Thought Experiment

Suppose two women are trying to lose weight. The woman is a drug. 
She is not healthy unless she conforms. They both have access  

to the same appetite suppressants. They weigh their meat.  
They let the woman at acupuncture massage their midsections. 
They belong to the same gym, drink the same type of smoothie 
and have a predilection for the trainer in tattoos. One's lover 
believes her body is perfect in what he says, but he subtly 
undermines her by fondling the dress she wore when they met. 
He yearns for décollatage. Her younger scent surfeits from the garment. 
The other also has a dress that squints at the armpit, and pants 
that squint and at certain times of the month and shoes that pinch. 
She believes the one who loses the weight will have the baby. 
Both binge. But, one sits alone in a downtown piano bar 
with beer nuts and imagines her hair is a deterrent in affairs. 
She relies on vague dating in the ladies' room where women 
can exchange casual glances in the mirror and borrow lip gloss. 
The baby stops being important for one. Which one will have the baby? 
It is reasonable to assume the one with the wild instinct 
cannot undo her yen. If they both lose weight, how can they explain. 
Will the thrill that comes seep into other life or will there be new  
considerations that drain joy and impede growth? Neither woman 
will let it go. They have both molted. But, they remain the same 
in one regard: the body is a moon for other sources of power. 
Not the man she chose, or the woman with whom she waits for a taxi 
in the rain. Other commodities like Self come back to her 
in the longing she abides for a changed system.  

***

Stuttering



The skin lets out its bawl that no one knows me but me.
We make a pact to know the light between us is clapped out
and when. When our skin skitters. And I am so close
to knowing why you do things better than you know.
So close to bearing the weight of your thoughts as my own.
But I stutter. And you say something unintelligible
like anything you say has a purple meaning. You barely
let your name out. This is when I call myself
and your cries are next to me but your cry is after my cry
and our cries hyphenate. Farther away, echo.
Blind rage is behind me and coming strongly through me
to meet your wonder as I trouble to speak.
You say your name. I think I can hear your dream.
In that dream of death what sleep may come. It is already
too late to pretend that it is not too late to go.
The lamp is at the edge of the desk now and you work there.
I am reading a book with my eyes closed and can almost make
something out. Your body flips open in a bookstore
with the new collections crackling with hope
in your hand. My body is the simplest detector of your willingness.
There is nothing to ruin between us. But the stuttering. It is an accident
that I was made this way and you that. What if I were the woman.
Now that I am the woman, what if I were the one who came to you.
I think in your head my own paltry beginnings. You say your name
and I say my short lines as well as I can remember them.
Repeating the same role in them I play until I catch
in the same spot. Starting over has its pleasure
but its dependence on failure. You say you’re a thought
in me now that could be like a white flag. It flashes.




 as seen in Belleville Park Pages
Solipsism

Your mommy makes you lunch like you don’t eat lunch
at college. Like you are pallid and living off oyster crackers.
Like beer is an exfoliant. I think it is! It washes your hair
if you bring it from a party and wash it straight away.
This is how women are resourceful. They can smell like
a bar and attract men who like to pay entrance fees. Often,
women do not pay at the door. This is their edge. They can
get themselves drunk and dance together on the floor
with their backs against each other advertising Heineken.
They can wear halters and strapless and their heels
are sensible like loafers. They can get them covered in beer.
It won’t matter. It will be chic to wear your drinking shoes to class.
You learn at your survey class that, in solipsism,
only one’s own mind exists. You can be a solipsist
walking back from The House to your classes
and think no one saw you on your Walk of Shame.
Neither sex nor philosophy get you a job after college.
You could major in sex. And spend all your time
drinking beers, learning the tenets of beer pong.
You can wear thin jersey leggings to class. That will mention
your sex life to other people without having to divulge anything.
Some women wear leggings who are not having sex.
They are making a sexy fashion statement. She wants to look like
a girl who had sex in high school. She has too many ideas
about philosophy that she cannot formulate. She’s rich.

