alina pleskova is a poet who lives in philly by way of moscow. her first chapbook, what urge will save us, was published by spooky girlfriend press in april 2017. poems have appeared in cosmonauts avenueamerican poetry reviewelderly, queen mob's teahouse, & more. she's on twitter @nahhhlina.

1 poem

by Alina Pleskova

Cereus

As loss illusion goes, you feel

more pain in losing something

 

than pleasure in getting it. That’s how

want becomes the narrative engine,

 

what else? its faithful pump. You learn

to dislocate ardor & throw it into a look,

 

to catch yr death drive gleaming

off a plane wing, awash in golden light,

 

to repeat I know what I am

when you want to wriggle out

 

from under any thumb— a safe phrase

too empty to question, same as

 

I have my reasons, as do you,

& we drape them over ourselves

 

all night. I’m never called fierce

unless it’s aesthetic measure,

 

but I’m fixing to become a ruthless

Domme of my own heart, though

 

it doesn’t fit any disposition I’ve held

If given the Marshmallow Test,

 

even now, I’d grope for the reward

Hey hive mind, can you recommend

 

some healthy modes of debasement

in the area? When I said my sex life

 

was hexed, my roommate scolded

Not every day can be Cirque du Soleil, Alina

 

The spirit is GGG, but the flesh

is so tired of ante-upping parlor tricks.

 

Like when a recent date

asked for electro-stimulation—

 

little concentrated shocks, he said,

I just wanna fuck w/ my dick electrified

We’ve each got our ways of keeping

the lights on. When I go on my nerve

 

as a favorite poet prescribed,

I succumb to my porous will,

 

little concentrated shocks

What one calls tenderness, the other

 

recognizes as swapping traumas

until someone taps out first

 

What one calls lust between us, the other

recognizes as her default thrum

 

One called our daze sorcery,

but naming should never precede

 

foreplay, or at least a finger licked

& stuck out to check for a current

 

I was born into this life during

the Week of Sensitivity,

 

but I’m learning to become

a night-blooming cactus:

 

to live exactingly, w/ less

to cast augury inward

 

to hold back until conditions are optimal

to unfurl only when I so desire