Listening to her body, she knew what was bound to happen.
Listening to her body, she knew what was about to happen though she could not take its place for it.
Listening to her body, she knew exactly when she would die.
She’ll never forget the smell of dog’s cheek or of a dog’s pad.
Once, while opening a trunk for extra blankets for guests, she thought she traced that very scent, scent of dog cheek, scent of dog pad.
Once, while falling asleep, too, she thought she found her at last.
She would go back to the language again.
One of the monster’s languages—this was paramount.
She would not forget and do and do until it was too late and it was too late that she realized again in hindsight.
She would hatch a plan then to go back—rent or buy a small shack—on the land of this language—and get back—whatever she had lost—was soon to lose—or just to ingrain—what she could never lose.
She would start at the island up north that she’d once fled to—gone from the monster then.
She—at last—had found a sort of peace, a dangerous smile. Genuine.
So, she would start—at the island up north—there—because she’d always been and be fond of this place, and because she trusted herself to listen to herself and to others here on this place.
So she would go and go—here—until she thought in this language—this language that she was once afraid to speak—embarrassed—this language that she was now afraid of forsaking her forever.
She would speak this language. Lost.
She would think in this language. Lost.
Until it was second nature.
For the afternoon we comb each other’s hair and lick materials to make baskets until our tongues are scabbed birds for scabby birds.
Suddenly, she remembers him—what he did to her—and she cannot look into her sister’s eyes anymore.
. . .
My mother loved the story of the dancer who could not write her own name
Statistically, tragedy will visit every single family at least once and a half per generation
It is still too early to tell who this child is
So they drop her into the barrel of wild rice and rain
We find them again in the white pages
I have written this before
Carbon monoxide is flowing into the vault
I have swallowed the thermometer
We pull the scripture from our daughter’s braces tangled there
The lovers marvel at the odd-looking planet called Earth
Polyamory never fully disappears even after monogamy is declared the more erotic art form
Today, baby, is the last day for us to pick up your medication
Like soothsayers, my dead friends read palms for diplomats, counsel them on what kinds of bou-quets
I kick in my sleep
Akhmatova spoke to ghosts
Rimbaud to strangers
Cha spoke to ghosts and strangers
I kick in my sleep, sleep-kick, dab, daub, dream of soiling the sheet, a blueprint
When all love ends in murder when all achievement ends in the assassination attempt in the rape of me myself I
All of the most high-tech prisons will continue to thrive in the desert
In inherited English the aliens will send a signal offering nothing for us to decipher
Though, for my sister, I will wake up one more morning to call out of the window and ask the neighbors can you please turn down your music just a little I like to hear it with some difficulty
You twirled the key around your neck once
I changed into a million syphilitic spy outfits before we even drifted from a love called Earth on my bed post most of all I was naked
No it was twice, before plummeting
A sleep-eating bacterium looped through the mountains—such as the Himalayas...
