To a Maple (audio only)

 

Click the icon above to listen to this audio poem.

More by Wayne Koestenbaum

Possessiveness

the atonality of folded underwear

the Tel Aviv of Chinese water torture

the martians of My Three Sons 

the parsimony of Tel Quel

the archivist of beatitudes

the Helsinki of Frankenstein

the Winchester Mystery House of devil-may-care

the worldwide franchise of Croatian mystery plays

the Bettie Page of situationism

the New Criticism of Ethel Waters

the marble pound cake of tauromachy

the Christopher Strong of Sesame Street 

the Michèle Morgan of abstinence

the 19 Berggasse of Calvin Klein

the stifling corridor of condom leakage

the Boris Karloff of Maiden Lane

the CalArts of maple syrup

the Lord's Prayer of Rumpelstilskin

the Gretchen's Spinning Song of fatuous praise

the Eli Wallach of pragmatism

the meal ticket of the Williamsburg Messiah

the Mrs. Robinson of Abstract Expressionism

the mead-soaked sheets of Melanctha

the Abbott and Costello of ostinato

the abracadabra of panty-hose

the Guys and Dolls of pineapple upside-down cake 

the Hungry I of Shangri-La

the Bog Man of Capitol Hill

the Beresford of bilge

National Nudist Club Newsletter

Into the unisex nursery's toilet my undershirt falls.
I fish it out and find my face on a marquee.

Florida: in sneakers, I construct
Delft shelves to store scrawled diagnoses.

I enter an observation tank
(rightly considered tragic, irreversible)

to greet the hatchetfaced magician whose dead mother
says welcome back, implying I've been fired.

Through Skinner Box glass 
he watches me play with dildos, blades. Entranced 

by unending orgasm, I dismiss his tendency 
to find amelioration in experience's fluctuating shallows.

From Trance Notebook #2 [nerdy questions about exact pitch]

            sell me a clip-on
bow-tie or a mock
fringe chapeau worn on
the collarbone—a
new style of “shoulder
hat,” a cape to
protect your shoulders
from rain and chill and
to prevent the wearer
from sliding (like
Mickey Mantle) into
a third gender
 
__________
 
            now I’ve
reached the “clinker” zone
of perforated opportunities
 
__________
 
 
            —perforated appurtenances
 
____________
 
 
but then Edith Piaf
suddenly thrilled me
 
__________
 
            a newly
discovered Venezuela, a
view—
 
____________
 
            a rendre compte,
a liar on the corner
(thirsty corner) of
23rd and 9th, a gazelle,
a rendezvous chapel
 
 
__________
 
             (a chaplet of
daisies around my
pleurisy brow)—