This is Reb Livingston's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Reb Livingston's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Reb Livingston
Recent Activity
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 of your ribcage And imprinting according to this grid: Every minus to crease a plus, every plus To upend a many a minus. There's a message Nestled in between us like a traffic signal Composed of half a dozen buttons & a rook: "Declining to hear the city's solving tools, They, in a methodical approach to the construction Of peculiar fields & frames, dusting full force, yield Two outcomes, Phoenix on the left, trajectory From concept to completion on the other, Redirected to circles, one in my very backyard, The other spread along every sort of continent." The process of the phonologically sequenced paper, Or your physical form, a thirdness, where order The first, trace to follow up your spine & amidst Your hair an intended & immediate kiss Second & nonrepresentative because The moment this is, it is, and then one more * * * Bruce Covey is the author of Glass Is Really a Liquid (No Tell Books, 2010) and Elapsing Speedway Organism (No Tell Books, 2006). No Tell Motel first published this poem in September 2007. Bruce wrote, "I believe these poems are reaching, attempting to celebrate the mysterious & magnificent something that's always beyond one's extended & stretching fingers. The space between what's "true" & what might have been. . . "The Different Between Toggle Bolts and Molly Screws" came from a challenge to write a poem centered around a piece of hardware." 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 capsizing existence. The blue whale’s heart is the size of a small car. * * * Paige Taggart is the author of Won't be a Girl (Scantily Clad Press). No Tell Motel first published this poem in January 2010. Paige wrote, "To People Who Sometimes Read is a series in which I attempt to make language my bitch. I had exhausted my previous mode of writing, coinciding with a need to change my life. It was time to admit my “soulshame,” to allow myself to be vulnerable and more declarative, a befitting circumnavigation with my lifestyle transition. I was influenced immensely by two poet’s correspondence of email-poems that were both extremely personal and had mastered a certain building format that I wanted to build-off of myself. At one point I didn’t even believe in editing. I had said it’s like trying to train a mule to talk. But I now realize that part of my dream is to begin without perfection, in fact, the more chaotic, the more likely I am to hone-in. Oftentimes, I felt like I was trapped in a cave that only allows exit when the sea is at low tide, and frequently the sea was at high-tide but with my one-good-eye I was able to scratch lesions into the walls. I found a dog that wasn’t mine but fed it anyway for four days, then I responded to the posters that had been duct-taped to tree trunks. The number put me on the phone with a sheriff. He was out for blood but when I told him my story, he let me go. I think I care about writing poetry more than anyone else in the world." 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 I fell and where there were thresholds I left them canyons gorgeous and aggrieved. Flung wide, electrified, I striated skies with ellipsis, color, collapse, shot suns past eclipse, blew the air for sound to sound from touch, touched them till they cried in ecstacy: Out and out and through the skin my sweat ran and poured into hollows so where I emptied they filled and though I encompassed they merely contained. Into the molten cavity I dropped a stone, I lit the furnace, stretched a hide. I wielded the ragged white-veined ice and birthed spinning galaxies in atoms, vital alluvium, the eternal quest for me. I remembered and made them forget. I raged and sweetened them. Formless then I dimensioned space, delineated them. I swallowed my own throat to feed them hungers delicious. Where I could not pass I corridored their heavens. Where I felt nothing I caused them passion and urge. I watch them and they are blind to me. I sleep, and they dream. I cry out to them, and they die. * * * Alice B. Fogel is the author of Be That Empty: Apologia for Air (Harbor Mountain Press), Elemental and I Love This Dark World (Zoland Books). No Tell Motel first published this poem in May 2005. Alice wrote, “Var. 1: Yhwh” is based on the Kabbalah’s notion of the Zim-Zum, which is pretty much like the big bang theory in physics. I also thought of Francis Ponge’s “Kings do not touch doors,” or how lonely the powerful are. The way the universe is spinning in and out replicates the way Bach’s variations often climb up and down scales, sometimes involving the crossing over of hands." 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 March 2007. Craig wrote, "These poems are from a prose poem manuscript titled "the ghost of the harvest madonna," which explores the possibilities of disjunctive allegory." 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 time, my friend, Brian Conn, was waiting to cross the street and he saw a big squirrel standing next to him on the sidewalk. The big squirrel was standing quite still, holding a smaller squirrel in its mouth. Brian Conn watched the big squirrel and the big squirrel watched the traffic. Suddenly, the big squirrel ran into the street and threw the smaller squirrel under the wheels of a car. I didn't write these poems thinking about that story. However, I am very interested in animals, sudden death, and misapprehensions of all kinds. My father used to smoke cigars with a squirrel. This was in New York City. My father would lean out the window and the squirrel would balance on a branch of the sycamore tree and they would share Garcia Y Vegas. I don't know how to reconcile these two encounters with squirrels. Maybe a gap in the universe opens between irreconcilable encounters with squirrels, and this gap has something to do with poetry? All animals should wear orange in the woods and sing loudly." 