Issue 7

If You Let A Weed Grow Long Enough I’m Guessing It Becomes A Tree

 · Poetry

I threw up on my copy of Josh Clover’s book—— 
					                                  it was on a bus around 1 a.m. that this happened.
in the city I’d had a hundred whiskeys, all my friends
						                                      were fighting as usual, and in Port Authority 
I threw up on my sweater, 
			                          left it next to a toilet, and on the bus
								                                                     I threw up, very quietly I’m told, 
into my backpack, 
		                  drowned all the books inside it, left it on the bus.
									                                                           in the afternoon I 
went to work and lost my grief over paperbacks in magazines.
								                                                 collection letters arrived from 
St. Paul and were sent back. 
			                         people signed up for memberships to clubs they didn’t want to join.

let the constellation open up again!
it really won’t get me anywhere. 
an unproductive friendship.
do I talk about weddings too much?
do I talk about rust in correct ways?
I wish somebody I know would 
have a baby.

you know I didn’t set out to write lyrics—— 
				              		                        my goal was to be mocked and reviled
and mourned, 
	                to be a skeleton climbing the sculptures in the Greco-Roman wing at the Met.
but, like David says, it gets hard to write,
				                                         especially when you’re trying to be glib, when you 
don’t have the killing phrase as he says,
					                                when the constellation of disasters opens itself up
to reveal nothing but coy gestures,
				                              like getting kicked in the head. 
								                                                         I feel like a real true
Dan Humphrey. did you take me for such a fool? 
						                                            alert my contacts among the Marxists:
a career conscious divinity student, a bowl of 
						                             crumby diner soup, a worm 
								                                                       is living by the airport, 
striking poses, talking about Bolshevism and Gossip Girl in the same breath! 
but actually
	                that would be disingenuous.
				                                         I love the anguish of ridicule and hate writing treaties.
a woman pulled her car over last night
					                               to ask me where she was. all I could say was
this is my beautiful lakeside village!
				                                  and I do not know how to get out. 
									                                                            I used to have 
better friends——let’s just say 
				                      I chased the best away with my stomach.
									                                                        it was her turn in the 
rotation of letters but I changed my address too many times—— 
								                                                 that about sums it up, actually.

my grandmother used to keep a Salem 100 burning
like incense in her condo down in that green bend of the state.
now whenever the clouds descend I become a gunless
Mark David Chapman writing new chapters for novels
I read in high school. her son grew up a money raker,
shaking fists at tattooed bank tellers, and I rushed
up and down the hills of Arkansas, finding quotations from
Kerouac everywhere, which is why I never went back 
to Arkansas. 

when you get to know me well enough you learn, 
with appropriate disappointment, that
I’d much rather figure myself as an alcoholic
B-movie actress heavy with makeup and dark sunglasses, 
or whatever, implications be damned. “though we live on 
the US dollar” you can’t take it with you, and I 
can’t spend it where I want, or else my credit falls to pieces. 
it’s okay, I guess, to dread silence, the same as
dreading credit, but the horror vacui of sobriety 
is every bit as daunting, as perilous. 

I’m worried I should have been a nurse,
					                               traveling by way of hospitals, smoking Pall Malls and
inserting catheters at will. 
			                        romance has never come easy to me. 
								                                                     I light candles and think of 
a house in New Paltz or Woodstock, where the sky is gray,
							                                               put on my grass crown and
march my army up down the banks of the Hudson, then on to Albany, 
									                                                    where we lose the war
by all dying of the influenza 
			                       in an abandoned shipping warehouse miles from the city center.
they send my head down stream in a basket,
					                                        chip the initials off my rifle. 
little do they realize
		                    I’ve drifted to the west side piers, and lunch is beer and Mallomars.
boys in long coats stinking of menthol
					                             drape me in St. Jude green, and the leaves change.
yeah, the truth is
		                you don’t really want to seize any banks, you just want
									                                                           to live in one.
all that soft monochromatic furniture 
					                            and vaults for your comrades and fears. 
your battle hymn cries out for crude spectacle, 
			                             wide windows on your dressing chamber, smashing 29 dollar 
ceramic ware on the sidewalk.
				                           despite all my rage I’m still just 
watering the plants,
			                 and so
				                      we are both wrong, and I don’t know where that leaves us.

Return to Issue 7