FALL 2009

Brenda Coultas


My father’s workshop, wooden tables turned to rot. Slumping
Tools, rods, belts, motors.

A Hoarder buried under her own greed for
newspapers and receipts
(Is reading & writing an act of composing or composting?)

Messages barked
Out by Frank’s box or the poems of Hannah Weiner.
And I follow my spirit guides Bernadette Mayer and Brad Will

Bernadette has lots of books and papers.
Poets build bookshelves: the worse part of poetry is the paperwork.
Poems distract poets from thoughts of death.

Objects distract me from realities.
Objects protect me from thoughts of death.
Yours and mine.

Film of Brad eating fire or of Brad’s wedding to a man in a time before men married men.

Watching him eat fire.
I have some of his objects which keep me from thoughts of his death. I lie.

Grandpa wrote his figures on panels of cig cartons.
And I save their clutter too, even the phone numbers
I won’t erase them thus keeping the Database of Phantoms alive.

Robert felt incomplete until the ashes arrived.
Then he had something. The remains of those he loved.

Wooden bowls feed me.
Cup of tea makes me know I am alive
(If I were dead I could not feel the heat of the cup or taste the bitter tannins.)
Cup of tea distracts me from my death and the death of everyone I love.

Bloodstained napkin told of toothache
Cup of tea told me I was alive
Seed pods lay crushed on sidewalk
Rattan dining set told me to sit down and watch
Bulky coats feed the pigeons and squirrels
Chair legs ordered me to the desk, to write of this.

Brenda Coultas is the author of A Handmade Museum and The Marvelous Bones of Time, both published by Coffee House Press. She lives in the East Village in Manhattan.




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