The Weekend Read

from temporary tattoos:

the actual rift breeds the make-believe galaxy in which things are possible. the boombox was otherwise plenty adequate for the job. shuttle runs between joy and impossibly closer. for its own sake & for the pretense of belief as not being total.

happy day of catholic guilt and sacrifice.

happy etiquette.

take your compliments, gold-star mouth — i could squeeze your arm but i was under the impression that it was health & vitamins & whatnot we were competing around. rather than volume.

i found myself using that vocabulary without cringing.

in that meat and meaning way.

psychic marbles when you’re not a full-fledged tomorrow. the undercuts are accumulating weight. the realization of any solution being null and void has been shamefully slow. some .. measure. openly .. feel.

when i wrote that fear: your regret might come from a drug-like relationship. not completely blind but blurry. myopic.

‘as i’ve said’ has become unimaginable. i don’t want to end up a thing, turning, to be laden with limits & aftereffects, physical sickness.

at the next arm-squeezing opportunity, your dirty headlines. ecstasy: it is, by the way, a full one tonight.

an fbi agent but venom doesn’t let him know. walked to the bodega and kept going. i guess it looks scarier from out there. it’s 5 feet above or 500. even though this might not be the happiest of endings.

Carole Mirakove


LH: We loved your submission, Carol, and felt that it must be part of a longer project. Is it? A book length project?
CM: Thank you! It is a series I originally wrote in 2001 called temporary tattoos that followed the path of graffiti flowers on the sidewalks of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and the LES and East Village in Manhattan. This year I returned to the series, edited the poems, and gave them new titles. Normally I would not touch poems that are so old, but I still feel able to access the moments in this series, 9 years later.
LH: Not surprisingly to me we had many, many entries to the prose poem contest, and they ran the gamut from straight up prose, to Steinian prose, to Beckettian prose (which ultimately won), to a Hejinianish accumulation, to more fragmented and nuanced prose lines such as yours. It seems to me that prose is the poetry of the moment. Does this resonate for you? Would you align yourself with a strand of prose poetics in America?
CM: Prose poems allow me to achieve a sense of intimacy that I have yet to realize in lineated poems. Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons, Lyn Hejinian’s My Life, and Elizabeth Treadwell’s Populace prompted me to write prose poems myself.
LH: What is the basic unit of poetic measure for you? Is it tactical or intellectual?
CM: Tactical. Without exception, to date.
LH: What site do you suggest all poets have bookmarked?
CM: I’ve recently discovered SpringGun Press when one of the editors, Erin Costello, connected to me on twitter. I think they’re up to some exciting stuff.
LH: Flarf or Conceptual?
CM: I might respond to this by quoting a poet I greatly admire: “America when will you stop trying to fit a range of opinions into either or?”
LH: New York is to ___________ as San Francisco is to Vancouver?
CM: Gut response = Toronto, but I’ve never been to Vancouver. Of it, I know Jeff Derksen, one of my favorite writers; The Kootenay School of Writing; and one of my favorite books of all time, Lisa Robertson’s Occasional Works and Seven Walks from the Office for Soft Architecture.
LH: You recently returned to the Bay Area after a period of time in New York. Can you talk a little about why you left?
CM: New York is my hometown, and after leaving it for DC then LA for 7 years, I returned to NY in 2001. My leaving last year was not without misgivings (most notably proximity to my family and many friends), but at the end of the day, quality-of-life reasons prompted a move to the Bay Area, which I continue to fall in love with.
Carol Mirakove is the author of Mediated (Factory School), Occupied (Kelsey St.), and, with Jen Benka, 1,138 (Belladonna). She released the single “temporary tattoos” with the Dutch musician bates45. Carol lives in San Francisco.
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