Your job is to sit spread-legged,
keep those knees very still
and animate those arms while you
smoke a cigar. It’s a cigar room.
Be a boy in the boys’ room, take a look
around. Only the hands, the lips
and the smoke move. Your job
is to build a new room.
You get nineteen thousand dollars.
Custom made built-in shelving,
fireplace, two windows that work
that are worth an igloo.
All the ducks in a row in the girls’ room,
the danceyourassoff room, adjacent
to the hunting room where the longhouse
once stood. A tent, a tent, listen
to the rain. Play dominoes, plug leaks,
gear up, get wet, listen to the rain.
It’s coming in the room. Gather you
from everywhere and teach you
in a school room on this side of the hill.
Here is the car, the kinetic room.
Kitchen behaviors need not apply.
No chapel behaviors, no bedrooms.
Only cockpit swagger and smoking
in the parking lot out back.
The Illusion of Separation
Our sneakers pigeon-toed,
laced tight, our head kicked back
to the window, our beer belly hanging
over our pants, our purse
sliding off our shoulder while we look
at our phone, our eyes turned up
at ads for books, our camouflage rain boots
wide on our calves and visible,
our hair graying evenly, our pecs
beneath our onyx cross,
our mosquito-bitten legs,
our hand resting casually
an inch from our penis.
Bang bang! We're in a ditch.
We're broke. We got no shoes. Sob
a story. Line your eyes. Pull breath
and pounce out volume, a push
on the hip. Sorry I ruined
your party. Sorry I peed
on your floor mothermother.
Honey stuck in your pipe. Mother
tries to eat herself out of her body
her body plumping until there’s no room
for soul. Harden against the instinct
to help. There is hope. The muscles
are brick and unmoving. I lay
shrouded in bed. Why the fan?
Maturity is when you can hold
two contradictory ideas in your head
at the same time. Emote
against the airplane, like
the elephants. You are here
for the silk and chiffon,
for the bell shapes, billowing
in nipple-soft pinks. You say
very few words, but suggest
the poofiest gowns.
EMILY BRANDT has two chapbooks due out in the summer of 2014: Behind Teeth from Full Court Books and ManWorld from dancing girl press. Her poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Coconut, H_NGM_N, Tammy, The Atlas Review, Epiphany, Berkeley Poetry Review, and other journals. She earned her MFA from New York University where she facilitated the Veterans Writing Workshop. She has been in residence at Saltonstall Arts Colony and Elsewhere in Greensboro, NC. Emily is a co-founding editor of No, Dear magazine and teaches in Brooklyn.
READ AND LISTEN
Issue 4 Playlist