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When I pass out I have visions of my soul.
My soul is a large blue flicker with white glow.
I pass out two or three times a year.
The first time I held my breath before jumping
in the pool – I was ten or eleven years old.
When I jumped I had already began to lose
consciousness and the dream began
where I was floating inside a huge bubble
in an ocean full of bubbles—each sphere
held a fish or a seahorse, sometimes a wolf.
When I didn’t come up to the surface my father
jumped in after me. I felt his arms beneath
my diaphragm and even though I couldn’t breathe
I felt his lungs, those heaving boulders, against
my spine forcing me back into life above water.
I knew what I was doing, but I never told him
because daughters can’t be suicidal, they must
learn to grow fins for balance, swim side to side.
It’s hard not to be so personal—some myths
are so embedded in your history, wait,
some histories are so embedded in your myth
that even breathing requires a rhythm.
Instead you must catch yourself as you fall or
learn how to let go and hope you’ll wake up
with wings larger than your body, larger
than the soul you want to fit into your body.
Sometimes I will pass out when I drink
too many whiskeys in short glasses with ice.
My skin gets cold and the dream comes back.
Why is everything in circles? Why don’t we collide?
Sometimes when I’m drinking so hard I cry
and can only breathe between long images
of panic: the roof of the house crumbles,
my lover reaches his hand down my throat
and pulls out a long beam made of wood,
my sister is watching from a hole in the floor.
When my bubble reaches the water’s surface
I’m afraid it will burst, or worse, the air
will leak through a small hole and fill the bubble.
I will be forced to take long breaths of fresh air.
I grew up on a peninsula, surrounded by salt
water and mangroves, crooked like hooks.
They stay alongside you as you cut through
the ocean, like your arms are wings made of blades.
No one asks if you want to stop swimming.
They only ask when you want to dry off.
When I reach the shore, I pull the bubble
behind me and drag it to the edge of the beach.
Is the bubble my soul or just a shadow?
It deflates on land, heavy as a pile of wet rags.
I unfold the bubble and lay it out like a blanket.
First I sit next to it, then I put my back against
the cold flat surface – but we are stitched
so closely together, only inches apart.
When I wake up, I am in bed and someone
is feeding me toast, stroking my face.
I cannot move freely from the bubble
and the bubble cannot move without water.
I’ve seen my soul up close and the flickering
isn’t light emanating from the outside.
Instead, my soul is a pool of water dripping
back into itself like a thousand round waves.
When I wake up, I am in bed and someone
is feeding me toast, stroking my hair.
The only dreams I have of my mother
are the ones where she helps me put stars
back into the sky. They are glow stars,
and when you rip the paper off the backs
they stick to anything, so I put some on her skin.
When the stars are gone she turns into a wick.
My mother burns feet up, the ash consuming her
from the ground to the ceiling of my room.
A thousand nasty bros
made the internet unsafe.
While they posted about
turkey basting I climbed
a 300ft ridge, took off
my hat, and like a true
mountaineer, spit wildly
into the dry and brittle brush.
I looked it up on Google,
and thank the lord
turkey basting isn’t
what I thought it was.
Some rape joke, some
way to interpret female
bodies as bird dinner
drowning in its own bath.
Instead, turkey basting
refers to the insertion
of meth into the rectum.
It also refers to ‘bitches
who use a turkey baster
to gather sperm from a used
condom in order for said bitches
to impregnate themselves,’
But let’s not talk privacy
as body, let’s talk about privacy
as face: Rene Zellweger’s body
walks into a Hollywood event
with an entirely new face.
A face easy to photograph,
easy to write about, slim
and regular, even smiling.
A woman’s trademark, the full
face, her youthful, cheeky glow,
that seems to effortlessly
exude her [supporting] character
was gone—like erased,
like a stone-cold memorial erected.
Who was replaced by this Rene
we all knew as a face we could
recognize and photograph,
and blog about –isn’t this awful?
The face is not a veil, it isn’t
promised to us, but yet, we
are disappointed by chance,
by movement, by difference.
The bros are still posting
about basting, “booty bumping,”
“plugging,” “shafting” and
“potato thumping” but what synthetic
drug are we keistering?
Ladies, our heads reach
our asses, too—but that mountain,
thank god I am climbing it, am I right?
Jaimie Gusman is a freelance writer in Kaaawa, HI and founder of Mixing Innovative Arts, Honolulu’s longest running reading series. Jaimie has three chapbooks: Gertrude’s Attic (Vagabond Press, 2014), The Anyjar (Highway 101 Press, 2011), andOne Petal Row (Tinfish Press, 2011). Her work can also be found in the journals Moss Trill, Sonora Review, BODY Magazine, Trout, Mascara Review, Unshod Quills, LOCUSPOINT, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Hearing Voices, Hawaii Women’s Journal, Spork Press, Shampoo, Barnwood, DIAGRAM, 2 River Review, and others.