burning incense is not meditation
making love is not revolution
the body is not freedom
the island is not freedom
the classroom is not freedom
scribbling is not introspection
ignoring is not prosecution
drinking is not medication
a photograph is not a memory
isolation is not preservation
today I stood in the kitchen in my salty bikini and ate an entire baby pineapple over the sink.
I don’t care what it wasn’t. I know what it is.
Elodie learned to swim when she was 4 years old. She said ‘I love the water, my dear. I love the falter and lull. I am
Karmen danced until her toes bled. She said, ‘I bleed like linen. I am a notion.’ She signed her will at age 11, not without care. She knows who you dream about at night. Karmen is she, he I you and them. She is the green linoleum; the saran wrap to save the stuffing.
Brigitte has a sewing kit in brown paper. She is a present for the morning. ‘If only you knew’ she always whispers in his ear. Misanthrope. Megalomaniac. Melancholic. Cholic. Myself. Self. And so it is. To come is to go. For Brigette, time is of the gasoline.
Sylvie feels lonely on Wednesday afternoons. Her fortune cookies always tell her to be brave. ‘I’m not going to be swamp. I’m going to be infinite’ she says. Her Spanish lessons are going along like cake. She will be sorry to foxtrot into the ocean, but not for long. How Chopin in a Kate way. Embrace your pretensions.
there exist cigarettes
this world therein are cigarettes and black coffee beans
daughters have problems with cigarettes, black coffee beans, and vodka.
wait, start again.
there exist cigarettes
in cafes and corners on buses up mountains
that’s it! phallic. cigarettes. sex.
ok back up
cigarettes in bikinis, that’s not sexy.
cigarettes! not sexy.
cigarettes a baby. romanticized. in a diminutive.
hips swing in blankets of smoke.
langue, not language. langue for cigarettes. long for cigarettes.
the longing, of course. the longing.
desire and tension, romantic.
cigarettes in September. cigarettes in December.
black coffee beans. vodka.
long sleeved sweater. pick your poison.
island cats are hopeless romantics
they spend the better part of each night singing
tortured songs to one another and making
The birds need to work on their harmonies
and their insomnia
no one would hire this band
not even for wedding or bar mitzvahs
especially with the bird who sounds like he is
gargling in the bottom of a tin bucket
island dogs bark at shadows all night,
and dust, and ideas, and trees, and
they are mad, these dogs and when they
see me I imagine they envision a big chicken leg
in their minds like on cartoons with classical music
but the worst, the absolute worst,
are the roosters that crow from
3 AM until 6
as if lazy Réunion farmers
just can’t stop hitting nature’s snooze button.
charles mézance charles le méchant
the night club was loud and your breath was heavy
I could feel your pretension a kilometer away
but somehow in the midst of outkast and French pop
we clicked glasses and talked about Kerouac
Kerouac! imagine that, I thought myself lucky.
charles mézance charles le professeur
we picnicked on the beach and you told me how
you are a French teacher by day
editor by night, spoiled catholic boy from the north of
so French he bleeds
‘this isn’t serious this isn’t serious’ says charles
as he peels away my dress
he’s got the catholic guilt hardcore and a handful of heartbreaks to boot
I think I’ll be as permanent in his life
as the bite marks he left on my hip
but I must admit
I am obsessed with the idea of him.
Giggle surplus. Cannot the extreme hips, mottled face play the piano? write a poem? In love at the time of the fall of a hat. Does not call enough the questions of sex, fall from the questions of mother. Unexplainable narcissism. Pushed about faker can paint or plunges; forgets to read the newsloopas. Left but due to the surplus of the large banks.
we could have gone to mcdonalds and
had french fries no mayo
made love in back seats
steam the windows all up
“no officer—my father is a preacher”
we could have laid in grass up to ankles
listened to American pie
drinking jack daniels from the bottle
hey lets get platonic
no kissing (below the belt)
until you pin me (down)
Guess what? I got 100% on The Blueberry Bush. I love that story, I worked so hard on it! Ben is sharing a locker with
Its almost and I just got back from Chris’ house. I’ve been spending a lot of time there because Chris digs Ceara. I thought Zach liked me, but now I’m not sure. Well, Mom says I’ve been staying out too late. She’s always yelling at me for whatever.
Today I was talking to Patrick, and I couldn’t help but think how cute he is! He’s adorable, plays guitar, drives, and he’s smart. What more could a girl ask for? But anyway, for the record, I’ve decided to stay with Joe. I’ve decided to not involve myself with JP. He says its mean that I flirt with him. I think it is more mean of him to tell me we are perfect for each other when I have a boyfriend. I’m making a personal goal to seriously try and make things work between me and Joe. By the way, Micheal called today. He confuses me. He is a great friend but is constantly asking me to go out with him. Get a clue!
I broke up with Joe. I’m with JP now.
PS Jay just called me. He makes me melt.
What if I see Joe and JP at the same time when school starts? That would be weird….
Girls would not seem so complicated if guys weren’t so dumb. I’m in history and we have a sub today. She’s got some damage about popping gum; good thing I don’t have any. I have that Reel Big Fish song in my head. “Brand new song, just for you…” I wonder if our sub leads a really unfulfilling life and that is why she is so anal about popping gum. At least there is only 8 more days until winter vacation.
Bejean said “Do everlasting gob stoppers stop everlasting gobs or everlastingly stop gobs?” We are descending into insanity and need to come up for air, I think.
