We build above ground now,
touch the earth and lift.
What a beautiful house,
crown molding, wood floors,
but at the edges the
unforgotten blemishes are
The portrait wall is full of faces that aren’t yours,
why don’t you ever hang your own artwork?
Ink bursts on the tongue,
spit out the truth,
does it have to be beautiful to count?
All those women in front of your mother’s mirror
with their hair pulled tight to scalp,
the pain, the pretty.
What does it mean to get up out of the mud?
That we are dirty, that we are alive,
that we will wield this language
in whatever direction we want.
Fuck it, bring the earth inside,
fuck it, write your secrets in the margins,
fuck it, look yourself in the mirror every morning
and tell it, Ma,
I made it,
I made it.
A.M. Kennedy, “The Ugly Wallpaper & Every Other Useful Thing That Came Cheap”
Let it go, you know,
that woman has never tucked you
into anything so safe as a bed.
She said, i love you,
but that’s not what she meant.
The cement in the bottom of your heart
means that sometimes you
sink faster than you swim,
but then again the brine
tastes better than tears,
better than all the fears
she read you as bedtime stories.
You’re a bad buoy but a good sailor,
a turn of tides that would
make a grown man weep
could he see how carefully you keep
your head above water.
am kennedy, “The anchor tattoo”
You don’t have to be
to have value.
you can put your hands
to the earth and
let her remake you.
In her image you can rise,
silt and skin,
you can begin again.
am kennedy, “Not like your mother”
My mother, my mother, my mother,
I cough the words from my chest
like a virus, a plague,
hoping every time is the last time,
hoping that this time I’ve
finally exercised myself of
all of these ghosts.
am kennedy, “where I got all these knives”
My mother ran from a box to a bear trap,
and now we all sit around the metal teeth
praying for rain and rust.
Ask me why she’s dying and
I’ll show you show you a cancer
that can kill an entire family.
If no one ever tells you that metal is malleable,
perhaps you will always believe
that you too must lay down in the trap
and die there.
am kennedy, “Martyr Mother of the Maladjusted”
She’s going to push you through a sieve,
grind you down, pestle and mortar,
That, mixed with the thick tar of her
own wasted ambitions molds you
into her likeness.
In the mirror your mother will say,
but you are so pretty, so pretty,
as she takes the razor to your cheekbones,
shaving them down until they are,
finally, just right.
Who are you, then,
when you are no longer a girl,
but a piece of marble?
am kennedy, “Mother May I?”