you are in the diode archives fall 2010



Ars Poetica as Tourist

It is bell weather.

The empty cobblestone streets
ricochet bravado. 

On the doorstep at the Hall
of Expectations:
a fugue scribbled out
a heart floating above its leash
a canister of gasoline next to a lit match.

All the shop windows are winked
shut, shuttered to keep
out a contagion of clouds. 

The mayor sits in the tower
next to his Great Desire.

Sadly, the plum tree
no longer bears fruit, having
been held up earlier. 

As instructed by the thief, the tree
slowly counted to one hundred,
but days later it has yet to stop
reaching for the sky.


Inspector Ars Poetica

The sky’s gotten gutsy in its menu of operatives.  Gray baritone clouds are nailed to a fence. Wind is humping trees like a sultan in his harem.  This act will not beget more wind.  But it will blow 1886 into Istanbul.  The station chief has the water wheel pulled up, dripping for an hour while the brain goes clean as a minnow. Gone, the red moon staring open as an orchid behind a veil. Gone, the entire jungle of chirping instruments.  It is clear that the murderer carefully planned his getaway.  His boat disappeared in the river of sighs.  Every sigh rose up and took its place in air.


Ars poetica Does the Circus

How many peanuts does it take to anchor your stomach to the couch so you are forced to rustle up some words for the page and even the most powerful flatulence motor can’t hydroplane you off the sofa.  Sickies, planet of bad habits polluting your stream of consciousness with a clown juggling IRS form 8663s, the mad dervish of text twist that’s corrupted the unicyclist’s balance.  When you buy a trinket made of split ends, the tiny poodle ringmaster loses his voice. No amount of whip thwacking and heyheying, no hawing is gonna move your elephants.  No matter how big the peanut, how enticing the tutus, how ghoulish the famous cadaver at your feet. Don’t bother kicking it, it has absolutely nothing to say. Don’t bother putting pearl onions in its eye sockets like the Egyptians who mistook the brain for an extended case of snot.  Gypsum dunes can be hard as burnt bunt cake dropped from a trapeze.  In some country, but never the one you’re in, a snake spells out your future in wet cement outside a Grauman’s Chinese. It is too late.  All the popcorn is gone.


False Positives

All winter I leave the grass
to its own devices.  Vines
inscribe the screen like curlicues
of barbed wire. The sun
is just a play thing for the cat.  Are
the crows calling for aspirin?  Inequalities
drive the sufi wind. Some days
I hear the empty cicada shells
try to rustle up meaning.  The
horizon isn’t strong enough
to hold up the sky, which
is colluding with a flock of vowels
to down the light. Light so thin
that even shadows have left
their shadows behind.


Growing Up

Somehow I missed the potato floating amid an asteroid
field in The Empire Strikes Back. I never once
noticed that every single episode of Seinfield
contains a reference to Superman, that Psycho’s
Bates Hotel was actually a 3/4 scale miniature
and that Hitchcock traded blood for Bosco. It’s bad
enough to learn that desks afford no protection
from nuclear holocaust, that I wasted hours waiting
to go swimming after lunch, that Twinkies really do
have a shelf life and that Jello is made from hide
and hoof. Hopefully not hide or hoof taken from
a famous ruminant like Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer,
who was, by the way, a complete fabrication
of Montgomery Ward’s marketing department. Disney
also fooled with Mother Nature, slandering masses
of lemmings as suicidal when in fact
the filmmakers launched the unwilling rodents over
a cliff for their flick White Wilderness. Bet the wilderness
wasn’t so white at the bottom of that cliff. My childhood
would have been content riding the toboggan
on Disneyland’s Matterhorn forever, without
ever knowing that Mickey Mouse look-alikes
were playing basketball within. What can you rely on
as bedrock if the Panama hat, French fries, German
chocolate cake and India ink didn’t come from
those places? That the Bible never says Eve tempted
Adam with an apple? That the cherry tree had nothing
to fear from young George Washington? As much as I
would absolutely swear on George Washington’s
(non-wood) dentures that Captain Kirk said,
“Beam me up, Scotty,” he never actually did and
Sherlock Holmes never uttered, “Elementary,
my dear Watson.” Here are revelations that
really warp me: The Monkees’ Mike Nesmith’s mother
invented White-Out, one of Roger Moore’s Bond
girls by the pool had once been a guy, and blood
from members of KISS was mixed with ink to print
the group’s comic book. Seen through an adult lens,
Mary Poppins seems cold and anal, Kennedy
and King slip down a notch for their philandering,
C.S. Lewis for his sexual peccadilloes. I feel
like a 4-H kid at auction saying goodbye to his
first clover-fed calf. Innocent me, never
suspecting that I Dream of Jeanie’s bottle
was a special Christmas Jim Beam liquor decanter
containing bourbon whiskey or that the Star Trek
theme has lyrics written by Gene Roddenberry,
who never used them in the show, but coined
them solely to worm in on the composer’s residuals.
Oh mean heroes and cracks in the lead paint veneer,
I see it now, my innocent days were all mirrors
and second-hand smoke.  


Stefi Weisburd’s The Wind-Up Gods (Black Lawrence Press, 2007) won the St. Lawrence First Book Award. She has also received a The Nation/Discovery Prize, a Bread Loaf Scholarship, and a Lannan Foundation writing residency.  Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, The Gettysburg Review, The Iowa Review, Poetry Daily, and others.  Her collection for children, Barefoot: Poems for Naked Feet, was published in 2008 by Wordsong.  She works as an outreach coordinator for a biomedical engineering program at the University of New Mexico.