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Cover Me With Turtles After Amy Cutler.

Cover Me With Turtles
After Amy Cutler


   Fall into the cracks
   Where elephant trunks are useful.
   Where patterns open at the seams,
   Revealing nakedness.
   Where to finish is a process of picking fruit.
   And big, round, yellow orbs fall
   But don't squish and squirt
   Because you made them all up.
   Cheer for the death of the imagination
   and the moment where reality bleeds enough.
   Make a sign. Take it down to Wall Street.
   Make sure all the letters fit on the cardboard.


   Empty your pockets.
   Sew a dress for me.
   Long, blue, elegant--
   I will wear a crown
   and frown in glory.
   It's not floating heads,
   but the drooping skins of creatures
   once upon a time fierce.
   Charge up a mountain
   and then call down one last time
   So that I can see you
   before it's over and my shame
   Has eaten up what's left.
   Is that an instrument for making music?
   Or do you carry it for style?
   This world still has plants,
   and there is no mayor;
   No one to declare me wrong.


   Hold your own head in your lap.
   Place it on the floor and use it as a footstool.
   Attach my living bust to the front of your
   Fishing boat and
   I will drag a net into the sea for you.
   Sleep next to me.
   Cover me with turtles.


   We declared our independence
   last night
   in front of a small crowd.
   Later, we drank,
   tired, and became sad again.


   You are ageless
   in your beginnings:
   black and white like text,
   or some perceptions of science.
   You hug a snowman,
   but don't show feeling.
   Not much, anyway.
   I wish my lines
   were more intricate;
   tricky; time consuming.
   I wish my thoughts
   could marry yours,
   but we're working
   Next to one another
   and we can't see in.
   (I'm thankful for this.)
   Stop reminding me
   of other things.
   Just let me stay
   here in the spaces
   that create nothing
   from my memory.
   Don't make me angry;
   you pulled my braids.
   You once drew me
   sitting on a hill
   with an expression
   that seemed thoughtful,
   but was probably
   more insecure.
   I held an inner slice--
   You scowled and
   grasped both ends.
   Apple head, where're
   your brain guts?
   What are those ears for?
   Oh! how your patterns
   compliment each other
   so exquisitely!
   And you, of course.
   I'm not the footrest,
   but something
   Underneath that.
   Squid legs
   incapacitate me.
   Hold my hand.
   Sew me into existence
   when you're done
   doing you.
   Anchor me.
   Plant a redwood
   Forest in my chest,
   above my breasts.
   I will tilt my
   head back
   to make room
   for the trees
   to grow.
   You make me laugh
   when you rub
   your eyes like that.
   Floating without water,
   with a life vest
   And a raft--
   saved before
   there was any
   real danger of drowning,
   like Danielle before the towers fell.
   Huddle like Forti,
   only backwards.
   Can you do it?
   Score me a river and bundle up
   until only the top of your head
   peeks through.

   Eyes open,
   but still you wear that expressionless stare.
   Frumpy face, put your shoes on,
   you're embarrassing me.

* Inspired by "Amy Cutler: Acquainted" at Leslie Tonkonow Artworks + Projects, September 15-November 5, 2011, as well as by the artist's monograph Amy Cutler: Turtle Fur (published by Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2011).
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Title Annotation:ARTSEEN
Author:Milder, Patricia
Publication:The Brooklyn Rail
Article Type:Poem
Date:Nov 1, 2011
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