ISSUE  1   2   3   4   SUBMIT

BETTY PAGE WE LOVE YOU GET UP


Stephanie Young

Common grade
but here standing up
near the ceiling
not interested in anything
this music from China
isn’t right either
that you are always in the poem
this new male pronoun
hovers there—HE IS HERE
the way I used to be
calling out, displaced
 
Baby, baby, why have you
forsaken me?
I’m not depressed, I promise.
Let me come over!
 
The house grave without
a hotel room of bad ideas
or a list of them on the hotel stationery
I threw away but still
 
Feel like makin’
Feel like makin’ lists
Feel like makin’ lists with you
 
Self-portrait with loose hair
Self-portrait with cropped hair
Self-portrait with turtle
Self-portrait with bangs
Self-portrait with my red hair
Self-portrait in satchel
Self-portrait in boom
Self-portrait with her numbers
whatever that means. Rising, ash, eat, air, etc.
 
Someone should take the internet away from me
for a little while
and I’ll just lay down over here
in self-portrait with internet.
 
The great thing about being me is
all these icicles stuck in my face,
the letter m I guess
has a lot of interesting curves
whereas I have these stick-like qualities
for a second at least
while he rode away on his bike
I lodged in my own side
like a stick. The letter m has a pillow.
The ideal image of myself in the kitchen
where Julianne Moore’s mother comes in
and out like an imaginary friend.
So the phone rings
and there is art on the wall. He wanted me to
feel like Uma Thurman
I think. Compliancy in a boat
and swimming along like a dog next to it
with Uma Thurman’s yellow suit
in my mouth. I felt like that. Shrugged.
It’s not too private. Once you’ve been stripped
of your rubber suit. Then you just hang out
in the freezer while he hates you
 
*
 
Like at tour’s end
or when the sound cuts out
in her headset, and she’s singing a cappella
for I am not driving
or walking to the store.
Lines driven wildly into the next line
a body turning on the bed crashes
and suffers. At the party
of engaged opposites.
 
Often, while watching this,
I was scared and bored at the same time.
 
*
 
I lean up to touch you again and again
on the face. Deity. I do not want to defile you
but I have to process. I promise
you don’t have to find new friends.
Today’s date is—how I delete
the draft. To anyone. You are over there
and she I avatar hazes the field
 
to anyone. You are over there and she
I avatar hazes the field:
 
my wife, my life, etc.
 
How could I not love them?
on the Stephanie Charles Riviera
where everyone says I love you.
 
A man talking to a pole
by the lake. I have been here
for ten years. Talking to a pole.
 
A person should agree not to observe a pole
if they hate it. Respect may be a structure
of rhetoric, but esteem?
 
*
 
So why would I?
 
*
 
Supreme ethical horses
run across the sand
in Calvin Klein’s underwear.
I’m with them. Always confusing a bucket
for a basket. Not weird horror, just
horror. What can’t be established
by touch. Not even your own arm
will do. Always the arm
of the other in a bad mood, an arm feels
full of rejection and hangs limp
by the side, my arm would prefer
to be sort of wrapped up
and sent down the stream, it ‘eddies’
and other boy names—
 
Message from the box says the slut is young
and elegant. In combination something
feels italicized here, but too weary even
to denote itself. The gamers love me.
And why not—again an emphasis
escapes hissing from the door—
there was going to be something
really magnificent about my hair
in pins, coiled so much and severe
with descending curls.
Like reading Benjamin.
Who the girls complain of
in their poems of complaint
that the younger version
appears on every syllabus
 
no ribbons, no sun,
no lace at the procession.
Colette as a schoolgirl in the night.
 
Something hopped over me right there,
and so it was
the breath of the holy
which is anything moving
near this slab of pastry
 
 
*
 
Woke up with the bomb
went off. Don’t let me run
out of Woody Allen. Everybody said
don’t run Stephanie
out of patience with me Stephanie
they said take cover.
Person-shaped cement
protective device other people
had and had to show me
how to use, but I wouldn’t. A kind of
cathedral, it could….not go off instead?
 
And this would be for everyone.
Like summer camp.
A friendly, non-bomb
moment. Where
you can shape it
or it shapes you
in the shape of a shrapnel
this terrible form of flying apart.
People competing in cages. Just for a chance
to sit in the chair
where he will destroy you.
On the other side of this I am calmly
cleaning the red carpet. Surveying
the nice wall. Granted
that our little hotel is dull,
and the food indifferent,
and that day after day
dawns very much the same, yet
we would not have it otherwise.
 
Coming in the door is bad.
After a while everything
gets better. If you could just
calm down. Get in the snow.
 
