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  • Did Cavewomen Come, and: Everybody Loves a Runt, and: Total Vocation
  • Alli Warren (bio)

Did Cavewomen Come

  after Stephen Rodefer

at the start of the century the radio recruited me into relational self-shattering

the radio was still the radio

come with me my love through the sea the unimpeachable sea

is all understanding a private feeling? is receptivity redemptive?

everything that goes to make up the air

“what its being asked makes happen”

the tone bearing thrust the song and its mouth the coin and its mint

conflating structures of knowledge with structures of vision

peep holes at the bulbs of the vestibule

they sell all that shit at the mall [End Page 197] O sovereignty of the tongue felt venturing who and what and where shall this or that occur

what its being made makes happen

it goes 1 2 3 4 experience, interpretation, codification, remembrance

to take up a position inside stats no, stars

what its being made asks of us who happen to have been brought to question

to demonstrate my happiness to myself no, understanding no, feeling

to call the burn of the lush I need to be the warp and the weft

guarding the milky tanker prodding the ghost bridge

my national flag is wet nuance the only flap worth flying a luscious spittle [End Page 198]

Everybody Loves a Runt

The morning after on the couch of what would being an agent feel like I’m talking to my shoe

Where is that balcony beaming skyward what do my lungs do and my liver on this earth

If in my ear there is a choir I am not alone and lifted by that number into the temperate air where bulbs like buds be strung

I cave my breath and back over the bar’s amber pleather and make a knot over the dull closure of safe-keeping

Flowering cacti, generous middle if eating is aim-inhibited kissing perversion is a turning away from the earth

I want curiosity over consolation fantasies of function and I’ve got legs in the pointless humidity of a Thursday morning [End Page 199]

Total Vocation

If I press my upper territories against another dream to coat the loss of merging is desire a thick set band so tight about the jaw that it breaks the belt and the jaw both

If I tug up from under fluttering attachment If I reduce drift and perfect alignment is there any space left in the breathing world within site of that sweat beading on the right side of your open neck with pants so tight everyone will understand the conditions that produced them

The connection will hold, or it will not There is copper and industry for the structure to take or there is not Where the lap and where the head dunked in brine Where the coax of a toe dipped in a tub deferred Is this not refreshment or refinement or the flecked soup of what won’t be

I linger in that residue uninitiated and dumb in repetition “employing all my strength to be resigned” My landlady paints the whole thing forest green the beak, the hole, and the emotional austerity which precedes and surrounds it

O malleable heart O irreducible cement I am left-footed in deliberation in domination’s lusty grip I’m clamoring for enlargement of the spheres The indication on the outside represents the tokens on the inside Sound only exists as it is going out of existence [End Page 201]

Alli Warren

Alli Warren’s books include I Love It Though (Nightboat, forthcoming 2017) and Here Come the Warm Jets (City Lights, 2013), which won the Poetry Center Book Award. Her writing has appeared in many journals and magazines, including Poetry, Jacket, The Brooklyn Rail, and Rethinking Marxism. She co-curated The (New) Reading Series at 21 Grand, co-edited the Poetic Labor Project, and edited Dreamboat magazine. Alli lives in Oakland.



Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 197-201
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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