as seen in Spork
Harvard     

When you don't go to Harvard you can date Harvard 
later. That is similar. They look at you like you say things 
they only thought privately freshman year. Many times 
Harvard does not befriend Harvard whom they did not know. 
It's a big university. They silently run the whole party 
by surrounding people with their presence. They can protect you 
in a war of words. They can say, C'mon, in your favor. 
You can be silent then and hold your breath and hope 
the other guy will back down because he knows 
That Guy Went To Harvard. This is similar to going to Harvard 
and being pretty. Men from Harvard are called Harvard men 
and I mean it. This is how I can tell some people who 
major in economics at Harvard. They tell you things like, 
You should go to law school. You can see his mommy 
at the grocery and she wears a Harvard sweatshirt, 
but appears casual. Somehow, you work Harvard into 
a conversation to hear her say, Hi, my son goes to Harvard. 
She has no time for women who do not have a PhD. She wants 
prodigiousness for her offspring. She wants a miraculous 
woman to bear a president. That's easier with Yale 
I infer, but she wants to be different.   

***

The Plagiarist     

A Harvard degree is like a passport to jobs. Many people 
want to Pick your brain. This is how many people from Yale 
become president. It is rare to have a Harvard man. 
When we do it is time to start thinking about how smart 
you are. Can you at least look smart? I think there are people 
who look smart. They are smart dressers. They wear red. 
Can you imagine sticking out at graduation wearing red? 
That means you've got life in the bag. You know 
you're going to be a management consultant who majored in 
comparative literature. How your résumé stinks with money. 
You had a paid summer internship at a Fortune 500 
telecommunications house. You don't put that on your résumé 
because it sounds like you're bragging. Sometimes, 
a résumé has many jobs on it that are not real. Benihana. 
That is not normal for someone who went to college 
unless you work at the New York Times. Then, 
you can write anything. You can name yourself Jayson 
and forget it. There are not many memories 
that involve the newspaper anymore. So few people 
feel comfortable saying they Read it in the newspaper, 
except to people who like to read but then you sound jejune 
for mentioning it. Like they were reading the same article 
but got so much more out of it that they could e-mail 
the president. This is when you can say 
you overheard it at Starbucks and no one 
would judge your flagrant indiscretion.    

***

To My Vibrant Benefactors    

You are not scholastic. When you think about academe 
it makes you sick. You are smart however, while you lease a car. 
That's smart if you think about liabilities on your off hours. 
The way women don't invest until they are too old 
for marriage. Some women invest. They are smarter 
than the ones who don't, or at least in a hurry. 
The way the whiffle ball is sometimes better 
than bungee jumping. Even when you are 
in New Zealand. It is a fresh 
departure from living with roommates 
who ski and follow the stock market. How there are 
many ways to invest in your future while having no money. 
You can buy compact discs and say you have CDs. 
Then, people will look at you like you're ahead 
of the game. You can tell them you have mutual funds 
but you mean you share your money with your bank 
that is garnishing you. You can become divested 
from reality. The way some people understand Wall Street 
reform in their dreams but cannot re-form the ideas 
when daydreaming. There are many times when I think 
about stocks and how I wish that I had diversified 
my boyfriends as often as I watch the penny stocks and 
laugh. Thank you for remembering me in your will.   

