Alice Fulton Poems

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About Face

Because life's too short to blush,
I keep my blood tucked in.
I won't be mortified
by what I drive or the flaccid

Yours & Mine

Through your lens the sequoia swallowed me
like a dryad. The camera flashed & forgot.
I, on the other hand, must practice my absent-
mindedness, memory being awkward as a touch

Fierce Girl Playing Hopscotch

You sway like a crane to the tunes of tossed stones.
I am what you made to live in


For your birthday, I'm learning to pop champagne corks
with a cossack sword when all you asked for was world peace.
I'm actioning the deliverables to wish you many happy returns

of the ecstasies that are imminent when all you requested
was a contentment so quiet it's inaudible. Remember when
I gave you a robe of  black silk that floats and does not rustle?
When all you desired was to turn from what was finished and hard

in the darkness. And when you said I gave you what I wanted
myself  I gave you what I didn't want: gift certificates to spas
that wax hearts, a blind date with the inventor of friction.

Today I bring an actual-size sunrise and many glow words
from the inmates of  this late-stage civilization who navigate
in your slipstream and to whom you say keep rowing.

When you were born you were placed on a small throne on castors
while the Stop Shopping Choir sang hosannas, a defining
moment. People noticed something nascent about you

that persists in your fondness for the first person primordial.
You own it. You know why voices die in throats

and trees struggle in silence: the deepest trauma cannot
spare a sound. If you meet a mystery you do not disturb it

with little picks and suction things. You say the shape
of  happiness is too fine for capture spray, and it is well
to remember the days when plastic boxes snapping shut were all
that women had to celebrate. Yet it is not seditious to rebel
against a culture like circus music, so cheerful

we'd need a cadaver tendon to fix it. That's what
you say. You are hard to fathom as a guttering compass
that is neither hush nor howl. I'm thinking of  the time

you placed an Aeolian harp in the window, took me
by the notebook, and asked me to consider why

turkeys bob their heads when they walk and geese don't
though they both waddle. You watched my ethereality show
and commiserated when they adorned my rival

in a deconsecrated rosary bead bikini and send her to St. Barts
while I was remaindered to an orange jumpsuit organ-swiping plot.
That century I was betrayed by a dedicated icemaker,
you burned a feather pen to revive me. You tried

my device that prevents accidental workplace nudity, vetted
its magnetic veils, and at Christmas sent fruitcake
privacy filters. Remember when I was dismissed as overness

consultant? How you resigned in solidarity and grew
a sky-colored flower since I could not be satisfied
with the sky itself? You gave me a robe of  black silk that floats
and does not rustle and advised me to turn from what was finished

and hard in the darkness. If  I critiqued the treasure revealer
you said do not test its softness against your cheek.
Today I raise my glass of wheat grass and atmospheric information

to wish you every beyond of  thought in which to consider
all that is majorly good. I won't sing Happy Birthday,
a song so overdetermined it sounds bereaved.

I'll sing of  passions that persist in the Elysian Fields.
Though shackled to a boulder at the moment, I'm unpacking
boxes from your last move, wrapping the contents

in recycled moonlight and presenting them to you
as objects exactly forgotten and largely

what you wanted. I nerve myself  for the encounter.


From the guts of the house, I hear my mother crying
for her mother and wish I understood
the principles of tranquility. How to rest

the mind on a likeness of a blast furnace
framed in formica by anon. A photo of lounge
chairs with folded tartan lap robes. An untitled typology of

industrial parks. The gentle interface of yawn and nature.
It would soothe us. It would soothe us. We would be soothed
by that slow looking with a limited truth value. See

how the realtor's lens makes everything look larger
and there's so much glare the floor looks wow
under the smartificial xmas tree.

After studying Comparative Reality
I began Die Polyvinylchloride Tannenbaumserie.
Turn off that tiny tasteful star, I commanded.

While you're alive there's no time
for minor amazements. Turn off the sallow pages of
your paralegal pad. I don't need a light to think

of you. I don't need a god to pray.
Some things are glow alone. I said one thing you said
you remembered I said. Was it will you be my

trophy friend? Or are you someone else's
difficult person? I mean the more myself I
become the less intelligible I seem to otters.

I know what you mean you said.
It's like the time I was compelled to speak
on hedonism to the monks and nuns.

Did I say most religion is devotional
expediency? Or religion doesn't worry about being
religious, its wisdom corrupted by its brilliance as light

passing near the sun is deflected
in its path. Deep in its caprices,
the whole body thinks it's understood.

To think otterwise is isolating. When I said
hedonism stressed cheerfulness,
there were disappointed groans. Look, I'm sorry

I gave you an ornament shaped like a hollow look.
I liked its trinket brightness. Just don't give me
a water tower dressed up as a church steeple

or one of those silly thunderstorms
that hang around volcanoes. See how those teardrop lights
make every object jump? The memory does.

You made me love. Was it exile in honey
is still exile? Am I the fire or just another flame?
Please sell me an indulgence, I begged a monk.

