The fire swayed and dodged the men.
When they smacked at the fire, it jumped.

Michael Chitwood, "The Elements Will Have Their Way" from Issue 8

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Kim Addonizio

Kim Addonizio's new books, both from W.W. Norton, are Ordinary Genius: A Guide for the Poet Within (February 09), and Lucifer at the Starlite (October 09). She is the author of four previous poetry collections and two novels, Little Beauties and My Dreams Out in the Street (Simon & Schuster). She lives in Oakland, CA and can be found online at kimaddonizio.com.


Cello accompaniment by Thea Lawson

To a Rose

Bone-stick
     partially stripped

I hang you upside down
      with your sisters
           above my mirror—

all drooping heads       all trophies of desire

     O rose thou art past-tense

Even your brother the worm
      has shriveled and gone

     Your silks are best
           like this unkiss-

able
      and therefore bearable

 


Cello accompaniment by Thea Lawson

Yes

Do you sometimes drink alone?
Have you ever woken up the next morning
after a night of heavy drinking?
Does your cat wander through the house
meowing inconsolably,
despite having fresh food and water?
Hunger, thirst, friendship, love.
Green Bee, Russian Quaalude, Redheaded Slut:
IEDs on the supply route to pleasure.
There’s a gala in your hypothalamus,
helium balloons rising to the rafters,
the fizzy ricochet of laughter.
There’s a stumblebum in your cerebellum.
That empty feeling crawling toward you—
should you kill it with a wadded paper towel
or trap it in a jar and shake it out
and send it flying into the grass?
Is your head full of frozen tamales
and a vodka bottle curled on its side?
How do you get through the interminable evenings?
Are they really interminable?
Have you considered the alternative?
Now get out of your car,
stand by the side of the road
and take a step. Now recite
“The Waste Land,” backwards,
beginning with that sexy Sanskrit word.