Feelin’ Uneasy, Etta James by Caroline Zimmer

feelin uneasy etta james caroline zimmer

Restless.
Menstrual.
Orgasm.
Pure moans,
each to their own
God.
Feelin’ uneasy,
thick with wine,
tearful
fine
vapor hung
over the dirty sheets.
Blind-eyed nipples brush
the bedroom mantle,
cold a moment,
vague shocks down the back,
the pain
of a ghost fist balled
round my heart.
Could I leave him
with one last estranged fuck?
Soul says let me out.
Soul says no girl.
Sobs,
beyond species or sex.
His head
on my chest—
how long do I get
to weep
before he turns over
to sleep,
turns the raw song off?
Instead, ice
in the bed,
melt,
dry out.
Etta, Christ,
I’ll just remember
your voice
thrusting the summer air back.

 

 

Caroline Zimmer’s poetry, as well as her visual art, has appeared in The Maple Leaf Rag, Umbra and Unspoken magazine. She is a lifelong resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans, where she lives with her Doberman, Iris and her fiancé, fellow poet, David Rowe. Caroline tends bar and reads tarot cards out of her home.

#MeToo: After the Funeral by Caroline Zimmer

because I’d read that morning, “death is a chore”
because our clothes dragged heavy with rain water
because you said I was still a whore
because my mother and my father
because the polaroids were still on the shelf
because my heartbeats were parched and sudden
because my Goodwill mourning dress carried more incidence than myself
because the airless moments were scored button by button by button
because the tall man at the gas station knew someone died
because you told your father its was “real sad”
because I’d watched you stash your muddy sneakers in the hedge outside
because the time we’d thought we had
because I’d seen my grade school teachers
because you apologized for all the animals you killed
because I’d once had a longing for Jesus
because you didn’t chastise me for all the pills
because the draft up the cypress stairs always made me an anxious lover
because you were still selfish after all your talk of being afraid
because I let you undress me like a martyr
because I was sick of being brave
because you said I was such a violent woman
because that same violinist played
because you chewed at my breast when I said we shouldn’t
because you said you should have prayed
because grief’s an arrangement like everything else
because the lurid order death and sex bring
because I cannot forgive God for death
with all these memories of living things

 

 

Caroline Zimmer’s poetry, as well as her visual art, has appeared in The Maple Leaf Rag, Umbra and Unspoken magazine. She is a lifelong resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans, where she lives with her Doberman, Iris and her fiancé, fellow poet, David Rowe. Caroline tends bar and reads tarot cards out of her home.

#MeToo: Persephone by Caroline Zimmer

You went down, dragged
with eddies of dead,
foaming heads in the current
that welled like spit.

I went down,
his whore
on the trap house floors
that crumbled and caved in.

You went underground,
where triple hound maws
snapped. You spilled your blood
for their bruised tongues to lap.

I went, 90 pounds
with one clock to the jaw,
heard cockroaches in the walls
and his roommate fap.

He showed you his cock,
his sinkhole mouth,
bulge and roll scrotum
of pomegranate beads.

He showed me the jail lock,
the carnal brink
and bloodied my ass—
Persephone,

Our mothers don’t sleep;
who knows what they know?
When we come staggering back,
they stare, ash faced and blank.

The earth opens up like a woman, to waste.
Do they too suffer our surrender?
My mother picks scabs off her face.
We tie knots in our souls to remember.

The return is inevitable for us,
thawing through winter’s atrophy.
Pollen fails to mix with our hair’s death dust.
Mother’s leafy arms do nothing for me.

With the clotted seeds of the first dead fruit,
You descend again, stolen child, sovereign trapped.
Barefoot from the ER, I also get back,
fumble dreamily there with the needle in my lap.

 

 

Caroline Zimmer’s poetry, as well as her visual art, has appeared in The Maple Leaf Rag, Umbra and Unspoken magazine. She is a lifelong resident of the French Quarter in New Orleans, where she lives with her Doberman, Iris and her fiancé, fellow poet, David Rowe. Caroline tends bar and reads tarot cards out of her home.

 

Detail of The Rape of Persephone by Rupert Bunny, 1913.