Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 2 • Summer 2002 • Poetry

I dream I'm the death of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Julia Bloch

I needed a genre for the time that I go phantom.
-- Lisa Robertson

Everything here is hard and bright and violent.
Everything I feel, everything I touch. This is hell.
-- Buffy Summers

1. I dream I'm the death of Buffy

The world is full of fracture; Buffy is slow to catch on. The glossy print in reds and browns is a rehearsal for the end of the world. All dressed up in the Christmas lights of love, she is my one true sister, my moral enemy, adolescence. She saved the world -- a lot. I am in the dress of blood. I open my fingers on the scaffold. Still here. Still here. Still here. In a room without you, I'm empty, in a room empty of you. When I wake up, I'm surfacing. Blood makes you hard.

2. I dream I'm the death of Faith

When it comes down to it, she's a circular menace. The way she calls Buffy "B" and grabs her own ass in the undertaking. I love you because you look the Hellmouth square in the eye and purr. I love you because you are the antiblonde; I want your tight jeans and honed prowl to prevail. It's about time someone else started drawing blood around here. The turn, in the end, is Marxist: in the economy of Sunnydale, Faith rises among the undead. All the good lines are taken. The fight between light and Faith has bi tendencies. She knows who her daddy is.

3. I dream I'm the death of Dawn

Little miss on the platform, my stringbean with flat hair and ironed waist, so faithful and adolescent in your suspicion. You've come unlocked, undone, you lost your mama to a tumor, dress to a T. You know there's something sinister about your sister. You've read the instructions on the label, you know how to handle a knife, you ask, If I cut myself, don't I bleed? I love the cut for its bald-faced embrace. You understand we do it to feel alive.

4. I dream I'm the death of Joyce

I can't seem to sleep w/o you here. Sure, I can go out full-time onto the pavement without my mother, but there's still that pool of vomit where I realized you. The light's making different kinds of noise and washes out the color of your departure. Transfixed as a doll on the print checkered couch, you have stiffened already into my being too late. The clinical comfort of a traveling no-man, the last cold century of all my bleeding. Your open palm. My open palm.

5. I dream I'm the death of Spike

Because smoking is sinister as peroxide on a straight man, but being a vamp, he's got the satin tendency. Because despite my best intentions, I'd be your chalice in a heartbeat. Because you span this whole town; because you smoke it right down to the filter in your black-tipped fingers. Because in your first life, you were a damaged poet. Because you want her, even if I don't, enough to make her anew. Because your mommy is cracked. Because the crater is deep. Furrowed, even. And your trench never goes in or out of style. Because you die over, and over, and over, and your longing craves you into this life. I may be love's bitch, but at least I'm man enough to admit it. You know there's only a slim chance we'll survive any of this topography.

6. I dream I'm the death of Drusilla

Maybe I'll just stay here awhile and ritualize you. As you event yourself into the room, lift your skirt, show us a bit of leg. When was it, again, that you slit the last slayer's throat with a duotone fingernail, bringing about the advent of Faith? On the fulcrum of your breastbone, we aerify these petty days. A pretty fall of dark hair. Your sire, Angel, is of the lowest order. Did he drive you mad or did that happen after you entered the convent? Little did anyone suspect what a bad kitten you'd become, pale and lacy, necking with a chaos demon on a park bench in the rain. Who could blame me for trying.

7. I dream I'm the death of Angel

Hopeless. Unfortunate guys finish first. Given a choice I guess I'd be the shiny prey with a shell that's not thick enough, all my legs waving feebly in the humid air, having lost one wing. Can't seem to angle myself off the surface. Let us rue the day we saved your soul to a floppy disk and flew you back into the arms of the cathedral. I know you try your best, that you really do. When I kiss you, I want to die. That you try to save them because you can't save yourself and that you've spun off into a different network and the lights of Los Angeles. Good luck.

8. I dream I'm the death of Darla

And you sired Angel and that's why he had to stake you. And such a smooth pout. And you're white icing on a white cake, a scorned maid, trompe l'oeil, a tramp from seventeenth-century Virginia dying of syphilis until saved back into the earth as you panted over your deathbed. And I was so open I could hardly stand it. And the vapor pouring from your mouth belies the currency of your favor. And when your teeth come out, they're like candy. And every time you die I think you can't happen again. And you have a special fondness for blonde children. And you stake yourself to save your fetus, the dust softly shaping a cloud around him. And you're petite and corseted to wit. And this vigorous night remembers you to me.