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 Press). No Tell Motel first published this poem in September 2009. Lauren wrote, [This poem is] "part of an ongoing obsession of mine with relationships of all kinds—between lovers and friends, between the past and the present, between the various aspects of our own selves. Because so much of who we are is tied up in the relationships we're in, we're always balancing how much we are willing to give or give up to establish, and maintain these bonds, and as they change, we have to reevaluate who we are. This is the experience that the poems and I keep coming back to..." 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 mind sing to find nuthatch, drawing sparrows out of the ginkgo, cardinals aghast at her vibrato. Maybe she sees all birds as basically the same type of bird, so the dodo who never appears is as good as an absent robin. You, on the other hand, have a set of elements associated with Mary Smith in your head. Yet, are you little and brown? Do you have a red breast? Do worms dangle from your beak? Are you the idea attractor of what is to be a robin? Or are you a dodo trying to pass as normal? Do you gravitate toward birds with social practices that push you away? Do you chirp an explanation of why this branch, why this final refusal to come back even as idea, why you try to fit into patterns only humans are part of? Even clouds in terms of song are not songs but explanations formed long ago, lines of thought that covered every path. Looped around, cumulus bore down on grackle, squall line mapping turkey before that animal was, before Start of Our World. If you want to sing, don't be a robin. If you want to explain the robins you have to admit the patterns in your head about robins are wrong. If you want to join the dodos you have to find one. * * * Cynthia Arrieu-King is the author of The Small Anything City (Dream Horse Press) and People are Tiny in Paintings of China (forthcoming, Octopus Books). No Tell Motel first published this poem in February 2006. Cynthia wrote, "I was reading James Paul Gee's, What Video Games Have to Teach us About Literacy and Learning. The book yields rich pedagogical lessons from a comparison between the landscapes of multi-player video games and composition classrooms. I was reading along merrily one night, when suddenly, Gee started analyzing the social matrix of birds, dodos, and the sentence "If, in either case, dodo or ivory-billed woodpecker, Mary Smith persists, what happens?" got stuck in my craw." 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 with Cavafy (Marsh Hawk Press) and All Screwed Up (Benu Press). No Tell Motel first published this poem in May 2008. Steve wrote, "I believe in ghosts, and I hope these poems do not anger Matthew Shepard’s ghost. I do not mean any harm. I want to get at something, and this is the only way I know how." 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, watching clouds take the shape of semi-sapien eyeballs. Peopled by swallowers of burning tea leaves, the inhabitors of this land lacked the mouth mechanisms to make hissing sounds. Whenever they felt angry or threatened, they had to resort to humming. * * * Daniela Olszewska is the author of three chapbooks: The Twelve Husbands of Citizen Jane (Beard of Bees), The Partial Autobiography of Jane Doe (Dancing Girl Press) and Resort to Humming (Scantily Clad Press). No Tell Motel first published this poem in April 2008. Daniella wrote, "The myth poems are very loosely based on a now-lost book of Polish folk tales. Writing poems based on pre-existing narratives was a wonderfully frustrating experience. At times I felt as if the story limited the language available to me. This, of course, made me work that much harder to find words/images that: (A) excited me (B) stayed (more or less) true to the story. I highly recommend putting a myth-retelling prompt in your NaPoWriMo arsenal." 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. Only the crossing guard could stop them now, her one palm held high. As quick-quick as he could, the priest-like astronomer knocked on the door of his heaven. And with time for only one question, one answer, one rapture, we surrendered our Yes. * * * Fritz Ward's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Arts and Commentary, Agni Online, Swink, Salt Hill, Blackbird, Diagram, Small Spiral Notebook, and The Journal. No Tell Motel first published this poem in January 2009. Fritz wrote, "[this poem] was a result of reading too much science fiction and fantasy this summer while contemplating how to propose to the woman I loved—but I'm not quite willing to completely undress for you just yet. What fun is a one-sided seduction? Besides, I'm more interested in hearing your reactionary musings than listening to myself talk." 