her eyes form
(above a body you
dreamt into salt water)

to see you
through strands
of dark seaweed

you see as her wet
hair rising from the sea
you become to see

her peeking from behind
hair of ink you want
to part from her breasts

you have felt
without seeing
yet (oh yet!)

to commence
a vision you
have shared with her

in her (lurking unknowingly)
through her
seeing you

as the sea
seeing her float
within your arms

trustingly as
she cannot swim
and your currents run deep

as deep as
the desire to be seen
she once forgot behind

a habit of hiding
until she saw you
seeing her

see(d)ing you
sea-ing her
seeing you

elicit pain
(the demanded pain!)
for surfacing the dark

fleshed creature
once hiding
in a sea's dim depths

towards a sun
in whose light
scars reveal themselves

to be healed
when you foam
upon seeing her form

seeing you sea
-ing her not drown
even as you deepen

your vision
's penetration to see
what others could not

behind her breasts
and thighs
now rising from the sea

towards the sun
so you can see
even more clearly

to see why you
foamed at the thought
of her form

returning to your
sea of seeing
whose fortitude

demands
nothing less than
the noonday sun as your lamp

Shift

Somewhere, an artist spills crimson dye on a river to photograph the planet as if it's menstruating

While tribal women fling a bloodstained sheet over a balcony to prove the bride was a virgin

While a field of camellias unfurl against the side of a mountain whose descent penetrates a salty sea

* * *

While a 1987 Nissan 300Z turbo screeches to a halt before a lady's legs molded by carmine trousers

While a Brazilian dances naked beneath a cape of scarlet feathers tied with gold tassels

While the diver breathlessly avoids touching the seaweed threading through fuchsia coral

* * *

While their fingers touch as they reach for the same muffin laden with cranberries

While she dips a cherry in chocolate sauce before feeding it to a college sophomore because, once, Allan Manalo told her, "all sophomores are erotic"

While a young poet's verses keep slicing her flesh with oddly-juxtaposed paper cuts

* * *

Another element outside the frame is the puddle of carmine silk that skimmed my breasts as it fell before your palms proceeded into the frame to cover them with a deceptive modesty in a painting entitled "Minimalism"