Published on Academy of American Poets (

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
            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)—


Copyright © 2014 by Wayne Koestenbaum. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 3, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

“I’ve kept a diary, writing in it virtually every day, since 1976; beginning on November 30, 2012, I started keeping instead a series of ‘Trance Notebooks,’ as a way to transform my journal into a higher pitch of ceremony, an occasion for intensified, unmoored consciousness. Now I’m distilling the results into a sequence of assemblages; here’s a piece from the second of these unfettered concoctions.”
—Wayne Koestenbaum


Wayne Koestenbaum

Born in 1958, Wayne Koestenbaum is a poet, novelist, and cultural critic. Among his poetry collections is The Pink Trance Notebooks (Nightboat, 2015).

Date Published: 2014-04-03

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