Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney


The dull sound of all these modern buildings
falling, making room for post-modernism
sounds nothing at all like the birds I love.

My boyfriend says There’s no time for love
this high above the street. We should be building
a hovercraft—a kind of retro modernism

mechanism to whisk us to the next –ism
Technology frightens me; my first love?
Feathers—perfect material for building

a building for modernism: futility of love.


She wondered aloud: are those stars or geese?
Like most idiots, she was obsessed with truth—

she preferred her constellations based on actual events.
“As the crow flies” were not true directions, but lies

to her unless there was an actual crow, actually flying.
One consolation was her skill at the game of Truth

or Dare—naturally she always chose the former
as honesty warmed her whereas dares scared her. “Lies!”

she’d scream, at blogs, at trees, at any sneaky faker
protesting, “But art is the lie that tells the truth.”

“Bah,” she’d say, “Forsooth! I only read memoir!”
The geese in the sky spelled out, star-like, “Play it as it lies.”


A note on the mirror: out of order.
No wonder my reflection’s so unsexy,
slow. My self-concept? Gymnastic, flexi-
glass glossy. Like an in-flight recorder

black-boxing my cheekbones. I can’t beat-box
with the best of them if I don’t look my best.
Freestylers say Girlie, stare at my chest:
you get no respect if you’ve got no rocks.

I splice rhymes like fishing lines. I smile nice
& smell nice too, decked out in ice & lace
& a few stray grays ‘cause gray’s the new blonde.

Image is everything. It’s paramount, it’s the spice
rack that gives you more counter-space. Outer space
has nothing on this face. My face is the bomb.

Elisa Gabbert holds degrees from Rice University and Emerson College. She currently lives in Boston. She is a reader for Ploughshares and a poetry editor for Absent. Recent work appears or will appear in journals including LIT, No Tell Motel, Kulture Vulture, RealPoetik, H_NGM_N, Redivider, and Shampoo, as well as the forthcoming Outside Voices 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets. A chapbook, Thanks for Sending the Engine, is forthcoming from Kitchen Press.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press. Her first book is Reading With Oprah (2005), and her poems have appeared recently in AGNI On-line, Smartish Pace, Harvard Review, and Crab Orchard Review. Her essay "Live Nude Girl" appears in Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers (Random House, 2006).

Other poems from their collaborations have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Dusie, Sawbuck, Past Simple, and Dead Horse Review.

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