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3 Sections from TRUE TUNES


C on the elevator,
skirt up, unfaithful

to another.

S’s nipple in the bar,
with soon-to-be-ex hubby

the famed painter.

J, the first time,
post lover, to see

if she liked it.

E’s menstruating,
shaven, pristine

kid sister.

B, on the street,
picked up—luminous,

later, in the dark.

Stroller deranged
Mother deserts

where horses canter

the bridle path.

Matter’s notorious

Desire blistering
this side of the sun.

Though hard
to recall details

or why labors.

Venus: 1 Train

Gold tiny heart locket.
Gold nostril ring.

Mauve toes, nails.
Red, cat-eye shades.

Earlobe diamond.
Platinum’s black roots.

Taut, navel-pierced,
exposed belly.

Fuchsia, glossed lips.
Arm: butterfly tattoo.

Sighs, stirs—
what annoys her?

Profiled, fisted chin,
like The Thinker.

Virginal as when
she strode sea foam.

Though her tongue
will soon sap a boy.

That which hurts
or heals the world?

Strappy, wedge heels:
whose bonds?

Silver bracelets:
whose shackles?

Adored past
the masturbatory light.

O, immortal traveler,
yet your disciple.


Poor thing,
nothing but vistas.

Prelude to dull,
whole days.

Weary of her
boring stories.

Lunch at hot spots
the dark shuts.

Why not quit her job?
or find one?

Say yes, no—
not get personal.

She’d like to scream,
just a little.

Be her slut sister—
the total show.

Lustrous, absolute,
irreducible silver.

Commerce: asleep
like a child.

Dusk: powdered,
eyelined, rouged.

But whether for
lust, love, languor.

After leather night:
still, yet, I fell.

Destined to wake
to familiars.

Drear, drab—dear!—
enkindled chill.


Hugh Seidman

Hugh Seidman was born in Brooklyn. His books have won several awards including: the Green Rose Prize (Somebody Stand Up and Sing), the Yale Younger Poets Prize (Collecting Evidence), and the Camden Poetry Award (People Live, They Have Lives). His Selected Poems: 1965-1995 received a Critics’ Choice “Best Books” citation and was listed as one of the “25 Favorite Books of 1995” by The Village Voice. He has also won three New York State poetry grants (NYFA and CAPS) and three National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) fellowships. Seidman has taught writing at the University of Wisconsin, Yale University, Columbia University, the College of William and Mary, and the New School University—among other institutions.


The Brooklyn Rail

NOV 2004

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