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 slash I want to do, person-ify spontaneously and not, at and because of particular contexts; it's that simple, that material, that literally performed for and of course by a shifting aeriallyrooted "me"-place within and established by various frames real and imagined--say, social and haunted, the extrapersonal. All the "fun" in the house's marking and remarking the semiviolent, sad, somnolent, laughing torn and so on human image, not via verbal photographia--more by way of, as if, hand-gesture-prints in flickered series, no, speechprints, movement-echoes of a voice doing voices, all including its chosen own. I say Take any and all liberties and socalled ha licenses with language in the furtherance of the invention and accretion of your own thought, your own signs, your own actual useable meanings in your time and place always." 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 your naked torso pat your own rump and if you hear hissing hoof it * * * Evie Shockley is the author of a half-red sea (Carolina Wren Press, 2006), the new black (Wesleyan UP, forthcoming 2011), and two chapbooks. No Tell Motel first published this poem in October 2007. Evie wrote, "I have been in a life-long love affair – not deep, but meaningful – with astrology; my birthday is November 28th." 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 do it. I stand on my hind legs and bark. I want more. I want more. I want more. * * * Rebecca Loudon is the author of Cadaver Dogs (No Tell Books), Navigate, Amelia Earhart's Letters Home (No Tell Books) and Radish King (Ravenna Press). No Tell Motel first published this poem in December 2008. Rebecca wrote, "The poems from Cadaver Dogs explore the human wanting to be animal, the animal wanting to be human, and what happens when the change meets itself on the path toward recognition. Some of the poems, if not all, reflect the comfort animals give humans when we capture them as pets. The subtext of these poems addresses the peril of children living in a world where not animals, but humans, are the true danger." * * * If you liked this poem, No Tell Books is offering a special sale this holiday weekend. Three titles for just $25 (plus shipping). That's up to $27 off the combined retail. Any title from our catalog is eligible including books by your favorite authors: Jill Alexander Essbaum, Rebecca Loudon, Hugh Behm-Steinberg, Bruce Covey, Karl Parker, Laurel Snyder, Shafer Hall, PF Potvin, Ravi Shankar, Reb Livingston AND both Bedside Guides (hundreds of poets in there!) 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 hearts & crosses, onyx rings, blush, lipstick, powder. Hair flipped by vent brush before entering a night without stars. Our parents were line dancing, were bank tellers, were absent. We were a family that knew nothing about its members. ~ We cut school and watched Foxes. We cut school and drank vodka. We cut school and got stoned, did our makeup, walked the streets. One of us got out. One of us ran into our connection working a shoe store, one of us glimpsed another with a baby, one of us marries her Thursday night boyfriend and shatters her image. ~ We were not sweet girls, no. If there had been corn, or stars? Maybe the deep sweet girlness would have surfaced — dreamy fresh-faced girls — petals listening to rain.* * * Suzanne Frischkorn is the author of Girl on a Bridge (Main Street Rag, 2010) and Lit Windowpane (Main Street Rag, 2008). No Tell Motel published this poem July 2007. Suzanne wrote, "My current obsession with physical image — past, present and future — began the minute we had satellite television installed." 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 reader spit out its poem about pig-iron and ergo the argot of desire rips out the dictionary pages, ugly that the wounds vowel together: no no nono don’t plug that body in there don’t, gulp, unplug that mommy from the other, softer mommy a bird in the bread & a baby in the hole in the head a shine of home buries sizzle in the smallest sign of wall How much is us? Why shall we not in such burning place live out our allotments? nothing looks good on paper if you can tame it, you can have it * * * Jasper Bernes is the author of Starsdown (ingirumimusnocteetcomsumimurigni, 2007). No Tell Motel first published this poem in 2005. Jasper wrote, "'Not This Mouth' developed from an assignment my friend David Weiss gave to the both of us. We occasionally do this during the triage phase of the semester, as it tends to foreshorten the anxious thumb-twiddling stage of composition (at least for me). He e-mailed two quotes, the first from Randall Jarrell’s “A Sick Child”: “If I can think of it, it isn’t what I want.” The second was from D.W. Winnicott, who writes: “Animals can be tamed, but not mouths.” Both quotes seemed to speak directly to my experience of watching my son, Noah, enter into language, and with it enter into a contract with the world that was gradually separating itself from him. Noah would point at an object—a stuffed animal or ball—and utter its name, and then upon receiving it, express immediate dissatisfaction. As in Lacanian psychoanalysis, the object was a metonym, a vitiated substitution for what he really wanted, which could neither be named nor directly apprehended. I could relate." 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,” “trees,” and “it felt like it was raining,” have all been crossed out. And, so, here we are: in bed, together—— so nice, so white, and so happy. * * * Rauan Klassnik is the author of Holy Land (Black Ocean). No Tell Motel first published this poem in January 2008. Rauan wrote, "The heart, muscle and fluid in these poems were made over the summer, in bed, between 3 and 5 in the afternoon. How can I be so sure of these times? I am a creature of habit and I nap and/or daydream and scribble down airy notes between 3 and 5 every day. I’d lay about longer (into forever I’m sure) but when the light starts changing my birds start up an irresistible racket for food and a place by the railing. For whatever it’s worth: between 3 and 5, in bed this summer, I was by myself. Always. Sometimes it was raining." 