A poem a day in April from Rutgers English PhD students and friends.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

new phone for easter

Get used to the unbroken body. Everything so smooth under your fingers. Face clear of fissures, those spiderwebbed tattoos. The face of the baby who will kill the final girl, who is the final girl: Where's Mommy Now? I had this place on my wrist where the steam scalded me as I lifted the lid from a pot of spinach. Badge of pain. Proud to be unselfish: I cooked you my very flesh, insatiable child. Gradually it hardened and then went red and raw and then dark brown and now it's soft, faintly pink. Can you live backwards, uncrack the egg. Which came first. If my body doesn't heal it's enough that her body is perfect. Not yet time to roll back the rock; we huddle together in darkness, watching haul videos on youtube.

ees -- poem # 17

we now resume your regularly scheduled programming

poetry™: it’s what’s for breakfast

all the poetry™ that’s fit to print

poetry™: have it your way

reach out and touch some poetry™

when you say poetry™, you’ve said it all

baseball, hot dogs, apple pie, and poetry™

people who don’t like poetry™ have never tried poetry™

i’ve fallen for poetry™, and i can’t get up

poetry™: just do it

the nighttime sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, fever, so-you-can-rest poetry™

this is your brain on poetry™

poetry™: i’m lovin’ it

you’re in good hands with poetry™

silly rabbit, poetry™’s for kids

poetry™: the new white meat

got poetry™?

like a good neighbor, poetry™ is there

this has been a public service poem


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

Day Jobs

Every year we thought we were too old to tour and every year we were a little less wrong.

                Time was you could go to the fair and there

But still, when Joanna woke up singing we are soooooo young it was only half irony:
I was the oldest and I was twenty-five.

                It's OK for the guitarist or something to wear a cowboy hat but not the singer

I invited the whole office to our last show. My boss's husband said, When I was in the men's room I could actually hear your voice, it's really good.

                I think the problem is that we're not really rocking enough           

Every spring with the cherry blossoms, the specter of grad school.

                Heaven forfend/Where are my friends

When did I become everybody's mom, I wondered. Maybe when I married our bassist? From the time I was nineteen I was basically always already married to our bassist.

                The amazing thing about her is she doesn't need a man

I practiced the tricky songs on the subway platform, willing myself to remember the right key. But it was usually the wrong key, so the practice was useless.

                I will always be seventeen

Girls, I want to yell back in time, those were day jobs.


It’s 10:30am
Do you know where your children are?

It’s A’s way of waking me up.
I had been waiting for someone
and running up and down 49 flights of stairs.
It felt good: the fatigue in my legs,
the twist in my torso.

I got tired of how long it took to get
anywhere. So I fast-forwarded
to the moment where we meet,
where you walk slowly towards me
and give me a simple embrace,
where the architecture of dreams

A is laying his head on my chest. He says
my eyes look like I was just born. I say
sleeping is tough business.

I Hate the Country I Rule

I hate the country
I rule
Fat fingers reaching for colo(u)rful bills
Exploding out of oil barrels
Refined by boys from Ontario
Who now live in Alberta.

I hate you dyke march bitches
With your bare breasts and
Your bicycles.

I hate voting and elections.
I hate the opposition and erections.
The jury’s out on those ice caps—
Are they melting?
Nah, they’re just teasing.
I hate evolution
And science
And libraries.
I hate the country
I rule.

Quebec: “boo hoo!”
Natives: “boo hoo!”
Artists: “boo hoo!”
Grow up and double peck
Each cheek
Of the Queen
Of the Commonwealth
And maybe one day
You’ll get 
Your very own
Hockey jersey!

Secretly, I miss you, Jack.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of your mustache,
Your cane,
Your socialism.
In these moments,
Not even Laureen can comfort me.
I go inside myself
And I cry for those burned books,
That trade deal with China,
Old people,
All the unemployed mail carriers.
All my errors; all we’ve lost.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

This Guy Will Change How You Feel About This Tiny Creature Forever

Tossed a paper towel against the wall, mashed hard with a foot.
Kept running, crookedwise.


There are things I cannot change,
however much I would like to.

Watched the neurotoxin take effect all night.
Who made me like this?

When the pink tongue unfurled like a carpet.
Knew every surface protected some horrible magic,


Carve it into your arm or
walk seven times seven paces
or say it three times
but only if each time you have forgotten the last time


Would go to bed right now but
need to check what exactly is in the cupboard under the sink

Live on the Internet: A Diary (April 17)

homecoming vignette

there's a bottle of Kernel Season's White Cheddar seasoning on the floor,
ripped, torn, broken apart;
it was from girlfriends mom,
because I like to make popcorn on the kettle.

"don't look at him,"
says girlfriend to Waldo,
who knows that we know that he has been a bad boy,
and is guilty, like only a dog can be.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Difficult Child

It snowed, we snuggled.

People keep commiserating with me about my difficult child.
I know what it's like to have a difficult child.
I want to smash a mirror and say Get me out of this twilight zone
where people think I have a difficult child

Whose fault is it? A changeling made of ice. David Bowie.
A funhouse mirror. Hologram.

I am not allowed to work because I don't deserve to work.

They ask me for tips on soothing my difficult child.
One tip is just hang out in the room and watch her DJ on her cat piano
One tip is sing her the Little Mermaid song, or just play her "Kiss"
One tip is let her drink in the splendid comédie humaine that is New York City
One tip is don't drop her on the floor by accident/don't leave her alone in a room for hours?

I am not allowed to work because I don't want to work.

