JACLYN HAWKINS

SNAPSHOTS FROM TEXAS

i. to you

I write from a place I have never been before;
where words meet between brain and heart,
lodge themselves just behind uvula, and
                                       fester . . .
swallowed into knots that shape topographical
maps: muscular parentheses of the spine.

A place where city soundscape drones upward
and onward and inward, rattling minds like death
and sprawls through suburbs and echoes in howls
of coyotes, pacing perimeters of barbed wire.

City blocks a holding cell for humans begging to be heard—
“howdy, love.”
“sixty cents to spare?”
“lost my way—“
“drive me up this hill?”
“damn, you look good.”
(incomprehensible yawps.)

I wonder how to acknowledge need when I’ve nothing
to give, neither coin nor cash nor care without perpetuating
invisibilia.

How to stare down vocalized sexualization, safely.

How to shirk anxiety when sharing sidewalks with men,
unable to translate their yells behind me.
Is my ego assuming their anger is thrust towards me, gnawing anger
suddenly unleashed, or mere spirals of shout into
the world that never smiled back.

Sidewalk directives encode within the body.

ii. from me

Smoke spirals signify the weight of air; cloud lingers
after exhalation in sultry Texas nights. I’m reaching for poetics
rather than stripping veils—
every day of January into February, I longed to situate my body
into the folds of envelopes. In pain, perhaps depression, certainly
loneliness, I wanted to exist in an envelope.

Lick the lines to entomb myself within, watch city filth collect in my corners,
roam roads a rectangular haunt until rains dissolved my paper dwelling.

Rinse and repeat, fold into folds of a new envelope from my wooden desk drawer,
licking lines.

iii. from dreams

I place smoky quartz beneath my pillow, take a sip of water,
lay back to remember dreams. My dead grandmother
found me with fury, conjuring tornados of snow, weather radars
exploding like lava with unprecedented forecasts. (Is this our
world’s future?) I lead her to a field of pink peonies, blossoms ripped from stamen, crying.
Weather settled into sunshine—
I should have written her, visited often.
We are ripping blossoms in this world built to break
into blossom.
My quartz seems greyer in the morning.

I place smoky quartz beneath my pillow, take a sip of water,
lay back to remember dreams. Situated in a place
I have never been before, a city—
small southern homes once painted bright white
peel weather-worn greyed shucks. A backyard
with no garden, dark-paneled interior of a bar whose floor
sticks to step, a turquoise Ford truck—
my beloved sneaks affection to another.
The subconscious creates narratives to manifest
our illusions, our insecurities.
How dangerous our own minds to ourselves.

I place smoky quartz beneath my pillow, take a sip of water,
lay back to remember dreams. A field, a wolf
running, leaping—paws pummel my shoulders,
hot breath at my neck, teeth lacing throat—
how dreams re-envision in slow motion—
canines sinking into flesh, deer
appear. Wolf descends as velvet nuzzles
nuzzle palm.

Awake to morning sun crawling my bedroom, golden ivy;
what protects you from your own mind’s wildness?

I place green fluorite beneath my pillow, take a sip of water,
lay back to remember dreams. Fog shrouds, awake
late for work.

iv. vigilare

I live in the center of a city; I situate a writing desk on my balcony, table draped in blanket and crystals from dear friends. Water jars, dried dregs in coffee mugs, curvy wine glasses with remnants of evenings prior decorate the space. Soft light from the lamp temporarily removed from my bedside, a small spruce plucked from Oregon soil and an amaryllis near death. I desire solitude and space and stark mountains; my perch overlooks two neighborhood bars with outdoor concert amphitheaters. Bass beats my eardrums while humans swirl sidewalks four stories below.

Some days, I’m embedded in my envelope and can ignore them; other days, my eyes are pulled towards auras swimming below. I watch a man trail a slender woman dressed in black, chic, prolonging his entering Mohawks Bar to continue studying her body walking ahead, walking onward, walking away. They are strangers. She feels his stare, and perhaps mine. She stops, turning to glare at the man before resuming a quicker pace. I watch the bartenders take smoke breaks, chatting with the man manning the door, and respect them when they do not idle their gaze on women passing by.

I watch city lights reflect off feathers as birds move south, and watch them return north again months later. I watch their seasonal comings and goings, but from a distance too far to know their call.

I had thought these birds drones for a while, their formation so tight in distance; the uncertainty night skies hold, the overwhelming surveillance America condones.

I watch moon chase sun; watch Orion crest the sky, scaling westward before swerving north.

I tell time in stars.

v. in transit

mindless errands, windows down.
car behind switches lanes, accelerates;
honking, windows down, yelling in fury,
waving his gun in left hand, driving with the right.
“can we go home?”
my beloved in passenger seat, closest to gunman,
“Yes.”
abandon errands.

mindless errands, windows down.
Airport Boulevard, woman approaches, leaning into window,
“can you give me a ride up this hill?”
she is elderly, overweight, African American,
beautiful.
“Yes.”
her tooth is aching, her sister calls, she directs me home.

JACLYN HAWKINS IS A WRITER OF LANDSCAPES. SHE RECEIVED HER MFA IN WRITING AND POETICS FROM THE JACK KEROUAC SCHOOL OF DISEMBODIED POETICS AT NAROPA UNIVERSITY IN BOULDER, COLORADO. CURRENTLY RESIDING IN AUSTIN, TEXAS, SHE WORKS WITH RENEW ENERGY, A SOLAR ENERGY STARTUP, AND BELIEVES POETS WILL SAVE THE WORLD. 
GestureJACLYN HAWKINS