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Reb Livingston
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The Difference Between Toggle Bolts & Molly Screws It's like the atlantic around here—jittery & Full of waves, a desperate need for a horizontal & vertical juxtaposition, a corner, a vantage point A start. And if that weren't enough, this device I found to fasten, without a clear understanding Of what in the hell needs fastening. Except, I do this: press gently through your center Nestling, mixing into your microcosmic control, Until its wings finally cross the cusp, detach, Unfold again on the opposite side, drawing me As close to you as relative density might allow, Clinging from the rear... Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
from To People Who Sometimes Read A female blue whale calf gains nine pounds an hour. Holy fuck! What a mammal. If only all females could see past their own insecurities, the fire would light a higher maternal flame. The deep sea is ridiculously blue. I’ve been caught in a wave twice and was pulled from its drowning. How high the feeling of being full of water can be, knocking the wind from your lungs, giving you no option but to swallow. That’s how to be in love, to swallow all your pride and let your body sink into its... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Variation 1: Yhwh Explode from the cauldron dark, that’s what I’d do for them: That in mind into self and other I divided. In and in I overlapped in density and where I was gravid I breathed their breaths. With my body like a brine spiraling I stirred the silence till it echoed apart from me, and where I was deafened I hummed their frequencies. From a floating ground I fired rounds of clouds flaming and where they burned I brewed the rutilated light till it refracted in the wells between comets rocketing. In and in through the ancient rooms... Continue reading
Posted Sep 12, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
from the ghost of the harvest madonna Tears of the Madonna, the Hunger and Other Stories. “Madonna Rescues Malawian Child – only 12 Million to Go.” A boy with an allergy to ghosts has trouble with too-logical teachers who say ghosts don’t exist. To celebrate the autumn harvest, the boy claims he had seen his real father’s ghost. The father tells his son “your vitriol towards Madonna seems out of control.” * * * Craig Santos Perez is the author of from Unincorporated Territory (Tinfish Press) and from Unincorporated Territory [saina] (Omnidawn). No Tell Motel first published this poem in... Continue reading
Posted Sep 5, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
When I Worked for Madonna The bodyguards wear white The bullets fly towards them The bodyguards are clouds The bullets do not penetrate Kaddafi. The bullets are precipitation After we drink coffee, we check the bird feeders. Kaddafi has purple martins on his shoulders. The bodyguards are snowy egrets. Forget in both directions from this moment I am right in front of you I have a rifle I am sexually wonderful like a horse * * * Joanna Ruocco is the author of Man's Companions (Tarpaulin Sky). No Tell Motel first published this poem in January 2009. Joanna wrote, "One... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
On the day of your favorite color: Here is the day of pumpkins, their hollow heads lit and leering. Here is the stripped sweetness of candy corn cupped in my hands. Here is fall swirling the leaves into a storm of red- gold fire. Here is the sunset, shorter now. And here is memory, spilling from its orange coat: your mandarin sheets, your russet couch, kisses the color of burning. Here is the day of heartbreak ripened to glow. Here is the day of ghosts. * * * Lauren Kizi-Ann Alleyne is the author of Dawn In The Kaatskills (Longshore... Continue reading
Posted Aug 21, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Bird Studies Human Studies Bird "Birds don't sing, they explain. Only people sing." --Kenneth Koch Mary Smith sings about how birds can punish us, studies any in the context of diversion or patterns. Birds that count are not really the ones inside humans' heads. Mary Smith, however, is good at imagining horribly uncommon woodpeckers, supposedly extinct. If, in either case, dodo or ivory-billed woodpecker, Mary Smith persists, what happens? At first she may associate being in a city or in the yard of a suburban house with being a common sparrow. She may, in terms of the song in her... Continue reading
Posted Aug 15, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Ode To Matthew Shepard Once I hit someone I loved. It wasn’t very hard. But I hit him. I hit him in the way you hit someone you need to stop loving you. I can still remember the way the body looked when I hit it. It was ruined with my knowing you could hurt a body and it still needs something more than your pain. Narrative is as corrupt as the thoughts of the men who murdered you, Matthew. Explanation never satisfies. It always wants something like redemption. * * * Steve Fellner is the author of Blind Date... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Creation Myth/Golden Age A god from the East and/or above and/or far far away took to the notion to plant a fetal-curled seed by the banks of a body of water. Four hundred thousand years of deity- induced rain and sunshine caused the stone to sprout into a city’s worth of architecture, gold-leafed astronomies, and smiling, single-headed cows. The women’s eyes housed nine-pointed ceruleans and children were taught at an early age the value of aneroidical breathing. Monsters lived the whole of their lives in glass coffins, surrounded by orange safety cones. Old men would spend days on their backs,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