I was nature’s last “glam child”
We are reminded of what we once learned of sound, it is naked, unctuous
Dogs are unbred
Tides of wailing never anonymous enough to unlanguish us
An empty wheelchair falling down the ramp of map’s no edge is what imbricates thus
Tribalisms exited the paper shredder wholly intact
During those years, I would wake up so hungry, fumble towards the staircase, sit in the dark, there, for about an hour, before conscious enough then decide what to do next
I heard noises—
I would tap gently—ask—to sleep on the floor
A gold spray-painted picture frame
A gold spray-painted picture frame Green leaf One leg implanted deftly in the infrared mud
It’s me for you you for me me for you now
A goat suckling at a woman’s wrinkled breasts
A gold spray-painted picture frame Green leaf One leg implanted deftly in the infrared mud It’s me for you you for me me for you now A goat suckling at a woman’s wrinkled breasts A group of naked trailer park children chasing each other in a game of tag
Invisible tape to seal over the invisible seams
A gold spray-painted picture frame Green leaf One leg implanted deftly in the infrared mud It’s me for you you for me me for you now A goat suckling at a woman’s wrinkled breasts A group of naked trailer park children chasing each other in a game of tag Invisible tape to seal over the invisible seams A litter beyond the kindnesses
A fog machine in the middle of a forest
A factory feeling A public wailing inside
The letter exchanged between adulterous lovers in a grocery store aisle
A factory feeling A public wailing inside The letter exchanged between adulterous lovers in a grocery store aisle Hands delicately examining one another Host to hostile
A rainfall that bids the ants in
Prison gates unlocking for my
A factory feeling A public wailing inside The letter exchanged between adulterous lovers in a grocery store aisle Hands delicately examining one another Host to hostile A rainfall that bids the ants in Prison gates unlocking for my Accidental flames
A face circled in a century-old yearbook
A factory feeling A public wailing inside The letter exchanged between adulterous lovers in a grocery store aisle Hands delicately examining one another Host to hostile A rainfall that bids the ants in Prison gates unlocking for my Accidental flames A face circled in a century-old yearbook All the beings mammoth, all the beings infinitesimal, that have walked across this patch of earth or called this patch of earth their home I-and-Thou
A Mongolian spot judged illegally For a bruise
The bottle of darjeeling that was emptied and replaced with boat fuel, the wooden louvers replaced with blackout metal, the toolshed hauled away to clear room for a chained bed
A tumefying soundlessness followed by a tumefying applause
A silence punctured by the laud
A debunking of language’s fulfillment in the one inebriated word
A bunking of language’s incomplete complicity and the complicit incompleteness of its naivety
A debunking of whatever parallel theory calls for its desertion
A child, who right at that moment happens to be blowing a bubble, who witnesses her own future rape and death, in this bubble, which will repeat itself each day, forever or for the rest of her life, no, make it whichever is longer
That child, at that age when a child will interchange words like morality with mortality
A sheet of paper with a smudged tip-line number stapled to the telegraph pole
Two individuals who have nothing to do with each other except sharing the uncommon likeness of never once walking back on the string through the clouds once they have ascent, except sitting right beside each other on the magnet train
A tradeschool A line of school girls limb to limb chanting down the street
A birthschool A drawer of notes with a child’s dream-future-children’s names etched out and then re-written over and over again
A stretchmark A line of school girls limb to limb gamboling down the street
A divot in the shape of a teardrop carved within oneself from before one’s own birth
A divot in the shape of a teardrop carved within oneself from before one’s own birth A line of school girls limb to limb cantillating down the street
A song of home
A trademark A tradeschool A line of school girls limb to limb chanting down the street A birthmark A birthschool A drawer of notes with a child’s dream-future-children’s names etched out and then re-written over and over again A stretchmark A stretchmark A line of school girls limb to limb gamboling down the street A divot in the shape of a teardrop carved within oneself from before one’s own birth A divot in the shape of a teardrop carved within oneself from before one’s own birth A line of school girls limb to limb cantillating down the street A song for home
. . .
You had such a wonderful memory... but you ruined it—with sex, drugs, alcohol, the like. It’s a shame what you did with your inheritance, they will say. But no one begged me not to! No, of course they didn’t. They stayed with you when the times were good. Look... at 5 o’clock, on the dot, the bottles start flowing and the promises too. I am told Confucius could command his cock to fall down... like a feather. And—that Gandhi forced his wife to parade in front of his students naked to prove he had mastered his desire. (One wink now to the bookstore audience permits this fool for fool synonym...) There’s a girl hanging from a skyscraper by an icepick, and it’s not her grimace that moves us but the graceful utility of the tool misplaced.
This is a not a book
written as a not a love letter—
to all artists, to all locksmiths, to all facialists, to all artisans, to all oil extractors, botanists, speechwriters for online facialists
who soothsay, to all financiers, to all liars.
There are grown women who still sleep with a nightlight on and
girls (in let’s say Cincinnati... of Chinese /dəˈsent/) whose mothers will gradually stop speaking but before they do will first set up a nightlight that resembles a Victorian-era gaslight in their bathroom.
