Women's Voices Against War

Maggie Golston

About a Red Mouth

Und wenn du denkst, der Mond geht unter

- 1921 German popular song

-Not painted , not the restlessness

of desire, not the engine, or

the match. Degenerate, firecracker

-If Helene were tired, her lips

slightly parted, and Paris

behind her, garish. Her telling bientot

but before the deluge, the fact of a hell

which is not a hell

but Paris itself -

How the snap of garters in daylight

on this or that rue astonished you,

the smile of a gash

but before the fact of Paris,

which was a restless hell

of sorts, is flooded in

concocted brandy and sugar into the mouth

of her, which was still

and the chimes of the hour, thighs parting

In stasis, photograph,

in evidence - others -how she

seems yet and beautiful:

When she pressed

your lower lip with hers

to bargain, to plead ignorance

Oh, the women you wanted breathed softly.

You hated them for it. And

you were a ____, were a restriction -

but before the flood of hell,

which is a fact not fluid,

this hell unparalleled

- So Helene blew smoke rings through 1938,

made Paris a circus

without the lions, the ringmaster -

In Vienna they mouthed all the words

to aria after aria andn ight came

low like chocolate stirred into a child's coffee

Stopped renewing with daybreak -

finished with hate.

I woke - she - this transfer -

- So the moon goes under

when you think it has,

when all light - her mouth - is still

But before I saw that hell

was Paris, the after, smear,

still awash in desire -

The gutter trickling rainwater

is the shape

her lips make