The Poetry Section: Eileen Myles, 'Smile'

The Poetry SectionToday? A new poem by Eileen Myles. Yes.


It’s just not as much fun without a good

light and a sharp knife

I mean leaning into the peach of

it. People find the time

to get theirs sharpened somewhere

or use yours, or the one the horrible

subletter left. The drip in the kitchen is like

someone I know. Today’s cold

was an affirmation of the purchase

of yesterday’s new shirt. I knew the cold

would come some time but today.

I’m wearing that drip most of all.

My half made meal and even the space

that surrounds the incredible possibility

of hunger on and on like my favorite man

Frankenstein. The drip has tones.

A relationship with the holding

bowl that is only holding water.

All these rhymes all the time. I used to

think Mark Wahlberg was family.

So was Tim but close to his death

he told me he was adopted. Every

time he smiled he thought Eileen

is a fool. Or that’s what love looks

like. If I woke and my master was horrified

I would go out into the world with this

enormous hurt. And I have carried mine

for so long I now know it’s nothing special.

It’s just the fall and the sound of her sirens. It’s the agony

of being human. Not a dog who dies maybe six

times in the lives of her masters. Everyone’s phony

and made up. Everyone’s a monster like me.

Now I know everyone.

Eileen Myles lives in New York. Her most recent book is The Importance of Being Iceland (essays, Semiotext(e) 2009), and her last book of poems was Sorry, Tree (Wave Books, 2007). The Inferno, a novel about being a poet, is out from OR Books this fall.