Two Serious Ladies is a small online magazine to promote writing and art by women.

The magazine was created in 2012 by Lauren Spohrer, who regrets how slowly she responds to submissions.

It’s named for the 1943 short novel by Jane Bowles. The novel contains the line:

“I wanted to be a religious leader when I was young and now I just reside in my house and try not to be too unhappy.” 

 

The Human Infrastructure Representativeby Katie Condon

I. The Human Infrastructure Representative’s clients never thought of their insides as inner frameworks or fundamental facilities serving their bodies until he said things like, Your bodies are entire countries listening or it’s like you’re grasping for pocket watches with time capsules, which of course the clients translated to: eat more arugula and always tip your doctor. The Human Infrastructure Representative, on the other hand, never tips his doctors. Defining our insides as assorted meats and pustules cannot be representing human insides accurately, which is why The Human Infrastructure Representative never majored in medicine. The Human Infrastructure Representative favored philosophies that viewed anatomy as ghostlike. He liked to imagine our livers as fog off an ocean and our rib cages as twisted wrought iron during Autumn. The insides were never threatening or merciless—only troubled and tragic like rivers. A headache meant that the canaries had escaped from the iris, vomit was the rowboat finally moving, cancer was sometimes soft and swanlike, but many times the swallows sang before the dawn. The Human Infrastructure Representative perceives his chore as blinding. As humans, he thought, we are programmed against ourselves. As humans we try not to imagine heartsas weather patterns. A Human Infrastructure Representative can sometimes only work with the mind—an infrastructure knows its limits. It knows the consequences of being any place and leaving it, of being any place and staying there. II. It is important to start small. Our insides can be breached, but they will know we are breaching them. The human infrastructure is not a cave that asks for passwords. Our infrastructures are reserved, but they can sense doors opening and closing— they know when sparrows have crossed the divide and they follow them to where they are flying, quietly waiting for us to notice their absence, which we do, for a time, and sometimes try and glide on their tailwind, more often than not, falling much faster than we can ever bare to explain to the people who examine the wounded and wonder why on earth we put ourselves in a position to fall. The Human Infrastructure Representative explains that it is not the falling that matters, not the heaving speech of air rushing in and out of our ears as the ground pulses and becomes closer— the significance is in our insides leaving, but still begging to be breached. They plead to be followed, they plead to be found and entered, they plead for us to chew off their hangnails, reconstruct their breasts, and explain exactly what they mean to us under the gray light that causes trees to feel and look like people, but they refuse to make it simple for us to reach out and touch their chapped and blood red lips with our limited vocabularies. Our hearts start raining, our vaginas will not withdraw from the race. The pancreas wipes the toilet seat with its shirt sleeve before sitting. Canaries sing, rowboats float in bile, passwords are not prerequisites, but caves can only speak in code. III. We are forever standing in cemeteries, forever swimming            in the amygdala,                    the souls’ breath, but I have to exit to tell you this, I have to leave because the paper is drying and the paper wants to taste the tongue’s breath always.            It is raining,       and our tubes and intestines have no idea       that they are in the presence of themselves, replicated, reproduced in another, not in the form of birch trees or the nails we nail them to our walls with, not in the way that children are so thoughtfully constructed in our uteri— there is a moment of wishing for the honest things: rowboats being simply rowboats, water waiting to fall from its cloud,                           and when it does fall, falling onto the hair freshly washed, resisting temperament, a hat pulled over eyes in the hope it will be removed. Some let the mess in; let the vomit heave up from their stomachs to their throats into the porcelain dolls that remind us of our humanities,                                                       a bird singing               of its existence at gas stations,               wondering what boxes we stack in our basements               and how they are not hidden from the ones we try to not love;               we don’t love the solitude shared on our own time               we don’t love the veins that connect the whites of our eyes               to our white skulls,                                           we don’t love the shit forced               out of our rectums, but we love the action,               because the action is the fight we are facing               as the day turns in and calls us back               to the toilet brushes, and couch cushions               that so sadly need us. IV. A minute in the body is a minute too lonely to be raptured,                                           too heartfelt to be recognized,                                 too much like a tree to be considered shade—                                                   our time is spent in silence counting                                hours like crows on fence posts,                    imagining rain fucking our roofs                                    and requesting that it stay there.             We delay in the orchard, fight daylight, ask the other to rip the other apart, fingers first, then the left wrist— we dangle our larynxes from apple blossoms,             drape our tongues over wicker baskets, hang our genitals from the highest boughs so that even             the fog will know we are trying grasp it, break it down, understand its shape and the best way to mimic it.                    We bribe the heart to shut down its bridges,                                    send its rivers up through the nostrils,           out from the mouth, into the soul in torrents,                    in waterfalls, in thick efforts                                                                    to remind the body of its body,                                    to reconvene the court that robbed us of our anatomies             but not their abilities to fuck and let it be, to love someone for an hour                    in the grass and love them for an hour in the trees and still not love                                                     them when they leave.                We hang poems on our walls with string, collect rain in cupped hands, feed our souls with minutes stolen        from gravesites and strangers.                                                            The heart refuses to draw its bridges                                    until its bridges are willing to make their back stages their front,                                                until their pillars are more than just legs to stand on,                                                more than the cement that roots them to their seats— it would be easy to let the river touch your breasts, simple for the wind to love the moisture lingering in the folds of your skin,                                                            but the body doesn’t know that the body                                                is not a home forever and the heart doesn’t                                                                                              have the heart to tell it.

 

 

 

Katie Condon is an MFA candidate at the University of Houston. Her work has also appeared in LEVELER and Country Music Poetry.

Hello World

from Mist Netsby Stephanie Anderson