Issue a5 · 2012



Three Poems


by Trace Peterson








“So, how are the kids?”  They are suffering from their lack of existence, in the park, chasing a kite or morphing into moebius-strip-like shapes of language mesh, it’s scary how a zoo can make you feel safe.  We like to elide into the crowd, the mass, the prow of the boat cutting through the echo of the snowglobe, keeping an appointment and bereft of the appropriate fork.  Instead we’ve developed a new, all purpose utensil that incorporates every angle, a Picasso painting of a utensil, which though slightly tortured looking and sometimes beaten up on the street, is nevertheless parking transgressively in your spot while you’re not looking.  Here’s a gesture only an entitled punchbowl hand can make, we attempt while leaning over the banister to carouse with people who make half a million, then go home and hide, the syntactical confusion crooning us into velvet sheets of the poem.  As long as we could hide, internalized normative surveillance coming over for a little red wine and some brie cheese in the evening, we’d catch the bouquet before knowing what it meant. 








We spend all afternoon reading impenetrable texts like mystical objects, and when we look up the sun is ailing.  It has been given too much meaning and it burns through us, so lazy and retrofitted with memory.  To be open when we wish to survey and be surveilled, that is the best case scenario.  A best case scenario is a tactical move, analyzing the situation for its strengths and weaknesses.  A stream of consciousness winds its way through the volley of selves below in the street sprung with gardens at the edges.  Hydro-powered turbines start up, initiated by a single mouse click, a roving self-formation.  To humanize it, we encounter a sprig of rhythm, jutting out of the wall we thought solid, undermining it.  We implies a tour through lands of delight as well as suffering, and a distance from that morning.  From the bird’s eye view out the roving window, a study in grey and faded tones.  An absolute grid or relative grids are suggested but not definite, as we can step away from the shutters on our route to the kitchen for a cup of tea with purple antioxidants.  Carving the notice onto a playful scrim, a trade off, and then erasing it, we rebound from intimacy into a bone enclosure. 








Progress is overrated, if by progress we recall a lonely cyclist on a road dreaming of a mid-life crisis Aston Martin.  Hello, cyclist.  Hello, direct swathe of imperiled sky.  Temp workers glide by the destabilized progress report of confidence, immanent sense.  From where I stood by the endless bar, I could tell the rest of the war pack there I was in pain.  We stood by in pain at the frondless air.  To be meek, to sight under the tamped down light, lunging toward a treat.  Don’t shake hands with your landlord, shake your multicolored arms, bound chests, bound bodies in trouble which did that to themselves.  To take pride in a barracuda well done, I’m falling into lyceum greens.  Oh grass, handle my denial responsibly, with a soft hand just inches above cables, I-beams, circuits in the meat.  With a soft hand that doesn’t float around the room, but lands astray.  I’m stumbling into the doorway of my residence, pushing out the air. 











Trace Peterson is the author of Since I Moved In (Chax Press) and Violet Speech (2nd Avenue Poetry) and the editor/publisher of EOAGH.  Peterson is co-editing, with Gregory Laynor, the forthcoming Collected Writings of Gil Ott (Chax Press), co-editing with TC Tolbert the forthcoming Anthology of Trans & Genderqueer Poetry (EOAGH Books), and curates the TENDENCIES: Poetics & Practice talks series at CUNY Graduate Center.