Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Our Difficult Telling—Issue 61, January 2016)

Rosebud Ben-Oni
Three Poems

Self-Portrait as Golem

I don’t go around leaving red curtains in ex-windows

If I wanna fight about it then only the secret rooms

Where I do not leave fingerprints I no longer have

Fingerprints I’ve left no trace

Behind those red curtains of rented rooms

I’ve cleared the cia customs and homeland

My hands no longer my hands but hummingbird

And faberge I’ve stolen the sunrise of monet

Pinned red feathers to the red chambers doors of thomas crown

And christian grey I have no feelings no lullabies to sing

When I poison them

Traded a nice pair of legs

For no blood no dna if I still had a heart

It would beat the beats of an earthquake

These days I don’t need

To make a sound I’m pandemic

Appear as the red curtains that won’t let you sleep

Weave knots into your back with songs of seabirds

Driving you into the sea it is not revenge

For the times you swore a blood oath

Under red moon and smoky redwood trees

And wished killer clowns from outer space on me

And all the lost souls and critters and trolls

Who I seized in my manos hands of fate

My many many wives I do not keep

Keep a picture of me above an altar of red wine and

Burning effigy the ashes not my ashes they chew in ecstasy

When the moon is full and werewolves

Cannot imprint on me I have cleared

Entire forests and doctor’s orders and her majesty’s

Secret service not even james bond can track me

Not the old red papers I do not collect

Worlds not enough where tomorrow will die

Waking on the red-eye

There by the wing all those nights you lost going

Back in time I am

All of them the eyes of steel bird

The red matter in the sky

When I Roared It Sounded like an Accordion

That thing the mermaid tramples coming out of the sea

I am the squeezebox animal

Half-dead and beached

My neck of hashtag wounds

Drawn hastily

She thinks I’m heralding

Her first time on land

When I don’t care if her new legs are lovely

When she tramples me I roar sounding

Fucker don’t step on me

My song all the good songs

Ever written

When new is just a note

In the kind of octave


Running off a cliff

knowing katy perry claims

We’re going to hear her roar

My mermaid who gave up the sea loves katy perry

On land my mermaid is what you’d call

On holiday

in michael kors

Blends right into everything

On land her thing is taking all the marmalade

And little plates and little knives

And pink whiskered wine

Her blood is antibiotics and ketamine

When we met I was again that thing

She trampled on a lovely sunday filming

Herself shooting

Gators in the everglades

When I roared she nearly shot me

When I roared sounding

Fucker I too could be a lady

If I wasn’t drawn so hastily

For that she picked me

She picked me

I am ashamed how happy

When I roared just for her

On a stage every note nearly new

For her acknowledging

When I roar she takes

All the jam and cocaine and pats of butter

Off our plates

Until she is drowning

Drowning in all these things she longs for

We don’t suspect a thing until she roars sounding

Fucker can’t you see I’m expecting

Can you see our unborn are feeding

Within me

When I roar don’t worry

Only the strong will carry what eyes

Would have been what eyes when I roar

This is not your home anymore

And drag her back to the sea

When I roar I’m drowning

Another of our children

Only the strong

Won’t sound

Like her anymore when I roar

They awaken in her drowned body

Rage against each other

Trample upon leg like leg

And bloodied fin

From What Hangs on the Side of the Mouth: Orchid Shop

Savage this orchid shop in mongkok

On great stone blocks



Arcs of blushing

Indigo and red-veined

Tangerine my mouth

Throbs the lipstick

I rubbed out I feel

In my gums my dress slept-in

Sticking like steam

On humid January

Windows I’m sticking to everything

Metallic harbor rain its steam

Rising off my lips

There’s no more space

Between us there’s no price

I’ll understand

For the little tiger orchid


Long flaxen petals

From magenta-striped buds

Behind glass


Potted in terra cotta

Upon a golden dais

I don’t know what to say

When you ask

How much I think

How much

We came from 8000 miles away

16 hours

Without sleep

Arrived last evening

Taxied straight

To the funeral


The red stain from my mouth

Pricked my skin the dark woolen

Dress unlined thread

Thorns turbulence there was no space

In the airplane bathroom dropped hairpins

Jammed mascara in the eye no space

To cover my legs

In drugstore nylon

I couldn’t understand


In that heat that January

Mourning hands sticking

All the choir’s hymns

In Cantonese

As we rounded the glass casket

Your uncle’s face his face

Open and blushing

I couldn’t understand the fog within

The glass his lips slightly parted

His eyes open

His eyes open

Couldn’t sleep

We wandered the streets until morning

How long without sleep

This maze this maze

How much I think

Grey and fluorescence

How much could it be

Rare and native only to here

The orchid behind the glass

No export

No selling

No touching

This was not your uncle’s thinking

You say you lost track of the times

He rounded the world

How much he brought back

How long

Would he stand here

Staring into the glass


Even with

All the colors in the world here

When all the colors in the world are here