as seen in Octopus

HOW TO WIN AT BREAKING UP


Let’s face it: there is no good way to break up. But, you can win.
There is always getting your phone disconnected. Then, he has to write
you a letter. He may try to deliver it himself. Moving is not the answer.
Let your roommate go to the door, crying. She is overcome. She can’t talk.
When he asks about you, she can be incredulous and slam the door.
When he rings the bell again, you can come to the door and say,
I am a ghooost. Hopefully, that will be enough. If he is the type
to show up at your workplace, yell, I thought I got a restraining order
on you. That should work. Maybe he waits for you by your car.
This will be the time to crouch and hide behind the other side. Then,
pelt him with gravel. He should get the point. If he calls your mommy,
tell her to say, I sold her into white slavery. He should back off by then.
He may have friends who will take up his cause. They can bum rush you
at the mall and ask, What gives? Start to back away and say,
It doesn’t have to end this way. Just give me the gun. A crowd
may form. Just give her the gun, homey! Then, tackle.
That should help him to understand. He may try another tack,
getting a new girlfriend. In which case you say, Oh no he didn’t!
Then you can have a rebound war. He can try
to get a foothold by dating someone pretty. Your best bet
is to date someone gross. Like you moved up. Then, start buying
yourself jewelry. True bling. That will work him over. It is never easy
to get out of a relationship that is not working. That is why sometimes
it is beneficial to break up to keep limber. Most relationships
have tender spots, like an ecosystem. go ahead, trash the place.
***
 HOW TO WIN A PARTY
 It is impossible to win a party without arriving sober.
You have got to get your bearings. If you have hit the jeremiad bottle
in the taxi, you will have a bad night. Don’t suffer for beauty. You do
however want to arrive late after all of the rum and cokes have
nailed down the men drinking beer. Take your position near the bar.
That way you can have easy access to the ones who think ahead.
You quickly scan the crowd for any men drinking vodka. Low threshold.
Scotch drinkers are too cerebral. Then you’ll find yourself defending
your views. He can be like, Women’s issues. And you can be like,
call me mizz. You can mention you think about, you wish they would
declare Jupiter not a planet like Pluto. Maybe then people
wouldn’t be obsessed with rings. You can be the first of your set
to accept stocks instead. Do not salivate over Microsoft stocks.
High ticket items make you want to tinkle. Then you have to get behind
all of the women talking about feminine products. They’re always
the first ones at the bathroom. If you work it right, you can get him
to stand in line with you. That will make you suave. You can start
to discuss national policy when you want to appear thoughtful.
Like you’re hip. You say things like Near East. Show him you have
Bretton and Woods emblazoned on your inner thighs. Then,
not be easy. Make him hold your purse. Fish around in there for
your copy of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Mumble like a genius.
Act like you have a habit of reading. Make like you have recently been
manipulating quantitative easing and you have ennui. Invite him
to another party that night. Not to get him alone per se. Though, yes.
It’ll make you sound connected. Like you are integral to the functionings
of world order. One last glance at the crowd before making a commitment.
Here is where you hone. He may offer you a nip off his flask. You can say,
I’m not mixing. And he can say, Pfft, and start laughing hysterically.


as seen in Eleven Eleven
B.Y.O.B.

Bring your own beaujolais. There is nothing like a crowded restaurant
in the fall where everyone is letting the beaujolais talk for them.
Beaujolais season is the best time to showcase your new
communication skills. You could have been rehearsing all summer.
Be careful to avoid too much erudite conversation. A little is OK. Otherwise,
your beaujolais could be saying, It's not that I don't like Kierkegaard,
it is that I've never heard of him. And his beaujolais could be saying,
I've always liked Wittgenstein better because he has only two books.
Suddenly, your beaujolais blurts out, I haven't been on a date in a long time.
His beaujolais can say, I have a girlfriend. Then, your drink says,
I'm taller than you. This is when things start to fall apart.
Move on to the next person with your prepared statement.
I have been reading Hegel and I have found that his emissions
on the phenomenological evolution of consciousness emanate
the idea of relativism between nature and freedom. Look for men
who take that as a cue to say, Can I buy you another drink? It is code
for I am available. Many men can read that. You can also
talk about television. It attracts the same type of men.
These men can ask you if you have a ride home, you are looking
sloshed. You take that as a cue that he is coming on to you.
No, you look like you should take a taxi. You can be bummed, here.
There is nothing more embarrassing than being told you are drunk.
It says that you are not in control. That you may be getting undressed.
Try not to lean on anything. Holding up walls is a sure sign
you have had too much. Your best idea will be to count your steps.
If you lose count ask someone to take you to your place.
Do not dance, here. Take me drunk, I'm home.

