I don’t know where I’m going from here
but I promise it won’t be boring ~ David Bowie
I thought of you today
from the corner of the classroom
near the terrarium tank
where a Chilean Rose-Haired Tarantula hides
in her hollowed-out log.
My students were reading poems
and I was feeling a little sick
with a cough I can’t quite shake.
I’d worn my tee shirt from London
that carries your face etched in shadow,
you who radiate life now
from the Valley of Death. Stretched
across my chest in gray poly-cotton blend,
your one weird eye resting
in the cusp between my cleavage,
touching my heart there,
I could rise above the aftertaste,
the orange medicinal syrup
that kept me dancing for the kids
whose hatched plots and wild songs
you would definitely dig.
Diamond Dog. Black Labrador
eating coal from the Grimmest tales
only to vomit back roses,
you’ve taught us to dwell
in the dimmest caves inside
and drift there alone, lushest stars
of our own unknowing. Queen Bitch,
oh you Spider from Mars
in your glitter boots and elevator legs,
silver twigs, two ghosts aflame
singing us to there and the cratered beyond.
What can you say to a svelte man cat
decked out in rainbow suits
and rugged hair-dos, studded chaps
and violet Stratocasters, neon keyboards
on cosmic pedestals, supernatural
swagger of feminine divine,
the hero who launched our world?
They’ve found five asters
in the shape of a constellation
and it resembles lightning,
a zagging bolt in the sky
swerving towards Virgo and Libra
and named it after you, Ziggy
and if we step outside
when sleep makes ashes of our eyes
and the heavens gleam darkest,
for years to come–lucky us,
we just might be able to see it.
Michelle Bitting has published in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, diode, The Paris-American, and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. Her book Good Friday Kiss won the DeNovo First Book Award. Notes to the Beloved and The Couple Who Fell to Earth from C & R Press received starred Kirkus Reviews. Poems have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net prizes, and most recently, The Pablo Neruda Poetry Prize. Michelle has taught poetry in the U.C.L.A. Extension Writer’s Program, at Twin Towers prison with a grant from Poets & Writers Magazine and is an active California Poet in the Schools. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon and is completing a PhD in Mythological Studies at Pacifica Graduate Institute. Visit her at: www.michellebitting.com.