9. I dream I'm the death of Anya

For you traded in a career as a vengeance demon for married life, foiling our darkest desires. It always takes time to learn certain things aren't meant to be spoken but to raise welts under the skin. You love to count the money because that's what this is about. You say wrong things at right times, emote all over the place, episodic and honeyed. Thank you for bringing me coffee on my birthday so I could split open a pomegranate and watch the red seeds run over your fingers.

10. I dream I'm the death of Glory

When I split you open, all washes red. I didn't ask to land on this earth, now, did I. It will be of your own design and soon. Everything will begin again. Never underestimate the impact of a short skirt and newly painted toenails in strappy heels. I'll walk over you and back again to my own transposition. I'll take modernity leave. You can bet on it. Every day, I celebrate my birthday. Harder, she said. Do it again. There's so much age on a little-girl face. Did I miss the doorbell; am I still waiting for things to crack wide open. There's time enough for every ending to appear profligate. I have seen my own and his name is Benjamin. All this blood and wanting is making me sick. Surprise.

11. I dream I'm the death of Benjamin

The worst kind of trick, two-timing with the blonde hellgod. You lacked consciousness of the doubling for the first part. Trying to look after a girl, you make good with her sister and then grow all manner of wings. I've dressed for you since sometime in September. Too often, you wake up holding the phone in a tight red dress. But you make the mistake of degrading. After you cascade from the scaffold, you break your fall with your face. We turn the body over to scold you, then hold a cool palm over your nose and mouth to close the gates. Too bad. I know it's just who you are. I have seen my own and her name is Glory.

12. I dream I'm the death of Spike, again

I knew it, too. As you dented your hips gently against hers in the fortunately abandoned building, I thought of my own shudder. Of how long you've shadowed her. The effulgence of fucking after the end of the world. Every night, I save you. But you were phenomenological, waiting like you did, counting every day over and over again. My little memory. Slabs of eucalyptus dusty at our feet. Building a blowup Buffy-bot. When you get a taste of the real thing, you know it could cure you.

13. I dream I'm the death of Tara

dear Willow            first there is only her fists at my temples            and then            the most gorgeous            rays            my myrmidon brain to her form            this is Glory            and I see the Key revealed in mended green light            I don't recognize my lover afraid in the hospital            all kinds of rays            contumelious children            a chilling            I am left unformed when she finishes            it's hard to remember what            she took or what she gave            back            the platform and its long spindled legs of necessity            if I'm not late it will be revealed parallel            for instance I            shrunk down            fevered            willing            she readies me and will will me again            rhyme me into her own ether            I get so truly lost sometimes as I pelt myself against your leg            love            Tara

14. I dream I'm the death of Willow

Dear Tara, you don't know how much I hate to master this art of losing. That I tried to sphere you to me but the taste was at the back of my tongue and I kept going back for the fix. That Lethe is only a river. Thank you for everything. Thank you for nothing. If you come back, won't you, I'll prepare myself for the worst. We spun out, didn't we, by the light. Oh god I did cast you. Are we on a continuum. Thank you for teaching me how a narrow path cuts through its own edge. Love, Willow.

15. I dream I'm the death of Buffy, again

The gates veined in blue and gold light. So you dive in with the arch of an older sister. Trying to reenact the trauma, you return to the scaffold to do things differently. So blackened and unbrushed and bloody-knuckled from digging your way out of the coffin to rescind myself. So you fall in love with a corpse for the second time, abashedly. Everything changed last summer. I want to do things differently. I was torn out of there. This is why most action takes place at night. I can't stand it either, the fires, the pressure, the constant anxiety over whether this is hell, the nagging feeling that it is.

Julia Bloch grew up in Northern California and Sydney, Australia. She earned an MFA at Mills College. Her work has appeared in Five Fingers Review, Mirage/Period(ical), How2, 26: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics, Suspect Thoughts: A Journal of Subversive Writing, Small Town, Stolen Island Review, Laundry Pen, and the "new brutalism" anthology from Avenue B Involuntary Vision: After Akira Kurosawa's Dreams. She has published a chapbook with Bigfan Press, and in 2003 she won the Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award. She lives in San Francisco, where she works as an editor and writes epistolary poems to Kelly Clarkson, the tow-headed winner of the first American Idol reality TV series.

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