as seen in Lines+Stars

When Food is Its Own Reward     

One year, I tried to fast in November. It was quite a few days.  
I don't know what it is about eating, but I have to do it! It is compulsive.  
It's a reflex. Not everyone has the same problem. Many women  
get away with skipping to eat. Especially in Los Angeles.  
My favorite part about living in Los Angeles is how people move  
to Los Angeles to be fake. It seems that Los Angeles is a magnet  
for superficial people. There is no better place to be flaky and inconsiderate.  
You can go for udon, and say things like, I'm so full I'm cramping.  
This can be a lie but you can say it with conviction. I try  
to stay awake through conversations about Lo-carb and Zone dieting.  
There is always a woman who claims that water is the key  
to her success. I find solace in the fact that water can poison you  
if you have too much. There was the radio station where they had a contest  
to see who could keep drinking water and hold their pee. One woman died.  
The disc jockeys lost their jobs. And now their grandchildren get to say  
they are the ones who made a woman hold her pee to her death. Food  
can be intoxicating. You can be reading a magazine all about food!  
And this can make you want a grilled cheese. Something simple  
and unobtrusive in your conscience. You can countenance a grilled cheese  
because it is hardly eating. You can make yourself a peanut butter sandwich  
as a way to feel your eating is invisible. Almost always, eating is accompanied  
by drinking. Eating and drinking go hand and foot. Eating is tantamount  
to living. Drinking is tantamount to having a good time. Even when  
you are drinking orange juice, there is a guilty pleasure associated with it.  
Like you can rot your teeth out of your head, but love every minute.  
With no regrets. Orange juice is a natural mixer. It makes even the dullest  
spirits jolly. I like that they call them spirits and not fumes. That only  
matters because drinking should not be associated with cars.   


as seen in RealPoetik
The Loafer  

Sometimes you are too busy to tie your shoes. This is why 
the loafer was invented. You could be playing backgammon 
for money and have to keep focused. The loafer 
is also important when you have been playing darts for beer. 
Your head is spinning so much that you cannot bend over. 
Later, when you want to move up in the world, it will be important 
to have a pair of loafers to wear in the workplace. 
You can dust off your old pair from college unless they were 
your drinking shoes. This will give the message that you need 
more time to spend on work. When you are wearing loafers 
try to keep your feet flat on the ground. It may be tempting 
to cross your legs at this time, to admire your loafers 
close up. This is advised against. Someone in loafers 
runs the risk of looking like they don't have respect for society. 
That they may be secretly an anarchist. They wear 
loafers so that they can keep their shoes intact in jail. 
Loafers are as important in any wardrobe as a dress watch. 
These keep you presentable. You can wear loafers 
on most occasions. In fact, there are times when you can be 
overdressed in a pair of loafers! These are the times to avoid 
because they are usually associated with a type of sport. 
Sports can be fine if you play them well. Getting out on the court 
when you have no idea what you're doing can be 
disastrous. You will regret that. It is best to be the one 
who brings the music. You can say you're on the lodge team. 
The loafer is nice in either the cool or the warm seasons. 
They are perennials. When you wear loafers, rest assured 
that you will always be cutting edge. They say substance.   

***

How to Win Reunion     

Everybody's pregnant. The whole thing is a mishmash 
of divorces and births so that the drinking is finally left up to the men. 
Some people are just now getting to law school. When there is 
nothing left to know about brokering. Some people are talking 
about their dogs. You look at your friend who thought she would never 
get married and here she is with a husband and toddler in tow. 
College looks familiar. The buildings are holding up, which, somehow, 
is a surprise. There are no children walking around 
thinking they are adults who happen to have juvenile behavior 
that they will outgrow, like the men wrestling in the grass 
who did not get the memo. It may have come as a shock 
at 25 that you were not a millionaire. How did this happen? 
Some people are millionaires. They have flown in from the Arab Emirates. 
He looks single. But, you won't be tied down. There is still time 
to open a microbrewery and brew hefeweizen. You can 
make reunion special by kissing someone as long as you are assured 
that they don't have a social disease. This you will not likely 
regret. No one can notice. No one can care until you e-mail them 
about it after and then they only care for two e-mails. 
This will make reunion memorable. Unlike college, which is as distant 
a memory as your first reading of Still Life with Woodpecker. 
College has a way of seeping into your bones. It defines generations. 
When you are talking with your friends about nothing, avoiding 
the topics of how you are doing and what is up, stick to Hey. 
Skip to nothing and hope the lasts for forty-five seconds 
before moving on to the next person. You can't fidget.  


