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The Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
Edited by Andrei Codrescu
ec chair poetick kultur anti-amthropomorphism
gallery zounds the making and unmaking of person
new economics of late capitalism
diaries and memoirs translation and her retinue
working class sweat
the corpse reads classics letters the book of revelations and epiphanies
the making and unmaking of person
The New Economics of Late Capitalism

Poems on Leaving New York
by S. Beth Bishop

Interloper in Suburbia

behind every door
another stranger
is not at home


the martyrdom of welcome
waiting to be walked on
holding every fiber rectangular
to further define the space of approach


the patience of the driveways
parched tongues
in the no-car time of day


square after square
new cement unwavering

no need to look down for obstacles
trash bins, toys, old furniture,
clotheslines, drunken uncles
in the backyard, I guess

no roots reaching underneath the sidewalk
to vary the step
keep up the pace

this is for your health, man
not your education


what a beautiful maple
what a stately ash
what a jolly cherry
what a hearty flowering judas
what a generous oak
what a deceptive walnut
what a tree
I say again
what a tree


sun waves off the black uniform
creosote path made to wind
as if the land demanded it
it could be slick as a ribbon
it could almost be touched


gargantuan brick with angled roof

this distance hides the mortar lines
of the little human-sized bricks
it took to build

it looks tossed aside

the size of a hand
of some construction god
paid by the decade
whose backside revealed
when bending down
could swallow

hide the fugitive


golfers' lawns
half-acres of unbroken view
and yonder a pubescent tree

a fountain puddle
antique farm equipment
enshrined in mulch and marigolds

something or other to aim for
to stop the ball rolling
or the eye


here and there over doorways
flags of questionable patriotism
unusually zealous with color
as if just-washed and hung to dry

Republic of Sunflower
United Hummingbird and Flower
Kingdom of His Majesty the Monarch Butterfly
District of Dogwood Blossom
Parrish of Lilypad Frog
Territory of Kitten in a Basket

among the deserted containers
the mail carrier and I

make haste of duty
in suspiciously drawn innocence

if I've caught curiosity
in his glance at a postcard

has he discerned
I'm unemployed?

so this is decadence
so mine is a morning of privilege
I sing with the voice in my headphones

purposefully relax my pace
mimicking casual familiarity
with loose existence

with how a neighborhood plays
at this angle of sun
unobligated as the absent ones

who is it I'm hoping will notice?
housekeeper, gardener, plumber?
all outsiders

three-year-old with babysitter?
wife in a tower?
just maybe
with the right on-
looker I could pass

for threat here
a drifter

The Apparent Patience of Revolution

Behind the plain old flower
another flower awoke, having teeth
wet with beast's blood and a face wild
with desire for more.

Under the indistinct creosote roads
the ways heaved themselves into other turns
and rolled out farther to culminate
in a large pile of roads all
at one termination, aware
of seeking one another.

Between the daily spoken business
flew words of understanding between people
who spoke to each other of their souls
and the visions they had seen
while they slept.

In the crack of the jackhammer
and the crush of debris in the fist of the backhoe
discernible songs redefined work
and decreed new reasons for working
to the ears of the people so that they knew
themselves to be their own masters.

The ink on the dollars faded its greens and grays
until only blank paper was left, and the banks
began to let people use their pens to write
on the papers everything that they valued,
and these papers were traded
for actualities.

And the sky glazed over into a mirror
so that all people saw themselves clearly
and saw everyone else at the same time
and were afraid and
were not afraid, after.

And the people saw it with eyes behind their eyes,
and the people heard it with miraculous ears,
and the people smelled and tasted sweet and bitter things
as though for the first time, their hands not satisfied
with any other grasp but skin and hair and teeth,
and felt other hands on their bodies
like the ease of an ache.

Meanwhile, on the surface of things, nothing changed,
and no one noticed anything different at all,
everything copacetic, status quo.

But the need for change had changed itself
into the change it needed,
and nothing having changed,
despite the sights and sounds that all had witnessed
and all the actions taken,

the disappointment was heavy, and general,
and boiled in angry layers under skin and sky,
beneath the dollars' ink, inside the sounds of work,
between the words, below the creosote roads,
and behind the plain old (bloodthirsty) flower.




home archives submit black market comrads hot sites search ec chair peotick kultur anti-amthropomorphism
new economics of late capitalism gallery zounds the making and unmaking of person
diaries and memoirs translation and her retinue
the book of revelations and epiphanies working class sweat
the making and unmaking of person the corpse reads classics letters

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