poems by Rena J. Mosteirin

Blog Archive

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Upmarket Women's Fiction

You are the top of the food chain. Remember that
when the treacherous universe threatens. Go to the gym
instead of having sex. When all you want
is to move against someone else,
grab a hold of the elliptical and don't let go.
Oh baby, baby. I love you, baby.
The gym is a breeding ground
for nasty fungal infections. Not so far
from fucking in a bathroom, in a bar.

Money doesn't move
the moon the way the moon
moves my body.

Let’s paddle this canoe far away from language,
invent an island of gestures, where all we do is fuck.
Closed, closed and away from everything,
the bar bathroom. Inside the stall it’s just us, baby.
So they can see our feet, so what?

Open the door. Outside there are all the Sunday animals,
blondes, brunettes, raven-haired octogenarians
grunting and pushing through the sub-par galleries
of New Jersey and grandchildren.
This is the young gallery class:
teach them how to pick locks.

Grandchildren ask for your credit card number,
for sudden, violent pumpkin spice lattes.
So we’ll teach them noble truths:
Everyone else in the world is jealous of you.
They all want to be Americans. They all want to be you.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Marry Me, Reality

Fundamental components of reality
may be consequences of geometry,
nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes.
Forget the requirement that probabilities sum to one.

Maybe the consequences of geometry,
space and time, are not fundamental aspects of nature.
Forget the requirement that probabilities sum to one:
space and time merely arise as consequences of the jewel’s geometry.

Space and time are not fundamental aspects of nature.
Three dimensions of space change over time.
Space and time merely arise as consequences of the jewel’s geometry.
The jewel fits to a ring, the ring fits my fourth finger perfectly.

These are fundamental components of marriage:
nonsensical infinities and deep paradoxes.

This poem is an erasure poem in the pantoum form. It is made up almost entirely of lines and phrases found in this article:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Hawks

circling so low, you were sure they had a message from God.
When you came upon her, unexpectedly chewed in half,
the look of surprise on her face was momentarily the same
as the look of surprise on yours.
Schoolchildren walking home together, rounding the corner
just slightly after you did, one of them, pointing at her, said, “Prey.”
Maybe that was the message. Or maybe there was no message.
Maybe the hawks came close because they were checking you out:
Prey? Prey. So you pray. You look up at the sky. The hawks are the answer.
Look down. The answer is sunflowers, or the row of tomatillos
little green paper lanterns lit from the inside by a certain plant-light.
The answer is salsa and corn chips and beer and pie.
Put your arms around me.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Bryant Park

In one half of an arch of trees, a small man is talking love
to a large woman in a green dress with heavy green earrings,

behind them is the Empire State Building, some other tall
buildings that I can’t name but surely are iconic to someone,

a smoker in a plaid shirt with a girl and a suitcase
between them, his foot is tapping hers, they smoke the same brand:

they are leaving for the same place, he is gesturing to the trees
and saying something to her about nature, or maybe he’s trying to make a

point about the buildings. I am building
you something, I just don’t know what it is yet, I see you

even though you’re not here.

Monday, September 9, 2013


Grapefruit calf muscles, stone sandals, tassels
like bell-pulls, fronting his robe and behind him
not feathers, but wings.

He's carrying a small basket from the Assyrian empire
in one hand and with the other he's pulled out a lemon
to feed the monkey, about ninth century BCE—
how long have monkeys been friends with the gods?
Any why is death the common addiction?

His beard is one long rectangle
of two variables: perfect curlicues and straight lines.
His arm is muscled and decorated, his wrists
permanent flowers, his ears have long penis-shaped earrings,
his eyes must have been outlined in charcoal, shaped like falcon eyes,
and the sculptor was afraid to attempt the sacred eyeballs,
without which the statue cannot see. Maybe his hat can see.

Or perhaps that is why he is lifting the lemon to the monkey
in the corner? May the monkey guide him
to the gods. This is about death,
something King Ashurnasirpal II and I share,

though I have no basket, no eternal jewelry.
When it comes time to feed the monkey
will I have fruit in my hand
or will I have to offer my hand as fruit?

Thursday, September 5, 2013

An Old-Fashioned Girl

The wine bottles sticking out of the wall have small number stickers
on their round mouths. These are not prices. These are their secret names.

The bartender is tattooed and speaks Spanish to himself.
She tries not to look sad. She is the only one sitting at the bar at 10:30 AM.
She makes bets with herself about when the heat will break.
She tells herself she can break the heat with her hands if she has to.

She's never made it rain before but she's certain that if it came to it, she could.
After that, she can eat.

The bar shouldn't have open doors and an espresso machine
if no one wanted her to be there. Nothing breaks like glass in the morning.

“It's hard to know some times if you don't want me
or if you don't want anyone,” she remembers telling him

earlier that morning when he walked away first,
backpack full of felonies.