as seen in Bateau
Finding Yourself

Sometimes, it is better to let other women have boyfriends
and you remain single. This is better because you don’t enjoy
talking only to women at parties. You are in the habit
of being picked up. There can be several men who like to talk
to you about surfing. You can be interested because they are standing
in the kitchen with the ice. You could also be in a situation
where you are attracted to women. As long as she concedes that
you are the prettier one then everything will move along
much smoother. She may have the better career. It is essential
when you are looking at careers and deciding what will make you
enough money to keep you in Miu Miu, that you choose a career
as carefully as you choose a boyfriend or a girlfriend or a watch.
If you notice that you are choosing on price, then you will be
disappointed. Your boyfriends or girlfriends should never come cheap.
Your career should be rarified in which case they don’t pay a lot.
You need a boyfriend to fill in the gaps. It is unacceptable
to have any sort of work life that requires you to think on your feet.
The slower you go, the less of a challenge it will be
to take care of your skin. Finding yourself may not necessarily be
in a career. You are not lost save when you are in Paris.
There is pressure to pursue goals. Like there are things
you would rather do than drink daiquiris. In any event,
you must try to be irreplaceable. And don’t hide out in magazines
and coffeehouses. Keep your calendar up and make friends.
Maybe one of them will introduce you to an hotelier.


as seen in LEVELER
SHAKESPEARE

Some of the liabilities of college are the same as assets
in other parts of life. Like girlfriends.
They can help you go to work. They can give you
a false recommendation. This is an asset.
Before that they can steal from you. Like your CDs
that you really loved. Parliament. Cigarettes. She stole it
and now I have to buy it again. But I still have
the liner notes and the case, but there is no CD
in there and it is like a tragedy that Shakespeare
could have written in his comparative literature class
when he was supposed to be studying how lectures
are given. He would call on the Queen
if he were the lecturer. How she had a private education.
Queens are like celebrity children. They do not have to study
because most of their brains are dedicated to the workings
of being rich. It is taxing. There are mores.
I think about Shakespeare's favorite subject:
It would have been American studies.
He could write a tragedy about the president's son
who was suicidal. He could plagiarize himself
which is often done. There may not be
more than allegories. A story may only have
so many villains. Otherwise, it is pornographic.

***


SLAVES

I dream about having a typewriter that can only
do so many things. How my computer is my slave.
I think about, if I had a real slave and I worked it like
I work a real computer, I would not be able to handle
more slaves in white gloves. I would have
to work to come up with things for the other slaves to do
because my first slave handles most of my business.
Of course, I could amass a fortune by having
many slaves. I would still have to decide what to use them for,
and that comes probably after I have them. Like someone gave them
to me. Like my slaves were presents from my father-in-law
and I had to make things up like comb my hair out
or fasten my shoe. How strange that would be
not to dress myself. I can see how fashion got to
the corset because a woman needed to have something
for her maids to do. Many people would like to have a slave
or a maid. To clean up. Just to clean up, but you see
how that can snowball. Like it is hot in Virginia
and you buy someone to fan you. Abolitionists
came up with the ceiling fan and the shoe horn.

***


PANTHEON

There is a way to have a personal pantheon.
You can collect a codex of all of the phone numbers
you have gotten since college. Those people
with Audis who park on lawns in downtrodden
neighborhoods. They can be a scourge.
They can know where all the dealers live
and have phone numbers plugged into a mobile phone.
They can return from years abroad
and the phone numbers are still good like they are
on a soap opera. Little changes. Since college,
you have put time aside to e-mail your friends about reunion.
The way they call everything college like there is a servant class,
but there are universities in every state like Europe.
How I am not talking about Australia. The dealers' lawns
can have a pit bull scrounging in the mud.
Chained to a fence because cruelty is acceptable
in the city. You can pass by there and wonder
if that was your friend you saw on the porch.
This can be the way you are a detective.
You can watch old episodes of Law & Order,
to feel like you are solving crimes from your bedroom.
The television is the last place you look for
companionship, but it is always there for you.


as seen in Spork
Rave

1
Nevertheless, the parties were symbols. They were scenery. People laid around hand in hand. He bends his cheek in toward your face and you kiss him. The look of an imp. The tender feeling of smiling. How your eyes are glass when you kiss. Or a deeper shade of togetherness when your eyes are closed. When you kiss it is like a surrender to slowing down. Decoding your kiss. Another hour and you have fallen for my prism. An hour like a symphony. Like melting. A ring in my temples of the way you are seated in my lap and we sing. How breath dictates how deep you sound. The breath is a series of cages you climb through. An oblong bell clanging on a brass platter. Etching on it of the words: Forgive me now.

