Beauty School Dropout
I want to solve the problem of heterosexual desire like why do I love dick so much Is there something transcendent about self-abasement I’m not a licensed esthetician so I don’t know what scholars say about Brazilian keratin treatments The formaldehyde stylists breathe is Adam’s Curse To be a woman is to know one must starve I don’t feel very straight at all I masturbate to underground gay thug porn and still wind up thinking about the male gaze I want to be so skinny people ask if I’m dying Have you ever been on the roof of The Standard and noticed your tatters in the unforgiving [...]
My Factless Autobiography
The grammarian chooses a place in the open air for arguments fiction runs sweet in my nostrils I inhale a failing air fleet four of them for to eat the milky crab the pudding proof is found in
I am the Assayer of Weights and Measures I am what I am because I am not something else I hold a lily in my hands it is not gross As a fabric is a historic surface I am propelled I touch bone & traffic in salt like minefields & the people we inhabit
Who but the most despairing among us will dwell on that point tonight? Good [...]
Love and Decay
Graze on the face like a fly on honeydew, bend over toward someone so that your entire body alights imperceptibly, on the cusp of action, afternoon fretted in long lines of light through a near-drawn shade. Between what you do and what you don’t do, what you can’t (but could) or haven’t (again) but have imagined, fates hang suspended in the whirl of motes over sugar, over a piece of fruit, over an orb smashed on the ground. The bride walked out of church with her bouquet, then seeing it still in her hand, she dropped it. The airplane running low on fuel cannot circle back. [...]
If not Princess, then Warden
Things start off well: I’m the warden and no one’s writing on the walls in shit. I encourage all inmates to grow a mustache like mine, a bit of sculpted punctuation curling beneath the nose, directing the reader of the face downward to the lips. With them, and to the fellow in the mirror, I say, “my sweat unbreakable you,” helplessly using the word “sweat” instead of “sweet,” the way a high-school girlfriend did once in a letter, writing “Sweatheart, are we still going to the jamboree?” We were not going to the jamboree, anymore, Sally Garrett. This morning, out by the smokestacks before school, [...]
The First Time I Saw My Mother Without Her Prosthesis
after Hafizah Geter
Like the smooth face of the cliff she was just thrown from, the left side of her chest was flat and blank, save for two tiny raised scythes. Not a half-carved turkey, thankless, but a woman.
It almost seemed as if her breast could be drawn back on again, as if the scalpel was merely erasing cancer, as if the right one hanging like a luminous brown tear wasn’t the lonely twin. As if this new lightness didn’t threaten to render her a widow of his touch, de-mother her somehow.
Is this a crystal ball moment— the [...]
weakly accepted as a name of the type it was serious consequently it occurred a benefit which concludes decreases what it raises of an increase in persona of the report of relation color grain crops the type of bees that have no approximation clear into fragrant you that flower these are they under the sunroar Michael Schiavo is author of The Mad Song and editor of Gondola.
You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at email@example.com.
There, reading against the traffic, a car crash between chapters.
Alphabet via street signs. C is for Con Ed.
Kids music meant an actual kid, singing to herself
past all the silent billboards.
Then those days—when you were starting out, as they say—you were sulfur
frozen at Odeon
when strapped to the masthead, every remark, aside, sharpened.
The table by the mirror reserved for all the baby lionesses.
And now. You are living the app. A pop-up. La Vida App!
Too many words, not enough ears.
Quit the Breaks
People are dying faster than even dentists are dying than even octopuses are dying than even elephants are dying What worries me is everything Flawed masculinity My outlook in bushes a wedding band the color of the moon breath mints between hips never touching feral The streets are crooked & that’s why everyone falls down I love you What I remember more people shot than a lane of bowling pins the drench of heat picture frames of basements There are ghouls inside me clenched fists !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As an expression of our inability to live up to the standards of experience, which aren't even that high, art is transcendent, beating reality at its own game, making reality real, the imagination wearing mortal flesh, slumming, readying itself to go back to God after sprinkling its messages like apple seeds across a nation, which will grow into fruit-bearing trees. Because of this, artists have more, or less, sex, or the same amount. Think of Picasso and Kafka. Art is made instead: if life were enough, we wouldn't. But we need art’s off ramp to a parallel road, less congested, more beautiful, where it means something just to pass [...]
The rape joke is that you were 19 years old.
The rape joke is that he was your boyfriend.
The rape joke it wore a goatee. A goatee.
Imagine the rape joke looking in the mirror, perfectly reflecting back itself, and grooming itself to look more like a rape joke. “Ahhhh,” it thinks. “Yes. A goatee.”
The rape joke is that he was seven years older. The rape joke is that you had known him for years, since you were too young to be interesting to him. You liked that use of the word interesting, as if you were a piece of knowledge that someone could [...]
The invaders used a non-vegetarian method of emptying the town of its populace.
What we see is a kind of attributed trembling, as with stars, or pebbles in the streambed of a brook.
