Karen Greenbaum-Maya

Empty Boulevard, Sunrise

Eavesdropping at Brunch
This cleaning product is all natural. It kills bacteria, but you can drink it. I do. This is the company that Richard was looking into. A pharma company went into his computer and deleted the file—so unscrupulous. She is disgusting. Just despicable. Richard's business partner killed him. It was a mess. The FBI got involved. He was embezzling our money and everything. It was organized crime. Richard lost it all—all his hair too. He started early.

Richard's sister's husband's brother was murdered. He got into it with a homeless woman. She came back with five friends and they stoned him to death. They were on meth, pinned down his legs with a boulder. Richard gave him a beautiful service: As he was dying, Sataaan went to pull him down, but Jesus flew in and snatched him up—and I know your brother sits in Heaven this day.

Porncam Pantoum
Webcams are the ‘new engine of the porn industry’
—LA Times, August 8 2016, Jason Song

A dream vacation can be all yours.
We’re about relationship building.
We are trying to help people
be this sexy horny little thing.

We’re about relationship building,
following explicit instructions. For a price,
be this sexy horny little thing
where our workers make a living.

Following explicit instructions for a price:
live-stream naughtiness
where our workers make a living,
eager to expand their personal brand.

Live-stream naughtiness
is a welcome change:
eager to expand their personal brand,
a legion of up-and-coming models!

It’s a welcome change,
filling an existential need.
A legion of up-and-coming models
spends more time alone with handheld devices.

Filling an existential need,
we are trying to help people
spend more time alone. With handheld devices,
a dream vacation can be all yours.

Where the sign used to be

Archaic Torso of Apollo, after Rilke

In the dark basement of the Louvre
I knew the torso was the one he’d seen
one hundred years before
and when I saw it too I knew:
was not the torso that did see me,
but Rilke’s sonnet. There was no rhyme or line
that did not see me,
unlike the lithe marble mass,
which could not be bothered to look,
only Rilke, eyes set deep, saying
to another German major in Paris:
You must change your life.

Soulful Rainer, seeker, bard,
you knew the words
and all their secret names,
so clear at thirty-two, you spoke through the god—
but what was it you changed?

To see that fabled light I’d shouldered
twice his years, and now I saw
how Rilke had been wrong:
no time, no need, no chance to change my life,
when, time and time again, my life had changed.

I sighed. I snuck my point-and-shoot
over the edge of my bag, I stole
a flash-less low-light shot
to catch the crumple of the god
about the center
in a posture same as pain,
shoulders canted, better to receive.
And how to change my life?
The docent nabbed me as I tried again:
Cut out your stupid little tricks, madame,
or you’ll just have to leave.
I put the camera back.
I stayed.

(Like a) full moon on the wire

Karen Greenbaum-Maya is a retired clinical psychologist, German Lit. major, and two-time Pushcart nominee whose poems and photos have appeared in many journals. Kattywompus Press publishes her two chapbooks Burrowing Song (2013) and Eggs Satori (2014), and The Book of Knots and their Untying, her first full-length book of poems, has just been published by Aldrich Press (2016).

Links to work online: www.cloudslikemountains.blogspot.com/.
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