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Amy’s April 24


It doesn’t matter who told you:
it’s not your fault the toothpaste
contains an ingredient that contributes
to the proliferation of antibiotic-
resistant bacteria.

That day at the beach? Not your fault
the kids got sunburn. Any day you have left
a mess for someone else to clean up
you are manifesting evil but ultimately
it’s not your fault the beer foamed
over as soon as you opened it,
staining the new rug the color of sky.

Not your fault the dust bunnies fought
with the Easter Bunny and won.
Not your fault the book has three
nearly imperceptible errors that in no way
alter the content or how it will be received.

Not your fault you hitched your wagon
to a star meant to flame out
too soon, you thought your life was
a circus train and it was really
the boxcar caravan to the Gulag.

Spent all the money? Not your fault.
Stepped on a crack? Not your fault,
mother’s got your back, the smell
of wine reminds you of quitting
the psychologist because she cost
too much. I’ve opened a bottle to let it breathe
let it bleed, the bloody cake left out
in the daggone rain, punk rock
would never be invented if they’d all
just gone to college instead of wearing
rusty chain, listened to Purcell’s
Trumpet Voluntary on repeat, no blame.
It’s not your fault, nohow, nowise.

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17 (on 23!)

Notations of the week
the marginalia of travel
I’ll never be killed in a streetcar accident

The spirit in the kitchen
sounded like (LEATHER SQUEAKING) 

but in the same rhythm
he says       A music of underlying
A meaning of underneath it all

Home again & facing my other river
the sunset dials in a tweaked color scheme
My love, I forgot to turn 

my drawling off     my dreamboat in
my unbelying accent 

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Amy’s April 23 – B


The trouble with love is our bodies forget themselves.

We are still the same
as we were when the first pairings
swelled our hopes of forever

The trouble with love at our age: our bodies forget themselves
they see thirty years ago
hunger after same

the bumps and glitches pop up daily

hunger unchanged in thirty years
floods gnaws quickens

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Amy’s April 23 – A


I was musing about forties being the new adolescence or the new twenties, every decade a throwback to twenty years earlier, a regression and then it struck me what if we are continually revisiting no re-experiencing childhood, adolescence, early adulthood recursively, over and over in succession, the cycles so rapid they sometimes seem concurrent? Right now, for example, I could be the 16-year-old never asked to the dance, tall and gangly and Not Acceptable, not to be pursued? And yet still longing for acceptance, critically so. I’m still reading books/magazines, listening to the radio, and eating cheese and Wheatsworth crackers. My mother is alive and relatively well. I could talk to her every day if I wished. This is me talking about the Flow State, a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced “cheek-sent-me-high”) to denote the mental space of complete engagement in an actiity to the point where everything else seems to drop away and you tap into your truest, highest self. Entering this state requires a delicate balance of skill and challenge, perfectly poised between boredom and frustration. Boredom and frustration. Boredom and frustration. Between boredom and frustration you will find it, surely, at least once or twice in your life and maybe on a regular basis, the cabbage rose peonying open in your mind, the color of blood leaving and returning to the heart.

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we indulge in cloud discourse

our hawks drag the smoked sky behind them

our crows drag the blossom sky behind them

our heronshaws drag the wading sky behind them

I am softened a bit by age & a bit by the internet

our heronshaws drag the long-legged sky behind them

our hawks drag the oystershell sky behind them

our crows drag the shining fragment sky behind them

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I am ‘enjoying a song by the cure in the grocery store’ years old

I am rooting for the crows as they drive a hawk from the cemetery across the street

I am rooting for the hawk as crows drive him from the cemetery across the street

I am not shining

our whole long-legged 1970s is in every photo of you as a child

we woweth under cloud

we were there — you know — but it’s cool — you can tell that story however you need

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Amy’s April 17


sharp edges let me not admit
you are too heavy to move
and took two men to carry
the drawers from one apartment
to the other apartment
It’s been ten years since I added
anything to the “Friends’ Writing”
folder. I keep my paycheck stubs
from all the shit jobs I hated in order
of level of drudgery

