Frankie Drayus



To have, to hold

Politeness is a product of self-restraint.
When it becomes second nature this is called       "civilization"
Of eating when society says, not when you are     ravenous

The propriety of noon, of lunch.
The propriety of           wait until everyone has been served.
Propriety likes to forget we have incisors.

The twitching in sleep.
The hunting:               flee and fled.

The one who seizes has also been seized. Is in the throes of. In thrall.

To be rapacious is to be one who seizes.
Like birds or fish           put it all into grasping mouths.
           If it cracks when we bite down                         swallow—

                        On the tongue is tasting. This is how we know.

Then: hunger after.
                     Then: seek to devour.

Ravenous has scant to do with ravens; it has a dimmer history,
          heavier bones: raviner, to take by force.
          Was seized from rap─źna, plunder.

                                                        Whatever possessed you—

The stuttered ache in take.

               When did take become have, when did seize               hold—

                          To have. To hold—

What it was to be esculent.
To fail and fail at sating.
To thrash, to struggle, knowing
                                              how it pulled the snare tighter.




Between yellow, the color of anger and yellow, the color of forgiveness

After David Hockney: Mr. and Mrs. Ossie Clark and Percy (1971)

It’s morning and morning spills
           through the open
windows between us (so much
           between us). David says
stand where you like but stand
           over there. Ossie sits
with our fluffy cat on his lap.
           Soon we will divorce.
Percy, our fluffy cat, keeps
           his back to David, Percy’s gaze out
the window towards the balustrade
           and silvery branches, towards
soon, my sadly, in the grey
           light. I look at
you like this because
           you paint me without

                                              touching or taking. You can see it
                                              already – what is coming. Between us

                                              and you the telephone:
                                              white: the Casablanca lilies:

                                              white: Percy: white with grey
                                              shadows. My annoyance at the bright

                                              window, or at Ossie’s bare
                                              feet tangling in the sensuous shag

                                              of the carpet: white. So
                                              suffused in morning

                                              the small yellow book
                                              in the foreground goes almost

                                              unnoticed. Almost.




Poems and short fiction by Frankie Drayus are forthcoming or appear in POOL, [out of nothing], Prime Number, Ninth Letter, diode, Per Contra, Third Coast, and elsewhere. Her manuscript has been a finalist for the National Poetry Series, May Swenson Poetry Prize, Marsh Hawk Press, and the Walt Whitman Prize. She graduated from the MFA program in Creative Writing at NYU where she was poetry editor for Washington Square. She periodically conducts poetry workshops at Beyond Baroque. Since 2008, she co-curates The Third Area, a reading series at an art gallery in Bergamot Station.