The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2018

All Issues
APR 2018 Issue

trick o’death



when you are sitting
with the corpse of your friend
this is what to do
when what do you do

if you are strong
make a binding of your mind
surface the body
breathe in quick breaths

huff! huff!
this is what to do
libation in small drops
on heart center
coins of ancient India on eyes
feathers and serpentine
and open words like talismans
that shake the cosmos
as in opening a crypt
asleep too long
for death is awakening
and the alive, like you, ahunted
like “art” like “phantasm”
they will guide you
around the heart
circle around heart’s cold
with drops of amrita

leave them there
of candle, frugal
or flame
can she see?
she can still hear they
say hearing is last to go
more of this is what to do
images of all you loved
to go and lastly
enterprise to repeat
acts of love, and in going
pound heart once more
summon here
to outlast the misogynist
other curative wisdom
what is our speed
to know from branches of laurel
trick o’death a strategy
this is what to do

be tactful
the dead are shy
go inside them
visit their nooks & crannies
visualize their ash and impermanence

then how to start a spirit fire
play some music with your hands
sing masculine song of the mourning dove
you are alive in cosmetic time

her death chamber cooler now
stretched on the plinth
her cheek fading
you can whisper: see the Syrinx,
laurel, a tuft of reeds offered
reeds like to hold you close
100 eyes will see from inside you
false twitch

could be nothing
going on
but seeing like this
a cut, a scar the beautiful slit
of feminine aperture

and can laugh at trick o’death
that’s what you say to
a fabulous corpse
un-gendered now
trick o’death
growing younger by
stuttered moment:
have no fear

she’s getting out of this
into another maelstrom
or just nothing, no breathing
streets are quieter
world violence
feels less structural
lies as secrets seem truer now
you nab them
the interlocutors
blue calcite
most prominent heirloom
in color, texture
imagination of mercurial
twilight words to utter
in the doorway
the bottom of the mind
smart luck
with crossroads
encryption, generation
to know you, spider
of crypt

what does the trickster say
spastic or
hiding so as in retreat
how many come-ons in one lifetime
you will stand in for her beauty
fend off patriarchal poetry
and your own struggle
in cultural anachronism
bombing unilaterally
nothing about
socially constituted
witch trials
women restrain or manipulate desire
face understood it must vocalize
working a voice
(dead lady of the lake)
opposed to state apparatus
my sword! my sword!
my mirror! my mirror!
come, sirrah, come

behind the dull glass
what face
pleasure gleam
in status quo
ragged coyote
of display
acculturation text
rite’s viability
naked return?
code this
dressing up like
a prince to love you
form is arbitrary
ruins hard
what the country wants
appropriate to
“the people
want it”
look of the west
mysterious logos
rock on the road
The Ghent altarpiece
& its tribulation
exemplified in the material
worship they nibbled
monsters under cartel
broken down colonial
it issues forth
her disordered mouth
erotic wish
or queer?

I believe in crucible logic
harassment and insubordination
breaking though
no regulation
but performance
what is the grammar drag,
how exquisite demon feminine
not be victim
a vow, a queen
will not be plaything
you, sister, reckoning
a large scale genome algorithm

taking you down
of own mind
it pulls it spins you, gender
into fragmented realities
of future past & present
a span is epic is how
every life form is turbulent
where you are seen in
a series of guises
& some go exhaust
the void, a full place
and a sensory gate still opens
what wanted to believe
went there in a dream
of sleight of hand
shark of all cards
giving out
the tactile organs
kinesthesia like handshake
eidetic tesserae
bargained my kidney,
my spleen, my
temporal lobe
eyes in all heads
too many imposters
hacker in a past life?
how’s the glitzy façade?

saying, your woman’s hand has
a detour
if you just open this door
ghost was saying
your woman’s bed has a detour

is true? I wonder
she is in red
she wears the same scarf I do
her hair is shorn, tonsure

this is and
this is and this is
the way it looks
and this is the way it is
and this is the way she looks and
this is the way she is
this is the nimbus she is
and this is her rebus
this is the category and
this is a song of her restitution
this is the calyx and this is the individual
this is the etiquette and this is the lung
this is the shadow and abacus of hovering
a trace to count on
who will bear the weight of this tissue
this issue, hair & nails of the yogini
this is the clinical this is the invasion
this is the odds and these are the statistics
whatever you meet unexpectedly on the path
cross purposes whenever you can
expand the road

longer limb that long extends
and this is the longer lung that extends
longer speech, she was always vocally
the longest of all
mouthing off the longest syllable
ask and whatever you meet
and your own death, asking
this is and this is a longing
this is Ceres summoning Dame Hunger
this is Ethiopian Andromeda
this is tranced attention
this is Hermaphroditus
this is a shouter, an Engine-Woman
become a midnight star, Callisto

when you are in your trouble
and turn from death
this is what to do
find the meeting place
under stars
any old way
saying this is the place
this is indeed the place
lie down here
where one thrives
with thieves
where one can fuck without retribution
(meet me at the edge of town)
a road out there
answer to curiosity
don’t you get it?
derivative mimicry
isn't going to reflect world’s
madness like she can
out of doors mimicking love or death
junction where you can go either way
& feminism is old mistress to strange
tiers of it to make you think
on death
how cold it is out on on the road
making love like this
with the stars conspiratorial, hey!
they are your neighbors
slivers of twinkling form
in one out of many universes
existing in “probability space”
ice rustles, shimmers above the
clouds and you are probable too
what shape, body?
with what do you inspire devotion?
how do you construct existence?
your pioneer apparati
your added on
identity, a voice hits all the
your conglomerations
with your timidity
with your power
your willingness to die
and cairns where we’ll leave
markers for you
find the way
to love that drives you?
loosened aside a bower
down the road

