Judith Camann

Thoughts Are Not Feelings

Between blankets and sleep, sleep and death rolls hard red apples, day old
bread, liverwurst, fingerless gloves, frayed shoelaces, nine pregnancies, six live
births, red-brick walls, tarnished forks with bent tines and a topless jelly jar where flies
procreate. My thighs wake to cold.

Not snow-cold children pray for with carrot nose snowmen sledding down hills.
Not ice cold cubes clanging against sides of a sparkling tumbler swishing an orange rind,
maraschino cherry, barrel-aged rye, and a sugar cube. Not chills or sneezes.

Between blankets and sleep, sleep and death climbs carpenter ants, carpet
baggers, beggars with dogs, blind men with seeing-eye dogs, dogs with dog walkers
with cats with claws that scratch the skin of the street cleaners who wake brooms
in early morn.  My thighs wake to loud.

Not loud like an ‘80’s metal concert with mosh pits, sweaty arms pits, armed security in the pits.
Not loud like psychedelic glow-in-the-dark peace signs hung in reefer-infused basements
drowning out gas lawnmowers and neighborhood block parties of complacent suburbia.

My thighs wake to election results before mail-in votes are counted.  They wake
to police sirens, across the river, that redirect traffic from the scuba divers who rake the bottom
in search. My thighs wake to moustaches in ancient cedar trees and raccoon families
running across rooftops.

Between blankets and sleep, sleep and death between perennial country gardens and koi pond
blueberry festivals and hapless marriages, plastic unicorns and unemployment checks, grilled cheese sandwiches and white water eddies my thighs sleep between death and blankets.


My List of Reasons Not To Commit Suicide

1.      There is no hare in Welsh Rabbit

2.      There is no meat in 20th century mincemeat

3.      Recess is held in high esteem by kindergarteners & Supreme Court justices

4.      The voice of Flipper is a kookaburra

5.      The kookaburra lives in an old gum tree

6.      A gum tree is actually eucalyptus

7.      There is no stomach in a duck-billed platypus

8.      The principal is never a pal

9.      I smoke in the art room while the rest of the class pencil sketches
          signs of budding spring, overfilled dumpsters, impending rain

10.    My big sister left home when she was 14

11.    I saw her in front of the high school five years later

12.    She shared two pieces of advice with me

1.      No underwear is cleaner than dirty underwear.

2.      A hooker’s shower of powder and perfume is cleaner

than all the dirt Ted Turner portrays. Trust me.

13.    She always talks in circle even before tracks polka-dotted her arms,

marked her bulky thighs, separated her toes

14.    Her mouse brown hair is too thin to hold a rubber band

15.    My mom cries during her afternoon soap operas

16.    My dad claims I was conceived during late night reruns of The Rat Patrol

17.    My dad claims he was conceived in a women’s prison  

18.    My best friend moved away before she had a chance to sleep with my boyfriend

19.   I sleep naked every night with my window open

20.    The folded inserts of pretty boys from various gossip magazines are taped to my ceiling

21.    I watch them watch me

22.    Sometimes they drool

23.    I have blue eyes

24.    I sleep with them open