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 as pretty as postcard sunset: should she ruin it for him? The abdomen owns the legacy of multiple births, a miller’s wife spitting out babes like peas: is there room to grow more? What hair that’s left is black as licorice, sparse on her scalp like a locust-run crop: does he secretly love his sister? Her dresses, hung in the closet like sides of beef, taffetas, crinolines, colors of esplanade sherbets: should she dance for him? At night, locked in her chambers, she hears desire’s low growl, smells iron, lust, rain: what does it mean? Is it for her? * * * Tiffany Midge is the recipient of the Diane Decorah Poetry Award from The Native Writers Circle of the Americas for her collection, Outlaws, Renegades and Saints: Diary of a Mixed-Up Halfbreed published by Greenfield Review Press. The chapbook, Guiding the Stars to Their Campfire, Driving the Salmon to Their Beds, was published in 2005 by Gazoobi Tales. No Tell Motel First published this poem in October 2009. Tiffany wrote, "Sketched during a particularly loathsome funk. How to make sense of rejection from one who was so revered? Adored as one would adore a creator—the creator of so much splendid exchange? Our heroes and gods are fallible and limited after all. To transcend the grotesquerie of one’s imperfections is bliss! And suddenly, the fall and disappointment from that transcendence, leading to doubts and wary interrogations." 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 of Yeats: “all men rise to greatness by..” A bicycle chained there. South Dakota, we gave your son the only bedroom, woke early to salted baguette and snow. Salt Lake City, a porch ghost, a view of the valley’s glittering grid, my sister, your poor broken friend, we grilled squid on the Smokey Joe. Tripod. Carpet. Halloween. Laramie, a basement, a stoveless kitchen, toaster-roasted eggplant, baseboard heat and sex in woolen socks. Rome, 5B, stone floors, white kitchen, white as the madness I felt there, a bed that was twin beds held together with so much duct tape, always suggesting itself as metaphor; Anger, yours, with your father maybe, me maybe. mine, with you for finding expression of it towards my family instead; there are other ways of telling the story of our two angers, entwined like bodies in the act of love. But in this one I am not a villain. Anne Carson, the “Short Talks” from Plainwater, poolside in Greece during an Easter Parade, clanking in doorways for ouzo and bread; The Autobiography of Red, in which Geryon understood that people need acts of attention from each other. Attention (see also: Anne Carson) “Geryon understood that people need acts of attention from each other.” B Binary, code, allows a computer to represent text – b is "000011110”. L-O-V-E too is a series of 1’s and 0’s where 0 means “off” and 1 means “on”. opposition, like presence-absence, male-female, love- innocence, love-hate, love-longing. star, two astronomical bodies orbiting each other so closely they’re lost in each other’s light, and appear as one. Bogota, city in the Andes surrounded by steep jungle. We did not fight in Bogota. Beaten gold. White sanctuary. We love the Mexican restaurant full of wooden stairs overlooking vast expanses of Modernist architecture, colonial plazaslit-up slums. La Candelaria is home to statues of ghosts, presence of absence. Carts sell hot corn. We passed a woman laying on the sidewalk, pregnant a second time – her belly swelled in half-globes around a dark scar like a peach around its deep groove. Storytellers ride the busses, shattered petals and piles of thorns and broad bruised leaves carpet the lot where a flower market teems in the day. Sushi joint. Iranian embassy. A row of buildings trimmed in tropical flowers and razor wire. Bookstore. We watched Bollywood dubbed into Spanish on the old-fashioned TV in your sublet apartment. Bollywood,... 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 said that she said that she hoped he would not hem her in. May he not. May he not hem her in. Hold on just a minute ye wee blinker donkey bucket. I know what you're thinking. You're not so shattered. Matter withers whether biddies bid hither or not. Weather permitting, leastwise. Anyhoo. Like I was saying. Stinkfreed Freudelbomber hi-hoed it on down to the swish-in-the-pish and gave her a what for. Did she spin her spartan wombat around into his knickerlicker or what. Gave him a clunk on his dung heap and saddled on out to the heathen hippie coral you better believe it mavis gave us all we got scott and thensome. Sure is quite resplendent to be unthinking on their hurdles, nowadays, isn't it? It sure is redundant. Sure is a mighty naked shower we got us in, brother Sure enough is. Unbound. Unbartered. Regurgitated yet martyred. Like a sour dilly in the sweet street net. Longest snooze on the shoal. * * * Lynn Behrendt is the author of petals, emblems (forthcoming from Lunar Chandelier Press). No Tell Motel first published this poem August 2008. Lynn wrote "I am interested in the things that for whatever reasons aren’t or can’t be said, in negative space, in shadows echoes and auras of objects & ideas, the unconscious—those kinds of things. Lately, I think that my poems are a means of exploring and working with these phenomena, using sound as a kind of Geiger counter for the unknown." Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2010 at The Best American Poetry