poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ethan Allen

Lying on my belly in the grass/ trapped behind one closed eye/ one eye open
my toes stretch like little painted earthworms toward the arch of your foot.
My parents have always told me different versions of the same story.
We are watching sailboats tilt in the lake. Dogs run for sticks
that’s how I run back to Mike's death, a dog with water in my dirty fur

shaking it on everyone/ on you/ all the time.
Grief is a trough of poison. You must not put your snout there. Or your growly teeth.
Stand on two feet/ waltz away to the landscapes of fictions.
Story:
It was a white car with California plates/ and a girl eating ice cream on the deck of a ship
and as the ice cream drip-dropped/ sugar on wood/ the ship was called Ethan Allen/
the car drove straight into the water.

This is the same story:
the ice cream girl was standing on the dock/ melting
sugar on skin/ the ship was called Ethan Allen.
The man in the white house looked out the window and thought
that's the prettiest girl I've ever seen.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

chronic pain/ love, chronic (also)

Driving back through plastic aroma avenues/ where the lawns connect
like a carpet thrown down before a barefoot fight/ you inhale
splendid suburban afternoons/ a pool/ new growth trees/ splendid
suburban (human) sacrifice. Leave
the window open. Passing on the left is the neighbor girl your dog bit once.

(She is old now, she is the exception. No one stays here really.
She deserves this, like she deserved it when Muffin bit her. She
jerked his tail and she was in love with the same schoolbus bully you loved.)

Remember when you rolled it all into a spliff/ in that frozen-pizza-eating
season of joy/ and sent it in the mail with your application?
Your application said: Please/ let me live
in one of your tiny worlds/ let me have a house
with plenty of places to hide. I will listen to and learn/ the names
of your silences. I will take in the hum/ of the nearby highway
and I will call it river.

Now having swum already over/ the many for-sure rivers
miles on miles/ causing chronic pain/ love, chronic (also)
/now you come back and can’t see/ the sweet afternoons you smoked
cigarettes hiding in the backyard with a homemade Long Island
iced tea/ reading Anna Karenina and smelling the grass/ hiding
from everyone/ throwing yourself over
and over/ onto the tracks.

Let me live, your application said/ and live and live.

You don’t really miss this/ at one time it felt like love
now you know it was lust/ just like hearing a radio-song-on-repeat
until you’re crazy/ about it/ but you don’t really love music
you can’t even tell that it’s a fugue. Suburbia is all words.
You experienced everything as words then:
fugue/ river/ highway
obsession/ vein/ bone.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Phrenology

Eyes gloaming, she/ parted the grass faithfully
in the evenings/ and found a different door
there every time./ So she thawed the doors down
and glazed the mud/ supported the head, sculpted
an intelligent forehead/ and a wide, flat roof
for dancing/ on the top of the city/ eyes closed, arms out
to the wind/ full of color/ all the colors the day made.
The sun rises like Lazarus/ she inherits death
in the morning/ learns history/ makes decisions/ so many separate traumas,
they are all doors. Doors or birds.
Her face feels colors as wing\bird/wing
blending cheek, chin, neck, forehead/ feathers. Feathers
carving heads from mahogany and bodies/ feathers beating codes into keypads
making triangular doors open behind her eye-ing eyes
one by one/ in clear, bright color/
fluid/ wrapped in sweetgrass/ using phrenology to misunderstand/ proportions,
hang this/ on the walls in the rooms where war
is declared and denied, hang /this, in a frame
is the face/ of the trauma/ she inherited
/ the porcine sky and/ naked mountaintops of the mind/
she refuses any knowledge of or association with history.
She doesn’t need the dead to re-live their deaths for her.
Her head is shaped to see the city as country.
(translation: Her country-head is city-shaped so as to see.)