clare's song

blonde  fair   bleached   faded   pale   pastel light
blameless   clean   innocent   guiltless   pure   clear
anatomy   build   figure   person   physique   form
complexion   countenance   hue   mien   tint   cast
bead   dab   dash   ounce   iota   spot   trace   drop
succeed   qualify   answer   do   suffice   suit   pass

authorization   permit   ticket   license   paper   visa   pass
effortless   facile   moderate   smooth   undemanding   light
abandon   dismiss   disown   quit   reject   renounce   drop
jump   leap   hurdle   negotiate   surmount   vault   clear
actors   artists   characters   company   players   roles   cast
behavior   manner   conduct   custom   practice   rite   form

arrange   assemble   concoct   create   devise   forge   form
cross   depart   flow   go   move   proceed   travel   pass
copy   duplicate   facsimile   mold   plaster   replica   cast
amusing   gay   merry   blithe   pleasing   witty   light
accumulate   gain   acquire   net   realize   secure   clear
decrease   decline   downturn   reduction   slump   drop

bleed   dribble   leak   ooze   seep   splash   trickle   drop
character   class   grade   make   species   variety   form
audible   lucid   coherent   distinct   plain   precise   clear
canyon   cut   gap   gorge   path   opening   ravine   pass
airy   buoyant   delicate   feathery   unsubstantial   light
emit   radiate   diffuse   spray   spread   scatter   cast

appoint   assign   designate   choose   name   pick   cast
abyss   chasm   descent   dip   plunge   precipice   drop
angle   approach   aspect   attitude   slant   viewpoint   light
application   sheet   chart   questionnaire   blank   form
advance   overture   proposition   approach   play   pass
absolute   convinced   decided   satisfied   sure   clear

bare   empty   free   stark   vacant   vacuous   void   clear
boot   fling   heave   hurl   launch   project   toss   cast
predicament   crisis   contingency   plight   state   pass
collapse   duck   flop   tumble   pitch   plummet   drop
format   framework   order   scheme   structure   form
beacon   bulb   dawn   flash   ray   shine   torch   light

model   pattern   fashion   form   appearance   contour   cast
luminous   radiant   clear   sunny   ablaze   aglow   light
ebb   fade   wane   depart   drop   end   die   decease   pass

—after nella larsen

the fare-well letters [excerpt]

dear ink jet,


          black fast. greasy lightning.
won't smear. won't rub off.
          defense: a visual screen: ask
an octopus (bioaquadooloop).
          footprints faster than a speed-
ing bully, tracking dirt all
          over the page. make every
word count. one. two. iamb.
          octoroon. half-breed. mutt.
mulatto. why are there so few
          hybrids on the road? because
they can't reproduce. trochee
          choking okay mocha. ebony,
by contrast, says so much.

effect shrewd preferences

the screed seen here blesses
        the sweet, the meek, the gentle,
                the serene. let eyes ensembled
peep the news sheets: ere
        december descends, we'll elect
                the next pres, reps, etc. when
we welter, cede the wheel,
        we let greed-questers enter
                (well-dressed jerks!). they send
themselves the green we need,
        help themselves fleece the sheep
                we be. we're the perfect prey!
the press sleeps the sleep we
        deserve, then bleeds berserk
                text between celeb tweets. we'd
best reject the mess, steer
        the fleet between these repellent
                hells. veer! swerve! reverse!
here's the pledge: we'll expect
        better press. elect the decent
                men, the keenest shes. revere
sense. never feed spleen lest
        we weep endless weeks, red-
                eyed, bereft. let excellent pens
represent the experts' ken, help
        peeps remember key elements.
                let's select well. we'll revel yet.

it: a user's guide

i hear it jingling in the pockets of the innocent heirs of fundamentally well-meaning transatlantic traders and new world farmers. i see a wad of it stuffed in the jeans of the celebrities whose tracks, films, and reality shows are beloved by fans all across the nation and wherever american culture is exported. i feel it varnishing the walls of my classrooms and my home like a thick coat of paint. they paved the street with it last week. it is transporting, transcendent, the fastest way up and out. many brands of condoms use it as a lubricant, for her pleasure. it works to slide things through congress, too. i heard the military discovered it makes a great explosive, as demonstrated twice in japan for all the world to see. keep an eye on your drink at the club—they’ll slip some of it into your glass when you’re not looking, when your attention is focused on that scantily-clad ass and your head is pounding with the rhythm of the bass. better to get a prescription for it, take it in the recommended doses—and even then there may be side effects, including nausea, dry mouth, depression, anxiety, shortness of breath, insomnia, tremors, and memory loss. it’s an effective decongestant, opening clogged passages into colleges and universities, offices (corporate and political), and professional sports. you can light a fire with it, say, at your neighborhood barbeque, where even the vigilant (the e is silent) may burn the meat to a crisp. vigilance is the best way to demonstrate your innocence, inherited or acquired by other means, by any means necessary.