Joe Elliot ran a weekly reading series at Biblios Bookstore in New York for many years. He is the coeditor of two chapbooks—A Musty Bone and Situations—and is the author of numerous chapbooks. Granary Books published If It Rained Here (a collaboration with artist Julie Harrison) in 1997. His poem 101 Designs for the World Trade Centerwas published by Faux Press as an e-book in 2003, and a collection of his work, Opposable Thumb, was published by Subpress Collective in 2006. In 2010 Lunar Chandelier Press published Homework. For many years, Elliot made a living as a letterpress printer. He currently teaches English at Edward R. Murrow High School in New York and lives in Brooklyn with his wife, Anne Noonan, and their three boys.
The New Meow of the Old Cat
The structure of the poem is always simple, but the content, the actual stuff that finds its way
into it and which this poem, (like the dusty surface of the moon or the skin of a manikin or the phantom
impression of a body in a bed or waking up in a house that is almost exactly like your house
but is not your house (the new subject verbs the new object and so on)), lacks, is always inexplicably
true, obverted by the old bait and switch.
Sara Jane Stoner
Sara Jane Stoner’s first book, Experience in the Medium of Destruction, was published in 2015 by Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs. She is a PhD candidate in English at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and currently serves as a reviews editor for the Poetry Project Newsletter.
So This is Love
In the politic of this unavoidably whole time of the now I am saying feminism is I have taken a male pronoun as my lover and envy everyone my tits when the smell of your body after you’ve come to sweat enough to rust the backing of everything each rhinestone on what the horse people call my breast collar costs less than lunch thanks to the globally lubricated distribution channels which every day go fuck your mother.
I choose the street I walk down sometimes maximal with tied-up dog lusting after the hidden human and feminism is my appreciation of the intelligence old dogs exhume in me in their trembling as my gender is poised in the smell of your body after each and every cologne sold on Broadway has been applied to recently acquired territories of you measured by finest micrometer so this is love so this is love so these are the blown tulips of late spring and I am a sucker for starburst glass beneath a bucktoothed arch and I haven’t always been a man but when I am all of the sex jokes are real and I love straight edge sluts is a burger I made out of street talk and exorbitant spiciness when the capsaicin accrues in the body so much to the point that your own piss burns your own urethra like a charm.
Good art humiliates women in a way that lets her feel in control for a minute it must be superfun working with her because I dream I am masturbating a standard poodle in a work space a coffee shop full of day beds on which he reclines in speech to me but only inside my mind this is a dream he says hurry up have no time no penis only a hard rounded ridge that rises to palpability after an uncertain period of random rubbing so this is what makes life divine I dream my two-day-old daughter pops up and walks off it’s totally fine because good dream interpretation simply observes all aspects of the dream as aspects of the self.
Today we have unprecedented access to the eyeballs of Cindy Sherman so “presence of mind is an extract of the future” so my responsiveness is a mythical animal that consistently burns people who have trouble imagining me as a child so I show them pictures of what have you done that wallet chain is a bold autoumbilical choice and there is impotence in the heart of the traditional desire so this is love for mastery the heart of my investment in retinoids five figured shoes the scent the low mist whose composition is actually scientifically and literarily argued to be wholly composed of posed prostitutes in suits and actually is a wonderful word that obscures the fact that you’re forever aggressively apologizing and who am I to warn everyone of their own cadence.
If you don’t wish to be touched you shouldn’t have sat down because it is impossible to return to the miniature human before the poised carnage of affect when it hurts to discover how ugly she’s gotten since her heart was broken by herself and so what when unwelcome gifts of tequila give me the sex sobs what Sontag calls female chauvinism is a very long story about how she wasn’t a cat person and my cat is unstoppable by any force short of death or Margaret Trigg’s shit socks and surgically annotated visage is all aglow and now I know when I leer and stink at the suits of New York when I dandruff at them there is “no more character no more character at all.”
And now I know the world is nearing being known to be an artist of the human to produce a softness of matter poets chasing bare life into corners making babies is not an image what if the suits weren’t only partially iconized and pure capitalist commitment was actually pure sexual availability like coming close to naming the subject in the labyrinthine oblative of the equation my security equals your insecurity as we enter the center or center on the entrance and the key to all heaven is thine for as to be sure that “one of the bodies jammed in front of the barracks was mine.”