Monday, November 30, 2009

Tonight, Listening by Chella Courington

It wasn’t the tumor
but the tumor remembered

being cut from the breast
the breast chiseled from bone

when, startled, she felt it
how it might pull again at her nipple

slip through the ribs
like a cat prowling.

First Published: Survivor’s Review (December 2008). Ed. Sheree Kirby.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

September by Chella Courington

Fog on the horizon
hides hard island edges.
Close to the patio
sprinklers swish: streams rise
in sun before falling in the garden.
Six plastic-pink flamingoes
parade by the sago palm.
A pair of dolphins, together
still after twenty years, watch
from the granite fountain.

Stripping an apple, peel swinging
in air, I think of Mother
who sliced what grew around her.
From wood the size of playing cards
she whittled small animals:
our cat on haunches, neck turned.
She carved a woman
on her knees, mostly stomach,
hands buried her bowed face.

Santa Ana winds blow dry
and scatter dust in their wake.
Hummingbirds circle coral bells.
Their wings, shadow puppets
on stucco. Heavy with petals,
dahlias bend to rocky dirt.
Once I caught a Regal Moth—
panes of ruby and jade.
For three days, she flew.

Tonight my namesake calls
like Linda Blair from The Exorcist:
voice gravelly, emerging
from Minnesota. At 19 Satan
and God crowded her head.
No alcohol, no meds, no doctor
could wash them out.
At 30 she screams
God will kill you for leaving me.
I squeeze the receiver
not forgetting her butterfly nightshirt—
wings pressed against me.

First Published: Touchstone (2007-2008), Ed. David Murphy.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Forty by Chella Courington

Dust devils swirl to Beethoven’s Fifth and sun
burns my eyes between Albuquerque and Grants.
Living in this forsaken land is unimaginable
until I see shadows on desert hills
and think of Georgia O’Keeffe

traveling across New Mexico—water colors
dislodging dark New York her lover old
enough to be her father posing her
day after day in his studio
infatuations in black and white.

Stieglitz dies. She escapes to open plains
cloud vistas where nothing presses
no camera traps no skyscraper blocks
her stretching into whiteness—
bone on red hills.

First Published as "Pilgrimage": Poemeleon 1.2 (Fall 2006). Ed. Cati Porter.

Thursday, November 05, 2009


Perhaps you don't want to admit you've never had an orgasm. Maybe you don't even know what orgasms are, much less what style they come in, and how they might become available to you. That is why you are reading this guide to orgasms. You want to enter the realm of intimate revelations, heightened awareness, evocative sounds and silence. Indeed the history of orgasms is nothing other than the history of the world.

The fact is, orgasms are everywhere, though when we ask what an orgasm is, we find ourselves at a loss for words. Some call orgasms faith, others consider them music, still others say they are the best of ourselves in our best possible positions.

However they are defined, orgasms take great pleasure in men and women, good and evil, visible and invisible, real and unreal. Orgasms can happen to anyone, and there are all kinds of orgasms for all kinds of people.

For example, there are the lyric orgasms, which express deep feeling for an imagined person. You never know when your passionate, moaning lover is actually having a lyric orgasm. There is the ballad orgasm, which is kept alive orally, the dramatic orgasm, which speaks for itself, and the epic orgasm, a long-winded orgasm in which one lover plays the hero or conqueror and then relishes his victory. Men are often content with the small and discrete haiku of orgasms, which are said to around emotions and spiritual insight in a mere matter of syllables. Ministers and somber folk talk about the elegiac orgasms, which are mostly enjoyed by the dead, while celebrities and exhibitionists are inclined towards the performance orgasm, a style enacted before audiences. Good old-fashioned men and women never tire of the pastoral orgasms that appear in the midst of rural scenery. And at any time of day or night, lost orgasms aimlessly wander the streets, waiting to be found.

from The Book of Orgasms, Cleveland State University Press, August 2000