POST POETRY: FUTUREPOEMTIME PRESENTS THE PYRE LIT WITH GUILT & SHAME


staying true to my resolution of taking a break from poetry, I’ve been to two poetry events in the past three days, and on the day I did not go anywhere I read plath aloud in the street in the middle of a rainstorm.

I want to write about the clothes because they were lovely. thursday was scarf-prints + metallic leggings + neon & general face-melting. saturday frat-chic in b-boy black & merman-esque vaudeville acts.

I care about the clothes, I do. more than I care about most things. but every night this week I have been thinking of this story, which was once told to me, which is not a folk tale but maybe it is. I don’t know whether or not it is real but I remember every moment of the day I first heard it, even though I was hungover on a mountain & being told this was a bad idea & falling in love & knowing it was a bad idea & writing about it all in the most sentimental way as though there was nothing so soft as the inside of my body when I felt that way, & it is a way I have not felt exactly since but I have been thinking a lot about the story, which is unrelated to & entirely about the structural nature of love.

I heard this story once & never forgot it

but now I go wiliingly to strangers with smoke inside of their cars.

they have very attractive guns

smeared with vaseline or spirit gum,

which they slide sweetly into your reverberated socket,

and they whistle folk ballads in augmented fiftths.

& they are not afraid of seeming doe-eyed –

they are wearing flannel corsets made of bones &

they have oiled their wrists & hats with ear-flaps.

I’ve heard this lesson a thousand times

because I am a poor student of irony.

I thought a visible gun meant it would never go off

so stepped in the lips, glossily.

in the true version of the story, the death

is the lesson. the lesson involves a slideshow

of mountain waifs in gingham aprons,

& they are crying into piles of crushed cherry pies

& they are installing leather studs on the roofs

of their mouths

they are trying to look competent –

they are trying so hard to seem relevant, & you

are such a block in the sink

with the whole of advertising sprawled enticingly…

when linearity turns inward on its surface the bassline forgets

how it wallowed in masks,

the whole projection known on the mail like a delay,

& the threadbare lapsed & the crows evaporated & shoes

in the third person perforated a waltz —

an elegantly wished feather, in which the heart,

as in a cask, becomes aware of the carbonated sham

& snaps.

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