I ask, was she good today?They say, don't worry, we remember what it was like to have a difficult child.

Her eyelashes are crowded with stars
Her sobs can turn so easily to song

Live on the Internet: A Diary (April 16)

Under the “headings of its history”

women, as men, went on horseback
starred all over, large hanging sleeves, covering the body from neck to heel
cap in the fashion of a crown
sticks for heating cloth
Prisoners set at liberty on St. John Baptist’s day
Jocose light characters of the XV. Century
Drivers of the cars
the human lot, which never alters in the main
headings of its history


Rain makes New York
Old New York

as if posing for a black-and-white

hot dog steam, Bergdorf Goodman
umbrellas and Prada

“as the enormous air of the avenue
lay pierced by rain”

I turn the corner and see Bernadette
on an Acconci reel

I walk in front of Nam June Paik’s

declare my silhouette the star of
Zen for Film

“That’s how you make conceptual
art in a selfie world”

As a nod to poet security guards

I wear my Silver Jews t-shirt
to the steakhouse

where the captains nod and hum
“Very good, sir”

I do this, I do that
Things to Do

The New York School vs.
The Pavement School

Heading toward Bedford
at terror twilight

We pass the stop called

Late night on Brevoort Place
the drops

in the streetlamp begin to float
and blow

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Face or Vase

The object of the game is negative space.

Hold your eyes level with my eyes and wait.
As the chanting mounts something is happening
in the house in the night. Hold the night
between our noses. Everybody clapping.

You're my best friend since freshman year.
You're someone I never met before today.
You're my bandmate. You're my live-in lover.
Classmate's new boyfriend. Frenemy.

Can we make us us and something else?

In the mirror at home I press the whitening strips to my teeth I drag the brush across my cheek I push hard on the little wrinkles until they become a solid crease I apply lipstick in my tulle skirt I require assistance to pee I pluck out my third gray hair I watch the hairstylist add bobby pin after bobby pin until my wreath of plastic gardenias is unshakeable I am twenty-eight years old one hundred women with clipboards at one hundred venues have told me "I see you as a young bride" I take your hands across the altar and say words I don't really hear only the roar of applause they might as well be chanting


The object of the game is our friendship
That thing that obliterates our noses
That was the summer before every bro was just icing every bro
That was the summer we were bros without accessories

Years later after our friendship ended spectacularly with me throwing water in your general direction, across the vase between us, breaking the vase, the final taboo, I saw the pattern on some tiles in Florence, beautiful, glazed blue, and I took a picture for comparison.

But I never put them side by side.

Brought to you by Letters & I

I have torn my hair for three long days

I took endless pains to show how a god (ie to begin with a daimon) arose from concrete fact

I thought men were all so great & strong & knew about Procedure by instinct

I went to a splendid aeroplane cinema

I found myself getting hotter & hotter & gasping with excitement & sympathy

I have been most grounded

I wrote a really beautiful paragraph

I should like to write a play for a cinema

I am rather proud of being able to write a guid gentlemanly review

I am just flying up to London to hear Ridgeway on the Mother-of-God

I understand now what hurt me a little when you said it why you won’t be a democrat

I understand heaps of things

Holy Tuesday

It must have been trying
telling parable after parable
looking into their dead eyes
healing and feeding them
delivering soulful speeches
that fell on deaf ears.

How could you know
how your words would be twisted
how your love would be poisoned
how your race would be decimated
how the churning wheel of human history
            would grind it all to dust?

Travel Haiku

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Have to come up with
a hashtag before we cross
the Verrazano.

In Staten Island
#blkmountainskl4girls strikes
us. Uploads begin.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Sorry we took your
Instagram feeds over but
North Carolina

had sun & trains &
thrift shops & kale cocktails &
Judas trees in bloom

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Are we going to
meet the President? Is this
the Big Capital?

We wrote a treatment
for a screenplay called George Wash-
ington: Party Girl.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Google says take small-
town New Jersey roads. Read from
Martin and Notley.

Let’s keep going. It’s
hard to park. There’s a wait. A
cool Brooklyn wind blows.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I went back south to
Jersey, as if to start the
trip over again.

It’s hot. Inside the
university they’re still
saying realism.

Monday, April 14, 2014


I wanted to read the link but it said page not found
You can be married to someone and hate their job
The daffodils are fabulousI lost something twice and only found it oncezzzzz
Passing bicyclists can be so kind
We cleaned for five hours but it's still filthy
Spaghetti everywhere
I'm so thirsty

Stand a Little Taller

strong suit
strong coffee
writing strong writing
strongly worded
strong garlic
strong person
strong woman
strung out
s(tr)ong lyrics
strong acid
strong password generator
Country strong
Boston strong
New York strong
Newtown strong
a strong handshake
strong friendship
strong relationship
strong in math
strong in her faith
strong military presence
one strong blow
stay strong
still going strong
coming on strong
Strong Men, riding horses.
a strong easterly wind
strong wrath
gimme a strong drink
a strong draft
strong and silent
a strong suspicion
a strong case
a strong sense of right and wrong
the strong willed child
made a strong impression
off to a strong start
“ “ “ “ makes you stronger

Once upon a time in the Vorzeit

"Merlin" was in use, so I began on Falconner
I knew nothing of the Northern Blanchland

The story is a very strange one—
I think it is originally a simple Fairy Tale, with no recondite significances—
There can be no doubt as to what “Nut” really means here—

I feel like we are on the road to something solid
& this old man has some valuable material—

here Dr. Eisler’s articles on The Fish Symbolism in “The Quest” came to my aid
the result of our combined researches