About this Poem 

"Last year Melissa Broder asked a pack of poets to write in response to tarot cards; I drew the High Priestess. You may detect in the last lines an echo of a song covered by Janis Joplin, something of a high priestess herself. In her version, Bobby, previously a woman, was made into a boy."

—Mark Bibbins

Worst Things First

Mark Bibbins

A bag of thank-you notes fell
on me and that was enough
art for one day. Culturally speaking,
it was more like a year
in the floral trenches, kicked off
with a single boneless kiss.
Poor sad demon in his poor dead tree—
or is it he who pities me, cockshy
quasihero with a latex lasso,
taking forever to measure

the dimensions of his confinement.
Some other demons have smeared a flock
of sparrows on a blanket, the full filthy
price of a sky under which they smoked
their names. My prize is a set
of teeth, striptease at the nude beach,
audio files of decomposing stars
telling me, if they’re telling me
anything, that theory’s just another word
for nothing left to like.

Copyright © 2013 by Mark Bibbins. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 26, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Copyright © 2013 by Mark Bibbins. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on September 26, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Mark Bibbins

by this poet

poem
Whatever the lesson was, it wasn't
taking. We awaited the information
in kind of a corporate way
and I kept wanting to go up
to the whiteboard and write
FEMININE MARVELOUS AND TOUGH
and ask Is that what you're trying
to do. Sometimes it's hard to figure
out how to move. When cardinals 
move, they're as imposing
poem
Someone waits at my door. Because he is
    dead he has time but I have my secrets--

    this is what separates us from the dead.
See, I could order take-out or climb down

the fire escape, so it's not as though he
    is keeping me from anything I need.

    While this may sound like something I made up,
it is
poem
Your object will have made a good subject
and I should get to tell you so: the bird 
with a beak but no mouth, we hear him only

when it's night in the Dominican Republic
and Israel at the same time. Someone will 
find your marginalia useful, so try to spare

some ink. I took dictation only from you, 
for whom