Three Poems – Trish Salah

Photo by NMP

Kern

In the transparency     gestation
she has whiling  been within
long limned interiors.
                                                                           (Culled of)
hopefulness of translation
hoping, when we break, all fall out.

 

3 am on Maitland (recollecting)

The girls are crooning, tell us a story. And you know what they mean. Tell something hot.

Okay, this was me out at the Pope, with beer and bad disco, drag kings performing white trash.

Now, then and then, there I got snarky, tending your drunken, tending to looks “spoilt,” intending on “such a witty and subversive gesture” and “oh my identity,” to get past too, into it, to pick up…

I still remember her, she or I with suburban femme prettiness. That was maybe the offence, losing nights at the bar; it is how the body behaves, or the community. Eyes sliding down and away, as if to announce, “You can’t police desire.” It’s not so obvious, some stumbling i am I aim to be–

So, slipping past, and having gotten tossed, going nowhere home but still luminous, I cannot help, who cannot help– But notice

my stride and skirt, short and tight like my boots,
high gloss to thighs gash hips, top scraps of net,
as the cruiser pulls up, its driver hails me.

I’m unpracticed, unprofessional, so very slow to realize he is looking to pick up–

I refuse the offer of a ride,
and his cruiser shadows me,
and he’s a gentleman, sweet talkin’ me.

I’m curious as I get in, still playing my part, but virginal
or the part of a girl who plays virginal, in a scrap of net, slip of skirt, big boots
walking a working girls’ stroll.

He’s Black and I convince myself that cancels out the gun, the uniform,
so drunk I float on the thought we’ve something in common and he’s…
he’s just fucking massive, and somehow that’s exciting when
he’s so nice and from Brampton, even.
I don’t know if that means I’m “safe.”

Anyway, I’m nervous but reeling him in, reeling away, going on about my college, asking about his marriage… in the moment I’m such a white girl
I could be wearing angora, you know?
Still not knowing if or how I want to be “safe.”

I let myself be dropped a few blocks from my door,
Try to imagine, my boyfriend, the cop–
keep his number for months.

 

hands over fist

1.

I can’t make myself walk into the new Flamingo, Speakeasy, whatever…
I put my nerves on you, waiting.

As queer a girl as I to hold in this past my hand
a brick in it, even if grade 8 small to hold.

Being asked for is not always clear, what is
her pause is also your visible age, my visible sex.

Holly came from Miami, F.L.A., scratchy on u.h.f.,
as junior high Sexies threw the punches.

In queue, look to the proper young couple all in leather,
their baby swaddled against the cool night air.
                                                                                    “Did you like the band?”

A suspect want, once voiced, a school yard kiss,
an earring torn out to the limits of prettiness…
                                                                                            steals a self from Jen, again.

Or, trying to protect me, you ask, “Should we just go home?”

2.

In rubber tire swings, in the church yard–
we do not make it– overlook the lamp lit parking lot.

Not sure where the snow storm was, when we fly,
travel home is always moving down time

– legs in fishnets splayed wide, a grassy slope –
to the wrong you. Boys keep swinging, I can’t–

understanding is no ground clearer.

You don’t just cut people out of your life,
you do it with years of violent hollow.

To come round here and expect to just
be her. To look everywhere without a right.

How to word it, these two weeks in summer…
Everyone’s home.

Trish Salah is a Montreal-based writer, activist and teacher at Concordia and Bishop’s Universities. Her writing addresses questions of desire, identity and the precarity of belonging. She has been politically active in grassroots, campus-based and labour organizations, on issues of Palestinian solidarity, anti-capitalism, sex workers’ rights, anti-racism, queer and trans rights. Her first book of poetry Wanting in Arabic was published by TSAR in 2002 and her recent writing appears in the journals Open Letter, Atlantis, Aufgabe, and West Coast Line.