A ___ is a World, a Windstorm, a Love Letter Lost in the Breeze Dear Seizure of Church Bells, there were eleven hours left till the end of Memorialist Day. I was kneeling again, ambushed by my own ardor. I was asking this She to be my garden of grief. And She said, Guess! Guess! Oh God, Guess!But the Marginalia was already drawing near, their pre-colonial boots shining funeral-black in the May-ish sun. We hurried down presidential streets, past soothsayers and witnesses, to the courthouse steps. We donned our simple smiles even as the echo of boots erupted around us.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
A Museum of Making Do When all was said and done, the human parts were my favorites. Sun glints through glass roofs under which some move, irregularly ambulant. I’m glad we never make it to the mall, in the dream that ends the instant before we kiss. We kiss and kiss, pretty kissing. Parts move smooth, through the meanings. * * * Karl Parker is the author of PERSONATIONSKIN (No Tell Books). No Tell Motel first published this poem in September 2004. Karl wrote, "I'm delighted, especially when I let language, in other words my other words, do whatever they... Continue reading
Posted Jul 12, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
sagittarius when time lavas the lungs and you’ve begun to tack yourself like a hollywood voodoo doll to your own promises remember that you are an archer you know how to get a wish where it’s going by aiming above the gravity of a situation let your arrow follow the path of the panicked cat’s back when classmates or colleagues gobble at you in iron and mistletoe until the red light between your brain and your eyes begins to blink remember that you are a centaur you’ll never fit in with the bipeds except those who’ve read their history flaunt... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
What I didn't say when the gasworks shook their iron tails in my direction There is a foot-shaped stain on the end of my mattress like Sibelius snapping a white tablecloth across the Baltic Sea inviting me to tea. Night Dog thumps his body against my door. I’ve cut my hair to fiery nubs my angel hair my blonde angel cluttersuit. I eat a bowl of marrow beans and pound my feet but too many hours in the swamp prying goathead burrs from my heel awakened more than triage more than language my caliche nerve. I don’t know how to... Continue reading
Posted Jul 4, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Great Lash You wear too much eye makeup. My sister wears too much. People think she's a whore. Our cornfields were paved in asphalt, sulfur lights snuffed our stars. When one of us had no shoes, we went barefoot, walking streets laid with tar. First we coated lashes blackest black from tubes of green and pink, our eyes lined kohl. If it was Thursday we found boyfriends and waited by the liquor store for anyone to buy us Smirnoff. Anyone at all. We were not sweet girls. ~ We were not sweet girls, yet we wore silver chains with silver... Continue reading
Posted Jun 27, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Not This Mouth Bigger & bigger, everything is so daddy today it cuts No no no no, he repeats, doing it anyway, pulling at the peril-colored outlet strip: bear baby bread bad “If there’s a name for it, it isn’t what he wants” —which means bird but also (because he’s pointing) the withered trill of leaf clicking shipwrecked in the fingers of a junk tree thing-shaped names warmly swarm and not the lumpen worldstuff rising up to chew his untamed mouth little Achilles, little engine that won’t. Bird is no poem, but no bird is it’s mere that makes dear... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
That Morning Normally you’d gather your things and leave in a shy panic, but this morning you slept in with me and we made love again. In town, by the old stone fountain, there’s a man with an 8-foot albino ball python snake and for five bucks you can get your picture taken with it— but we will not go down into town and I will not like Catullus snap thousands of pictures until we’re broke and then call up a whore to fuck me nine, yes nine times. I’m trying to get this absolutely right. The words “deer,” “clouds,”... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
The Monster’s Bride Questions the Motives of Her Creator Those plugs jutting out from her neck: she’s curious, what are they for? The fiery thoroughfare of crisscrossing scars from temple to jaw, brow to ear: should she look for something implicit there? One eye brown, pilfered from an orange-haired prostitute in Potter’s Field; the other fixed askew in her head, a child’s like-new ornament: is he a misogynist? Did his mother abandon him? One arm, the muscular backhoe of a fieldworker’s connected to the jagged star of a hand: she wonders, is she expected to work? The vagina, intact and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
from Love, an Index A Abandon, what I did when you touched me that winter with an ungloved hand. Ache, the heal of broken things: bones, disappointments. Allegories of Love, Fragonard’s babycolored paintings, Ovid’s pursuers and storied looms, his Atalanta her golden balls. The longing to know how things become what they weren’t always. of Death, skulls, as in depictions of the penitent Magdalene. What should knowing we’ll die elicit? What does salvation have to do with being safe? Angelbones, you alone have them. Where the wings came off. Where the wings belong. Apartments, Brooklyn, its winding stair reminding me... Continue reading
Posted May 30, 2010 at The Best American Poetry
Gossip Did you hear — Pinky Snortbutton proclivitized the socialist schemes vehemently. Then when snuffle sharded Hairy Humbug repented, the whoopsies who lived in the stone forest next door actualized plentiful anyway. Meanwhile Piggy Sleuthbrethren rekindled those waxen imaginariums and started slinking toward mayhem. He may or may not hem her in. He may or may not. Ho hum. Harmony Spelunker on the other hand was devoted to her shiatzu rhizome dander of a dharma poodle but when he dabbled her in butterdunder he clinked glasses with asses. And then you know what— He said that she said that he... Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2010 at The Best American Poetry