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  • Ode to the Breast


    …courage to make a clean breast of it.” Arthur Schopenhauer



    What of the unclean breast


    adorned with palm prints


    pressed from hungry babies suckling,


    the breast that hushes the baby,


    soothes the “nuisance,” quells the colic


    (in private, never public, of course);


    or “the baby is allergic to your milk” breast,


    better this formula, this powder, this chemical than your breast?


    Oh, the black/brown/beige breast


    drained dry by blue-eyed greed and pinked cheek!


    What of the sagging breast,


    the nipple to the knee or kiss the earth breast,


    the perkiest breast, nipple tipped skyward


    never kissed by blushing sun or rosy wind?


    What of the fluffed, nipples rezoned, siliconic breast,


    the bound and gagged, “don’t-wannabe-a-woman” breast,


    the “might as well go ahead and remove it” breast


    because your mother and sister had breast cancer


    and you will probably have breast cancer too?


    Oh, the MIA breast, invisible flesh yet wreaking wrath and lamentation!


    What of the freed and flayed breast valuable,


    though never priceless on magazine covers,


    in centerfolds, on newsstands, on street corners


    bursting through blouses in convenience stores, gas stations,


    threatening the safety of the airport and freeways,


    tempting priests/preachers in their bulging pulpits?


    Oh, the breast that garnishes “the industry”


    selling cunt, cars, cosmetics


    (in public, never private, of course)!


    What of the leprous breasts marred and decaying


    from lack of love or loving,


    the breast sprinkled with landmines,


    bearing boot prints of AWOL soldiers?


    Oh, the breast that quells the hunger of a lover


    (though he be loveless),


    paints blue balls brown or pink again!



    What of the breast raging protest, keening


    lest her sisters suffering be forgotten and still


    cradling the world in her capacitized cleavage?



    A breast clean? Really?

    soul poetica


    a poem must breathe,
    feel, think, sing,
    burst the heavy clouds
    of its muddy silence


    a poem carries a nickel bag of DNA
    recording the steps
    of my father and mother’s helix duet


    a poem lies, cheats, steals
    and still
    redeems itself


    a poem shakes loose the noose
    or jerks the knot
    and still blossoms
    the wilting tree


    a poem forgets to remove its shoes,
    plants its toes
    in holy ground,
    prays, praises

    About The Author

    Tamara Madison

    Tamara J. Madison holds a MFA from New England College where she specialized in poetry and contemporary critical voice in poetry. Ms. Madison has published creative and critical work in various anthologies, journals and magazines including Poetry International, Tidal Basin Review, Web Del Sol Review of Books and Tea Party Magazine. Her poetic sequence, “Kentucky Curdled,” was nominated for a 2012 Pushcart Prize by aaduna and that work is now available in print, as well as an audiobook through www.tamarajmadison.com.  Tamara has worked as an instructor of college writing at Fairleigh Dickinson University and Hudson County Community College in New Jersey.  She also has worked as a teaching artist facilitating workshops and residencies for youths and adults with a variety of community and arts agencies in New York City, Atlanta, and Seattle, as well as providing services to several statewide councils and agencies.