June 13, 2007

all around your every curve

Pauline Boty, The Only Blonde in the World, 1963

Near the Champs d'Elysees, Paris
-- by Melinda Thomsen

There was a noticeable lack of honking.
(Ok, so I'm from New York and noiseless
traffic is like Steinbrenner at a loss for words.)

Look how patiently they wait at the light
and elegantly they walk the Rue de Kleber
to the restaurant in lovely cinched coats,

occasionally chatting on their mobiles.
Take for example, the French couple
at the table next to me — speaking low,

cutting lamb curry with precision
and listening intently to each other
even courteous of a pause in thought.

They hold their glass as holding a glance.

Oh, to be an un-poised American.
I can't rein in this enthusiasm, throbbing
in my blood like a swarm of bees.

In the back, my compatriot is yapping
on his cell and ordering dinner with a twang
until the French woman drowns him out

by blowing her nose into the linen
napkin with the ferocity of a cab driver
grid-locked on Second Avenue.

I’m In Love With A German Film Star
-- by Todd Swift

Somewhere in Kansas or wherever Wichita is
I stop to dally with a waitress in a summer dress
under a diner’s neon kiss; I’m wearing a UPS
uniform, I drive for them. My name tag lies

when it says: W.W. Pabst. I make a highway
angel by slyly helicoptering my sleeved arms
on the line that divides the independent cinema
of this scene. I have the ball cap and the smirk,

when you stamped my lips with FIRST CLASS
you really went to work. I voted for Cheney
but not for Bush, only in the sense I’d vote for
four o’clock but not the evening news on its heels;

I’m filled with an unbearable urge to be 32 always
and to marry a chick named Miss Miss. I am
basically filled with the luminous possibilities
of American landscape as it unfolds in movies.

If I was a plane I’d never have to land -
I’d be the land, you see, I’d already be the land,
and the way wings spread over and below,
the way a shirt is also a stain is also a shadow.

Pop Corpse
-- by Tina Celona

for Stephanie

When I’m older I write only once a week. The rest of the time I heal and drink juice cocktails and read and talk to people. This method seems to work for me and over time I even start to fart poems. The Corcoran asks me to do an exhibit of poems associated with infrared photographs of farts. I spend days matching poems to the right farts, finishing in just enough time to drive to Florida and see my great-uncle, my separated cousin, and her two babies.

A boy can be your boyfriend without actually being your boyfriend. On the way you stop to wander through Glen Echo Park. The ancient cries of fun echo and re-echo. Years later I remember holding your hand. My memory is unreliable.

Favorable notice in another paper. On the fire escape the man asked me if I had hyperthyroid condition. Offended, I insisted my thyroid was normal.

I realize that I have been as repressed in my poetry as I have been foolish in real life. When my writing goes well I attribute it to God. When I kissed you in the car I blamed myself. We were in the church for hours discussing our favorite cathedrals. There is always something I have not bothered to remember.

You are my secret best friend. I am a gas station attendant. When someone gives me a tip it is like I have done something great. I feel great as I pump gas.


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