Poetry by Thylias Moss

Image by Todd Thomas Brown / toddthomasbrown.com

thanato-death-venustra-woman-phobia-fear is my fear of being
killed by a woman

I don’t want a woman to kill me at the Dream Baby Tienda or anywhere though there is a wife for whom killing me could be justified, thanato-death-venustra-woman-phobia-fear is my fear of being killed by a woman when she catches me with her husband, Thomas, unless he is nothing but a liar, my liar, and I, well, I love my sweet liar with the bulging pants, he did lie about other things, so why not this also? Perfect pattern, and I want you Thomas to be perfect, though he wasn’t—in any regard, how he wanted to be referenced when with me, finally, not that I mean to be bragging, though after I’m dead, it will hardly matter; the world is getting from me what it wants from me, depends on what the world is, depends on which world, maybe the best part of dying, to be rid of pesky obligations, except the death tax, but the living have to fulfill it, what’s the big deal, finally I simply undid my blouse, and it was more than his eyes could take in, looked only obliquely, since he’d done nothing but wonder, I guess he was on the uxorious side, not that it’s a bad thing for the wife to wear the pants, especially if she’s got the better figure for them, but his hope glistens inside a vein on the side of his head where his hair’s so thin, I find an urge to press it down into place quite irresistible, I assure you, even the mathematicians have emotions, time for some killer algebra, killer calculus, it’s not all equation, not all cube root, many of them learned to guzzle beer as well as differentials, I remember a hypotenuse hotline because I once needed one, always took the long way to get where I was going, the long way to the grave, you really want a doctor that can’t tango when she has to, that doesn’t know her way around—all the moves all the long way around the world—when it’s stuck into her, formatted disc drive, everybody does it, everybody dies, everybody has flexible limits, skin grows with you, but there is a condition when the skin tightens without mercy, you are flexible enough to accept it if it happens to you, you are flexible enough to kill yourself if you can’t stand it, I just want to want to die, since I have to do it, last thing I’ll do in life, I want to want the finale, I expect that it will feel good briefly because it is accomplishment, impact minimal on some scales, and so is also scandal, you know what we have to go through to get things all hunky-dory, the heavens that bring along their sidekick hells, the rewards and punishments, towers come down decadently to defy decadence, go figure, go get them, young men promised virgins, heavenly populations, scripted paradise, dot-heav address, the worldwide web, worldwide mehendi sprouting on the body, language of love thy virginal neighbor, what do the virgins have to look forward to, is there a beyond-the-men-who’d-do-anything-for-them, untouched trophies, untouchable till heaven, whose—is this the point where any heaven will do?—is this the pinprick, is this the fatal wound, the lovely fractal wound that glistens, better than things glowing from spit shines, shiners, who asked them whether or not they longed to be ravished, what’s in it for them, are they promised each other, I’d rather love a woman than be killed by one, I love being a woman, Thomas’s woman, William will never deserve me, even unto the death of being a woman, the last drop, last fall, I ought to be able to love a woman well, to be loved by a woman well, my life expertise, how many virgins per man to keep the promise, is it okay if the virgins have been only with other women, technical virgin territory for men, substrate, substratum, the virgin underground, neglect, single parent households, culture of the mother, does it matter that some of them are lifelong nuns, snatched from jaws and claws of molestation, snatched from opportunities for promiscuity, protected from others, from themselves, in convent orphanages, convent schools, novices, holy orders, as long as the women come with their faith and devotion, sacred ecstasies, never will get away from that completely, birthright, clean slate, women are still born virgins, still can grow up to act like whores, can have that know-how without spending a moment soliciting on the street, only extinct cultures have none of that, only the endangered, only the exalted, the high life of overcoming impulse, natural urges—have I ever got an urge for you, Thomas; you ought to know; you put it there, manufactured it perfectly—something better, the highest human form doesn’t need to reproduce, that’s why heaven is a terminal destination, arrive and go nowhere else, somehow no running out of virgins, as if temptation was never loosed upon a gorgeous modesty, Maria Goretti¹ knows best, the habit of body and mind, all tucked in, all folded, tightly bound, origami of the soul, the complexity, bud in a bice-blue vise, won’t do it in the sight of God, only in his blind spots, occasional shut eye, well-timed blinks, He’s not all eyes, is also ears, what’s not in sight might be in earshot, God doesn’t like the ugly ways we propagate, it’s systemic, He is so far above, so removed, the ultimate, unaffected by huffing and puffing, the way His name might be called upon in rapid succession, o God—o God—o God, He hears that, worldwide, echo of His words right after