My name is Anaïs Dassé.
I am a visual artist from France, living in Little Rock, Arkansas.
She flashes her crystal-blue eyes,
Pale face buried under soiled curls,
A chipped tooth lights her tainted pearls,
Screams at some imaginary lies.
Sing-song girl skipping on the curb,
Electric. The tremors won’t stop.
Sylphid of a red-states suburb
Flies away for ten bucks a pop.
Dances barefoot for the voices.
She got a thumb that smells like rot,
Freaks out. Goes full-blown psychosis
in a Walgreen store parking lot.
– Anais Dasse, 2018
(The Plymouth settler) Heroin
Panning the gold
Submerged in water and shaken.
Sorting the good from the gravel.
Placer deposit, sprinkles and spangles.
Withdraw the syringe, like you sip
Coffee from Styrofoam cups.
Jobless workers of the closed mines.
Tireless doctors of prescriptive lies,
Hirelings, break a limb, pop a pill.
Numbed until they can’t taste
The tonic. Born there, die here.
The Plymouth settler
Lies unconscious on the bathroom
Floor, spasm and spume. There were glimmers
Of an explanation here and there.
Boredom, lack of purpose, social
Defect. We had no clue.
At night, you hear
No pack, no growl, filled with shame and
Sick, the swines don’t run wild, they’re
Weak, curl up in a corner and howl.
Cold white tiles, blue-tinged lips,
Dampled skin, metal taste.
Just a couple more
Minutes of sleep. Twitched pupils, labored
Breathing, the slumber slows then stops, a
Nine-one-one call, a Narcan shot,
Withdrawal. The neighbors sigh :
Leave’im lie, let’im die.
Got lost discovering of quartz veins.
The hands are sore and his head hurts.
Mining is hazardous, the paramedics
know they’ll be back next week.
Recreational diggers are a persistent bunch.
– Anais Dasse, 2018
Hear the swamp-lilies long, blue-green, strap-like leaves
Hiss like a Rimbaud’s poem, bushes and foliage
And fall-blooming daisies are rustling. The sunrise,
Cobalt meadow, shimmering pulse of fireflies
Skitter across the grass. A southern Endymion,
Is laying, quiet. A day-old dandelion
Waits in the back pocket of his distressed Levis.
Throwaway plastic cups and two little blind mice.
Feel the boggy ground under the bootlegger foot
Sticks like a Hank Williams’ song, swamp mud and sweet soot
And summer heat around the stone furnace. Last batch,
Well water that stinks of sulfur poured with corn mash,
Yeast and sugar in the tin pot. Add paint thinner
For the kick. Tax-free juice at breakfast and dinner,
Freckled with wax debris, to moon his life away.
Rusty-handled buckets and a voiceless blue jay.
Summer night sky trapped in glass jars. Old South decor,
Clutter in a junk car. Jugs beer on the truck bed.
Condensation dripping on the radiator,
Fermentation turning bushel into liquor.
O boi, beware : the lead burns red and makes you dead.
She drives across the heavens with her moon chariot,
Selene comes to taste the sleeper’s lips, aerial.
The air, unlit before, glows of her silver crown.
Her lover slips in methanol vapors and drowns
In a deathbed of posies : southern burial.
– Anais Dasse, 2017