Thursday, April 15, 2010

my own private gurlesque

"You can do anything you want to with the constellations, you know."
--Leslie Marmon Silko, AWP reading 4/8/10


Some of my girls this year include Liz Waldner's indelible Persephone from her new book Trust:

Persephone Tells About Some Goings Down

I took the subway downtown today.
My first time. I went down
not sure where to look, how to do.
(I look, he's looking.)
Mother with daughter, talking.
Change of station.
Mother with daughter laughing, walking.

I went to hear poets: kissing of cheeks.
Waving of books and fingers.
I didn't know a soul.
Paunchy bald men said
"I should apologize for this next poem, I'm
old-fashioned in my view of women," said
"Slut, oops, I should apologize, I

should say differently sexually abled, I
should say evil is done by the ethically challenged, I"
Everyone wants to be loved. Everyone wants to be included.
I want.
I look hopefully at faces
but everyone ha-ha's on cue.

My mother used to squeeze my sister's pimples
at the dinner table. Nobody screamed
out loud: we were supposed to enjoy
sausage, fried potatoes and each other.
Shame menu.
How doll parts on the sidewalk make me feel
sick, ha-ha.

When Alan Becker rang the doorbell and deposited me
on the New Year's Eve doorstep when I was sixteen
missing a shoe and a contact lens
sour puke and brittle leaves my raiment of glory
I couldn't stand up for my father to hit me.
My mother stood me up.
It wasn't anybody's first time, uh.

I don't know anybody in this city.
I don't know if I know how to know.
I just moved here. A room is home.
When they have nowhere else to go
roots--as in this narrow vase--go up.
(I wish my hair (ha-ha) were grass)
I hope they reach some stone.


Someone in the audience at the Gurlesque reading at the AWP last week asked about our male influences, since they'd heard so much (not a word from a one of us) about our female ones. I couldn't believe the question was being asked (a bit "punishing" as one of my "fellow" panelists put it later) and I was simply flummoxed as we started to answer it, all in a row. If I recall, Catherine Wagner said Philip Sidney, I said Bob Dylan, and Dorothea Lasky said Prince. I don't recall the others. Bc flummoxed, you see.

I had considered mentioning both Aphra Behn and Charles Bukowski, in the context of my own private gurlesque, before I'd left for Denver.


Anyway, I'm enjoying my Possibility tote, haggled for at the Poets House booth.