*
 
The cucumber was muddled—and so was I—
with this other language. It sounds too:
waking up naked and bleeding
and all your stuff is gone.
Then Madonna is mean to you
and you swear you only had cranberry juice
and you’ll never go out alone again
or say that you’re on tour
with Madonna. You’re a dancer
and they have good bodies
write it down this clings
to the yellow notepad
and the yellow light
in the beige kitchen
 
but after a while everything
gets better. If you could just
calm down. Get in the snow
and stay there.
 
*
 
Yet there is a limit to how long
a spirited young person can be kept
in cold storage. If only Iris Murdoch were here!
We don’t have to drown like this
in a sea-cave. She would make you understand
the charming scene of meeting one’s brother
when there is no longer any resemblance
between us. We eat and clean
boxes all day long. Flying over Iceland,
Denver, talking shit with
a blanket over my face
and the ring that I lost
or given off, is this enough?
 
Tossing on my bed of snow.
Where you hear none.
Moms in evening view
or the vacuum attachment,
women in the film
requesting permission to moan.
With my comma on the wrong place.
I won’t ask for these
bad lines! Ten days long
and coiled in the bowl
to tell time like Murakami
dropping the orange, Susan Sarandon
and Tim Robbins, Tim Robbins with Tupac,
the one where they stabbed each other
for treatment. The point
deep inside my own now. Femur.
Flat storage, the four things
I can’t give you anymore of
or the act of her imagination, on this day
I declare war against the love in me
bouncing in my head
and rolled away, yet trapped
semi-forever on the stationery from Cannes
 
*
 
Beauty flaw, I loved you most of all.
And where I go to prepare a way for you
I am not ashamed, I’m talking about
a LOT of citrus. The phone call that can’t
hold you down, waiting on it,
I don’t want that blanket
on my bed anymore
or not for at least three years.
Wrap it in plastic
the wave says,
will he be at the party?
Or in fabric, picture on fabric
wrapped in fabric
won’t depose the train
for it barrels forward
briefly topping 67$ on the barrel,
a symbolic value placed on what cannot be
renounced. The train chugs
its liquid diet. Forward, forward, forward.
 
You can’t say he didn’t warn you.
You can’t say he didn’t warn you.
You can’t say he didn’t warn you.
 
Yes with his trousers. For the way they fit
never stopped, but my clothes
stayed on doesn’t matter
ever traverse the narrative
and hatch it? The white goo I mean.
See me, smear
across the face I loved, of our own
creation. Where you woke up and
“I didn’t know where I was”
something in my mouth
or someone won’t stop
placing it, whatever it, white
and stuck, sorry, in me
 
*
 
I do some stretching exercises.
With a little click
the outlines of this being
fit right inside
and are locked neatly away. Oh why
oh why. “Just the way
I like it.” Still a dark and empty lot
runs along beside things
apartments for rent
slime from the talent
too quick to say
we are the same person
at the pay station
yet “I can’t bear the thought
of being freed by anyone
but myself.”
 
You can’t drive up your own
page views but you can drive
a ###### crazy. Can the word be
how bad you did me? Stuffing things
in a box and keeping them
locked up for eight or more hours a day
really seems like it. But a bad
response can’t say everything
about the action it’s reflecting.
The missed image
draws no pleasure on the lens.
Broad yellow stripe
at the base of the stairs, yellow
t-shirt under a brown sweater
exhaustion after labor. What these men
or myself went through
while the sun sits on them lightly
and do the bad math
of how to get you back
but no completion
dares complete me
forced astride this theorem. Acting
too bright in the kitchen, commented
“brightly” by which I mean
I seem a little false. When
her baby wants to see the wheelchair
she said, all rude facilitation
crawling on the floor, and that
happened too.
 
You didn’t turn onto Lester
a second before me. You are not
your car these days.
Tender scenes play out
without us. Friends say no
the light’s fluorescent. Open 24 hours.
In answer to a dumb question
about lights and agency.
Feeling removed from our own shirts
even as we are inside them
huddled nets of the bar
candles hooked there
in their own candlelight
a cave, not a cabana—
 
I mean to do actual theft.
Until I am restored here.
Until I am in storage.
 
*
 
You were mine already
by the time she left you
in the house
there was a melon on the table
and listed what went in the boxes
you were mine
in your bereavement
I adored you
and in my own you played
an active role
whatever
we didn’t know
“at the time”
tell me you weren’t mine already
alone in the house
moving to the next one
especially in washing
the wooden floors
I owned you
in the preparation of the kitchen
and mixing of the paints
 
now someone else
has got you. In the time
of our bereavement
whoever
hater lover
already
she is
if in possession
you find a useful metaphor
others must adore us now
or who will not find herself adorable
runs along the baseboard
eating tarts
 
*
 
Waiting for something else to enter.
Superhuman kryptonite
calls the cat in
waits faithfully
in a funny outfit
still believes in tweezers
their effective strategy
his tail in my face
bump in the line of a hand
 
