My husband didn’t like his mantra. “Shirim” or “Shring” or “Schwing,” something to that effect. My own mantra was much longer. “It is only money.” I chanted it in the shower. I whispered it into a mussel. I shouted it from the fire escape to the ramheaded gargoyle across the street. I think you’re doing it wrong, my husband said. Your eyes should be closed and you shouldn’t be shouting. I ignored him and continued my diatribe, shaking my fists at greedy little ghosts. You don’t control me, money! No, you don't! Then I went inside and fried up a $50 bill with sauerkraut and ate it with a [...]
Was thinking escape hatch is what I’d require. I think escape hatch to myself in the park and see it slink on its two good legs away from view, leaving me with this turned- over feeling. So long, hatch. Hello. For a while now I’ve been hiding the news from myself, but sometimes thoughts try to locate the exits while I’m sleeping. I wake to the notion of taking someone’s hands in my hands putting on its shoes in the dark, making its way to the door. Come back, hands in my hands. Sometimes my thoughts ask for gratitude and I become furious. As far as I know, [...]
Fucking Ass in the 19TH Century
or doing it with a sheep could land you in jail.
A penis was required to get you on the books. Girl and girl was beyond
unspeakable. Legally, it didn't exist.
Debates ensued: was penetration enough or did one have to come? Didn't matter
if it was man on man or woman or child
but the hole you found yourself stuck in and whether or not someone would
report it. No mention of gay, straight or bi
in any of the books. Looking back, the laws seemed fairly clear: a white man fucking
a black woman was fine as long as [...]
I came from winter in the north to summer in the south. Does that follow?
The plaza turned pink with flowers as though a goddess were expected by evening. I waded through the pools of perfume
and passed the empty steakhouse where two busboys were kissing on a table full of folded napkins.
Time had begun again.
A crowd gathered at the city limits: women on foot and a brown girl-cow dragging her rope in the foul crook of the curb. The flat bone between her eyes
shone like a plate of copper in the sun. The border patrolman waved her back with his [...]
The Changing Snow Chicken
A type of grouse. A game bird whose name originates from imitation of all the grumbling he does—“his song is more like a croak”—thus few souls go within earshot. The Changing Snow Chicken lives in the Arctic and changes “from brown in summer to a nice winter plumage in winter.” “Naturally,” he explains, “this helps me blend in- to my environment, which I refuse to leave although it’s the harshest tundra on the planet.” This, he tells you while wagging his comb—his sole ornament, big as a half-closed fist—
The Undefinable Journey
Where do you think you’re going to get lines to punish the stranger with? Cursing, destiny's piñata; it’s a surprise! (Partly sunny.)
O neat-o friend of mine, to add a central target to the mix is not to chase sea monsters, real or imagined.
You drop the floor. Small white chicken friends, like life itself over time last night… And, what have you done with this one?
The Star-Spangled Turban
Hot pink frosting on my chocolate- cupcake noggin,
switched-on lightbulb- yellow, tulip- bulb topheavy
orange, sky-blue, bruise-blue, navy thought cloud, darkening:
Any towel, any shawl will serve as well to
bind this open wound atop me, mark me off as
not quite level- headed, tops on any watchlist.
It’s Old Glory that I choose this time: I pleat her,
sweep her, set her on my head as reverently as
any U.S. M.C. honor guard triangle
on a coffin.
Voices from the Field
He reigns over me like a meadowlark in the meadowlands. Underground wiretap. They buried my heart under the stadium stands. Some of us have to work for a living. Saviour, my sin, my paisan! Pobody,not even the nerfect,has a fetish for his peeling calloused hands.
He sticks it in me with his workman's hands. I want a man with a ruddy tinted hand. I want a man with a slowhand.
Do you venerate your dad? Who watches Watchung Avenue? My prayer hands fuss Holstein Manti mantilla. Squawkbox mezzo soprano while I kneel at altar rail bands.
My turnpike binoculars see the ancestral homeland tenements. Semper sperans. [...]
in head stones
the sun is real but lies :: it’s much older than its age; by now the excess visions have all been booked / the best are overused… the river runs through dinkytown accepting all its slops our town fish live – celebrities – scavenging on chemicals and tripe / what they eat helps them eat up what they eat: sweet genetic engineering; we posit they prefer this rise in appetite… anymore there are no visions / no visors needed neither nor sun screen to block the once- anticipated vision burn / oh shit mon petit there simply isn’t time: the sun runs like honey through the molten [...]
I have too many bones in my feet and I have too many teeth in my mouth and I put too much clout in follower count and you, my belly my lemon my grove
This house is split by computer cables This house has tables that drop every plate This house is thigh-chafed sun-spoilt and Christ-cradled and you, my wet mozzarella my love
And you, sugar pill pilled sweater sweet jam And you, my jelly meat suckled and shorn And you, my kill and my kill and my kill and my
City’s dumpling makers all went on strike My city is spite gold brass Stoli commercials My city is [...]