they were created, Mary said it, God couldn’t have a son without her, and after that, she was Virgin still, her job, her career, can’t major in becoming that for real, illuminated, the solar system’s blue lamp, bice-blue, Blue Coming, o God—o God—o God the customers have made Dream Baby Tienda what it is, my rebirth will assure Dream Baby Tienda’s future, yes; Thomas is going to love me to death; that’s why I’m here, to die (metaphorically) in his capable arms, I’d prefer to die in his arms, over and over again, his reticulated python arms bring in a certain kind of Thomas tourist, thousands of identical hims, curiosity hounds, to kill with intensity of pleasure and to love killing me to metaphoric death piece by piece: those lusting for repeating history, stabilizers, loops, echoes and reverb in the music, of man’s first, second, third, fourth and counting disobedience, have it both ways, two seems to be enough, AC-DC, not that there are only two roads to power, the ark of male and femaleness, all aboard, obverse and reverse, nickel-head, buffalo-back, quarry, ambidextrous, of ambiguous sexuality, authority, androgyny, bisexuality, fags and dykes, hermaphrodites—manmade and natural, many species participate, come as you are to the alter, there’s a track record, tincture, torture, so many ways to cure you of demon sexual confusion, the pathology of desire, pathology of necessity, pathology of celibacy, pathology of biology, life without bounds, yet able to be defined as life, definition as broad as mess, life gets messy, can be cleaned up, when the conditions are right, fatty tissue becomes a biological soap as the body decomposes, adipocere, what doesn’t have a word, what can’t be conceived, monsters can be, by an ordinary woman, by Vashti, watch me try to conceive Thomas’s seed, although I’m menopausal, but the magic, the mystery of tonight, surely it’s probable—wasn’t Jesus conceived by an ordinary woman, raped by the supernatural?—can happen the night virginity is lost, pathology of wanting to be killed, ultimate masochistic lust, sublime confusion, overcome when it’s dust to dust, with or without a dusk to dawn curfew, Thomas has his own clock, synchronized with mine, guaranteed, will save your soul, my soul will have to deal with its own fate, and it can do that better after it separates from the body, the only part that might be murdered, but not by a woman, that’s not for me, I’m sorry, I had too much of a good time with a grand mother, a sister, an aunt, I don’t want to spoil it, not that I haven’t had my share of a good life with men, except Thomas: good life exclusively with him, no other for me, and that might be  proven tonight when I am what I am, almost like dying, but I am revived instead, rejuvenated, I imagine, that Thomas will do his best—he doesn’t know how to do less than his best, and I love him for that best of bests stuff, for in his dream, I get better and better after being with him . . . I don’t have any prior experience, I buzz, sting from the cuts from his penile knife, see how long it is, natural blade, not that genetics didn’t do whatever’s been done, one thing’s been leading to another thing for a long time, protein chain, blade envy, each to her own kind of lover, the way I want my life-after-death is the way I want it, no excuses, practicality rules me, and a thousand Thomas’s are here! 10 x 10 x 10 = 10³ (“guilty”?—how so, if it’s so pure?) pleasure, I am not immoral, not trying to be, prostrate on the slab, the floor of autopsy, ready for God, I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to bite that vein that becomes as fat as a small earthworm when Thomas Higginson, married man, wants something he can’t allow himself to have, as he really wants to, but take me, Thomas, take me again and again: I am yours, if you want me, a zillion pulsations, but as I’m available, only for Thomas, the worm did pulse, a zillion pulsations, the blue deepening then decreasing, the color definite and then vague like most things that can be disregarded behind smoke, you spit into spit cigarette ashes on your way out of the elevator, leaving pitiful William in your (golden)-dust, straight to the top, penthouse of your tienda, echo of sign of a white crane, a nun bird if ever, but that sure ain’t me, I had the feeling that something had been absolved, at Dream Baby Tienda I bought a dozen cigars, and another Dream-Baby-Tienda dozen to almost fill a mapa blue humidor,² just enough space left over for doubt, I had the feeling that something had been absolved, I only had time to smile at the next Thomas terracotta flesh-colored stranger because—whose, you tell me just before I die happy at last, whose killing me is a form of something I love: sex with Thomas, the only way I can, whatever becomes possible; his store sex for sale, not an auction; pay cash please, and watch me stuff the green neon dollars in my bra, in my garters, green glow, “verde, Verde que te quiero verde,³ green, how I want you green Vashti” you say again and again, and I adore each saying; each saying slays me so damn good.

1. More info about Maria Gorettti here.
2. Get one here.
3. From “Romance Sonambulo” by Lorca.


Working on a romance novel, MacArthur Fellowship recipient Thylias Moss awaits publication of her eleventh book, Wannabe Hoochie Mama Gallery of Realities’ Red Dress Code. Her video poem “The Glory Prelude” is on exhibit at The Pulitzer Arts Foundation.