Poetry

Trance Notebook #18

April 18, 2014
Editors' Note: Read Boston Review poetry editor Stefania Heim's interview with Wayne Koestenbaum.
 
 
            [desire demands specialization]
 
 
 
 
 
            “Salmonella”
sounds like a bitter drag queen
 
_________
 
 
            orange
tractor in twilight,
stichomythia, dialogue as
failure
 
___________
 
 
              don’t wet
your pants when you
get excited telling
a story
 
___________
 
 
of Melanie and the
Carpenters I sing—and
of hours later, and their
resemblance to hours ago,
and foretelling’s resemblance
to forewent—
 
___________
 
 
of Triscuits and the delight
they fail to bring
I sing—
 
__________
 
            of
several rich houses in
a row, their improbability
and then their disappearance
and the mourning that
ensues—
 
___________
 
                        of editorial
suggestions and micro-
abrasions, of Lasik
and softball—
 
______________
 
                          am I
aware of the royal baby?
 
_________
 
 
and why did I
mention Judith Butler
in Brooklyn?  and why
always a reliance on
ellipsis? 
 
___________
 
            she sent me
a photo of her baby
boy’s rear-end
 
___________
 
           
              I overstated
my “culture of the
pause” idea, and didn’t
explain it properly
 
___________
 
            of another
stagnant tractor, this one
yellow (Indian or Naples?),
I sing—
 
_________
 
of West Point and man’s
second or third disobedience—
 
_________
 
of his refusal to thank or
greet, and their Germanic
likeness—
 
__________
 
of The Monster and
Uncle Julius, and
my failure to write a fashion
poem I sing
 
_________
 
the wife’s mouth
qualifies as pretty, but
it disturbs me, as do
her pink ballet slippers,
and his loud
crunching on chips
 
_______
 
             a trip
to Greece to see the
oracle and give it “a
piece of our mind”
 
________
 
 
             of sewing
skills and knot-tying expertise
never acquired I sing—
 
__________
 
of dents in my
Bach trumpet, of a tendency
to hoard, and the cult of impersonality—
 
__________
 
 
of pineapple’s
resemblance to male peacock
figuration—
 
_________
 
 
              imagine an uncle
named Ruth, and imagine
that mistake as a
cause of fluidity
 
__________
 
 
how can I finally seize
the day, is there a day
to be seized, have I
already seized it?
 
______________
 
is it already night and
too late to seize
the day?  is there a difference
between day and night?
 
___________
 
I seized six o’clock, but
now it’s half past eight—
 
________
 
            maybe
stuttering came
from wearing a foot brace
 
________
 
 
            what
if John Cassavetes had
made Garden of the
Finzi-Continis and what if
Julie Harris were
its star? 
 
___________
 
             let’s stand
against recollection—
in our bib overalls
remember nothing
 
___________
 
            drum up intensity
to prove
I have a body
 
__________
 
 
like fire on fingertips
as evasion
 
_________
 
 
do local divinities
embrace my foul
entirety?
 
_________
 
             sponges
are never antiseptic
enough, wrists are never
limp enough, dreams
are never wet enough
 
_________
 
 
            Stickney’s
restaurant, my mother
orders tuna fish sandwich
as treat from block-
lady waitress Wanita—
 
___________
 
            pink
boxes are always fancy—
fancy means
(in San Jose) a cake
box or a second story
 
______________
 
 
in a world of one-story
houses a second floor
is nirvana
 
_________
 
 
Mother calls to say
“I’m in a very
terrible mood,
I want to
talk to you”
 
________
 
 
not wanting to seem an
east coast snob,
I didn’t mention Heidegger—
 
_______
 
 
nectarine or peach?
uncertain about
the difference
 
____________
 
            are nectarines
less orange or more,
or is orange not the
primary variable? 
 
________
 
 
            husband’s
dark eyebrows, “dirty” legs,
wedding ring
 
___________
           
elegy for husbands?
 
___________
 
 
            “desire
demands specialization” I
said to three dozen men
in a southern crab bar—
 
___________
 
square heads of the idealized
and lauded
 
____________
 
 
man in back of room saying
“after-effect” silently
to himself
 
____________
 
tell me more about Hamlet’s
desire to be a woman