Two Poems by Claire/Spike Dougherty




Where do Billy’s pupils go when the slits close up? Is it by curtain or pulley, and is the dilation dialectic? Is it a system, cuneiform? The symbol of a pool dried up. A shrinking pool, but not a pond. Is Billy, thus, the concrete or the drain, sucked up? Is the key the hiding, on reserve, or is it to be limp in using, used up? Is it a column and is the sucking subject to a column’s gravity? Is it a grave? Are the pupils contacts? Is Billy Halloween? An extraction process or a costume. To make this a question: an extraction process or a costume? Can Billy see me with dried pupils and can Billy see me with a veil? Thin mo(u)rning; hidden or in sight. Does Billy know and does Billy know what it looks like? Do you know Billy? Do you know, Billy? If it’s only me and Billy in a room, does she care if she sees? Did you expect Billy to be a he? Is he a man? Can he dilate? If Billy is a man, does she see less? If I cover my eyes and slits of light come through my fingers, am I seeing me, Billy? Does this change if I am the cat and Billy loves me? Is Billy outside? Can you see me, Billy? Billy, I am not outside. What if Billy is short and gruff? What if I meant no innuendo with slit, with pussy/cat? Have I named you pussy, yet, cat? Is the pussy/cat an eye or a vertically opening slit? A system of pulleys? Can you see through the eye, if Billy provides the pulley, the pull-eye? Can you see through the cunt if it is drained of its cuntness? Drained, sucked up, dialectics. Is Billy my cunt? Is Billy a sharp, hard word? Because she is hardened, and something stone? Is Billy my talisman, my amethyst? Do I cherish you, Billy? Who cares, said the talisman. But does Billy have a voice? Does this change when the slit is open? Is she gruff?

Poem for the shimmering body

Counter weight as spindle. Spidered out, thin line is strong because it is translucent. Give a cup. Glass is not. Cliché: trap, shatter. Beautiful: hang. Lovely: noose. If web is to support, intentional. What I am saying is, dead leaf on thread of spider is supported by it (by her, another question). Not to embalm, but to give translucence to the shifting form. A leaf is not energy, it is matter. Does it matter, that the dead is a form. Which sentence is a lie/lullabye/goodbye, a noose. Dark matter, in the leaf, leaf chuckle. I once wrote a poem in which I fell on my chin. Glorify: the fall (shatter). This was dumb. Archaic. She spindles, she shifts. This was dumb, but not for the reason you think, the reason. The poem was not a leaf. As should, it been? The poem wasted, the poem dead. Because I discarded it. Threw spider in the basket. Soaked, there. There, there said the poem to the spider. Counterweight (has it happened yet?). Is this contra—dark, translucent. Is it a web. If I lied was it to deceive. Pure intention: balm (both sooth, both wind, both kept still). Are you hanging, hanging on.

Claire/Spike Dougherty is a writer and dog walker currently living in Oakland, California. You can find her online at