What would be our understanding of form
water were a species of light?
There is music
both responsive and
as if in answer to this question.
Atonal is not less harmonious but less registered
would try anything for love.
The way the saxophone lingers on
As if it carried the whole town.
Love in the same house is not love but
The way it plays out my darling is washed out of
and my darling is selling organic herbs
and my darling is on saxophone.
Today the boy next door and I said come on in
like a wanton night
not affect the others.
The clarinet more mournful.
How do cultures use the voice or disaffect the
Rape Man on the subways.
And mine says something about strangers.
Meaning we must be strangers on top of everything else.
The ocean speaks first to our disarray and debts.
The river is just a little cameo.
He handed me a garden.
spark I felt.
At home we butcher it.
Out there in the neediness, precision.
The ocean will eat us in due time.
The river is a little something of mortality
say like the ballad.
Fictive Devices: Family
1. Life in the setting of a 21st
century City. A small life. A tapping. One woman living in a red building.
Notice what she’s wearing today it feels so good. There is theater to modern
cities. On the level of architecture and on the level of erotic encounter.
She walks in. This is her real life. Meaning she has acquired a taste for it.
She walks in. She is doubled over. No, that was the time before. She walks in
rapt with contemplation of the narrative in which she has landed. Textual
2. One day the body is a different species and
how does one configure the mind around this happening? Yes, little bird this is still your convocation.
3. The colors themselves invent. There is an
anatomy to color, unavailable to anything but the intelligence of the colors
4. Bodice bit of violet candy. A name beginning
with H, Henry, Hercule, Hector. Our fascination with flesh. I
gave my love a cherry. Cherry. Charlotte. Colette.
5. The psychology of the child. There waking
alone is the first pathology, wanting.
6. In love understood as if eating a strawberry
for the first time and saying “So THIS is a strawberry.”
7. Words are not merely a substitute for wordlessness; they
are something else entirely. Or, to ask a more obviously psychoanalytic
question, what exactly must be given up in order to speak?" Adam
Phillips, The Beast in the Nursery
8. These are her first words: mama dada cat dog
duck cow bottle sheep ball bath balloon more banana no apple that bubbles blocks
door book choo-choo bird park bye-bye bowl avocado up home oh pool bag house
help hi eggs the gas-station nurse baby hat hello high-chair please boys
9. Conversation ragged. Intimacy mutates with
venue. I at home hereby withhold meaning. Sitting with our feet in the
plastic pool, she asks me about my sex life.
10. Mix wet ingredients in a 2 cup measuring beaker: Add the
wet to the dry and stir until just moistened. Add extras, if you wish.
Spoon batter into greased or lined 12-muffin pan and bake at 325 for
to touch him. Without the support of the body. Without the contextual
authority of her real life. Tap tap. After being ripped apart, the flesh
cringes without the assistance of the spirit. She holds his face and is
patient with the narrative she has landed in. The old story of atavistic
12. Her friend calls the lesson only partially
13. The Love Supreme. One bag of diapers. One
tube of unpetrolleum jelly. One tube of Neosporin. One anatomical
re-enactment of a week’s purchases. One bar of soap. One tub of wipes. One
packet organic cheese. One pound red grapes. One world of baby objects
twirling. One Chopin etude. One baby toothbrush. One box vanilla teething
biscuits. One case water. One financial problem. One laughing woman coming up
the stairs. One satin brassiere. One milk letdown. One bag cornstarch. Two
bottles sunscreen. One small t-shirt. One pair of baby shorts. One lactation
tea. One digital thermometer. One resentment against the father. One
statement of need. One casual dismissal. One latte. One call to another
mother. One bottle non-toxic bug repellent. One teething ring. One small
telephone. One joint bank account. One act of transgression. One mis-spoken
14. Chinese verbs don’t use tense she finds in
translating from Chinese to English. How does one remark on the life of the
mother and the life before the life as the mother as two lives within one
life, separated by time, she wonders?
15. Derivation of dada: rocking horse, double
affirmative Russian, art movement.
16. Derivation of mama: me my mine milk yum.
Crumpacker lives in the Hudson River Valley. She is the curator for a
bilingual reading series at the Bowery Poetry Club in NYC, an editor for Fence
magazine and a contributing editor for Circumference and DoubleChange.com.
She was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown in 2002. Her
poetry and translations have recently appeared in in jubilat, mem,
Brooklyn Rail, The Germ, No, fascicle, and Logopoeia and in the Isn't It Romantic?
anthology from Verse Press.
Archived at http://lit.konundrum.com/poetry/crumpackerc_poems.php