Speak now or forever hold your—
I.e. I have invited you over for one real meal and, if you so decline, it says more about you—the invitee—than the inviter—me—
Only when we begin to channel ours(elves) do we begin to understand our most basic needs
It is impossible to forget one’s basic needs although
Poems should never quote famous men
My poems never quote famous men
Even though I’d married many a wholesome man
And one of these lines is a false
The —— (it, not id) of writing is that it—
is an act that cares not for what we desire of it though our desiring is the first word
In the trailer bathroom mirror of a middle-aged actress playing a sullen
teenager, there is no blot or absorption that genuinely occurs at face value.
She has been told she is the script now.
bathmats, trivets, tra-la la-la—
She has been told she must re-read the script to see what she actually wrote, so she begins implicated.
For the first time, she begins not writhing herself, but first tending to the pulse of the actress and finding where the script was writhing first of all.
Which is later brought back into the writhing itself
Which of course is later brought back into the not writhing itself
I could say it goes on and on and on and
Or, just ask you to get us some more popcorn or—another cotton candy
But we have no more tickets left
My mother warned me early on, in her nonchalant casualty—
that there was a distinct—no, perilous—no, a life-or-death—line between the imitation artist and
a real artist, Valerie, she said—twisting
on the fresh bulb to my bathroom nightlight fixture
which was an imitation of a Victorian-era gaslight fixture—is very careful, in order to be one, you must be very careful, she must be more careful, should she choose to become either—
Already I could feel her essence half-gone
For example, these words are a stamp of a dream
where the pages litorally carry a
dew atop them—yet because they are glass pages like a sad clown's mirror glass pages there is no blot or absorption to genuinely occur.
Which means “I must bury them!”
Which means I must write them down—
And—should the words get any bigger—I may just have to climb in them—
May be—you feel “punished”—by your own remorse
Here’s what you do—
If you dare take something away from these poems be prepared—
Prepared for someone to approach you... very slowly... at the gas station
Like laying a cleaver out on a trivet
Like forgetting the word trivet at a dinner party you were hosting
Like you couldn’t say you ever learned Or even heard
of the word trivet until now because English
was her second language and—therefore—even as a grown woman—there were certain English labels or idioms
or names for things you couldn’t use without feeling self-conscious and names for things you couldn’t ever call “familiar”
You can tell by the way they give off a certain air Or
by what they’ve stashed behind or within their eyes—It helps to know that you aren’t the only one with this problem, doesn’t it—
You have to deviate from dogma, and total anti-dogma as well—at every turn.
“I found love there once too”— oh it SHOCKED me—Like a rail— And—I have known many impractical activists.
We—as humans—can only return what we receive—and then, there’s a bit we don’t know where exactly that it comes from... Surely this is a sign of not possessing any bit of genius.
I worry about so many things that I oughtn’t, but—I’m realizing now that this is “a celestial labor”—Like a woman walking by you at the airport still necessarily illustrates—
the butterfly effect. Or,
Je suis le chinoise.
Now that I have dedicated my life to justice I feel that I deserve some resting period for our frivolity—But we cannot afford frivolity!—and
I am cornered by one woman who represents a melding of Emma Goldman, Margaret Sanger and another fin de siècle Mayflower feminist
I smoke on a cigarette which only appears now as a prop cigarette in this poem as a nod to dead writers I grew up being fed—through exquisite tubes—
It isn’t comedy which prolongs us—many tragic comedians have shown us this—rest in peace
It’s tragedy, I am convinced.
Think of all the detached assassins in bars at last call whose lives could have gone down another path—if only they had heard the voice of Greta Garbo—herself an immigrant and a devastating drunk
It is said that Garbo was ashamed of her father who was a janitor but this has also proven to be false.
When I order a drink at a bar, I expect handwritten notes on napkins, I will expect test blankets,
and someone to sit down next to me, to try to
sum me up.
I am on a one-day plan.