Issue XI, Volume V : July 2014
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Susan Briante is the author of Pioneers in the Study of Motion (Ahsahta Press 2007). Recent poems have appeared in Ploughshares, Court Green, and POOL. A translator and essayist, Briante lived in Mexico City from 1991-1997 working for the magazines Artes de México and Mandorla. Briante is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Texas at Dallas. Her book, Utopia Minus, will be published by Ahsahta Press in March 2011. The complete poem, “The Market is a Parasite that Looks Like a Nest,” will be published as a chapbook by Dancing Girl Press in Fall 2010.
Excerpts From the Series:
THE MARKET IS A PARASITE THAT LOOKS LIKE A NEST
The Market scowls,
crosses the street against traffic, settles, hovers
over a spread-sheet with his administrative assistant
as if it were an infant, sleeps in another bed
after 3 ½ years of marriage,
can only sleep on half of the bed
after 43 years of marriage, sees a coffin
in shop window, grows nostalgic
for shop windows on crowded city streets
where men made picture frames, repaired
television sets, piled tools in doorways, nursed
machines to roast and grind coffee,
a press to print newspaper. The Market wants to apprentice,
cannot apprentice, looks like a nest in a tree. The Market
is the parasite that looks like a nest in a tree, howls
through the ventilation system, hairless, blind, a newborn
calf sleeping on your chest, the curdling Market
whose milk has come in.
The Market wonders where the soul goes,
decides that God must be a cripple to make the rest of us
feel whole, remembers a trip to Mexico when he was just out of college.
O the beggars in clown paint! O the girl he never wrote!
Jacaranda, jacaranda, jacaranda
Cheap purple leaves dirtying the sidewalks.
A street named for revolution.
A street named for insurgents.
A street named for reform.
Nights when church bells rose to Aztec temples
Like the soul?
At the hostel, she told him a body must train to hold the light of the spirit.
They fucked listening to the Rolling Stones, burning candles.
God, the Market loved Mexico and the Rolling Stones.
Then he had kids and it was all profit margin and technostructure
roller-blades for a few years, mostly he all but forgot his legs
it must be okay to be nothing but sight after a while
to be all this over here, that over there
the packing slip, the manifest, the manifes-
toes, arches, heels, calves
like his doctor told him, relax each muscle
against all this shimmer
sprinklers hissing in the backyard
the baby-sitter sliding from her mountain bike.
We know nothing but this living
the Market thought, not to go on forever,
without a beginning, middle, end
but a chance to learn something else, a single breath
beyond this story, a book
he saw with paint-covered pages,
paragraph by paragraph erased,
turned white space, blind spot, skeleton, poem
in place of a thick life of prose and no one
to teach him how to read it.