little tones piling up to make a melody of
your way your various parts organize to
be be here in fiction
stones can be struck
will one still sit astride
his thigh
or it hasn't started having onto you yet
bright girl
don’t you get it yet
how they fuss you over
with love of all things mind
meant to be in your care
innermost being
insides of things, as poet feels
inner bark from a ghost tree
aspiration, and go down
and some still resting on laurels of survived
dominence look again
a factotum
a dead book perhaps
drive my sex into its covers
driven by lust outside
fear that money drives
the world down under
to shut all feeling existence out
great mind
will I be bought by

last ditch patriarchy
how weakens

maybe passed by here
& bowed & made offering
to corpse of rascals

stones speak of hardship
where you boil them for food
for their mineral ink magic
scribe is the
new phase coming
of tones made visible
odd patches
scribe is
memes of evolving feminism
& the means of it
speak your heroes, mash them
mixed with your fervor
how assiduously seeking gnosis
this is what to do
as in ways or means
& committee meets to
& spit to
a con, to push over you buy
goods that enhance
the misty feminine way of life
how to sell it? undiluted
empower the girl
sex master to the guy

get down, morphing sister
get down
what are your ploys
stacking up
Capitalist wiles
may they be none your ploys
we laud over aroma,
scents of doom

fuck the idiots of compassion
& the titular rape mode of quest & dream
& outlook

what do we see? a weeping
a weeping many centuries wide
vaster submersive system
it weeps, century weeps
& weeps
a stall of state
the mao of
the heil for hell
the muss of the hurt
a franco murders
a pol a pot a papa doc
somo, pero pino assad
of the hurt
capital hurts

the dictators
on bite of diction of it
& silence
& the other creeps in their slimy way
& bend an arm

moans of

trauma, trauma
to this poetry now

get over right now
paradox of fear
muscle up
find yourself in boundary
a name which means
“I have tricked you”
woman up
your paradox of betrayal


didn’t steal the poems,
am I not their keeper?

want to crash gates of
city, life gives
ambiguity & deceit
old fem con to make you pay
all this curvaceous beauty
& tough sisterhood
take heart my lovely
meet me on the other edge of town
(one for lovers
this one for assassins)
dagger glint in moonlight

how many femmes can you hold
in dusk time
when it’s too late
the friend the enemy
hag in retribution
how many years, an icy lore
remote that they do this to any bodies
you know they do this to women
on their rounds
and to bodies sensitive as women’s
the strange, displaced the transposed the
fully realized how ever declaring self

aggression to move
heaven & earth
resumes Holy measures
and it is a spiritus praxis I sing
O lordy lordy
to open yr own tomb
then you’re fearless
when you are the tomb
& prescient womb

go down, matrix
down, tomb of women
stealing your secrets
& these are the secrets I steal
innermost beings
a mesh of silicon and copper

they’ll beat it, meme of us: metataxis
the way is in charge
is at it metabolically and has to go
we make him go
can’t let it go
& you go but make him go
what is it they do
they do it, let the fucker go
drive the death in
he flees from assassin
grasses will hide & rejoice
when they drive death in
what are they thinking
aren’t they smarter than that
& heads go down onto the obedient road
please learn this before you leave this earth
rout plights to bury the wild girl
women in abstraction thinning
they are the neglect and thinning
you say that again
and can’t rise
ones but they do rise
and then there are the bitches
they do rise
in disguise of agenda
they do rise
what is the ploy
a strange miasma….
a scented elixir
drank the
what is it?
wordless amrita?
with out word
how off it goes
they rise
roads close will road home
crossroads will make you stand tall
in your architecture of chance
“down the rabbit hole”
they rise the other side

feminism is your ploy,
come out now
how many you go con
bruited lab death of feminism
celebrate her
goons in employ no more
hyperbolic man-thing
but it is the dying too,
women of dying too
of sacrifice you say gesture no
it is dying women are dying because
they are women
you get them dying
how late catching
catch up
get a tender heart
get before it is too late
bunny magic all over the map
she burnishes the cosmic mirror
rabbit is in the moon
illusion’s illusions strumming on
have out being round
being around voice
jumping thrice over coyote

I want to take down the big horrible men
I want to murder them in their icy sleeves
I want to cuff them
not you brethren but the imposters
not the gentle mean but
wicked horrible men
& their minions
& horrible women who obey
& cater and mew & shuffle
all psychophants

just so you know what stage femme
is on evolving
its fluid body
its principle
the crossroads can’t nail you down
to ignorance
but it’s a promise
meets you there
it’s a prophecy it’s a
decision no
where you can be unless you get right here
with the corpse, yes
make conjunct where you keep moving from
with choice & impetus
which way the wind blows
avenge all deaths of hers
drive the stake in



Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman is the author of the forthcoming Trickster Feminine (from Penguin) Voice’s Daughter of A Heart Yet To Be Born (Coffee House Press) and Extinction Aria. (Pied Oxen). She is the Artistic Director of the Jack Kerouac School’s Summer Writing Program at Naropa  Boulder, June 10-30, whose theme this year is The Capitalocene.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2018

All Issues