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.