Last Seen
By Iris Monroe

My Fairy Godfather retired.
We gave him a pillow
and a band to walk him out.
He spoke like silence
and laughed like flowers.
He said:
"Time is an ocean but it ends at the shore.
You may not see me tomorrow."

My Patron Saint is off fighting a ghost,
she's always off somewhere when I need her most.
She ran past with her toes dripping joy
and called from her mercury mouth:
"Don't no one like anyone
being too proud or too free.
You're both, so watch yourself."

My Angel left the blueness of his eyes
floating around my heart.
His whispers come from cracked lips
I still want to kiss.
He said:
"Go'way, honey.
You've lost all your sweetness."
I gather my childhood flames
from his midnight rug
and play old tunes that try to make me grin.

My Messiah won't rise again.
His resurrection days are over.
He couldn't survive tenderness anyway
and left crazy patterns on my sheets,
sweet as magnolia milk in dark spanish coffee.
He lies silent and perfectly painted
under His shroud.

I walk with them all in my head,
but end up listening to the demons
tightening around my bones.
The only one I can't escape.
"I'm feeding on you gal.
Won't be nothing left
when I shove away from your table."

And my conspiracy to get out of caring failed.
Like Nina Simone never sang a song that wasn't mine.
Like pretending this crown of stars above my head isn't borrowed.
and avoiding the fact that I've been living
the way a lapsed catholic prays.

My Healer is waiting in the wings
to quarantine my wounds
and cover all visible scars.
But he can't take away the hurt
laying under my eyes.
He says:
"I can only do so much.
Choose to be a woman and lick
your wounds with your own spit
until they heal."

And then there's me.
Ankles wrapped in orange
waiting for this love to breath again,
and trying to deserve my memories.
I say:
"You can't be punished
for closing your eyes while dancing.
Some love is due everyone. Some life.
Be last seen in the arms of yourself




By Iris Monroe

I held your head
like a ruby sapphire
it was
like gathering emptiness
in my arms
under the sudden blue of morning
I spread hibiscus kisses
over your bones
crushed like soft
ice cream cones
hoping to heal

tubes tables white washed windows

your whole body wrapped up
like a ripe mango

I loved you more
then I was mad

I love you more
then I'm mad

don't you know
I wore out
the magic of juju
loving you

I had nothing left
to bring you back


Land of Moving Feet
By Iris Monroe

I live in a land of moving feet
and whipped cream cotton skies...
I've nothing more than I carry
or what might follow me.

Mama once said
that half the joy of quitting a place
is the loneliness you leave behind,
and I must have a lot of joy.


I'm not proud of the unmarked graves in my heart.
I'm tired of how the open blue sky
looks all wrinkled through my tears,
am sick of rolling over and over
in a wallow of crumbled bags of fear
and scratching my back with wishes.

I've seen mountains fall to their knees
and rocked the wind to sleep in my arms.
Have witnessed the old black woman of the sky
chase the red eye sun across the dome every evening,
to smother him in her cloak at last
this has happened many times.

I've known many truths;
faith hasn't eyes but she sure got long legs.
Ain't nobody perfect cause ain't nobody free.
Each night I sleep in a new bed
I dream new dreams.

This road I'm on that holds the beginning and end
of so many things knows my truth.
I'm just walking, following my toes,
searching for a lost self.
Crying like the old witch with her shed skin
shrunken by red pepper and salt saying,
"Ole skin, don't you know me no more?"
But the skin was never meant to fit again
my skin will never fit again.

Mama gave me to this road.
Told it to watch me
while she headed down another.
I don't scan the horizon
for her anymore.

I long for the days
when people lived as long as trees.
I wanted to live a long life
but I didn't want to get old.
years have gone by with a loping gate,
leaving tracks all over the place...
time's left it's footprints on me too.
I can see it grinning,
saying it'll get me if it has to steal me,
I can't run far.

It's not the asphalt that feeds me,
the dust in the tracks,
or the walls begging me to climb like ivy.
Its need

Its the thought,
the mere hint,
that he's still out there somewhere
existing in some other place
then the tears I hide in my quilt
rolled up in a new bed each night
where I dream my dreams.

I live in a land of moving feet
just following my toes.

I live in a land of moving feet
just following.


By Iris Monroe

sisters under the skin
using high heeled shoes
as house slippers
emptied and clean
as a cracked china cup
on the wrong shelf

now that your a woman
do you feel abandoned
singing lead soprano
in a junkman's choir
your voice indigo
as a cello's bow

do you keep all your dreams in boxes
and do all your laughing down inside
do you cling to any man
that smells faintly sweet and warm
like a good memory
have the years taken the fight
out of your face

sister if you think your damaged goods
hold yourself in your drunken arms
and rub your feet raw
dancing to the sound of your voice
until those old wounds scab over

dear sister if you can't go on
fall in love with your memories
and remind yourself of your name
so you wont be confused
when you stand before god

if your day is an up-turned cup
and the sun a junk of red iron
where can you pour your dreams
but into yourself

sweet sister convinced
your beauty an abrasion
your love a fungus
eat salt and bread and tell the truth
remember the girl you were
love the girl inside the woman
the woman sketched over the girl

come into yourself
in the heat of yourself
refuse your mother's calls
forget your body's violent grief
and know
your smile can feed
grow fat on your dreams


Ordinary Braided Woman
By Iris Monroe

I'm an ordinary braided woman
with love in my eyes and hands,
my hands innocent of rings...
I know what it means to want to sing
and have it beat out you.

I can hold your head like this,
I hold everybody's hand.
Strawberry almond bread tastes
of my kind of love,
often mistaken for a mother's
or misplaced lover's.

I'm an ordinary braided woman,
tough in the hips
and much too much smile,
trying to please everyone,
my touch firm like roots to soil.

I know what it's like to
wake up smiling from a dream
you just miss remembering.

I'm an ordinary braided woman,
my arms long and my hips deep.
I sleep in watery secrets
between these sheets,
my smile nourished by geraniums.

I know what it's like
to have your mother in your mirror
frowning because you've slept
too many places.

It's a black and blue holiday,
and ordinary as I'm braided
I don't expect to be left
in this loneliest of beds.
I ain't gonna die off
without loving every
nook and cranny where
don't no one go alone.

An ordinary braided woman,
I got you in me.
I've got each of you
in me.
I'm not going
on this journey alone
I'll take y'all with me
when I go.

Iris Monroe, born in New Orleans, La, March 1975. Graduate of NYU, freelance writer, noted slam poet and co-owner/head writer of Pastafazol Productions.

For more of Iris' poetry, check out:

To learn more about the author, check out:


Loss  | Vashon | Services | Art | Poetry | Store | Contact

© 1999 KotaPress All rights reserved.  ISSN 1534-1410
Please direct comments regarding this web site to