AUSTERITY

Marion Bell's first book, AUSTERITY, is poetry written through and against neoliberal demands, "committed to what can only be approached by trust which is impossible to imagine after the things we've lived thru." In conversation with friends, activists and philosophers, these poems explore love, intimacy, queer liberation, and time. What takes shape is a music "that happens also / while looking for work / so you can keep living / to undo / what work does."

AUSTERITY

look i get radicalized by love

like any normal

American



i wouldn’t turn you into a wife

i’m a person you know

and the conditions are weird

the naiveté

even of my knowing

i wouldn’t turn you into anything



i get radicalized by love

and by austerity

and by work

by austerity and by work



it’s easy to get radicalized just by paying attention to experience

i would write to you

in the naiveté of my knowing

DREAM - December 1st, 2014

I’ve made a movie or I’m doing a performance – I’m in a restaurant – I’m doing a performance about my love – my unrequited love for the woman who works in the restaurant – we have had a love affair that has not been fulfilled – the woman is watching and an audience is also watching – the performance is very moving – it is a success - I leave the restaurant and I am paying the woman I have loved but not well – I am paying her for a meal – our love has not been a success but the performance has been – there is an overwhelming feeling of recognition between us – she gives my money back to me after I pay – she pushes it back to me + I say no no and I give it back to her

MOST OF THE TIME / REALISM

I’m sitting on the couch while cooking
rice and beans
dreaming again           I guess
                of delivery from realism
the curse of doing the
stupidest jobs
in a soulful way
that’s a curse yes
when you said
my new poems were
quiet
I didn’t feel good about it
but I’m trying to draw a line
between email you and
the you that is my friend
the you of the poem
and the you that is
my friend
years ago
when we all became friends
while drinking too much
at poetry readings
it makes me feel better when
somebody on tumblr says nostalgia
might be queer hope
it makes me feel more hopeful about
my nostalgia
the curse of always
having the wrong job
of meeting you when
you were straight
bad timing
which is also a
way of being
hopeful
in another world
I said
I feel so
stupid
which was a way
of saying the world
had put me
in the position to
feel that way
you can make
a life
out of shitty jobs
that leave you weird
kinds of time
you can make a life
that way
too
maybe
I use Marxist
language
in team meetings
the use of the word
team at work still
captures
me emotionally
like a socialist dream in
a capitalist context
you’re still sleeping upstairs
from working the night shift
and I get mad at you
for missing me
for more
capitalist
bad timing
for more work
but maybe I can end this
by addressing
you sleeping
upstairs
who understands
the jokes
I rely on too much
the joke is that the other
world
can’t read us
it’s not funny at all
but you know what
I mean
most of the
time

from AUSTERITY II



the Philadelphia police department puts a flyer in our mailbox suggesting we find them
on various social media platforms



***



the tv anchors

make a point of telling us they feel the tear gas

“it stings, Rachel”












when something big is happening and you

can only be aware of tiny

things your body is doing

that my pants are too tight

and there’s a big pimple on my chin










how do you know each other?

the border cop asks










try to keep the space of

travel for a minute the aura of it

an inner life

like to aspire to what is already there

all my life

I’ve been dreaming of an inner life

in which I’m also standing on

the street










Again against my own perverse and obsessive loyalty

If I put too much pressure on myself to be liberated and

                             then I put too much pressure on myself to be disciplined

I wonder what disciplines my body waking up early to work

even though I’m sick


                            As if a person liberates their own body.