Hymenoptera

poetry by Raven Halle

Hymenoptera

Get on your knees for me, the Madonna

of outcasts, the watermeloncholy ghost of sweet

she-blood: half-garden, half-seed, soft-spoken,

as though my hand is touching something fragile. In my

black-beached dreams I’m still kissing you hard

 

-core, blue oyster spinning, lipgloss on your

ribbons, speaking only in vowels when you’re between

my teeth, and I left my fingers on your staircase, but

the truth is that there is no damned corner on this damned

Earth that I haven’t shattered. This is life with the safety

 

off—the yellow-colored day when we fought like a waltz—

one, two, three, floor, and I loved you like an apology.

Rinse and repeat. I liked fucking best in the trunk

of a U-Haul because it meant you were already halfway

gone, I told what’s below I liked it on my back because

 

observation really is a lonely science. Turn me on

and I’m a candle out of context, put roses on your wall

and tell me your apartment breathes spring, and do you

remember the thing I said about water tasting like

its temperature, because it does, but only if your mouth is alive

 

enough to handle it. The truth is, the tarantula hawk lays

an egg on top of a tarantula, and the egg eventually hatches

and eats the paralyzed spider whole, so I must have been

an insect in another life, because I like to leave my lovers

with limp legs, yes, but something that’ll kill them, too.

Elegy for Malcolm McCormick

poetry by Raven Halle

Elegy for Malcolm McCormick

Composed entirely of words found in Mac Miller’s songs

 

When somebody told the rubberband wasteland twisting

            up your spine that sleep is a cousin to death, you ran to the

 

underworld, turned raw as an amphibian, a kneecap. You hid your

            monsters like dark science, said a little more pain paints the planet

 

gold, pen spitting small worlds, jawfuls of lovely lullabies, your heart

            beating through your clothes, and then—the electric shock

 

of a chest collapse. And so it goes. The dirt hit your casket like neon lights

            on a marquee, your eulogy was like a movie scene: the room

 

went silent. Everything is strange except for the perfume smoke

            of your dreams. You get more peace from wings & slow speeds

 

and war is a ladder away, a mile above the ceiling, and god damn,

            cocaine ether creates strange creatures, a thousand pigeons and

 

an odyssey of dark souls. Most dope platinum anatomy melting

            inside heaven’s eyes. Light a match and break down the ceiling,

 

pick a bone like a rose and rewrite history’s dirty laundry. Misery

            is amnesia when depression’s high heels leave you on the tile

 

floor, and a thought is currency, but a little taste of silence is divine,

            your mind’s one-way ticket to a smorgasbord of hopeless oceans.

 

Death is a party you sold to your summertime because prayers

            are not a common language, so wait for us in the star room

 

to watch movies with the sound off, front row free of charge, because

            memories don’t live like people do, but you should know it took

 

God more than seven days to get your vinyl

            to stop scratching. Oh, Mac, come back to Earth.

Mad Mike Hughes and How I Know the Earth is Flat

poetry by Raven Halle

Mad Mike Hughes and How I Know the Earth is Flat

Because it’s the same story I like to tell myself. Because the first rule

of flat club is you always talk about flat club. Because I take an empirical

approach when it comes to science, meaning I use my senses to gather

 

information about my surroundings, despite my waning vision. Because

Wertheim argues that theoretical physics softens us in the same way

art and music and poetry do. Because the crust is crunchy and round objects

 

are hard to fry thoroughly. Because the crunchiest tallest mountain on Earth

is Everest, which is just a rendition of “never rest,” meaning you can’t stop

climbing something that doesn’t exist. Because revolutions only exist

 

when the Moon and the Sun and the stars and the planets pirouette above us

like a nursery mobile. Because we exist as children in the pancaked eyes

of history. Because Pac-Man theory states that, like Pac-Man, we return

 

at the side of the Earth opposite from which we disappear, meaning

it’s impossible to fall off, meaning we end each day like a video game

that doesn’t have a “save progress” button. Because, despite this,

 

I’ve still spilled over the edge. Because 62-year-old flat Earth stuntman

Mad Mike Hughes spilled himself from a homemade rocket for proof

and ended up in the hospital with a broken leg and a horizontal conviction.

 

Because Mad Mike Hughes is still alive. Because an extra life is only something

you get in a video game. Because there’s no gravity, just universal acceleration,

a singular pulse beating time forward like a shark, meaning that the Earth

 

is climbing ceaselessly upwards. Because the Earth is a tower of terror

you can’t stop riding. Because towers are just illusions. Because you can’t

trust photos. Because photos are sometimes illusions. Because haven’t you heard

 

of catfishing. Because we all are full of loaves and fishes. Because the bread

didn’t rise. Because Genesis says God created a firmament to separate the Heavens

from the Earth. Because that firmament is the wind through our ears. Because

 

on the fifth day God built dark ice walls around the edges to keep the oceans

in place. Because a scritta-paper moon can’t control the tides. Because Samuel

Birley Rowbotham had his friend control a boat down the Old Bedford River and,

 

six miles later, could still see him through a telescope. Because Atlas

couldn’t have shrugged a sphere from his shoulders. Because I wear

the Earth like a shrug. Because otherwise Earth would be only

 

a tear-shaped stain on the sleeve of the Universe. Because where

would God put his arms if there were no sleeves.

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Raven Halle

Raven Halle is a queer, third-year undergraduate student pursuing a degree in creative writing at Florida State University. They enjoy long walks around the neigborhood with their partner and dog. Find them on Twitter and Instagram at @ravvvve.