BathHouse Journal

Petra Kuppers


Green Orion Woman at the Party


Green Orion Woman colors in holiday cards for incarcerated sex workers.
She talks dildos, tantra, lifestyle vs pro. Skill sets shimmer in the air,
massage stroke open to the lonely ones, psoriasis, the leper. In their mouths,
hard truth, open palm, school bullies kick in front teeth in mid-curl.

“I am very good at what I do,” confidence on dominatrix payment scale,
madam with the record out to regain her civil rights. They sit, heads down,
crown whorls of future bodies, open wine wings. Green Orion Woman takes the
purple pen, tender leaves, boughs of holly, prickly dishes beneath the table.

Children mingle at the sex worker meet-up, crayon set skin tones.
“With Love from Tyrell,” in lilac, yellow present, red poisoned berries
door guard. Nothing is public. Girl-friend experience behind the veil.
Bruised bones. Green Orion Woman watches as they draw, they draw.



Green Orion Woman’s New Year


Green Orion Woman celebrates the New Year, vegetarian style.
She dances in the street, sandy Key West memories behind flash
camera smiles, soft serve ice cream, dreams of Chinese fire works
cover band rocks around the clock till midnight. Imagine youth.

A world away, Santa fires into the nightclub crowd. Luxury bursts pearl,
ball descends on the façades, high rollers left outside, a dripping gate.
Ibiza beats. Bomb scared Green Orion Woman walks tender water,
photographs empty bench, this is how we laughed, that night.

Hershey’s peanut butter cup breadcrumb trail. ET advertising reels cycled
away from bright lights, into wider echo of marsh land, darkness
falls, no light pollution swamp out where Green Orion Woman looks to
her star and asks for a planet of peace, tonight, this year, beyond the glare.



Green Orion Woman Sees Lines on a Screen


Static. No transmission. Green Orion Woman sits on Star Trek deck
Uhura’s playmate, lover gone off on cat planet. Open blossoms between.
She holds down space fort. Static. Lover lost. Rock. Space vacuum.

Space age appliance. Hoover rover. She feels cool brown hand heavy
rock sediment, lips open to Jim and Jim and Jim. Squeeze the portal,
close the hatchet down on Green Orion Woman’s dreams. She peels

loneliness off her skin like tired orange peel, sticky white that will not
smooth to dark, lush, fleshy juice squeal. Green Orion Woman listens into
earbuds, flower petals angled into Open. Scan, scan, sieve, a line at a time.



Green Orion Woman Finds Poetry in the Street


Green Orion Woman falls into the names of flowers, Rose’s unfinished
business eats up her own discarded exoskeleton like a reef of undead babies.
Streets gnaw red off the asphalt, fall on your knees, fuck the lily bed

listen to the fang, kiss dead make-up till food poison’s white melba
surprise fells Green Orion Woman’s plateau shoes. She swears right off
lavender Molotov sips ease musical passage, bitter herbs eat

bird shit, rats full of wormwood, simper lowly behind the bar where dead kings
roar color into orbit. Chevy Impala profiles, gazelle fleet grazes wildflower
prairies, Green Orion Woman brushes brick in her mossy hand.


Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist and a teacher at the University of Michigan and on the MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Goddard College. Her most recent poetry collection is PearlStitch (Spuyten Duyvil: 2016).  Poems and stories have appeared in Drunken Boat, PANK, The Sycamore Review, Adrienne, Visionary Tongue, Future Fire, Beauty is a Verb: New Poetics of Disability, textsound, Streetnotes, Festival Writer, Accessing the Future: A Disability-Themed Anthology of Speculative Fiction, QDA: Queer Disability Anthology, and elsewhere. She is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an international disability culture collective, and lives with her partner Stephanie Heit in Ypsilanti.