Saratoga has a seemingly innate ability to convey how it feels to be alive and human in the 21st century (ie military industrial complex, pharmaceutical industrial complex, the ever growing chasm between the rich and the poor) and the inevitable fallout of living in such a world (chaos, bewilderment, illness, loneliness). Her poems do what all great poems do: they express the sentiment of our times and then, miraculously, transcend this. I look forward to seeing more of her work in print. -Cynthia Cruz
For Christine Schrader, No. 4: On Need
I was exactly of the eighth year when I needed you.
By nine, my fidgety feet jerked concentrically
Bettie Page, back-latched to a switchboard.
Line one's propriety
Line two's reticence
Line three's tradition
And by the fourth patch-through, I'm new.
By '96, I was ten.
I had a terrible habit of running into things
And seeing their awful dimensions,
A dodecahedron is just a census
A dozen faceless congregations
Dealing caps, in worn undercurrents.
Need is ageless, it's everywhere at once.
It's 4:17pm in Los Angeles, and I'm twenty-two.
I've been hacking away at this new age
The belly of Buddha is the free-market-trade.
It's a coiling of underpassed fat roots
Swollen, as the aged cocoon sacks,
That once latched to my branches back home.
For Rich Clark, (The Only Man I've Ever Loved)
Summering on Lake George in the early-90's:
Me, land, a quantifiable body of water.
That formative summer, replete with
Irrational fears coupled with dissociative episodes
At nine-years of age:
Me, the sanity of the foreseen, the phobia.
Driving upstate, lakeside along route 9 North
In the backseat of my father's German car.
Bound for the shorefront cabin of a doctor
And former associate in my father's firm.
I'm creeping cattycornered on the seat's edge
To avert the stench of
Austrian-bred cowhide—embroidered rich
In thick creases of so many Scotch-swirls;
Of mahogany coffers,
And the impotent farce
Of the American Dream
It's a dull ride—I stare out the childlocked window
And trace the tricky inertia of the roadside—
Those safe latitudes of a line:
(The pavement ends, and the water takes its place.)
I think of its anorexic dimensions,
I marginalize it—How callous a frontier!
A jumper, a lover, a mother, a starlet,
A cripple, a diplomat, a car such as this—unhinged—
I think of the line's anatomy,
I could not tell you when I crossed
The line between knowing and [ruin.]
How long will I stay submerged in this lunacy?
I awake on a slab, wholly reclined.
I see my father, I see a strange man cloaked in white.
I pop a rubber cork outta' my mouth
But when I try speak
My lips twitch wholly to the right.
Here I think of the line's precipice
I am there, at the crossing.
The Barbaric Course of Cognition and Trauma
...as for the scanted, rotary course of those
Seasoned recollections, driven always
It's a trial-run tempest of muted wreckage—
A sort of simulated whirling—
Moshing, in my sweet meat brain.
And there the turbulent mass
The teensy temporal ridges of,
Olive View Neuropsychiatric, LA County 2004.
For Deborah R.
Deborah R. had a purple heart.
It was not without slim perforations
It was not notarized
Then filed, by an outsourced agency, based in D.C.
The mauve-ish mitral valves were shrouded
In the penny-loafer mores of Yankee-suburbia.
She looked intact—like the sterile business of bar graphs
Or the simple chemistry, of acrylic powder
As it converges with the chintzy water bowls,
At the local $30 mani-pedi.
(When Deborah kicked the Vicodin, she became agoraphobic.
Her seventy-or-so-mother got her to the grocery store
Sometimes it was easy—
And sometimes milk was spilt, unbraiding
Like a mutant naval brigade—then splintering off
Into slender renegade lakes—
(A sad exhibition of lucency in a liquid vein-map.)
After the seventy-two hours elapsed,
I never saw Deborah again.
But on nights such as this (where
Lurid constellations convene and then diverge again
An astral spasm of insurgent configurations...
I wonder if I will be remembered for my feats
And forgotten as I am,
Starboard from one, to the next confine.
Chardonnay Bottles, Pink Swarovski Clip-Ons, And Dory Previn on the A-Track
Suburban marriage is a ponzi scheme,
Tract house deductible—
Cape-Cod Cobalt subsidies plaster Adirondack
Lawn-chairs and cul-de-sac kids;
The coiled hand ties of Plastic Inertia,
Doric Columns are the threshold to our
2:00am; the D.A.'s voice is like Gaza in my ear.
It's the eve of my sweet sixteen
And the dawning of my father's indictment.
Tonight my mother is a mermaid.
Pink Swarovski Clip-Ons,
Dory Previn on the A-Track.
My mother backstrokes nude in our fiberglass pool.
This, is the lazy insurrection of a beauty queen.
2:00pm; I'm twenty-three.
"Dad, what of marriage?"
"That bitch is sittin' on all our money over at UBS"
My father does not know,
She hasn't touched the account.
Her brain is wet
I drive over to her apartment twice a week
And comb her golden hair.