How Does She Talk / A. Martine

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Steady eyes I used to have steady soul steady head, my feet, steady;

I still have steady hands, alas my hands, they are still steady.

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The rest: they split ways this and that, ran away with my composure and my clarity,

Did away with saneness and faith, but these fingers, always steady.

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I have the artist’s hand, hand that bends and curves, searches for purity,

The sublime line: that tracing that redresses all that wasn’t steady.

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I like clean lines, make it pretty, make it red raw, make it count.

Notch the directory where all things come together, come steady.

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Blades and pencils, paintbrushes and razors, graphites and broken glass, ink markers;

Pressure obliterates from the soul, in bursts of steady.

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It’s faster than talking, faster than relief, won’t requite tithes

On days and days that are all but steady:

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On days when heart is haywire and air chokes out light, and sound

Totters and dies in your cochlea, soft and steady;

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Days when sun hurts eyes but you draw the line and at last you can see;

Rush and rush endorphins, and you go steady.

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How else, how else do you talk, how else do you create the world if not the line,

Straight narrow down the canvas, dash-firm and steady;

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How else do you utter the unutterable if not the line,

Slate streaked red with crisscross, patterned and steady?

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Subdue the wrist, inflect the hand, flood intention into your magnum opus:

Let the instrument speak you into Being, keep you steady.

A. Martine is a trilingual writer, musician, artist, an Assistant Editor at Reckoning Press and a Managing Editor of The Nasiona. She might have been a kraken in a past life. Some of her fiction and nonfiction can be found on The Rumpus, Medium, Lamplight, TERSE. Journal, Metaphorosis, and Bright Wall/Dark Room, among others.

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