On the Pleasures of Levine (Part 1)

By Arlene Gay Levine

Call me what you will
but I have names for myself
wishes of who I want to be
dreams of an open face
dancing whole person
able to take the heat
Call me Luna, call me Sol
I’ll answer to either or both
because they are me in its entirety
Call me resilient ground cover, murky tide pool,
encouraging firmament, fiery diadem
spinner and spun in the cosmic maze
There is always a world for me, of me, by me
from the words I chose, from the singing
syllables of sound strung together into thought
I imagine myself: a velvet rain forest
in the Amazon at dawn with a dozen squawking
lime-sherbet parrots dining on mango flesh
ripe as the morning
Call me crazy, call me shadow, call me
the beginning of an idea stirring
on the tip of your medulla oblongata
as succulent as fresh bee whiskey
capable of stinging senses
jolting the overgrown glade of your
sleepy life back into existence
Call me what you will


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