I DON’T EVEN
I don’t even know what to tell you about the fog or anything else for that matter what did you think was coming what did you think mattered what did you think there was something we were all going to do right something we made in pieces in the dark we kept it secret we said it would be better that way we didn’t even look we forgot the way that was better we forgot all the other ways too even all the shitty ones but the pieces are there
what would it take for you to really give up on someone I wrote this in [...]
When Relinquish on a Star
Of June singing, of Monday singing, of losing you by the wayside singing I never noticed losing you Monday in June, tra la Of March singing, of relics singing of bringing it home the first time singing I invited you home to worry my mother, tra la Sweet treats in the crisper, lo mein on the counter for hours biscuits I punched out of dough for the house to devour Of Rebecca singing, of the concert singing of losing you at the concert singing Intermixing too rapidly for my sexual attention span tra la of quickness singing, of sinning singing, of a longlost girl Friday [...]
Dixie Pixie Sonnet
Solar panel, a Fresnel lens, 5 lb bag of M&Ms & we could 3-D print a clone of you
Pell mell all hell & ill will will break loose If you don’t wear your cheap synthetic, frilly fuchsia princess dress, Faux glass high heel sequin slippers clacking on the tile
In your lifetime, the Arctic will have been
You’re a frog no you’re a frog
To conjugate in a future imperfect : will have been ongoing, once
Daughter you’re borderline pixilated, perhaps from the Swedish dialect pyske— “fairy,” ca. 1630—or Cornwall Celtic for “pixie-led” : confused, bewildered, unbalanced, astray ; or an actress as stop-motion marionette, in [...]
MY BODY IS AFRAID OF YOUR BODY WHEN YOUR BODY
My body is afraid of your body when your body moves to move away. My body is a theme party that’s found a deeper way to care about its guests and when they leave. It’s me and not my body that gets the words of the song wrong, My body lies over the ocean, though it’s my body that gets up now to turn off the television. On it, two bodies who aren’t your body read news that pertains to other bodies and are proper inside their clothing. I or is it my body knows when it’s time to make [...]
Ebenezer Makes a Prediction
The light goes on The light goes off A man sells a banana A man sells a pear The weather is fair today Tomorrow it might not be so fair You are singing You are eating You are disrobing You are sleeping The world is turning The world is drying up It is forgetting It is remembering There is a small beep After the beep is silence
on film, it’s a fountain lit from behind erupting or a story-high wave’s motion barely foiled by indifferent coastline. that is, always water, always upward then the inevitability of gravity, always light then always less light.
not in the movie, what is bright is internal. usually in a dim room, though sometimes pitch dark, the brightness can never be seen.
perhaps that’s its source of power: an unseeable phantom with unmistakable presence, a presence that violates the peace of the body then leaves, abruptly, only an asymptotal approach to numbness we call linger.
The Original Self-Pleasure Equation
& other inconsiderate lilies. Or any mineral aspiring to ambulate. Which is not to say living in close quarters. Leaves rubbing & rustling, promiscuous breeze egging them on. To carry on tastefully until the bitter end. To stay on the lookout for aught nubile in negligée. Not to be neglected like the young & juicy fancy their feelings (to the swell of strings). In other words America & its discontents, table of. Quantity, quality, & other mysterious divides. Yet another veiled Islamic reference. No rest for the wary. No wrest for the offended infidel smashing bottles on officious effigies. To be faithful & timid, to redirect [...]
i take the feeling of you—stomp it out with my black throat— throw it down the cement hatch
it bleeds in gold rushes
i’ll be up all night—moon headed—stiff as the wind i sniff until i have enough desert in me knifing the boy inside a man—i moan
this is how i know i am cowboy—my bones screaming a strut to the sinners’ shrine
in the barrio—ghosts i used to know who won’t moan me now—i’ve become the mirror i watch the moon pull back my skin
after Anthony Opal’s cento sonnets
In the wet dreaming room seventeen and a half boys masturbate on seventeen and a half make-believe beds, sleeping hands tied round seventeen and a half blue roses blooming to the organ-grinder’s song. In every way, they are their sustained melodic breakdown, un-adorned emotion cast off outside our atonal scudding. O let me dream not the logic of boats but of rooms billowing with brackish wine, you and me lost at sea, reed-deep in the technical journals. We are a helpless make-believe presence deteriorating except in alcohol. Do you want me to take off my human myself? Sailboat, frail boat—ugly and marvelous body! There [...]
[come to me, sweet stranger]
come to me, sweet stranger, and make of me a moment, a nostalgia, to give to the wind, to give to the one, who is standing there, at the meeting place, where the safety is immense, and not to tangle with, where the sentence can arrive, as though through a spaciousness, surrounding her, through its particulars, through its split, integument, intangible, what she will take, what she will have, to wander, with, over the paths, with their names in tow, in time, a morning, a motive,
come to me, sweet stranger, and make of me a ruthlessness, out of the fatigue, a furlough or [...]