WOW IT’S DEPRESSING HOW COLLEGIATE I FEEL BUT I SQUEEZE SOME LEMONS INTO MY HAIR AS A GESTURE OF OPTIMISM OK SO I GUESS ALL THAT’S LEFT TO DO IS LIKE SIT HERE & LIKE THINK ABOUT LIKE WHO I HAVE A CRUSH ON? LIKE OK MY SLEEP ISN’T REAL DO YOU HAVE TO REMIND ME? WALKING WITH YOU I FEEL FAR AWAY FROM EVERYTHING I DON’T KNOW WHERE I AM BECAUSE IT’S SO COLD BUT WE’VE DECIDED TO LIKE THE COLD I WANT TO BE A WORD JUST ONE I TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH OF YOUR FOOLPROOF REASONING OTHERWISE KNOW AS THE WAY TWO BODIES CAN SLAM INTO ONE ANOTHER & STILL SLIDE PAST MY FINGER CAN BARELY PUSH DOWN THE BUTTON CLICK OK SO NOW I’M THINKING ABOUT SOMEONE ELSE’S HANDS & THE TWO OF US SHARING IN GENEROSITY THAT WE DID NOT DESERVE THEN WE SLEPT & ON THE TRAIN DID NOT SPEAK THIS WATER IS FINE, DRINK IT, BUT I’M SO NERVOUS THAT THE GLASS BREAKS IN MY HANDS YOU CASH A CHECK YOU ARE GOING TO BE RICH
it is ok for young geniuses to be blind
the young genius lies in the grass he begins to speak on saturday morning i woke up with a stranger’s cum on my face he says then my father took me to see king lear as i pluck the eyebrows of the young genius he asks me how do i write a poem that says “come home with me”?
i am not the person to ask that question, i say
angling the tweezers down
plucking out his eyes
& splatting them on the kitchen floor
i have a feeling
you have a feeling what
i just have a feeling
the young genius eats a slice of dollar pizza with his father the young genius eats a slice of dollar pizza with a man who is not his father or anyone’s father the young genius & i go grocery shopping together since the young genius can no longer see he selects items based on their texture & places them in the cart
three half gallon tubs of creamy peanut butter
the milk of human kindness
four packs of yellow peeps--manager’s special, three for the price of two.
the young genius doesn’t seem to understand that for you to choke me is really only an acceptable answer to the question what do you want when you are in bed with someone
i am going to dunkin’ donuts. what do you want?
for you to choke me
then there are only five then there are only four like my underwear on the floor of the laundromat not not like or generous like a birthday present from your great aunt these, i’ll have you know, are the sluttish spoils of war oh, you shouldn’t have
the young genius feels around through his blindness for my hands he grabs them & together we dance the young genius retires to bed early & waits for sleep to come
martyrs on television
on the six o’clock news two girls are bleeding into each other
& i am mourning the death of the author
the day is dripping off of my eyelids & the steam rising up from the stove fills my stomach
letting me float in the peril of my own domesticity
the priest is the only thing that can get in between, like how a girl can be her own ghost
i, for one, would like to haunt my own wrinkled veins, the day hanging loosely around me.
to be a large body to be a small body to be a doll on display
you are standing in front of the mirror wearing layers & layers of clothing you begin to undress but never reach bare skin this fruitless removal is something like a fire that falls into your own chest you drape your legs across the table & think about what your legs are to me
the poet is only allowed to say it is evening
in the garden joan of arc sucks the poison from my spider bite
in the garden we are both left wanting
so we go to the bar all we really wanted to do was lock eyes behind the endless rows of bottles so joan drinks down my earnestness & feels the alarm clock that starts in her feet and can only go up up up desire is not a biblical project & it’s time for her to slouch back against her stool & feel for my face
join the crowd on the sidewalk so you have somewhere to go
UNDER YOUR GAZE joan’s body turned into a haphazard grammar
desire is not a biblical project.
from me, she demands being your face powdered white your face powdered drag on drag your face loosened so that i might reach into it & so obscenity extinguishes the candle that has been burning for the last five hundred & eighty three years the poet is only allowed to say it is evening & for your sake i will let this wax drip down my chin
I AM MOURNING THE DEATH OF THE AUTHOR
& the steam rising up from the stove fills my stomach
on the six o’clock news joan of arc sucks the poison from my spider bite
like how a girl can be her own ghost.
CLARA LIPFERT is the author of the chapbook I’ll Be Your Sometimes Girl, as well as one half of the performance and poetics project HAG, which curates salons, hosts dinner parties, and publishes zines.