Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 31, July 2013—Mixed Form Issue)

From REAL LIFE: An Installation

Because in stories someone always ends up dead, or married, or filling out a form, I turn to poetry, that blowing sand. I love my parents, don’t get me wrong

don’t get me wrong: the installation is open for all


 I was a body: I had a function: I spent my function


The poem blows around in the wind, or settles into a rock, girl reads to her sister

The intestines are a pink rope

Geraniums smell like my mother

Did she get sick from anger?

O tree. A man writes a book


It’s the candidate’s last day – he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t even “like” me. He has meat, I have function.

His meat is toast; my function spent.

Installation #23

You must take off your shoes to enter, though the floor is strewn with glass. Walking, therefore, involves looking down. Meanwhile projected on the walls, the most beautifully filmed pornography: not too distant, not too close, veiled sometimes by shadow, and often not. You cannot stand still, for the floor is too hot—an invisible mesh of overlaid wires, the bits of glass scattered. Sound: water drips. Sometimes on one wall or another the sex is replaced by gruesome images of fish half-eaten by birds, or by banal scenes of women helping children to dress. But most of this you will never see.


Aloof from much: the weather climbs. A baby, herself, to sleep
 Scrape eyes from the screen
  Ice from the glass

The irresolvable list: the synthetic whiteness of my face

 Limited and ill-measured moon

 Only as teens did we “look at the stars” with our hardons on


Installation # 62

In this room there’s nothing but an enormous bed. No space to walk around the bed; you must climb onto it. It is the most comfortable bed you have ever known, and so you lie down, rest your head on a pillow, pull the blanket up. But beside you is a man, twitching, even writhing, in pain. His breath is labored and occasionally he groans or cries.

If you speak to him, he will not answer. If you try to touch him, he will flinch and move away.  Lying there, you are on the one hand deeply comforted, and on the other unbearably distraught.


This work is mist.

This work is scrim.

This work is bias.

 My baby drinks tea.

 My baby is a notorious gate.

 A little sad.

 A salty rod.


Installation #45

Hanging from invisible threads: a grid of swords. Points down, they sway slightly, glint in the light. The tips of these swords dangle just above your head, or, if you are tall, might graze your crown. Shorter people, the children, can walk unbothered. Tall women, most men, must stoop, or find their heads bloodied. Music: Dvorak cello concerto in B minor: practiced by a fourteen-year old, written in 1894, reluctantly and at the end of the composer’s life: a tribute to his recently deceased sister.


Some jobs:

Travel show event producer

Door-to-door environmentalist. Beltway wankery specialist

Loophole flowchart designer


Whither gravity? I’m a follower of the citizen-sect. I only recently joined. Most of us are women, some in baggy T-shirts, or with raincoats draped over our shoulders. I’m a member of the sect which believes in stretching its women out on tables and licking them. I believe in that. I believe in other things too: the sun damaging windows with its newborn intensity. The moon hugging itself and receding, with each revolution, farther from its motherload. Also, everything that happens in cafes. History professors with their headphones on, frowning at their own spun tales. I’ve got a crush on philosophy. I said that already, but I’ll add to that confession: fields. When suddenly come upon. And miniature flowers under the sole of a boot. I recently joined the sect marked “hormone supporter,” for all my children have a whole lot of hormones and I have no real other option than to support them. I was told by a history professor in a cafe that hormones are nothing but language. And my citizen group insists that it exercises its power with No. 2 pencils rubbing across autumn-themed stationary. I believe in the face of my enemy. Though I am very sorry for his childhood and for his brain falling wayward, I believe in his face, for I have felt the exhaling of his pores. I’ve been that close. Often, and often on planes. We hold each other side by side. If hormones are language, then my enemy’s sweat speaks to me through the silence of our mutual abhorrence. Once I closed my eyes to listen. And what I heard is not yet translatable, or not yet by me. I believe in the magic of number 33, the age of my fidelity. Of my promise to the dark trees in the summer park on High Street. As I eek out a living with my No. 2, I follow gravity. I’m not much other than that. But there are greater forces. There must be. For otherwise, why does the moon move away? Why does the enemy drink from his fist?


Other jobs:

Holocaust museum security guard

Academic book typesetter

Seller of cells.  Prayer leader.  Electronic funds transfer support staff.


When I say “you” this afternoon, I will be addressing the children in the room and not the adults who brought them here.

You like things very concise. You seem not to be listening, but you are. You pretend not to know how to read. You would rather not eat than eat. A little bird with a piece of eggshell on its head, you want to ride your bike in the dark. You mix spices in a cup with a spoon. Yes to nutmeg, no to cayenne. You might think about what happens in the courthouse, or about dipping your hand into a pool. Spool under white blanket. You like entrances, but not exits. January hangs around you way into February. My withdrawing, your pursuing. You appear before a tribunal because of your name. Though we were the ones who named you, you now must justify your name. I go on a vacation in a man’s body. You go on a vacation in mine. You confuse justice with the outcome of battle. I too prefer not to consider justice, but rather, what is safe. In the case of you, there is no safety. You hear gunshots just outside your classroom window. You are told to hide under a desk or behind a bookshelf for a while. At home you look at pictures of little dogs on screen and you cry when they are adopted by others.

You are very serious in your loneliness, even though you selected the table for one. I place a forkful of food into your mouth, your pink tongue decides. We will shower together, and I will hold you up to the spray.