Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney


I wonder if your blog posts will outlive
nuclear winter. Like maybe cached traces
of unerased wit will haunt the hinter-
lands of the afterlife. Just to pontificate,
eating peanut butter directly off the knife
leaves me cold. Unless I actually die
pretty soon, I won’t have “died young”
& that doesn’t make good biopic TV.
I try to give a shit about the little victories,
not blink in pictures, not steal the best
resting places from the other resters, & yet
I can’t sleep unless I know I’m the best
& probably one of the thinnest. Google
is a bottomless fount of something
missing. Ineffable, indelible, & yet inedible,
this really is a magic marker. W/ it I pen
a crescendo of acclaim. Critics & the public
adore/abhor my refusal to grow up, to face
the boredom of a long self-portrait hung
on the wall of adulthood. Good for them.


The answer to the question Is Paris burning?
is Yeah—for you! The disco ball’s turning,
so come on & throw me around a little bit.
I’m light as a feather, & they’re playing my hit.

“My Other Handbag Is in the Shop (Don’t Stop)”
is more than just a cover of an old sock-hop
standard. Mordant remixes in conspicuous
times? Not on my dimes. If it’s ridiculous

then it must be avant-garde. I shock easily,
but it’s only faux-shock. Can we go sleazily
into that good night? Can we say good night
& good luck to power fucks & a woman’s right

to use **** instead of an actual word?
I can’t write a poem without stars and/or birds.

POEM LACKING UNITY (after Max Jacob)

          Everything happened a la the time of Alfred de Musset. Here I am in a furnished hotel on Rempart Street: a composer reproaches me, by the light of a candle, for not having come to the opera to hear his ballet: then, on an old grand piano, I practice at sustaining the climaxes while he does vocal variations … and there was a woman in the alcove, but this woman was his sickly mother.
          Here I am at the ball; people make conjectures: “Note how she cleans up! She sports a red turban and her daughter too! She loves, Ladies, she loves! The honest madam of Pont-Aven is amorous. All these turbans! These changes of hairdo! She does not leave the ballroom all night because he is there!” While I’m entering, two dames ask me which, the one or the other, I prefer and I prefer them both. A very good sir showed us how to dance the Chaine Anglaise and the lesson went unfinished. Through an innovation as bold as it was ingenious, while the Chaine Anglaise was being organized, someone lowered the gas lighting (was it gas?) and this heightened the glow while the music increased in force. When the chain was established, the piano was going brilliantly and the gas also. Innovation! But I was near the chimney: the mistress of the house sent me flowers because I was ill; these baskets of flowers made me cry and laugh at the same time. The ballroom was filling up with turbans and with naked shoulders: all these cats had the air of extras at the Theatre Français. Two dames said: “In our world one’s not a dupe and one doesn’t dupe!” Some guys tried to remember a riddle in two lines, then left to fight a duel. Everyone remarked on my joys, my tears, my flowers near the fireplace.

Elisa Gabbert and Kathleen Rooney's That Tiny Insane Voluptuousness will be published by Otoliths this coming April.

previous page     contents     next page



Post a Comment

<< Home