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  • Writer's pictureSusan Michele Coronel

I Paint My Reality: a Pecha Kucha Poem



Originally published in Ekphrastic Review


The Two Fridas

My younger self inquires why my older self

is a raw rose, a fool.

I claw at my heart,

strap it on my dress --

a red hole that opens & closes

without bleeding.


The Wounded Deer

I’ve stalked my own heart

with compulsive arrows.

I will never return to how I was before.

I grasp my self-hatred like sagging plums,

unable to extend my fingers.

Picture

Moses, by Frida Kahlo (Mexico) 1945

​Moses

We’re one moving organism

that began with a lone sperm &

an egg,

its yolk shining in utero,

the bright morning jelly star.

Picture


The Flying Bed

At once I birth lobsters & snails,

orchids so violet

their petals burn my wrists.

Stones & snails drop through my hips.

After pools of blood spill,

the fetus floats in a jar,

waters around it congealing to wax.

Picture


​The Suicide of Dorothy Hale

If you won’t marry me,

I’ll wed death, step off a balcony at noon.

My skin will descend

& alter to milk on the sidewalk.

All other traces of me will evaporate,

back to the sky from which I descended.

Picture


​My Grandparents, My Parents and Me

My mother paced the halls with needles & spoons

like a parrot trying to merge into wallpaper.

Her leather skin teased

but never touched me.

The starched & laced collar of her dress

squeezed her neck until she collapsed.

​The Bus

We travel to a market brimming

with melons, pelicans & bouquets of white lilies.

A housewife nurses her basket,

fingering rows of just-hatched eggs.

A boy stares out the window,

knees burning the long bench.


​The Dream (The Bed)

Death is dancing around my bed

all night long.

Vines on my coverlet advance.

Skeletons snooze

on the canopy.

My pillows contemplate shadows

nibbling on corners.


​The Broken Column

I’m a martyr to Diego’s infidelities,

dancing on my back like tacks.

My spine is blown to smithereens,

vertebrae smashing bone against bone

Burned, buried, aureate stones

crumble like chalk.


​Without Hope

Don’t be shocked by the horror of my insides

fragmented on the canvas like pumpkin pulp.

I can only count on one thing,

a candy skull perfect & white,

snickering over my bed.


​Memory, the Heart

My organ has become so large, it’s bigger

than my abdomen.

The dress in which you ravaged me is sleeveless.

I’m wading in water

with a damaged foot & no arms.


​Girl with Death Mask

They say I look like a doll,

arms, legs & torso in miniature

with a honeyed voice.

I’m dizzy from the same song.

I wear masks to the fiesta – calacas & tigres --

How could they be frightened

by someone as small as I?


​My Dress Hangs There

America, I don’t worship

your bourgeois toilets, telephones, skyscrapers,

or feathered monstrosities

purchased from a Fifth Avenue habadashery.

Across the Hudson smokestacks & water towers

waddle on spindly, metal legs.

Crucifixes are wrapped

in freshly printed greenbacks.


​Portrait of Cristina My Sister

Your skin is churned butter.

When my organs shriveled

into strips of poblano peppers,

their seeds rattled in their cases.

You opened your legs to Diego,

his cock poking your languid skirts

as casually as turning on a faucet.

You’re a jagged leaf

disguised as a flower.


​Roots

Because I cannot wean a child,

I birth vines

that originate from atria, ventricles

& semilunar valves.

My blood circulates,

flowing to parched earth.


​In Coyoacan

In the Jardin Centenario coyotes guzzle from fountains.

Laurel trees sway their hips.

Vendors at Plaza Hidalgo proffer

sopes, quesadillas y los mas ricas helados.

I pace the streets,

heels clicking between each cobblestone,

cloc, cloc, cloc,

as carriages thunder by.


​Self-Portrait with Monkeys

Four seasons,

four corners of table & bed.

My four monkeys, your black fur brushes

the nape of my neck.

I feed you bits of mango & banana

and you squeal among the leaves.

“Los Fridos,”

you are my four apprentices,

four apertures to the world.


​Self Portrait with Cropped Hair

You loved me for my black thicket,

horse’s mane,

rope-coiled,

luxury-long

siren’s song.

I’ve lobbed it off,

seaweed-strong,

with shears.

You won’t see me anymore.


My Nurse and I


I was like a calf at a dairy farm

sucking milk in mechanical release –

drip & suck, drip & suck.

Mother nursed my sister

but had no love left for me.

I do not recall her face,

for it was a pre-Colombian mask --

features without feeling, eyes without souls.

With one hand she weld me

to her massive breast.

With the other, a bottle of tequila.


​The Wounded Table

What a feast of my last hours.

Every dimension of me devours

chilles rellenos, guacamole and mole poblano.

At the table:

Wounded Me, always inviting arrows to enter;

Androgynous Me, jaw sharpened like a man’s;

Martyr Me, Christ and high priestess;

Nude Me, Mexican Venus;

Elegant, Colonial Me, eyeing my subjects surreptitiously;

Third-eye Me, for the mirage that opens its doors;

Diego, for I am he & he is me;

Earth Goddess Me, because my art is all of me;

The Lord Herself, who presides over Earth

& melts into Sun and Moon,

mesmerizing me.

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Hi, I'm Susan Michele Coronel

I'm a writer and educator based in New York City.

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Creativity. Productivity. Vision.

It has been a prolific year for my writing. You can find my poems in print and online in a host of literary journals, and I'm working on a book. 

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