2
Looking around to see the faces break. The smiles are a figurine. Together they make up an animal with many hearts. The mask of the heart. How we can share. Some faces collapse. There is an injury thinking of them. To contemplate what you would rather do. Here there is nothing, but causing a wreak. How you can peel out of that space by coming home. Someone is missing you. I miss you. I can look onto the cardboard where there are written several names for losing ground. The box has some old tissue paper around pills. The temple of the body is like a song by charioteers as they return through the city gates, chanting. There is a gadget on your arm that been with each flutter of your eyes, beaming softly as bees. Another welcoming to the city with garlands that weep.

3
Magenta corridor. The hallway is lit by your eyes. There is a map on the wal pinned into cork board to the hidden groves where the charming mouse lives. You can climb into the box. To sit there is to gravitate like a star. The choice is yours. The slow build of romance. The in the cafe the morning after. How tea is not strong enough, it lacks the body you crave. But, you are with someone. There are not many ways out. If you settle in the garden over a terracotta basin of fresh azaleas to look at your faces in the water, the many faces you wear in the morning as you piece together your thoughts, you can wash out winter from your coat and watch it shrink. Soak the socks. Play like there is a rocket in your bed. Then, go to sleep as if everything is normal. Tell yourself, this is your secret.

4
The park is the gathering of all the grass in the world. It is their convention. The blades of grass whisper thanksgiving for the rain. When you peel back layers to ask the liquid questions, will you be alone? Can you answer your own questions of the world? The boulevard is awakw with its morning color values. The automobiles slush through puddles of autumn rain. How the loght lifts to the top of the water and glows. The shift from night to day. The blur of sensations that cover you like an eyelid. You can be draped by it, you can do it. The light off the night comes in to bless you so that you are lit from within. People can see you now. The night invests in you. Winter is a broken plate on the white rug in the parlor, a sign.

as seen in Softblow




Letter Home

In the thin post office I mail a postcard
about when we will be coming home.
Maybe never, is what I want to say.
I am staying abroad to find my fortune
or a native lover to have children with,
to make a contract with my brother-in-law
for exporting figs or twine, or a used car lot.
We could sway to the music. An inch
from obscenity, my brother-in-law could frown
then say, It’s all in good fun. He would pay
for the sliced ham and chard and run us up the coast
in his taxi. He would find me Charming.
I write I need money to come home.
I may have to stay and work on the shanty part
of the island, drifting from ill-suited employment,
then to manage a singing group. I say the weather
is Peaceful. That the moon hardly comes out
due to clouds. The light from our teacups lights
the night. Home is the only place left
singing like a buried little shell.

Dancing

People stack their shoes like shells drawn into a pile,
as if by boys burrowing for snails. Some sling
their sandals casually over one arm. There will be
dancing once we set up the cardboard dance floor.
Gummy and pleated with all those feet. A piece
of cardboard taped to a crate is where we ask a fee
for entry and a donation for the spiked lemonade.
The girls are in printed dresses, floral
and herringbone, and glass-colored plastic beads,
or cigarette pants, navy or white, and shell tops
with nautical prints or shells on them.
The boys are smooth. They are elegant.
There will be artists in there, and girls
want to mingle with the pink set. A tent
of night eyes. A mass of bodies clanging
in a wet night. The mud roof collapses
into the tin. Our room falls over.
Then, the party is in full swing.


as seen in Chaparral

[your father is dying from a penny in his lung]

your father is dying from a penny in his lung
delicate responses lost like      hi and no   after some tests
they found out he was breathing by squeezing air
in his fists     the penny moves      gives up his seat for a lady
your mother who asks in language that hurts     you tuck
your body into the night for sleeping      forgetting for that
crucial moment your father will not survive      you dream of gardens
your yellow birds & me      you sacrifice your weekend to the dream
It continues for two nights     animals come     and devour old
photographs of you and him     your father in tomorrow's suit
says something natural for his ears and eyes but not his mouth

***





[I was standing in some trash]

I was standing in some trash (greasy apple)
at the base of a statue in the capitol 
fun to glam it up     telephone home about a man 
in a black skirt      I yelled out 'Con!' 
He began to look     but the policeman dipped his head 
in the car     I went for videos & pizza from the hotel  
tried to get the local news on my transistor     but no luck





***



as seen in GlitterPony