Laurie Blauner

Five Poems

Chlorophylled, Regenerative

I didn’t.  Then I did. The psy­cho­log­i­cal rose
pinned on a green shirt that wore you inside out. Seams
showed.  Insects spoke.  Girls who knew you laughed,
dis­eased worlds that they were.  I felt chewed, a lit language
uplift­ed with­in me.  Don’t, you said, I’m a part of…
I liked being fixed, slathered in the bright­est silence.
You felt pale, smit­ten by weeds and ruined clouds
until grief snapped, defeat­ing sci­ence.  If you weren’t
sun­lit by days, made of small moments.
I have learned to eat noth­ing or

I’m returned to that con­cealed world, where
you strug­gled with the oppos­able; bro­ken glass;
green, cur­dled yogurt; crushed grass.
A flash­light in my face and I was all yours,
too many mouths on my skin.  I burst.

As Things Fell Down

Little cadav­ers flew into the face of near­ly everything.
We were dressed to kill.  They were like insects,
but we named them feel­ings.  We couldn’t
resolve our dif­fer­ences.  We probed parents.
So much could be said for sci­en­tif­ic understanding.
There was too much against us, even sky
pushed us hard and far.  Clouds opened false
teeth, swal­lowed.  A bruise-col­ored marriage.

Where did it hurt and for how long?
We all did things that slipped out of our hands,
broke.  What have we done to each other?
Everything filled every­thing else…

We found things inside one another’s body
that couldn’t stay there any longer. I was compelled
by romance to remove the small annoyances
that imped­ed us, hos­tile ani­mals, all that
bleed­ing, things skit­ter­ing off table tops.
Little cadav­ers waved good­bye under
implod­ed moon­light the night I for­got them.
Twitching in my throat, a body’s tiny world
was tee­ter­ing between ruined countries.

Shy Instruments of Misunderstanding

Someone was sud­den­ly behind you.  Her hat,
her scan­dalous appetite for air, weren’t extra-
ter­res­tri­al.  Her bones poked through her skin.
You believed an apol­o­gy was in order.

We were all tourists obfus­cat­ing emp­ty space.
I entered, car­ry­ing here to there, and some­thing became
attached to me.  You described oth­er places to be.
We stood at a win­dow, smoke pressed into the evening.
(No dif­fer­ent from any­one else).

You reached inside your com­pan­ion, scooped out
some­thing to com­fort me.  The moon scoured a table,
plucked an appe­tiz­er.  You stood, with your head on her
shoul­der, get­ting tech­ni­cal.  I explained the illusion
of set­ting your own house on fire.

Did you resem­ble me, sur­prised by a defi­cient afternoon,
limp­ing scenery, our bod­ies with inten­tions of their own?
I had a ques­tion about all the small things that imped­ed us,
bro­ken machines, objects skit­ter­ing off table tops.
The world looked away from us just when we need­ed it the most.

This Could Be a Solution

since it’s not a black dress, designed for a quandary.
I was def­er­en­tial as you intro­duced your miss­ing unhappiness,
with its rid­dles and posi­tions between ran­dom clouds.
We were bereaved, bristling in the blonde grass, wait­ing for
our feet to prac­tice tiny acts of violence.

Version 7

We were full of his­tor­i­cal errors that couldn’t come around to
our way of think­ing about aug­men­ta­tion or how a shirt
wrapped itself around an object.  Leave the hem as you would
some­one drown­ing.  Leave the dark sleeves hidden.

Version 20

More of what has hap­pened wasn’t a solu­tion because
it inter­rupt­ed the hours.  You weren’t sleeping
with­out your ideas, were you?  My mind was silent,
as though full of every­thing, along with black shoes.

Version 36

Yesterday the hap­pi­est spot was near your knees.
You were danc­ing to make it loud­er, rhyming in all
that emp­ty space.  Watch it fly toward the ris­ing surface.
We have to be care­ful where we move our feet.  Hazardous
floors, queru­lous ques­tions and chairs sur­round us.
You could lose your­self in per­me­able folds.

Version 52 

Between more than us, sky was stut­ter­ing with a dis­guised you.
All that music was friend­ly, so you could offer your good
hand, the one that didn’t lie or say it was some­thing it wasn’t.
Like a begin­ning.  Like some mag­i­cal machine.
I was care­ful where I kept my body.

Version 64 

I was sor­ry that it was what it was.  The solu­tion looked better
in blue.  All that blonde grass was an announcement.
Things could fall, trees becom­ing furniture
with lim­i­ta­tions.  I’ve learned to hate the edges,
stairs, homes, sen­tences.  I’m grow­ing care­ful­ly unconscious.
All those black dress­es will find us.  I want them to use us
so they can dance in small, wist­ful towns.  What is draped
is open­ing, as though it’s every­thing flushed from the answer.

Ferris Wheel

We became the scenery.  No parts were harmed in its mak­ing.  My reflec­tion slipped through glass, arced where sky met met­al, drift­ed past the ges­tures of birds embed­ded in rev­o­lu­tion­ary clouds with their own agen­das.  Your body som­er­sault­ed inside my head, leaked at its own insis­tence until I was drenched in our for­eign romance with my own zeal.  Our tumult was tum­bling, while a coun­try I would describe as squan­der­ing its sheep, polit­i­cal lunatics, and risky cur­ren­cy tip­toed below us.  I was mas­querad­ing as some­one who cared about the end­less cir­cle of life.  I grew dizzy with my eyes open.  I spilled my throat and eye­lids against your bright orange and blue shirt, imply­ing that speed and the var­i­ous angles fright­ened me.

Simple things scared me the most.  They grew com­pli­cat­ed and scur­ried through my dreams as light­ning sparked by cut­lery or black rain or the wrong turn.  We invent­ed every oncom­ing moment, one after anoth­er, until they blurred.  We rav­eled then unrav­eled togeth­er.  My lit­tle scream unwound near the end, per­haps for show.  First the smell of grease and gears, then, after dis­em­bark­ing, food and con­ver­sa­tions in anoth­er lan­guage unspooled along the pier, greet­ing us.  I pirou­et­ted, my skirt fly­ing around me, my feet lift­ed off the ground suc­ces­sive­ly.  My eyes rolled and flut­tered.  My mouth was open and round and per­pet­u­al­ly aston­ished at tourist sights.  This was a new place that I would be leav­ing soon.  I fol­lowed your dark hair fur­ther into a crowd wear­ing col­or­ful clothes.  I want­ed anoth­er kiss, more toes, a cir­cu­la­to­ry greet­ing from all the passers­by.  What I received:  being any­where and every­where; a nec­es­sary and cru­el coun­try; and a man who swal­lowed me with aban­don like the scarred moon absorbed by darkness.

Take me to that park, I request­ed, point­ing to the green ques­tion mark.

He posed, his arms raised.  But I’m busy hold­ing the heav­ens up, he said in per­fect English.

I knew we were back where we had started.


Laurie Blauner is the author of two nov­els, Infinite Kindness and Somebody, and six books of poet­ry.  A novel­la called Instructions for Living was pub­lished in 2011 from Main Street Rag.  Her most recent book of poet­ry was Wrong from Cherry Grove Collections.  She has received a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship as well as Seattle Arts Commission, King County Arts Commission, 4Culture, and Artist Trust grants and awards.  She was a res­i­dent at Centrum in Washington state and was in the Jack Straw Writers Program in 2007.  Her work has appeared in The New Republic, The NationThe Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, and many oth­er mag­a­zines.  A nov­el titled The Bohemians is forth­com­ing from Black Heron Press in 2013 and a poet­ry chap­book is forth­com­ing in 2013 from danc­ing girl press.