Gaelle Voltaire – So Many Holes in the Brain (Poems)


It seemed that all day when I was wandering the city, I was surrounded by a cone of silence and now here I am confronted with this child, and all I hear is noise. The noise of pattering steps, the rustling of clothing as this ugly little thing grasped earnestly for my embrace, the noise of her needy stare, the noise of her day. Tired from work, I slipped into my pajamas and into the kitchen to start cooking dinner. Called my daughter over to help, and watched her as she crushed garlic with a mortar and pestle. In that silent moment my heartfelt that it would burst, watching the tiny figure use the weight of her body to make the paste. After a while, her father arrived. She ran to get his slippers. And as we ate dinner we babbled and learned about out plastic days. I asked my daughter to wash the dishes; I was too tired today.

That night, visions crept into my mind and danced on my sanity. Thumps from my heart pulled me out of my slumber. And like a zombie, I found my way to her room. Watching her sleep, the pain in my chest grew too much. I silently rolled down her sheets, pulled down her frilly underwear and slowly pushed my pinky into her. Finding my way to her hymen like a snake in a swamp. The pain in my chest lessened when I found it intact. She kept her eyes closed shut, but I could tell that she was awake. Her little body had jumped when my hands grazed her tummy. She just lay there; accusing me with her frigid stance and clenched eyelids. But it wasn’t my choice. This is the way it’s always been done. I put her back as she’d been found and shuffled back to bed, somehow finding my way back to sleep. With the image of my baby girl smothered in a blanket of holy blood, adorned with delicate doves printed to cotton, and bits of christened olive oil.

Hurricane Season has Arrived

Everything hurts.
Like a body being pulled apart by the joints
And having those joints ground into the earth
Disjointed hardened limbs, hang sternly alongside
Drops of sanity, dripping drably down loose skin
Bruised and shining with sap,
Scrawling out a work of art

Something to make the people cry out
Something to make them feel together

Everything’s creaking.
The house is settling at its own pace
The beams’ musical movements with the wind
Bring about the image of arthritic able hands knitting
Fingers gnarled like the dead roots of a tree,
And yet, still moving so swiftly,
Earnestly leaping towards a garments completion

Something to keep the dirt out
Something to turn away the rain

Nothing makes sense.
And there’s never an answer
Leaves fall from branches and spin to the ground
My mind follows them,
Winding queries up together in a fury
Tiny thoughts, like rocks, whip around my skull
And soar through tissues in my brain

And now I can’t recall even small words
And now I can’t even remember my name



Though you barely know my name
We’ve had a relationship, you and I

It started that moment
We fell from the sky
And when our feet
Were fastened firmly to the ground
You ran to others and then to me
Holding my body up
With your alabaster arms

And as we drove away
I could feel my thoughts grow dim
Happy, dreading, fleeing, dropping
Knowing you held my heart on a pin
Knowing you couldn’t feel the same
And though my mind was fully aware
Half my body couldn’t care
Just wanting you, this beautiful creature,
Too much too fast too soon, I still dared

I’d see you from afar
And quickly hide
Imagining what life could be with you
Kissing stars and hugging moons
Orbiting the sun, as we’d collide

Though you barely know my eyes
We’ve must’ve made it thousands of times
Running my hands through platinum strands
Tracing the shape of those awkward ears
Tonguing the craters that I could find
Welding ourselves to one another
As I worked to cover you
In tiny kisses and tiny bruises and tiny bites, and all the like

Though you barely know my rhythm
Though you barely know my warmth
Though you barely know my story
You don’t know me.
But we’ve been in love all this time
And now it’s time for stories to end
And for reality to set
Celestial dreams weren’t meant for this,
Only for children catching fireflies
And horny drunk teens

I missed my moment.

Realizing this, I have to let go
Can’t help but resent a bit
How much time the dream of you
Took from me
The laps ran
The sustenance denied
The search for beauty
All of this, and yet I still remain this ugly doll
Propped to a wall
Yearning and staring glassy eyed from afar
Wishing I knew how to taste your skin

The sight of your face once made my breath flicker
Like a candle, but now it seems false.
Catching past moments, in forcing caught breath

You don’t know me
And I’m sorry
But I have to end it,
This love isn’t healthy for either of us

It didn’t last
It couldn’t last
But while it lasted
It was pretty nice.


What is This Thing?

When young, it is imagined to be made of sweet pain, sour kisses and damp hugs. Princesses perch on thrones in ornate castles. Just the word, I mean if it’s true, could make a well fill over. Spilling over into other things, making it all beautiful; making it all seem new and fresh and ripe and vibrant. No stuffed toys on a windowsill with mouths wide open, beckoning for a beck and call that will never arrive. A grown woman can come to realize that it’s ivy crawling up a stone wall; clinging to barred windows, frantically hiding what lies within. It’s being caught in a loose, limp embrace; just tight enough to serve as a reminder that it will always be a part of you. The fortress it creates now holds a fairytale of a girl trapped in a tower; with only the hope of hair extensions to set her free. But there’s nothing to spare to get them.

Sweet pains gain a bitter after taste. Stray kisses are only found with mouths full of glass.


Me, Me, Me; The Narcissistic Artist

Jean Basquiat was a man free
Pulling devotion from strangers
He had no skin; stripped of wants
His drawings on doors showed signs of genius
He, will always be an artist

I want to be an artist
I want for my mind to thrive and be free
Communicate every part of my self into words, pictures, songs, acting
I want to be engulfed by the love of strangers
I want to be a genius
I want

Everything depends on these wants
This list of letters and numbers and artists
My breath grows short, mind shies away from genius
At the thought of those letters and numbers skipping free
Folding into a self of mine like a stranger
Jumping toward stasis; then, a new character to act

Climbing broken branches to goals, needing time to act
But I feel like I’m starting to sink into failed wants
Making it my home, this new stranger
Feeling my body slip away from mind, far from genius
I fear that my fear has escaped and is free
And has caused my neuroses, sunk in lava, devoid of art

It’s as if I’m preparing for the death of my art
How could one live with failure and be at peace, without acting?
Shame would set my world on fire, before it got too far, too free.
So I sit here with all my wants
Staring blankly into the sun, praying for genius
Finding only rusted land, to which I once was a stranger

The Radiant Child and beauty weren’t strangers
His life was a representation of art
His art, a layman’s glistening glance into genius
I envy his rhythm, hating how I must act
Creating new characters for each of my wants
Wanting ingenuity to choose me to be freed

Maybe I should truly snap, to be free
Spread mud on my naked body, in a public park, howling for genius
Maybe then, and only then, art will never be a stranger