Maggie Golston


A Sideways Valentine for Kathleen

There is no irony in a laundromat. We can't

		afford it. I've sorted everything, disposed 

of the last of a pair of interloping socks. You

are teaching me psychoanalysis and I am coming

		around the corner with a basket of wet

underthings. The moi, the belong-to-me. Kat, tell me what 

to do with the mirror if every self is fictive,

		what to do with a body before distance, some body

	under construction. A story: when he left her body became

transitory, changed. His return and a backhanded

		blow- what do we do about danger? About

sensation? What happens to heart 

		on sleeve, to weight of the world, to poker 

face? He called her name and she looked into the mirror, seeing

that she was, in fact, herself. I once wished that I was in his body, making 

		it walk, owning its impulse. Now I want for direction 

and blocking, walks r. to sofa and collapses, waters plants

 		at l. The erotogenic grows diffuse across 

		my contours while lovers in the movies gaze

at each other with the same fluttering eyeballs, spastic

pupils lying about love and its pretty aftermath. She wanted

		every inch of his big skin; her own prickled

	with it long afterward. My body is more than sum of parts, less than, 

	                  coerced, mollified. Methodically, we erase the mark of him, stain

remover, stain remover, washing powder, bleach.


Kathleen is saying that it was not his trangression

		that wounded her, but the site of the telling.

                     	 What was worst was the fact of non-uniqueness,


		the thousand hypotheticals that make an ugly scene in an unused bed. She cracks clean sheets into folds. Thrashing patterns 

of devotion, we drag on cigarettes not our

		brand, linger on the imperfectly gestural. Immobile

in the impossible situation, or merely perched? Her face,

her Marxism, her black coffee cold in its mottled cup.

Our love not as symptom but as action, cast

as it is, variously. She calls him a two-balled bitch.

What do we mean by offering

to occupy each other, to live there, in stages

of betrayal and betraying? Later, her lover  

will translate my synonym into a sensum of cinnamon;

like sending a crossed signal by newspaper,

he'll get me all undone and wrongly conjugated.

Enter time, the leaf will not fall, and we

differentiate, enter the moment she gets occupied (once, 

I too was taut, desired). Those men, their attentions

now disappeared, disappearing, but we live beyond

that body-driven, and I'll wish to have said what I strain

around, that I forgot this whole amorous and lopsided

world, hid it increasingly in a growing expanse

of skin, which is what we are, which is skin and more than.

History Chanty

1.	plodding father

Loser…			blinker-

arrived or arriving

skinned or languidly skinning or whole

	countrymen dead

men bending…

winds hanging; loudly

intoning. Hidden sides of;

then digging baseward father's window shuts,

		dredging compost-

rude to say.

(hidden folds and last year's heist)

my god thick with vibrato

Give up.

Have anger gore into you until it sings:



dad's in the middle of giving you life

and you're just standing there)

	-mother's jagged name represents

	forests then alimony then her forefinger…

2.	india ink

You can always have this city

	not blotted but respectfully

under-dyed until you can blur it.

You can slide your hands through it,

hiss your high notes

(some hungry like cities and saddened or sick).

Men full of guilt,

sick of order or emptiness,

	one digit

placed beneath the place where the tide meets the muck


some work forestalled. Some tint of misfortune.

A boy with a lump swelling from his forehead is moving

but unmotivated. He's limp as a syringe

	plunged and jettisoned.

You sleep afraid in lighted rooms,

more lolling or contrite than a backstabber,

than payback.

Your skin and hair

	rougher now, rougher-

scabrous or about to scab, shoulder by shoulder

sit with her,

grasp rovingly that princess

of little affect


tender plush


(fill her)