Amanda Chiado

The Birth of Houdini

For Angelo

In the beginning our mother
slept with a silver sword
in her throat, ate ruby fire,
danced like a banshee, all charms
of a stone-face conjurer.

Our father was intent,
a phantom with slip pockets
crossing over the fog.
Music pulsed from his top hat,
rabbit furs swinging
from his leather belt.

When the thunderstorm
brought you, my brother,
our father levitated until
a lavender dawn, beside himself,
his future self. Mother rocked you
with a mystic’s two-step, her skin

gone chameleon peach with you,
a sweet cantaloupe, in her arms.
Now, you always ask. Now, they tell you
that time stood still. Now, you know
they were always right.

* * *

Floating in Jagermeister

Batman chomps heads off bats
like Ozzy when he gets blasted.
Up-heaves a memory-grave, his father
flung like yesterday’s newspaper.

Clumps of muddy-blood stuck
in the rabbit fur his mother wore
that night at the Opera. A plane drifts
feather dust before its smithereens.

Batman’s brain whirls like cotton candy.
How does it feel to be a dead man
Not just float like one?

When Batman gets smashed
he puckers up to women
who are 5’s and 3’s, spreads
his buttery eroticism of wings.

He starts to whip with pleasure,
if one knocks her head back
rolling her eyes, her legs
flightless birds, except in bed.

Batman remembers being new,
a knot of veins, plucked from a cave.
He wishes he might resurrect time
but that just makes him drink more.

And the shot glass hollers.
Let’s dive and die again
cling to ceilings instead of
grounds stuffed with the dead.

Batman touches his body
like a blind man, echolocation.
Booze and a night suit: an embrace
without a person to complicate it.

AMANDA CHIADO is an MFA graduate of California College of the Arts. Her work is forthcoming or appears in Witness, Sweet, Forklift, Ohio, Best New Poets, Fence, Cranky, Eleven Eleven and others. She currently works as the Program Coordinator for the San Benito County Arts Council and she is also an active California Poet in the Schools.

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