And tell me what creature, what peril,
could craft that sound that night
dropped like a nubile sliver in my ear.

There is no freedom of silence
when morture forces us to speak
from organs other than the heart.

It was something about love. A far cry. It was come to me
unmediated, go to god lengths. In great things,
the attempt alone is sufficient. I think this

'cause I'm finite. That's an understanding
to which reason can only aspire
though an entire speech community labored

for generations to say it in a fair hand clearly
dated and scented with lavender. My one and only only
a crass color orgy will see us through

the dusk ahead, the months gray as donkey.
See how it grows its own cross of fur
and bears it on its back? I showed you that.


a face stares back.
across the hostile centuries.
add a twist — delicious.
and never feel a thing.
commercial — added stretch to every gesture.
how it is made.
I almost admire it. I almost wrote despise.
I'd be all give. Let me put it like this==
in the nocturnal, recessed bed==
of nettles.
resembles the bird it will fly into.
Right now I'm trying to open wide.
she turns to a tree.
she would be neither-nor.
smoky field.
that is space.
the bride.
the exdream — the world gone into god again?
the night.
the white between the ink.
the white navel — I notice — in the O.
their harsh done crust.
then some inbetween?
to a nuptial lace.
to ever dwell again.
to mask the screen in dumb expanse.
touch in linen walls.
Turn — her — loose —
What — does not console?
who could bear to save her.
yes, god her saurian voice into the ground.


Chandelier too full of brilliance to be indolent.
Your prisms enunciate the light
and don't need rain to break it into rainbows.
Snow with six crutches in each crystal.
Your livery your glitter, your purring
made visible. Only inanimate things can sparkle
without sweat. My spinet, the threat of music
in its depths and miniature busts of men composers
carved of time on top. The hollow bench

held sheet music. Sing me
Charm Gets In Your Eyes. I hear you best
when undistracted by your body. In headspace
technology, where flowers are living
in glass globes, their fragrance vivisected.
Anything that blooms that long
will seem inanimate. Heaven. Grief
like the sea. Keeps going. Over the same wrought
ground. The whole spent moan. Praise dies

in my throat or in the spooky rift
between itself and its intended. Like a wish-
bone breaking. The little crutch inside
is not a toy. There is no night asylum.
A restless bed, a haunt preserve,
a blanket rough as sailcloth. But sing me, was it kind
snow sometimes? With true divided lights and nothing
flawed about it? If song goes wrong,
be dancerly. Dance me, at what point

does west turn to east as it spins?
I've never understood. Perspective.
How charm gets to yes. Dance me Exile
and the Queendom, by request.
It is a ferocious thing
to have your body as your instrument.
Glove over glove, let your dance express
what I've been creeping like a vein of sweat
through a vastness of.

This tune with mountains tied inside
and many silent letters
can be read as trackers scan the spaces
between toes and birders read the rustle
left by birds. As any mammal
in its private purr hole knows,
the little crutch inside
is not a crutch. More a sort of
steeple. Neither silver to be chased

nor gold to be beaten.
You were==you are
more than ever like that too.
Noon upon noon,
you customize this solitude
with spires
that want nothing from me
and rise with no objective
as everything does when happy.


There are many opportunities here for unrequited friendship,
the offer letter said. All you need is a chain saw and die grinder.

In this spirit I force my eyes across your message,
revisiting that due diligence tone you do so well.

I'm searching for some whispered twist or shout,
but all emotion's leveled, the way a child will draw

a snowman and a mansion the same size.
What is a dedicated icemaker

dedicated to? Do you really think
those shades you wear above your head

will keep the sun out of  your mind?
Rainbows stick to any abject object.

That's why I'm wearing that same old funky dress.
When you kissed my forehead it felt like the priest's

thumbscrew touch rubbing in the dust-
thou-art Ash Wednesday smudge.

I've learned the dance instructor's expository gestures.
Now I'm learning tangos to be danced alone.

While comrades buff officious cases
barfed from their brains —

eight parts moon venom one part nose waste —
I ask can mine be personally engraved?

I'm living in a please state, smarming
how I've long admired your hardscape of artists

morphed to small appliances. That being said,
I'm having issues. Do you really think

that scarf  will keep your snowman warm?


I find it helpful to imagine writing in a blizzard
with every inscription

designed to prevent snow
crystals from drifting in.

Avoid the hive mind. Go fly a kite,
raise a stained glass window in the sky.

It's the opposite of making love to drudgery,
what I do for a dying.

Remove the bitter sediment
trapped in the brewer. It will be new

whether you make it new
or not. It will be full of neo-

shadows. Full of then — both past and next,
iridescent with suspense. Remember

time is not the treasure revealer.
More a midge larva creeping

through a waterfall releasing
suction feet. The curiosity rover

lands on Mars! New is a hooligan.
It breaks the reckoning frame and rests

in pieces. Let me collect its DNA
from the tears on your desk.

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