NOTES TOWARDS A BOOK OF REPULSIVE WOMEN

A LOVE POEM

for Billy who wore black-framed
square glasses held together
at the nose and in the middle

of one arm by dirty medical tape.
He had a chipped front tooth
advertising some rougher life

than he led on. We were not impressed
by his cheerful manners. But
this boy didn’t quit; he chased,

followed, adored all of us
girls in grade four, worked
opportunities to catch our attention,

during recess and after school. Forgetting
the other boys, he placed each of us
as though we were precious

orchids in a bowl. On Valentines,
he would send every girl
half a dozen hand written cards

declaring his love and oh how
we would rage at his daring—
some of us would later corner him,

uneasy with his attention. And because
he was smaller, we would hurt
him with our fists, breaking

those glasses again and again
along that same fractured bone.
And the following Feb. 14,

in different school, in another class,
he’d deliver a half dozen
love notes to each of the girls and why this

open admission, gestures aimed
with the smallest amount of hope,
cause such anxiety at all.

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IS IT SHARP ENOUGH?

To roll with the latest mouth. Open wide. A lingering of dust. The thick of the closet. Layers. What gets rubbed in, then out. Pushed to the back. A carving glare, misplaced. First day nursing last night. A sleeve lost on the bottom. Firmed by the heel. Skirting bandaged on hips, rosy with wryness. A drying apart. Air parched, puckered. An ending pointed. Pigeon-toed. The lanterns filled, filling the cart. A wagon, full of little hearts. What is given, stuck to the shirt. Worn in shared spaces. Torn. Cut in two. Empty-handled pieces of the pie. Married. The knife stain. A burying.

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A SONNET

Sentimentality, a bad date

Some things won’t wash—for instance more than one
month after meeting him you’re again fenced

by chairs in the same waiting, watch women
walk their aged bodies forward, unbalanced

by the constant scroll of life’s small symptoms.
And you know the signs better and better—

they flash across the screen as new customs
from a televised tomb in the corner

of these cold rooms we get used to, reading
the roll of what we could catch from the rack

of out-dated magazines, from touching
each other with our bare hands, from each back

to back encounter, from a stranger’s dance,
two-step with lust, that soft spot for romance.

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X MARKS THE SPOT

From “Gathered, Not Made: A Brief History of Appropriative Writing”
Raphael Rubinstein:

o) Bernadette Mayer’s “X on Page 50 at half inch intervals.” Reprinted in the 1992 Bernadette Mayer Reader, this prose text of the 1970s records the words (and empty spaces) which Mayer encounters on a printed page as she traces an X across it. Ostensibly doing nothing more than transcribing an arbitrary sequence of words, Mayer opens up her unidentified source text to diverse meanings. That appropriation plays an important role for Mayer can be seen in a list of experiments presented in her workshop at the St. Mark’s Poetry Project in the early 1970s (published in the 1986 anthology In the American Tree). “Experiment with theft and plagiarism in any form that occurs to you,” reads one entry. “Use source materials, that is, experiment with other people’s writings, sayings, & doings,” advises another.

X ON PAGE 50 at half inch intervals

upper left corner to lower right corner: (in the margin), (in an empty space above he’s), (on the k in fucking), (in an empty space behind said), (in an empty space before the I ), (in an empty space before the a in and), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space).

lower left corner to upper right corner: (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (in an empty space), (on the a in at), (in the empty space after aches), (on the exclamation point before said), (on the u in fucking), (in the empty space above he’s), (in the margin).

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NOTE TOWARDS A BOOK OF REPULSIVE WOMEN

CAN YOU LIVE WITH SURRENDER?

In the morning you will cut
your hair, stand naked at the bathroom sink

twisting all those questions into sections,
whirl the waterlogged mane into points;

snip first at slick bangs,
then the furled wisps near the nape.

Hold shears close to the scalp—
the cold will burn your forehead and your hand

will shake, not from exertion, but from last night’s
rye whiskey downed on the sly in a dark

room of the basement, the empty bottle
hidden among the refuse of what remains,

so many nights like the last. And the stench
of urine from the unflushed

toilet gags you as you squeeze
fingers, bring metal blades together,

begin the sluice that loosens years
flowed in brown richness, waves

of dead-heavy wetness released
into smooth porcelain, the bare bowl

a lover’s hollow heart.
And later, you will wear a blue-

knit hat, turn your thought’s ankle
on grief’s stone, walk the mind’s alley

of that lover’s lane, knuckles
scraping along the fence, rough brick

your skin reddened raw.

Title of the poem is the last line of a blog entry posted by Gerry Hill, Sat. Sept. 27/08.

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ON POVERTY

Like some body left in an harbour, it is
what bloodies our hands that we wake to

the red reeling of time and bleakness behind what
questions us each morning as we jog

memories for the short end of the string,
explanations that floated on night’s bobbing belly,

water logged guilt, and the heavy quilted coat
that holds us down. And we worry not

about the words that should have been
said because we know they won’t be found

as we walk this pier, uncertain
about everything except that light

surely dies when we’re surrounded
by no one.

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CANTOS OF HOE

Hoe is a hoe

is a hoe is a

hoe.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

A hoe-tree may be poe-tree if the hoe-tree is watered.

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HOE

a drink down, mouth to mouth

bare
and we’re all thirsty, gathering at the sound of breath
living in little houses, the sealed jar

nest
of necks, night’s bone-
light breaking the bed in two
bodies that rest on wine-coloured sheets

Here feathers fail to hold our fall, and the sun

barks at dark’s door

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STYLE AND THE DIGITAL SELF-PORTRAIT II

PROOF:CHECKING OUT

ANALYSIS:

A misdemeanour. The penalty. Leaving the living. You pay the fine in days handed over, or minutes chucked out. These are years, constant; what you cash in. Jackpot. Strike the match at the end of the record. A disc slipped. The fee going, then gone. Over done. Cooked. The cheque always in the mail. Delivery. A cent sent. Mailings. This evening, clipped. That two cent title. Lover. Laid out. The plan. An insert formatted. The clipboard pasted on the door of the washroom. And now. The hotel exit. Sign on the dotted line. There will never be a time you can unsign. And under your arm you carry the mole of many. The map of how you arrive anywhere. One X reddened, or stolen, each eyelid cracked. Cheated, a lifetime drying what refuses to be parched. Your essay of place. Unfamiliar. Pirouette. Maybe one last chance. You are here.

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STYLE AND THE DIGITAL SELF-PORTRAIT

Proof: Medusa at the Wheel

Anaylsis

The woman has packed her suitcase, shoved leather leggings, loose sweaters, a few pointed bras, and a handful of batteries in a managed mess. The lid zippered on another chapter. The book closing and opening. Another week of rising and falling; her limbs climb in and out the single bed of someone else’s dream. The woman is driving to, not away. She is another mythology, recreated. A tale for those that fancy, this moment in front of us. She drives to be alive. The woman is aware of positioning; a hand, a foot, and how each minute is fully postured. And what we have only imagined before, now imagines us, dreams us into the physical plane. This woman is the paper on which the eyes settle before reading snaked-out lines. She is the road of what travels beside us, each mile what we can’t change, as a way of stretching out the past. The woman is the point in the distance where the mind marks a station, the door we all want to walk into, want to walk through, the pavement we all feel underneath; she is every crossroad of every life meeting at the intersection. She is that woman on each and every road.

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