Aloha Vaudeville Doll / Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis
dancing girl press, 2014
Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis' first book, Intaglio, was published by Kent State University Press in 2006. Her chapbook, EMUseum, a collaboration with Caleb Adler was published by Dancing Girl Press and a collaborative chapbook with Cynthia Arrieu-King won the 2011 Dreamhorse Chapbook Prize. Poems have appeared in Anti-, Boston Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern & Hotel Amerika. An associate professor at Columbus College of Art and Design, she is the faculty advisor for Botticelli Literary/Art Magazine. Along with Kathrine Wright, hosts www.sweetlydisturbed.com
The Talkies Did Us In
We’d have survived the movies alone--all
motion, no sound. But something in us
craved a voice. Some mild and fake assurance
we aren’t alone. Several nights found me hanging
back behind the curtain, listening, not
listening to the lines you’d rehearsed
so many times I could have played you had you
called in sick at showtime. Not the words
that held me there, but your voice as it rose
vibrato from the cellar of your body.
I wanted it—like a rope
to lead me down into you. To mine
for just one thing the audience
couldn’t get from you. Some pure particle
that was all and only you. To know you
better than ever you’d been
known and for always—in my own way, I married you.
Listening to you was always listening-in,
eavesdropping with the crowd, and sometimes it seemed
like a world of us there--glass to the wall.
Except all the others were able to applaud or walk out.
Then that perfect quiet, the nights when, your back
to the footboard, my back to the headboard
each of us holding a book, no one needed
speech at all. Just what would have made us want
to invent the violin with a voice
so human, that it made us cry?
An instrument that splashed its own grief back up
into our faces, and made us believe in a kind of empathy
we could only imagine from the soul-less, the inanimate
or sometimes the household pets.
Jubilee, there’s a reason why everyone
who loves you is so sad.