Features

Real Estate Ode

 

If the Pyramid at Giza were 

at Bleecker and LaGuardia, 

the base would extend down to West Broadway 

and Spring, and across Spring to Mercer, 

and up Mercer to Bleecker and across 

Bleecker to LaGuardia,

sloping up on four sides

to its peak the height of the skyscraper

on Spring and Varick. . . .

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Where to Put It

The room in which I start sobbing again and wonder

if my sobs will hurt the baby inside me, and the room

in which I hope so, a room made entirely of a window.

                                    The room of my husband’s goodnight,

which is a room in a large municipal building with Styrofoam ceilings

where lines must be formed so forms can be signed, . . .

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Elbow Room

Boone’s genius was to recognize the difficulty as neither material nor political but one purely moral and aesthetic.

—William Carlos Williams,
“The Discovery of Kentucky”

Narrator is unmanageable. Demonstrates a disregard for form bordering on the paranoid. Questioned closely, he declares himself the open enemy of conventional narrative categories. . . .

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Large Black Landscape

It is black. Black and rearing up; rounded points, pointy points. Black and matted together; plates and plains, lines and radiant circles. Black on black. Black on black on black.

____

Is this a mountain? Mountains? Is this the ocean—all those rearing points, that shifting? . . .

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On Slaughter and Praying: An Essay in Two Parts

Part One. Before Getting to My Desk 

Before getting to my desk this morning I’ve woken to the back of Luke’s spine in blue light and understood for the first time that is the image I have been dreaming of after working the “I” entirely out of a poem that didn’t need it. . . .

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The Slow and Tender Death of Cockroaches

In my beginning is my end.

—T. S. Eliot, “East Coker”

 

I always find them alone. Laid on their backs and clawing at the ceiling, like they were still falling from a too-high place. I find them on the shelf next to the dishware. . . .

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Lap Dance

 

I think everyone’s glad I’m dead, said the stripper

with the caved-in face. Her fingers were bone with no

sinew. She flapped her arms at the two wrens

caught up in the rafters and staring down

on the empty dance hall at the Möbius Strip Club

of Grief. . . .

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Notes from a Domestic Scene

 

I

Notebooks stood in a rack, straight and tightly shut beside a ruckus of birthday cards. Their colors drew my eye as I went past. I am overly susceptible to colors, even though so much of the world seems best in black and white. The first notebook had a pale blue cover, . . .

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Sam & Louis

On or about 12 April 1888, a gaunt Scottish man, recovering from a “sharp attack” of tuberculosis at Saranac Lake, in rural New York state, wrote to his favorite American author, then resident in Connecticut. “I shall be from Thursday next for about a week in the St. Stephen’s Hotel, . . .

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Beautiful Flesh

A bird’s pancreas looks very much like ours does, slim along the intestine. Nearly every creature with a backbone has a pancreas, lungfish and lamprey eels and ray-finned fishes being notable exceptions. In mammals, the organ is always small, shown in anatomical drawings peeping from behind the stomach or duodenum of the lion, . . .

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