Published on Academy of American Poets (

from “[the old soiled carpet of the wish to be Anaïs]”

            writing on the bruised
body and seeing into the
bruise’s locked backyard, not
psychoanalyzing the incursion
but appreciating its scissory
up and down


            remembering the wish
to be Anaïs Nin—


            stepping on the old soiled
carpet of the wish to be Anaïs—


the pullulation of scratch marks
and their glistering anonymity


British perfume wrongly purchased
for stepfather—the perfume stank
so why did I buy it?


            the entire sky
with a palette knife is scratched
turquoise opal—
no underlying tint to betray it


a sick tint inundating the marsh


I celebrate mother’s sunset
or I am cloud making her
sunset more inspiringly Turneresque—


to scratch through the page until
it dies, and no credit given
to the scratcher



Copyright © 2017 by Wayne Koestenbaum. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on January 12, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“This poem is a tiny excerpt from my trance trilogy’s second volume, Camp Marmalade, to be published in Fall 2017 by Nightboat Books. The first volume was The Pink Trance Notebooks. Aphorism, lament, notation, murmur, scratch: am I the ‘sick tint’ inundating my own language?”
—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: 2017-01-12

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