h o m e........
p a s t   i s s u e s....
s u b m i s s i o n s....
l i n k s






This house has amnesia.
Every day when I wake up,
it has forgotten where the piano goes.
Which room has the Chinese wool rug I got on sale.
What wall separates tossing from turning.
I go into the kitchen and lie down on the couch.
Throw hard-boiled eggs into the fireplace.
Just a minute ago, I was reading Bachelard
on the discontinuity of time.
It made sense then. Now
I can’t find scissors anywhere.
I need them to cut my bangs over the computer.
A chair I’ve rarely paid attention to, finally
turns its back on me.
The oven, ditto.
I open the freezer and find the TV.
Of course, it’s on CSPAN.
I’m starting to get angry.
Someone said defrost anger and you get grief.
Or was that turkey and gravy.
That person also folded the blanket down
on my bed in the garage.
Beech trees aren’t supposed to grow
in southern California. I have two of them
intertwined like vertebrates as they stand
dying in my only bathroom.
Their fatal leaves fall into the toilet.
The crawl space where the praying
mantises live is sometimes the attic.
The house doesn’t have an attic.
So you can see my confusion.
This house has forgotten
more than I can remember.
I’ve decided to love it that way.




Instead of a partial object, a total object with missing parts
as in the universe

that is 80% dark matter, which we know

exists only

because of its pull on what we can see, planets and tides

and galaxy clusters

moving much faster than their weight allows, strange,


their own clichés. Dark matter which is dark yet also transparent

as if

when I am heard, I can no longer be seen in a disguise

easily worn

to a train wreck. Or if seen, being born but not asking

to be.

Father tamping light down until it learns to tamp itself.

Until just

a painted mouth, the brevity of red talking in its sleep,

as if

a whole other existence waits for me

at the edge



of a factory that manufactures ether. Or outside

a silent but crowded ballroom. While the two men talk and disregard me:

the ragged tree—

Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.  

All objects fall in the same way. If you happen

to look up.





I fell in love with your face or maybe not your face
but the lack of delirium in your eyes in the film Napoleon,
your jaw so beautiful it should have been breaking news or maybe
not news but something setting off bells, an alarm that portended
the pitch of your lecture on the Plague which was not a lecture
but an enactment of someone coming down with the Plague,
a flesh-caught mannequin and his visionary muse, who made the theatre
not only find its double but its cannibal or maybe not its cannibal but
its voraciousness like an undercurrent that pulls down Icarus and his
burnt wings.

You, who as a teenager were stabbed in the back by a pimp in Paris for no
reason, whose somnambulism woke other sleepers fumbling in their beds
or maybe not their beds but their army cots and then the sanitarium where you
remembered you owned the twisted walking stick that belonged not only to Jesus and Lucifer but to St. Patrick and you tried to return it to Ireland where
you were put in a straightjacket.

Or maybe not a straitjacket but a closer-fitting suit, a bespoke suit,
or maybe a costume you’d wear for the rest of your life,
while you dragged the sun and litmus paper moon on stage, both visible in
the same hour or maybe not an hour but an intermittent infinity, found in the soft spot of your madness, your godless mouth full with scatological oaths
and screams, the hissing of snakes and glossolalia after the camera
flickered over your skin shimmering as you played Marat
or maybe not your skin
but a fiery field from which you can’t escape
or maybe not escape but enter the room where you died,
sitting at the foot of the bed, holding your shoe.





No one will give you a map. Little flutter-by,
          your elbow bent, hand resting
on your shoulder near the ropes of the neck,
          resting like a wing not beating. 
Didn’t I meet you last year in the garden
          where humans cast shadows
but objects don’t?

You glide around the same corners as if
          the reappearance of a familiar
corridor newly traversed were a precipice. 
          Didn’t I meet you last year at the Gestalt convention
where we all stood in for each other? My breath
          trapped in its paper cage. You, at the Grand Ball,
wearing your Chanel hoard-of-blooms,
          white as a fossil. Your body more vassal than vessel.
Even as the barometer dropped and we rushed
          outside where the wind was just a start-up business,
and the sculptures were doomed to re-anoint themselves
          with last season’s light, didn’t I meet you on the balcony’s

blank page, last year like now, no real past or present,
          just an almost-between-us? 



BIO: Cathy Colman’s poetry collections include Borrowed Dress, which won The Felix Pollak
Prize from the University of Wisconsin and made The Los Angeles Times Bestseller List,
and Beauty’s Tattoo (Tebot Bach Publications). Her work has been published in The Huffington Post, The Colorado Review, Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner and elsewhere.


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