poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Rules

Rule number one: Leave the dreams in your head.
Don’t drag them out so much. It is wrong
to bring dreams out of your night-head, to this day-page,
to pour them out into the morning with your coffee in this sunny little apartment
listening to
who knows
which way the wind blows folk songs.

I would love to feel like a painter again.

My mother (oh here she is again!
are all the poems going to be about her? oh hell cat,
all? all?) she used to tell me not to be an actress
because it was too hard and there was too much competition
for those sorts of jobs and then I wanted
to be a painter and she discouraged me from going to art school
with much the same reasoning, but now I am a poet. It’s hard too.

I am moving soon and
I have packing anxiety.
I have bad dreams about my stuff.
I have too much.

Crazy mother. She’s she still wears her engagement ring.

Maybe I should stop writing down what she says,
but her voice, her voice.
Maybe I should stop writing all together
and just make paintings now.

There’s one painting I won’t let myself make. It looks like this:
one packed suitcase,
easy to carry
with one nice dress
and one good pair of pants.

The first rule of running away is
you do not talk about running away.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Bone, Shell, Plate

I
Sahan’s electric orange
eyebrows in the motherland
words on the flat-screen flashing:
Jesus…Loves…You…
Sahan…Best…Eyebrows…
Waxing…Facial…Massage…Haircut…
for women of the Hollywood
Sahan’s motherland…

I felt the birdsong thrilling my mouth,
puffing out my cheeks and letting go.
I am a harmonium.
My stomach fills and I push, it feels like
something between my eyebrows is a fully-formed
poem already and maybe you can read it out of the whites
of my eyes like an orange-word acid trip on
the bone white, the shell white, the white plate of my eyes.

There used to be a way to make wallpaper
by grinding up the leftover bones and shells and plates,
adding water and making it into a chunky paste, then
brushing it on the walls to keep the heat in.
That’s how important heat was.

II
It seemed significant that I had lived sixteen years and never seen anyone who was not my mother go completely crazy. Outside one’s own bones crazy. There was something so reassuring about seeing someone else loose it. It made me happy to see, happy through the terror of being the one in the seat beside him as he swerved preventing the other car from going down the street, jumped out with the crowbar in his hand in one move, like he was used to it, and started screaming that someone was going to die.
I recognized the tone of his condition.
I recognized the people in the car we were blocking. I waved.

I saw his corner cubicle once. It was so unfair. He has to live his life there. All of it. Once he took acid as soon as he got to work and spent the whole day staring into the concrete corner. Staining it with his disgusting angry hallucinations. I want to crush up important bones and paint his walls over and over again. Until the pictures he sees when he looks at nothing are mild and pretty like
a calm lake,
an orange-breasted robin in the springtime, or fresh
eyebrows perfectly waxed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Question

Can you die from a broken heart?
No.
Yes.
Don’t tell them that.
I almost died of a broken heart once.

No, you almost died of a drug overdose.
Yes, that’s right, a broken heart.

That’s what they’re calling it now?
When has it ever been called anything else?