BECCA KLAVER

Performativity

 

Stand on the widow’s walk and watch the ships come in
Wait for you around every corner and boo-ya
Eat poison candy and barf a debutante barf
Wear my girl gang jacket in the style of Kris Kross
Dye dye dye my hair the color of my bleeding heart
Be the bedazzled bully on your block
The giffy troll in your comments feed
Put a hex on your IP address
Teach a class in black magic at a for-profit university
Play a teenage witch at an open mic back home
Play myself / with my real heart pinned on
Bad bad bad as I never was
And when the last sad song plays through my head
I’ll be crying
I’m melting, I’m melting!
Swimming in a sea of so long
And you’ll be feeling all my feeling

Spell for Protection

 

I walk alone on dark streets

I walk alone on dark streets all the time
 
am I not supposed to do that
 
anymore        yet         again        still
 
.
.
.
 
feels like winter tonight
 
from my corner window I can see the armory turrets
 
it’s a men’s shelter
 
my sister says
 
for murderers and rapists without families

who got out
 
but they’re still in
 
she runs a clinic on the other side of town
 
.
.
.
 
what are you afraid of and 
 
what does that say about you
 
say about yourself:
 
I’m not afraid
 
I’m not afraid
 
I’m not afraid
 
.
.
.
 
all the men surprised to learn 
 
how it is
 
what street do they live on
 
not ours
 
the night cracks in half
 
you float on your piece
 
I on mine
 
to take whichever way home
 
.
.
.
 
for protection I was given 
 
many varieties of stone
 
so far I have not gotten
 
much more hurt

Becca Klaver is a writer, teacher, editor, scholar, and literary collaboration conjurer. She is the author of several chapbooks and of the full-length collections LA Liminal (Kore Press) and Empire Wasted (Bloof Books). "Performativity" and "Spell for Protection" will appear in the collection of poems, spells, and performance scripts Ready for the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2020). A founding editor of the feminist poetry press Switchback Books, she is currently coediting, with Arielle Greenberg, the anthology Electric Gurlesque (Saturnalia Books). Becca holds degrees from the University of Southern California (BA), Columbia College Chicago (MFA), and Rutgers University (PhD), and is the Robert P. Dana Director of the Center for the Literary Arts at Cornell College. Born and raised in Milwaukee, she lives in Iowa City.

Becca’s work previously appeared in July 2006.