Guest Post: Three Lives- Abba Furry

You may remember Abba Furry as the third place winner of the ALSO THAT Poetry Contest held this summer. She makes her return to ALSO THAT with this inspired guest post. Check out her art collective, Lion Tail Media, and her personal blog!

We each have three lives, the life that was, the life that is, and the life that might have been.
— AF

The life that was


Do you remember the teeth in the side of the mountain
piano keys with snakes underneath lifting you up up up into
the maw of the rickety blue beast
that swallowed you into a stomach that felt like timelessness
Do you remember the staircase with the
jars and jars of once-jam stacked up on the steps
that led to heavenspace filled with clutterhell
under and around a window
Do you remember lace made into butterfly traps
with the guidance of a coat hanger and a wooden stick
and that of the crumbled goddess of the mildew ladybug
daddy longleg fire castle
Do you remember the upside-down freezer and the tissue paper
hummingbird that flew overtop of it
there were too many strawberries and it’s doubtful what
you actually ate but it was the work of a deity
Do you remember the swing inside the gate
that flew from the peeling chair to the edge of the driveway
and only a small jump would send you tumbling
into the foot of the van and a stream of human waste
Do you remember when rocks could be found
with magazine cutouts magically glued to them
and the slightly scary neighbor
would come out to say howdy
Do you remember the cowboy and the bulldog
and later the Newton’s cradle and that ugly stuffed dog
you loved in the face of opposition and the lace-trimmed
plastic bride waiting next to the clock
Do you remember when you looked up at the clock
and behind you there were pictures across the wallpaper of
people you didn’t know—“family”—and you also
didn’t know that the goddess was crazy
Do you remember the little TV for VHS
where you, the stubborn child with the
Fourth of July toenails, hid from argument
and watched that ancient woodpecker
Do you remember the tipping bird
and the icky carpet and the gas flame
the wooden swing on the porch and the feeling that
mystery was here in the mist
Do you remember the last time
much later, standing half-naked in the moonlight
changing, remembering funeral and grandmother and light,
boyfriend, excitement, escape

The life that is

How art works

My entire life is a whirlwind of sketches I am
manifest in
scribbly glory
My art is all more or less shit
sometimes I get compliments
on the more-shit stuff
and funny looks for the less-shit stuff
I don’t understand why art is so hard
to digest
If I could eat all my poetry
—even just that on actual paper—
I would have the cleanest colon
this side of the Atlantic
but then again the Earth is a sphere
and I would probably poison myself in the process
I am always in a process
of discerning what it is I’m
actually about to do
commitment is hard
where my pencil is involved
it just draws stuff and that’s like all I know
Don’t shoot
I’ll prove myself valuable see
this is a lamb like in
The Little Prince or um
this is a sailboat uh
then there’s this thing I drew when I was bored
which is really the only way to get any art done
It’s hard to be done when you never get started
hard to call finished what
is not in ink or color but
your lazyass black and white graphite
I don’t care if it looks alive you can’t be done
unless you do it like a real artist

The Life that Might have been

Blue Things

Half-read poem in a tab
in another life I called a cab
and went rushing out of here
down the drain, into the year
of rhetoric and prose
where is the poetry?  Nobody knows
nobody looks underneath the folds
of a skirt where treasures untold
are the subject of conversation
I felt a spark of elation
as the sign for Timbuktu
passed over into the deepening blue
of faded jeans shoving down
she holds my throat so I won’t howl
as I get lost behind her lips
in a world of slits slung up to hips
I wandered in a New York fur
the washed-up has-been that you were
is set down in careful rhyme
in precisely metered lines
you could not be reborn Shakespeare
so you got your ass out of here
the city soon went sour without
the sweetness of your thighs about
I followed in a later season
stirred by your redundant reason
there was so much left to see
lovers dance between the trees
unaware this world is concrete
the closest souls are still discrete
that where I found a tangled we
there was only you and me
packages for different offices
different condoms for different orifices
I used to think
behind the mink
one could be anything
but now that I wear the decorative rings
I know the monsters we become
are not about the way we come
but the ways we never went
the poem in the tab was sent
by a friend
I am obligated to make it to the end