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Friday, February 26, 2010

Photographing Clint - ©1999 Claudia Schlottman



Photographing Clint  - 1999 - by Claudia Schlottman  



He leans back, arms outstretched
on the rail, terry robe wrapped
around his long body
cinched with an easy knot,
his silhouette framed by
an almost-dark sky that
hints of a purple 
and orange sunset.
A few degrees atilt,
a wine glass rests between
his thumb and forefinger.
Hot-tub water drips
into Birkenstocks--size 46,
he draws one foot up and
props it on a picket,
breaking the robe, showing
a knee, hinting at his
nakedness beneath.
Seeing the camera,
he cocks his head, silver hair
shining in the porch light,
and looks straight at the lens.
Brown eyes gleam as he breaks
into the smile he saves
for me alone.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Other Woman ©2010 Claudia Schlottman

I never knew this woman
of steel and guts, this woman
you said would survive no matter what.
I never saw the iron at
her core that was clear to you,
that you believed was the glue
that held her in one piece.

The woman I know is
a pretender a coward
who hid her angst, rallied
the family, sent them to
lie at your side, sit at your feet
until death began slowly
to reveal itself and they
could no longer bear
the sounds of its rattle
in your throat

The woman I know lay
with you all afternoon
awash in tears and lied
to you and said she
could endure it and not to
worry to go ahead and die
if you needed to.

Clinging to your sweater
her head on your shoulder
alone and scared she touched
your cheek, scorched with fever
said good-bye but didn’t mean it.

Fear

Since my brother’s cancer came back
I’ve tasted dirty pennies.
Not a stick of Dentyne - not a
cigarette will stave it off.
Sipping a cold martini from
a hand painted glass I bought to
make me feel better masks it for
only the moment.

Awake at three-thirty, I blot
sweat from my face, brush my teeth
wash down Xanax with water from
a plastic bottle.

The pounding in my chest subsides.
At last I sleep - hair dried in
curly mats against my pillow.


© cj Schlottman

Originally published as "Rage." Revised June 5, 2011

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yoga


lights dim new age music
spilling softly from speakers in the ceiling
i push the small of my back
into the purple mat

i open my eyes see Belle’s head
suspended over my face
she sniffs my mouth whiskers brush
my nose sniffs again as though
she can smell the rot of grief as i exhale

wretched gloom won’t leave
my head even while stretching
twisting holding proud warrior
or downward facing dog
breathing long breaths counting slowly
to ten with each new posture
segueing seamlessly from pose to pose
even in yoga there is no peace

(he’s dead, you fool, he’s dead)

i sit legs crossed hands folded
between my breasts as though in prayer
chin down i mutter namaste &
wish i could disappear


© cj Schlottman

Snakes in My Head - © 2010 Claudia Schlottman


I wish i were a reptile    a young snake
so I could   shed my skin by rubbing 
my nose against a rock    separating 
it at my lips     slithering out 
to reveal a more   hardwearing one    
growing and sliding under
rocks  through dark places   unnoticed      
sneaking into houses    scaring 
people inside.

Unbothered by cold   i would hibernate 
through it    &  in warm weather    bask 
in the sun    lay eggs or give live birth  
like boas & cobras & garter snakes 
birthing    a wriggling writhing mass of young 
to begin growing   molting   
becoming more rugged & craggy with 
the passing of each season.

Carnivorous   i would eat whatever 
i could catch    master   and swallow
rats & bugs & fiddler crabs & lizards 
insects & groundhogs & even small dogs.
I’d have    no heart    to break & no conscience 
or    sense of loss    i’d not think of my young  
nor remember their father. 

Thanksgiving Feast ©12/06/09 Claudia Schlottman

Perrier Joet from a hand blown flute
long stemmed fading from green to blue
tastes bitter on my lips & stings my tongue.

Chocolate mousse melts to mud in my mouth
while the hole in the room grows wide
& they pretend it’s Thanksgiving when we
all know it’s the edge of madness.

Cheese straws are sawdust in my throat choking
me, pasting my cheeks to my teeth
my tongue to the roof of my mouth. Will I
ever forgive you for leaving
me to strangle on my grief?