My son has yet to start
his terrible work history
nineteen is late enough
to imply I have coddled him
does not contain his Social Security
card nor does the “SS-KIDS”
his sister’s birth certificate
in quadruplicate his dad’s
death certificate same
REB III – ESTATE – thin papers
for the lawyer I will never pay for – Blue
DENTAL yellow IRS now in my accountant’s
neat packets and its own blown-out
accordion folder branded blessed
and tissue thin W2 the clipping I never
made into collage, the articles
someone was sending scanned
and digitized the Vegetarian Times
clipped recipe the STORE CREDIT
accounts closed the credit reports
the sagging leaden strips
the pendaflex balancing on the beauty
of dull green time-bleached the yellowing
of paper full of acids paper paper paper
Friends’ Weddings Family Lore
SRP initials of friends I thought would be famous
now she lives in the Catskills
remember that time when I looked up your number
posing as a potential employer
they were so innocent there was
no Federal Law against sharing
information that belonged to someone else

Bring in a giant shredder
let the confettifying begin
the rest of life music I never learned
to play the programs from all your concerts
before the kids were born the archives
of a person I do and do not recognize
I’m not the kind of girl who gives up
just like that never any doubt
I would find someone to spend
my life with the papers don’t lie
the papers yield no secrets
paper paper paper paper poof

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15 (on 16)

Trash eyes
Lula can’t stop talking bout this city
An amalgam of Bad Moms
& all the wig-glam to prove it
like that time we stole the cop’s golf cart 
& he didn’t arrest us
because he’d get ribbed or worse

Well-water tooth
a wishing better     a set of broken ribs
when you jumped from the roof
A little brother didn’t even bother
to make it       aimed for the ground
A missile of his own purpose
Yellow flowers run along crickside

Or worse
A man hollers & the hallway rumbles 
He’s regretting everything      every day 
& choice & slide & workaday & lie
& truth & fuckup     He’s you & he’s also
your love     Your day your choice 
your slide your workaday your truth your fuckup

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[T/F] You ride horses because you like to be outside

You often feel competitive

  1. when you see a great pair of shoes
  2. when playing games that are fun to other people
  3. when friends describe their travel experiences
  4. when other people’s children receive awards

You think the police officer

  1. should not have asked Sandra Bland to put out her cigarette.
  2. should not have pulled Sandra Bland from her car for not putting out her cigarette.
  3. should not have pulled over Sandra Bland.
  4. should not have asked Sandra Bland why she was agitated.

You wait in line [  ] hours to vote

You own

  1. zero homes/apartments.
  2. one home/apartment.
  3. two homes/apartments.
  4. one apartment and one country home.

Every day you drink

  1. water from one plastic bottle.
  2. water from two or more plastic bottles.
  3. soda from one plastic bottle.
  4. soda from two or more plastic bottles.

You read reviews on your phone standing [inside, outside] a particular restaurant

All of your overall parenting strategies results in

  1. buying something.
  2. taking something away.
  3. using a device.
  4. inwardly soothing yourself and using a talking point from a book.

You [do, don’t] watch CNN every day and think it should be turned [louder, off] at airports

You are afraid of or uncomfortable around

  1. terrorists
  2. white people
  3. activists
  4. teachers

Doctors are

  1. always looking out for your best interests
  2. running tests to bill insurance companies
  3. writing scripts for prescription drugs too much
  4. misdiagnosing patience because they spend very little time with them

It is quite possible

  1. avoiding corporations is unavoidable
  2. nuclear warfare is unavoidable
  3. fascism is rapidly spreading
  4. the earth is full of plastic

You are close to your family because

  1. no I’m not
  2. you will one day give them money
  3. you have already given them money
  4. you support each other as best you can

[T/F] You buy products that claim to be natural

[T/F] You had a teacher whose multiple choice test answers were always ACDC


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Some Perspective

Someone says "Notre Dame is on fire and it feels 
like the end of the world.” We lose more oxygen
every day. Polar bears swim miles and miles before

giving up, sinking, drowning. What does it take
to lose the mind and body to water? I eat chips
and look outside. A man powerwashes the sidewalk,

the mist rising like smoke. What does it take
to lose our senses to the elements? Santiago blows
death winds, forests denude, Bolivia stripped of plumage,

the naked ostrich beneath less pink than we imagine,
less the losing of a tutu. Man decimates rainforests
to grow soy for livestock feed. How ludicrous to end

having fed an animal we don't need to survive. The
end of the world feels like Notre Dame on fire. 
The better correlative strikes the gaudiness of man.

In Prague many years ago, I marveled at the buttresses
of Old Town, the Romanesque and Baroque, Rococo
and Moorish structures. The beauty of preservation,

I learn, came at the expense of my people, deported
in 1939, the Jewish Quarters all but destroyed. I marveled
in the face of time. The destruction of buildings, a series 

of rocks standing atop other rocks hurt more than 92,000
men, women, and children. I do not doubt in sorrow.
Look: A building stands on fire at the end of the world.