Read the introduction, "This Mid-Air in Which We Tremble: Women & the Avant-Garde" by Chet'la Sebree.
from A Negotiable Instrument
By general arrangement
the casement reflects the color
of thoughts, rose-color and blue. Sheltered
by the twenty-third arch we’re heading
through time: A beast expressed.
A gallery opened. The whole ecclesiastical
deal. In public you had a thought
composed of logistics and metal.
It got consumed by one end
of the canal. Oh, look
you looked at mansions
from summer. They were unstable.
They were his body wattled and daubed.
From the antique modes you loved
in deeply easy noon—it’s made
of granite and poses. On one side I see
three views, on the other
there’s none. The surface isn’t a mountain.
A smoothing pillar, silver clasp
and fillet, silver waves:
The cherub in the golden courts
No I guess I won’t have any today
No flowers engines or bees
Women digging with forks
where I language
in the magazeen
Tessellated on floors
she was a strawberry
in the scion’s eye
from each fresco
the Oak seems to fall
the sliding foot
the walking tree
the hand moving
in its sculpture
On the road past the ancients, their outer partitions
She’s taking off her bra to press
Into Nature’s Mystick Book
It’s fall in the back of an Escalade
On the rock he’s mopey and early thirties
Their slender intricacy attracts the eye
The mansion is visible due to distance
It’s not convenient to see warmth
Or potential in the yard I see bikes
And someone’s a radical parent
Tending the pink beans
An ogee curve in the revival of the fringe
A rectilinear sorrow
He slept through his obedience to the room
The fan blowing ssht ssht
On some bas-relief
The spectator was a prolongation, unknown
To herself she completed
The plot was larger than I was, moving toward
the mist and juvenilia, the point of skill
between perspectives and in the wide hill country
they’d walked too long to fall in love.
Is it better to rest outside the molecule,
reciting ballads? The various mottos contribute
to the legendary mesh, the dry
emotional lawns and choreographed
verticality, gypsum or something similar
to grammar drifting up through the day
she never came back to…
Somewhere they’ve made a soap of money
The meadow works with symbols and forms, sensors
and web beneath the down payment.
It’s instructive to gather flamboyance
and original masses, a miniature dream
like the hydraulics and costliness
of god. I wanted this subject
due to its struggle and quality of longing,
its harmony in living with packets
and with authority, that poor diary,
they’ve scattered far from the flats.
Each temple engineers our feebleness, a childhood
of lamps. Everywhere in the story you find
more rooms, smaller natures:
In my pragmatism I was covered not with want; I was produced
as an autumn day in a story about working artists. Their action
developed a rubric of disappointing menace. From such engines
of providence: the red tub, a goldmine of evidence.
The tan Corolla with its dirty realism spun out into my becoming.
Perhaps the conversation concerned movies when it’s meant to be
about death someone joked with the ashtray, turning its bland sentence
nostalgically. Beds and hair-dos and gold paraded in constant
aesthetics. A man stood next to his heart, his exclamation point,
his kisses and hugs. How his face developed its arcane rite. I reason
via our argument within groves.
Hannah Brooks Motl is the author of the poetry collections The New Years (Rescue Press, 2014) and M (Song Cave, 2015). Recent work has appeared in Prelude, The Volta, and Best American Experimental Writing 2014.