Exercise: “pink reveals important dating advice she gave daughter willow”

After the New York School/Frank O’Hara, we had to write a poem in 15 minutes based on a headline our poetry professor gave us. This is mine.

i can’t remember who pink is
when i see the headline, let alone
her daughter. “willow” i thought that kid
belonged already to another celebrity
do they exchange kids every couple years
i know nothing about how these people
live. five minutes and a hundred posts
on facebook later, i begin to remember:
breakup songs, party songs, songs about
using liquor and your body to get back
at whatever man screwed you over.
seems like a good authority on dating advice.
“I guess I just lost my husband
I don’t know where he went
so i’m gonna drink my money
I’m not gonna pay his rent”
yes, Pink, yes. you know your way around
a healthy relationship. were you trying to give
your daughter advice or the readers
of E entertainment because if you were talking
to your daughter I hope you said something about
how the body is bad at storing revenge softness is ok
but if you were talking to the internet, to the people
with their fingers in their mouths, waiting —
I hope the headline link leads
to an error page.


(Day 9)

he traces words like “clouds” and “blackberry” on my thigh
while we talk about abortion, whiskey softening wooden throats.

“In Russia, they do not use condoms, and there is no birth control.
The only option is abortion. Seems better to me. a pill only
when you really need it.”

what I do not say:
the things you keep beneath your ribcage are there always.
you are cracked earth. you do not sprout.

“I think some people make it out to be a bigger deal than it is.
It’s not like you really feel anything. It’s all a cultural thing.”

what my insides do once you leave them is not a cultural thing.
you say you are conserving latex, saving it for gloves and rubber bands.

tell me, have you felt death inside you?

“Abcedarius” Poem

All together six
boys sauntered like stray
cats across the foyer. Arms
dark with sun pitted skin,
ears broad and flat against the wind.

Four of the boys were more like men, teeth
guarded carefully by bursting lips, split with
heat as if steam built pressure to rupture.

Immaturity built into skinny shoulders of the other two,
jumbled bodies still working out the
kinks. They did not believe in lying

still, muscle defined by lack of body fat –
nothing clung to their chests.
open, their faces hung like drying dish towels
pulled tight by thin line.

A language poem, defining “affliteration”

I often feel like the poems that I write for class for specific exercises require explanations, because they are so unlike the rest of my poems. The prompt for this poem was to write a “definition” for a word that you make up. My word was “affliteration” and this was my “definition.” 

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