Mudlark Poster No. 22 (2000)

Lina ramona Vitkauskas

Bolero  |  synapse license bureau  |  enough  |  where I am hearing you

an immaculate desert  |  architect of ecstasy  |  people inherit me  |  sacristan

Lina ramona Vitkauskas's fiction has been included most recently in THE MISSISSIPPI REVIEW. She has received an Honorable Mention in STORY Magazine's 1999 Carson McCullers Prize competition and designs the site for milk magazine online where she has also had her poetry published alongside Mudlark contributors Michael Rothenberg, Simon Perchik, and Sheila E. Murphy. Upcoming poetry will appear on BIG BRIDGE online. She is currently working on a book of Lithuanian poetry and memoirs and a short-fiction collection titled SOMEONE CAN READ YOUR MIND.

Bolero plays in any apartment in the Midwest
at any given time

there is none such winsome song
as the grace of his burning mouth
across her thighs
or the piety of caged friars.
Marching for gratitude, aching for possibility
they make such tuning music
chirping and gasping and moaning
like ravens' heated exchanges,
mute parrots or shorn cockatoos.
like best friends, they run into valleys of
like trade routes, they empty into pockets
of sand and dust
no currency, my love, just barters here and there.
they are making rhapsodic music
when the last of the screeching
sears the morning dove's breast
like a pointed Dali mechanic
or captured Halloween.
they make music together
like chaos fretting,
acoustic guitar strings plucked like hairs at the nape.

why should they make this music,
if music is the reason,
and deafness is inevitable
like broken glass on the kitchen floor?
outside a man piles his green truck with sticks and stones.
just a little more music, some nightly, in fact,
will push them into the frame they want to be in.
the mystery behind the woman's smile on the store shelf,
kept like canned ham or a yeast infection
will be a portrait then.
it gets pretty itchy.
forget what you know about these two
and see them as they sit in a candy store across from
one another, peppermint wafting.
they make the most sonorous sounds
when they are sleeping—
then the music is a ballad.
then a booming piano,
then trombone. then sputtering silence.


synapse license bureau

what are galaxies?
as a child, controlling the wind
with Luke in the backyard
skin sopping, grinding in fire yawns
twisting to sky
like sliced blue angel trails.

what is potential?
as a young girl, finding stones in the heart
tossing them down sewer cap shafts
vacuous sound of nothing
before they strike marsh morass—
expired spirals.

how does matter react chemically?
as a priestess, giving communion
placing alms on his tongue
scaling a young boy my mountain
predicting where his nucleus lies.

what is work and how is it measured?
as a woman, angry with friction
capturing light to absorb between eyes
sitting up straight
at the periodic table.

these are source lines to interpret conclusions because:
they are all forms of energy and predictable resistors.



an alarm surrounded the marketplace
and before the panic, she wrote, "...the wind
can't blow here anymore. I need some air and the keys...."
and as smoke suffocated the city
she said "...we'll roll with the punches, Peaches.
you can be gentle with a slap to the face just as
you can stab your wrist with a petal if it's sharp enough..."
and as the city burned and she packed her suitcase gingerly
she sang, "you are my sunshine. my only sunshine."
and as the day raged on, the fire-blanket spread evenly
over her body, tracing every swollen curve
of her belly.


where I am hearing you

philodendron arms reaching
to his passages like salmon shiny
on wax strips and leaves.
this marbled skin of vein and shallow bones
like wood paneling down in the basement
wreck-room the first time he touched her.
blood is a scream we can't pin wings to,
cannot fill with nylon across mouths,
cannot coagulate. like a carnivorous sister
in a hothouse, she is cursed by her
white teeth, stacked next to one another
evenly like prayers. he is the golden prize
at the bottom, reaching to her passages
like tiny fish uneaten.


an immaculate desert

with an amiable smile
and LaBrea heart
so cheated by rain that never comes
for you
it is the difference between what matters
and how you can make it matter
if we've given what we can give
then there are no definitives
only landslides we barely escape


architect of ecstasy

out of holes he drafts again,
centralized like weather maps.
they are so minimal,
patrons in a dark auditorium
who know not what they paid for.
by lengths he wins her cavern-toss,
keeping less than the rings.
they can tell between breaths
the age of their diagnosis
at one point touching,
like cars passing. she is a port
he is always shipping from.
into her pleasure-safe canyons,
barely kneeling as if a spy for herself.
partly cloudy. chance of rain.
like his blueprints
she is so much smaller
than what she believes.


people inherit me

like wetness of last kisses
that know themselves dry
like blood or ammunition
there is something deliberate in frozen mirrors
like a faltering priest
unable to claim his celibacy
in a room full of whores.



you've been in charge of the robes you've worn.
the "equipment."
your pelvis has been attached to them like thin webs of saliva.
and it is better this way.

it seems that naked flesh has been suited
without awareness
and inside walls, men have been permissive with slices.

you've been drinking out of chalices that leave gold on your tongue.
and it is better this way.

Copyright © Mudlark 2000
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