“little”          “it”
 
shoves and tumbles from the tube
so something else can
rubbing his nose along my arm
wet and alone, enter the stream
and then the heavens opened up
and water streamed out
paper blossoms rustled in the wind
in the artifice of the branch
still war
among its reproductive parts
when nothing outside can cure you
but everything’s outside
nothing human alien to me
everything seen and felt included
everything alien, everything
I saw and felt
on the shores of the Superior
covers pulled up to my chin
Barbara Hershey in Beaches
was like that, life-throb
already ebbing away
 
I went out into the city
and lost you
 
*
 
That there is one inside me,
dejected and alone.
In our municipal trust.
Alone in our bed
working on it, thought bubble
above the head of an aggressively virile mother
could not be split
“you could see it had taken its toll”
as stimuli, when the cap flies off
two weeks hence, his paw
on the pen—I heard it, & asked myself
“what are they smoking?”
My friends were all in New York.
In the dream or next door
and my name liberally spread
throughout, though cramped, the poem
he brought to writing group.
Prompting a desire for many things but foremost
to show him this, in my mind then
embraced on the bathroom floor
without concession, the form
of our continued love and in excitement
made palpable, the woman on the bathroom floor
with the papyrus, I felt very sorry
and sad for her.
 
*
 
Staggering through the building
with a watermelon
having the feelings of a stone
on the bear skin rug
 
for an object which is itself
in mourning
“which suggests how much we
need the other’s desire, even if this desire
is not addressed to us”
 
 
*
 
These little turbans on my toes,
they’re for you, too.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Those were the days of Brad and Angelina.
No I feel nonchalant, “those were the days”
of Tom and Katie. Of Jen and Vince.
 
Of those were the days.
 
Rocker hubby Gavin Rossdale
Mischa and Cisco
Jude and Sienna
Heath and Michelle
 
Britney and Kevin
Jude and Daisy
Swank and Lowe
Charlie and Denise
 
:
 
Those were the days
Those were the days
Those were the days
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We were arguing about the color. We were drinking beer. We were drinking coffee. We were drinking tea. We were drinking tequila. We were drinking watermelon juice. We were drinking water. We were drinking white wine. We were eating donuts. We were eating goat cheese. We were eating Lara bars. We were eating pesto. We were eating potato sausage. We were eating pupusas. We were eating okra. We were eating salad. We were eating yogurt. We were dancing. We were drawing windmills. We were getting too many infections. We were going to the doctor. We were going to New York. We were going to San Diego. We were going on a walk. We were going to go to Boston. We were going to go to Denmark. We were going to go to Iceland. We were going to go to yoga. We were going to go to dance class. We were fighting in the living room. We were hosting a party. We were listening to 50 Cent. We were listening to Aaliyah. We were listening to Amerie. We were listening to Baby Bash. We were listening to Bobby Valentino. We were listening to Faith Evans. We were listening to Feist. We were listening to Jay-Z and Beyonce. We were listening to Lil’ Flip. We were listening to the Lovemakers. We were listening to Mary J. Blige. We were listening to Mike Jones. We were listening to Leonard Cohen. We were listening to the Stranglers. We were listening to TLC. We were listening to 2 $hort. We were listening to Tweet. We were looking at cartoons. We were looking at the illustrations. We were moving boxes. We were moving our car. We were moving the VCR back and forth. We were picking berries. We were proofreading. We were reading A Lover’s Discourse. We were reading Folding Ruler Star. We were reading Freud. We were reading Fun in Games. We were reading The Iliad. We were reading The L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Book. We were reading The Lives of Wives. We were reading Over-Sensitivity. We were reading The Poetics of Space. We were reading Povel. We were reading The Romance of the Forest. We were reading Steps to an Ecology Of Mind. We were reading Young Goethe. We were shopping in Santa Cruz. We were sitting in the first row. We were taking medicine. We were taking a shower. We were talking. We were talking about hysteria. We were talking about lions. We were talking about poetry. We were talking on the phone. We were talking to the cat. We were wearing a green bandana. We were wearing a black slip. We were wearing grey corduroy pants. We were wearing a hat. We were wearing pearls. We were wearing a white suit. We were wearing a windbreaker. We were wearing a striped dress. We were wearing a yellow dress. We were on the bulletin board. We were on the couch. We were in agony. We were in Ashland. We were in the bath. We were in bed. We were in the cabin. We were in the car. We were in the classroom. We were in a drawing of the clouds. We were in Duluth. We were in the hills. We were in the kitchen. We were in the lake. We were in Los Angeles. We were in Orinda. We were in the parking lot. We were in the pool. We were at the bar. We were at the barbeque. We were at the bookstore. We were at the flea market. We were at the emergency room. We were at the hotel. We were at the movies. We were at the store. We were at the reading. We were at the party. We were at the wedding. We were drunk. We were high. We were separated on the airplane.