archives spring 2009



My Skinker

     1.  Sled

In between Charles Wright and
V. Woolf, the poem (tooth)
situated itself and the passive
erased Paul Celan (whew!)
replacing him with Rilke
only after the blue fuzz
appointed the Duino Elegies
as his successor.  Wait,
who said anything about
dumping him for
someone else?  Who
mentioned it?  What
kind of fickle creepstress
would serve gumbo to
a painter and then expect
her to walk away with
dry feet?  And questioning
the undoing is not
an ending.

     2.  Prodigy

We will referent
to cover the bulge.
One black notebook
was accepted and the
wrist snapped, finally,
like it was supposed
to and that backhanded
and wouldn’t leave
after someone announced
that time was up.

     3.  BAP

Who can take that wire
and unstring it from the
Bolognese figurine crowding
the top of it all with
the younger brother, the foil,
the ambassador’s gum-
chomping fall-guy, the acid
sub-siding, the food, always,
with always, at the

     4.  Nian

Man and she hit it off
along with a bunch
more in 04 and will
again in 05.  That
rubber bracelet
assumes a voice,
in blue, yellow and pink.
Why doesn’t she write
to me and tell me she
likes me?  The Swedish
moonboots walk
lightly on that year
and I want them
to flush out the
coiled aspirations of
those colorists, those
those people without


The Residence or She Gave It To Me

     I     Who is Judah?

I was “reading” a poem by MW
entitled,  DeletingForThem This
Brochure is Unnecessary,”and and
People Magazine, one seat ahead
to my left, made me want to
Live Compassionately.  Would
a baby help their marriage?
Why did I not know I was
in Ethiopia?  I thought
hard with my lexicon.
Then, red, yellow and blue
happened.  Red fastened
itself to yellow seated
while blue belted out
Usable.  “I use
them for something
else,” she said.

     II    Dialogue

Graphite got lazy,
said, “Take out
the sneeze” with-
out saying why,
articulating the
rhetorical necessity
for establishing order
within the criticism.
“The bald spot
pressed mind
under the square light,”
he snorted, and
we, including those
two in the faux-fur,
all yelled, “Act
Responsibly ! ! !”
The migraine res-
ponded.  The left
side numb,
vomit, “vomit
excised,” one wrist
watch and the closed
cover.  “We do not
need reading glasses.”

     III   World

Wool adorned with
a rectangle, not usable,
used, instead, to attract
attention to the top
of the butt-crack
in commas and coughs
and black plastic
adjustments.  “Is
this too much for
you?” he asked
so she hid it
in the shadow
of the thumbnail
only only
came, stuck on
the shrimp spear
she dared not eat.
She touched the
SGUN.  His wife said,
“poatree ees an ahrt.”
The painting was
hung too high.
B called the next
morning, packing, to say,
“thank you.”  It
was a cell phone.  It
was Brancusi by the
stairs, it was Susan’s
raw-hide correctives.

It was not
Conversion reversed
the red X and the
arrow pointed into
the slot where the mettle fit.

She did say, “permission.”


Topography of the Sound Universe

My discreet sorrow
Hides in the dichotomy
Of your duplicitous palm

Offer me your hand
Our patty-cake will
Clap away antipathy  bug


Sally Van Doren’s book Sex at Noon Taxes won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2007 and was published by Louisiana State University Press in 2008. Her poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in American Poet, anti-, Crayon, 5AM, Margie, Ping-Pong, Sawbuck, Southwest Review, and Verse Daily.