I just don’t know whats up with him lately. Its like we get together and make out and the oohs and ahhs are our only communication. My life is like an everlasting battle with my hips. So far they are winning by 8 points. I think all French teachers are evil. And its sad, because they can’t help it. Its like the French takes over their brain. I found this quote by this guy named GB Shaw while I was working on the literary magazine. He said “Music is the brandy of the damned.” And finally, if sucking was a state, biology would live there.
I skipped school today and I am sitting at the sandwich shop, watching all the customers. I want my husband to be a business man and wear suits every day. I think that’s sexy—kinda shows ambition, you know? I mean, these guys aren’t sexy, they’re old. But when I am old I won’t think they’re old, it will just be… normal, or something. Like Carrie and Big. And all of these jurors. I wanna be on a jury. That would be cool. I don’t see why teenagers don’t serve on juries. It seems like out opinions don’t matter, but you know maybe some cases need a younger perspective.
January 4, 2000
Back to school. No Armageddon. Last night I was thinking about French class and how badly I am going to do on this algebra test and I started crying and felt like I was going to throw up. Then all I could think was, “God, I am turning into my mother.”
my body betrays
Spinning ceiling tiles
The sunshine makes three
two dollars shoved under
my black paybook
the ones the other servers use
to do lines of coke in the bathroom.
I am not so naive
I know what goes on around here.
not a day goes by
without a man twice my age
asking me for my number.
I want to scream at them
‘I’m not a piece of ass,
I have two degrees!
I am going to teach at university
in a place you’ve never heard of
and then law school
without my daddy’s dime.
I have been halfway across the world and back.
I’ve made love in
do you think I care about your stuffy
law office or balding republican friends?’
but I keep my mouth shut
and take my two dollars.
at least I don’t have
a cocaine habit to support.
He turned the keys in the ignition and the windshield wipers began moving fast across the glass. He turned them off; he sighed as he sank into his seat. He looked at her and her false eyelashes dangling from one eye. “Did you have a good time?” he asked.
“Yes. I hope I didn’t act too stupid” she replied, eyes still shut, slouched in the car seat.
“Maybe one less black Russian would have been better for you” he said. “Things were going fine until you started waxing poetic about the difference between freedom fighters and terrorists and how Louisa May Alcott changed the world."
She fluttered her eyes open. All the streetlights were big blurry balls of fuzzy light, whizzing past in fast fury. She looked at his dark curls and then closed her eyes again. “It was fun though” she said. “It was really fun.”
She remembered dancing in the apartment, admiring the large modern painting in the hall. She remembered sampling the babaganoush and loving the hostess' new eyeliner. The boys were getting high on the balcony. She tugged on the top of her new cocktail dress, allowing the strap to slip down her forearm. It started to rain again.
“Where are we going?” she asked.
“We are going home, kitten,” he replied. “I am taking you home.”
“He sees us waving” said Charles’ mother as he made his way. Charles saw nothing. He had the sun in his eyes. By the time he got there, the cold had made a home. Time ran. The snow never melts without sunshine. The phone call said it all. A day after meeting with the U.S security council ambassadors, Charles’ father was diagnosed with skin cancer. Straight to the black tie he went.
They say “look around, one of the people sitting on either side of you won’t be here in 4 years”. you look. of course you look. but just looking is your first mistake. because its not just looking. and that’s what you learn. you learn about how looking was a mistake. and you can’t fix your mistake. you can look again and see what happens. you can try not to look anymore. you can look for meaning in the bottom of a martini. you can look for meaning in the bottom of many, many martinis. you can look at her eyes and their deep deep spark and crack. you can look out your window and see the light pollution from the too-big round lampposts, and fast cars and corduroy pants. you can turn pages and pages without looking at all. it is looking that is your mistake. it is looking that you have to do. its not a choice anymore. “did you look” everyone asks. everyone just wants to know how you look and what do you see. what do you see. what do you see? what do you see.
no midtown no downtown no
My first meal at the school in
I had a dinner party at my little student apartment in
I went to a café outside the school in
Todd and Sheila went inside for their reservation at a local Japanese Steakhouse. They sat at the table around the large grill and sipped plum wine while the hostess took their orders. Sheila, always predictable, chose the shrimp and chicken. Todd decided on the salmon, which made Sheila’s nose crinkle a bit.
“I guess I should have known.” said Todd. His tears remained for the car.
(after bruce covey)
iceberg: crisphead, $20 dollar call-girls make magic swivel stars sugar
endive: with cellophane aeroplanes one two three fork, sold!
romaine: romantic filler fellow, now at the bottom forever
cabbage: en francais chou chou and maybe me and you too
spinach: repent and be saved or else sex therapy with apples and garlic
red leaf/ green leaf: always quarrelling over the meaning of absolutes- everything, nothing
II. in between
III. out of between
This summer will be ann sexton without the tragedy
ee cummings but a bit longer
is this my ars poetica>
I would say the poem should be a painting
jump off the page, no reading involved
just words as pictures
and negative space.
la la la BANG
didn’t anticipate that.
so unexpected. extemporaneous.
but in the end,
fits like a cast
[where is plath and that little bird? prefer her prose\
this summer is noses and cheeks
I’ll say it again: in between.
I want red wine on balconies
and his hands all up my skirt.
too blunt? that’s not poetica.
all up my skirt. all. up.