the cold. Her cars. Her famously
My cousin Tommy once rode
a hundred miles on the floor
because he was too terrified to chance
a look out the window. Even my husband,
my new, second, husband,
whose calm, judicious nature
my mother and I both loved,
threatened to jump out the door
on her high speed town tour. The new city hall! The municipal pool!
My mother applying lipstick
in the rearview!…”
“Where in fall they burn the dirt of Robert Frost’s own grave.
Where they call his ashes dragon and sift through them for teeth.
Where smoke is the only produce of the factories.
Where the man whose jawbone throbs must punch himself to sleep.
Where dawn’s the sun hung above a field of blood-wet greens.
Where the word blunt is just as violent as it seems.
Where grammar is the mutilated cousin of the breeze.
“1 On August 14th, 1971, when they arrest Justin Smith on Rose St.,
his neighbors don’t know he’s a subject
in the Stanford Prison experiment, and Justin himself
doesn’t know that within 36 hours of dunking his head
into that fake cop car that he will have a mental breakdown
even though he keeps telling himself “This isn’t real.”
Do not write “luminous glyphs” for it is
overly Romanic. Do not write
a love poem to Karl Marx, for you might lose your job.
Do not talk about compassion, for this is not
a temple. Do not use the word “tender,”
for this is art and art must be
cold like money or a fish. Do not
say you’re a Jew,
for you never know who is reading.
It has been fifteen years since my mother
tried to kill herself. There is no way
into the abstract
humanities. In the experiment, Todd
beats Justin. You can only follow
me so far, but when we get to the river, Horatio,
you will not be able to cross through my