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Other notable works by Tasha Klein.
Robert Pinsky –
When I had no roof I made
Audacity my roof. When I had
No supper my eyes dined.
When I had no eyes I listened.
When I had no ears I thought.
When I had no thought I waited.
When I had no father I made
Care my father. When I had
No mother I embraced order.
When I had no friend I made
Quiet my friend. When I had no
Enemy I opposed my body.
When I had no temple I made
My voice my temple. I have
No priest, my tongue is my choir.
When I have no means fortune
Is my means. When I have
Nothing, death will be my fortune.
Need is my tactic, detachment
Is my strategy. When I had
No lover I courted my sleep.
The back, the yoke, the yardage. Lapped seams,
The nearly invisible stitches along the collar
Turned in a sweatshop by Koreans or Malaysians
Gossiping over tea and noodles on their break
Or talking money or politics while one fitted
This armpiece with its overseam to the band
Of cuff I button at my wrist. The presser, the cutter,
The wringer, the mangle. The needle, the union,
The treadle, the bobbin. The code. The infamous blaze
At the Triangle Factory in nineteen-eleven.
One hundred and forty-six died in the flames
On the ninth floor, no hydrants, no fire escapes–
The witness in a building across the street
Who watched how a young man helped a girl to step
Up to the windowsill, then held her out
Away from the masonry wall and let her drop.
And then another. As if he were helping them up
To enter a streetcar, and not eternity.
A third before he dropped her put her arms
Around his neck and kissed him. Then he held
Her into space, and dropped her. Almost at once
He stepped up to the sill himself, his jacket flared
And fluttered up from his shirt as he came down,
Air filling up the legs of his gray trousers–
Like Hart Crane’s Bedlamite, “shrill shirt ballooning.”
Wonderful how the patern matches perfectly
Across the placket and over the twin bar-tacked
Corners of both pockets, like a strict rhyme
Or a major chord. Prints, plaids, checks,
Houndstooth, Tattersall, Madras. The clan tartans
Invented by mill-owners inspired by the hoax of Ossian,
To control their savage Scottish workers, tamed
By a fabricated heraldry: MacGregor,
Bailey, MacMartin. The kilt, devised for workers
to wear among the dusty clattering looms.
Weavers, carders, spinners. The loader,
The docker, the navvy. The planter, the picker, the sorter
Sweating at her machine in a litter of cotton
As slaves in calico headrags sweated in fields:
George Herbert, your descendant is a Black
Lady in South Carolina, her name is Irma
And she inspected my shirt. Its color and fit
And feel and its clean smell have satisfied
both her and me. We have culled its cost and quality
Down to the buttons of simulated bone,
The buttonholes, the sizing, the facing, the characters
Printed in black on neckband and tail. The shape,
The label, the labor, the color, the shade. The shirt.
Not a “window on the world”
But as we call you,
A box a tube
Terrarium of dreams and wonders.
Coffer of shades, ordained
Cotillion of phosphors
Or liquid crystal
Homey miracle, tub
Of acquiescence, vein of defiance.
Your patron in the pantheon would be Hermes
Quick one, little thief, escort
Of the dying and comfort of the sick,
In a blue glow my father and little sister sat
Snuggled in one chair watching you
Their wife and mother was sick in the head
I scorned you and them as I scorned so much
Now I like you best in a hotel room,
Before I have to face an audience: behind
The doors of the armoire, box
Within a box–Tom & Jerry, or also brilliant
And reassuring, Oprah Winfrey.
Thank you, for I watched, I watched
Sid Caesar speaking French and Japanese not
Through knowledge but imagination,
His quickness, and Thank You, I watched live
Jackie Robinson stealing
Home, the image–O strung shell–enduring
Fleeter than light like these words we
Remember in, they too winged
At the helmet and ankles.
Robert Pinsky (born 1940) in Long Branch, New Jersey is an American poet and former Poet Laureate of the United States (1997-2000). He is known for his innovative, personal style, and his use of contemporary themes. Pinsky is a professor at Boston University where he teaches in the graduate creative writing program.
Tasha Klein –
particular tokens of little. your wizard hat is great chaos
ascending. my dress, scattered lustre. i have been writing
a harp machine for your new tongue. and let my thighs pour into
birds that fly back from the night
the cinema of your lips
Now You Say I Hold The Key
of course I do
my foot hooked to this bar stool
shot glasses stacked
like poker chips
I’m a burglar
with a calisthenic soul
I have a crooked face
and a large milky bed
you can rest there
still as a toy
and in the morning
I’ll put on my white dress
and wash your skin
we’ll be eggs
fat as generals
solid as blood
we’ll be each others trigger-
Not Poem Hands)Little Anything With Hands
your star eyes
because no circling winks are lost
a sun world
that creates the temple
of mushy want poems
shrinking beers &
I wrote this one
to the boy with the mini
belly button ring
his nodding face on my back
everything cube & cool
where have u been?
beneath us the moon is giving it away
& shiny things gently fold in
has something beautiful happened?
your tree shouldered
are being coded with black silver
Tasha Klein lives and works in Dekalb, Illinois. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies, among them, Women of the Web Print Anthology of Poems available at Sun Rising Books. From East to West: Bicoastal Verse (print edition #1) available at Lulu. Her latest chapbook, Trumpets Made Of Nothing But Slobbering Snow, was published by Pudding House Publications in Jan. 2007.