He led us a dance, which ended in closed-mouth laughter. A brimming fountain in the middle distance spilled a willow.
The poem misses, and only by a hairsbreadth, being nothing but itself.
Windowframe. Branch of a red maple bowing the breeze, seventeen times.
Don’t call that cerise shirt loud. Colors, too, have feelings, they can hurt and be hurt, same as words.
Over a tall glass J. and I babbled of [...]
I love the old philosophers
I feel the turn of the earth like heavy traffic
I am not a die-hard sports fan
I love to cut wood
Gender is a fuse that lights the way back
I love to cut wood
When I was a child I believed in a lake in the woods
Somewhere near Salzburg, a lake, fog on a lake… I am standing there as you are here, holding
A novel about Nazi burials
I have a large library
I am not a fan of Sappho
I am the newly dead
I go to a boat show and buy a dog
The earth, little movement and [...]
Babel / Aubade
After the aftermath of that hard-spent spring how will I break thee is the question. Pin down in the dark and halt. All the horses
strained to the flickering ropes in the trees and restrained. Or lay crack the gardens oh freak violet were we. The horses rode after me
after. The bats were a miracle with legs I saw to say how could you. And even though the new world got brave out of doors I shut &
all the aftermath is all I want. (Twice.) All night you take a bride chest in thy swanny clutch I want in: wanting out is why we change
Cezanne’s Still-Life with Skull, Candlestick, & Book
Poor Yorick would speak a speech about fucking and how to run balls-out into the sea; how the rose once moved
this way and that in the breeze and how the pages were always turning towards the better future (and they were)
yet there’s no light half as true as the guttered candle; that’s the luminousness around the shadow which is a fact
or something dope like that with memory’s stagecraft here stupefying all vanities— Jake Kennedy lives in the Okanagan, BC. He and his BFF, poetcomicartfool kevin mcpherson eckhoff, are compiling a collaborative community western novel entitled Death Valley.
Belmont Overture (Poem of Eight A.M.) It’s about settling down and settling in and trying not to settle for,
about three miles from the urban core, where the not-quite-wild bald turkey, looking so lost
and inquisitive next to the stop for the 74, peers into the roseless rosebush, up at the pointless oar
hung above one townhouse’s swept steps, and the U.S. and floral and nautical flags flaunt their calm semaphore.
Walking past them, today, with our stroller, we note as we pass the wreath of real twigs on our next-door neighbor’s door
and beside it another, not sold in any store, made of pipecleaners and plastic oak leaves. [...]
Summer in Its Individual Parts
You haven’t said more. It sits inside you like a wet package. The heat dissolves. Night comes in through French doors. It is all accompanied by people jabbering on cell phones, which is its own inhospitable forecast. Vans drive the street. I remember the movie we didn’t watch, the plot we didn’t laugh at.
Whichever of us likes an aquarium has some need for scale. Everyone watches the lengths of industrial glass where nothing is swimming. At night, I watch you watch the plaid in your sleep.
Lizards on trees. Wet birds jabbing at the air. Anything if it is disjunctive enough can sound [...]
It was obvious. By March 2011, I was not projecting into the fourth quarter.
That very day, several juvenile delinquents kicked the locks off the shed door where I lived and I dragged them
all in by the ears and showed them Magritte’s umbrella collection. Then, from behind the rusty chipper, I revealed my “associate”
while puffing on my own gentlemen’s brand of cigarillo.
How will I be able to keep you if you don’t disgust me a little? Why do you wear lipstick with trousers that are stained and stain?
At the end of the raspberry patch I found my own darling telephone hiding away like a little reservist. Why do you disgust me?
I can’t see the bridge any more. “You look like a Dutch interior.” “Then I guess I do know how pretty I am.” But it is not dark, it is very sunny.
For safety’s sake, the iron escape folds up from the ground. Bad limb that won’t go down, I’m asking for it, party clothes the all of what I own. Even this cat I can’t claim, wandered-in thing clawing the low tulle in the closet, the dress my every memory, the cat a flame in an ashcan, batting the fringe of the window hanging: this is trauma.
Either that, or this is romance. He lived in an enormous house for artists, sufficiently dark and malformed to suggest the interior space of the body, small peace and the snaps of fever and light: ALMOST HEAVEN, he said. I hope to [...]
First Letter to David Berman and John Hodgman
Dear David Berman and John Hodgman,
In Bulawayo the bon-bon trees laugh and dance and smile in the happy giggle sunshine pavilion as the candy corn fields blush and bloom.
In the late afternoon, school teachers in white paper cones decorate the white paper cones they’re wearing with potato prints of cornflowers stained with oolong flavorings.
I sit nearby pretending not to notice.
Would it surprise you to know I wore a barely discernible worldly half-smile?
I installed a park bench out in the bush beneath an acacia tree boiling with black leather squirrels the size of Jots and squinted my [...]