On The Media

Warm

warm we link arms before the brawl breaks our ranks
we touch again     ineffectual   fist to ineffectual face
we are touched again to be peeled apart    sprayed 
toward sobbing   and held again in rapturous pain   do you remember
now   singing by torchlight?   do you remember the strange sounds
of which we are capable?   the moan the mutter
the laugh around campfire and when campfires tamp
and glow   and our bodies   just cool of a blister
kind and momentary   sister to sister
brother to brother   all else like a staircase rises up
or helps us descend   in time
it is a struggle   to keep cool   to fight with
one's own fire   the necessary stoke and recoil.

“Mocha Panties” by Arielle Greenberg

locallymadepanties

You have your skinny pants that you never wear
but that are the barometer. You have your fat pants
that you wear more than you need to. You have your
period pants that are dark and thick and forgiving
and comforting.

You have your period panties.

I have a new resolution not to wear my period
panties at non-period times. I have gotten into the
habit of wearing only my period panties and pretty
much never wearing my other panties, my nice
panties. My resolution is to wear nice panties every
day, even the days I don’t think l’m going to have sex,
even on the days when l’m going to ride my bike.

Once, in the locker room at the YWCA after tot
swim class, I saw another mom who was wearing
beautiful, chic mocha panties and a matching bra
even though she had just come from swim class and
had a kid. The panties and bra looked French, and so
did the mom. I swore right there and then to wear
my nice panties every day, even though my nicest
panties aren’t as nice as those panties were.

But then I got pregnant again and never felt like
wearing nice panties.

So that was three years ago. Exactly three years and
I am finally hoping to make good on my promise of
nice panties.

Thus far I have kept my nice panties promise for
about a week and a half. It’s been difficult. Almost
every day I reach for my period panties but I haven’t
relented. It does feel good to wear nice panties,
though it pains my heart to get on a bike or go to
sleep without sex when I am wearing them.

Even when the nice panties are not two-hundred-
dollar hand-washable silk tap pants, nice panties
are a conundrum.

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If you enjoyed this poem, please support the poet and purchase Arielle Greenberg’s fascinating, honest, nuanced and insightful book “Locally Made Panties”.

Family Happiness (Nondidactic)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 572

W572

“Overture of my voice like the flash of bats. / The hyena babble and apish libretto. // Piscine skin, unblinking eyes. / Sideshow invites foreigner with animal hide.” from Cathy Park Hong’s ‘Zoo’

they move today as was written   hold that sound
against one of

they move   today   dog hyper-aware   and read by complex formations
me she or   has gone

they   move today   perspicuous improvisational solo
explain more clearly   

they move   today it is being written   
hold it against one's   patience

they   move   today   for difference radiates 
one of us   curious dog

“The Sausage Master of Minsk” by August Kleinzahler

        I was sausage master of Minsk;
young girls brought parsley to my shop
and watched as I ground
coriander, garlic and calves’ hearts.

At harvest time they’d come with sheaves:
hags in babushkas, girls plump
as quail, wrapped in bright tunics,
switching the flanks of oxen.
Each to the other, beast and woman,
goggle-eyed at the market’s flow.

My art is that of my father:
even among stinking shepherds, bean-
brained as the flocks they tend, our
sausages are known. The old man
sits in back, ruined in his bones, a scold.

So it was my trade brought wealth.
My knuckles shone with lard, flecks
of summer savory clung to my palms.
My shop was pungent with spiced meat
and sweat: heat from my boiling pots,
my fretful labors with casings,
expertly stuffed. Fat women in shawls
muttered and swabbed their brows.
Kopeks made a racket on my tray.

But I would have none of marriage:
the eldest son, no boon,
even with the shop’s renown, was
I to my parents. Among mothers
with daughters, full-bottomed, shy,
I was a figure of scorn.

In that season when trade was a blur,
always, from the countryside, there was one,
half-formed, whose eyes, unlike
the haggling matrons’ squints, roamed
and sometimes found my own.
And of her I would inquire.
Before seed-time they always returned.

Tavern men speak freely of knives,
of this, of that. Call me a fool.
For in spring I would vanish
to the hills and in a week return,
drawn, remote, my hair mussed,
interlaced with fine, pubescent yarn.


Source: Kleinzahler, August. Live from the Hong Kong Nile Club: Poems : 1975-1990. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003. Print.

Ariana Reines

Wikipedia Poem, No. 530

W530

“I felt very human.” Ariana Reines

Driving 80 down the Turnpike, I begin typing into my iPhone:

I’m obsessed with petri curls
UV fancy s longways
Transfixed a Paver
Sears zebrawood w they do but know
What babe brand r u
Burning steel
Fine particles panicked began priests
W us Celine too

They do fast response day
Evict to satisfy Rhys speedster cat us B
Are white judges like war paint
Revved into nz taxes to pick up frenzy navigate
I have Mercedes Benz C 240 black
Is detected bet I hate the NRA

Quartet

Wikipedia Poem, No. 525

W525b

“What is in those railcars is also inside my head, / or I imagine it so—no, not imagine, know.” August Kleinzahler 

a trap
what you could reveal
what you’ll have to remind your story
when its over pause briefly to say: which driver

a trap? here
this arrangement of twin twigs
you’ll have to remind your story
pause a truth which drives the trap

what you could reveal
what’s your pronoun?
how deep does its ample
upholstery stop a medical

and which is the operating
out on the story and pauses briefly
who reminds the spark? you
which drives at twigs snap over-efficient dust

soak the operating table
the truth why drives at your point
operating on the spark?
to what you are rigidly bent upon

Hypovolemic Fantasy, Eros, Alone

Wikipedia Poem, No. 502

w502-sm

“Evening of a day in early March, / you are like the smell of drains / in a restaurant where pate maison / is a slab of cold meat loaf / damp and wooly. You lack charm.” James Schuyler

   verbing hot 
        and heavy
like a 
lover's 
    wet mouth
after dark
       n u 
  my mirror body itself
comes 
   separated 
        skin from skin from skin from 
   skin 
torn from skin 
like peeling paint 
 from skin from 
skin from skin from skin 
from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin from skin 
from skin ripped from a 
turtle's 
          shell 
         
  yr mirror 
body 
itself
comes 
paint 
       from a turtle 
   shell 
   the 
shell fear 
is blood hard
is that 
 i peeling separates
      skin from skin from his liquid from 
from skin from a turtle's shell 
the 
mirror yr mouth
after 
dark
n u fear 
the blood is 
blood coming  
  comes hot 
and 
heavy has come
like peeling paint 
from a 
turtle's 
shell 
 
    the illness 
like paint-like   
    skin from a 
        turtle's shell 
        the 
shell 
        peels
separating
     skin 
from 
skin from a turtle's shell

Denis Johnson (1949-2017)

Wikipedia Poem, No. 491

w491-2-sm

“My office smells like a theory, but here one weeps / to see the goodness of the world laid bare / and rising with the government on its lips, / the alphabet congealing in the air / around our heads.” Denis Johnson

 

his lips laid
& rising with the warm
goodness of theory
there they wept rivers
over their alphabet
that would not congeal
despite
how grave their wound
who inter their gravity

George Seferis (1900-1971)


“But to say what you want to say, you must create another language and nourish it for years and years with what you have loved, with what you have lost, with what you will never find again. ”

Seferis, as quoted in Mary Ruefle’s “Madness, Rack, and Honey”, p. 191.