Nellie Haack




How We Contain Her

Incomplete and sleepy the wedding dress, corduroy and red.  I've never heard of a metaphor, and I receive the king like plagiarism.  People screwed into their pews.  No room.  Attention—the brackish deluge of fear on a SETTLING MIND—a space lurched in perpetual parry.  The potential air dry and vacuous, never lunged.  I am not everything else.  I FORGET.  This monkey wrench to your father inside.  Behind the couch that grandma sawed in half, my head.  My hair built like bark.  B is for Boleyn, and I FORGET.  Do this.  The brunt of the drawbar, my palm.  Tissue sinks through grandma's bench.  I need a Phillip's head screw.  Poured out for you.  Oblation ringing.  A bin of cans.  A corn crib.  What ALL GOOD THINGS come in.  What cannot be earned: the lake on my back.  Who sucks everyone does.  I am led under sooty FLOWSTONE where the molten LEAD clucked up from the rock like BULLETS, the cavefish exploding in night without wonder.  Attention that is the opposite of ejaculation.  That egocentric eddying, an all-knowing interpretive center, PATHETIC controlling of MY OWN self's effusive rendition.  HOLD.



I Bought a Giant Rain Machine

Record my backhand underneath the drop lips.
From the side, the water looks a wall, then
I say, "we can know where the rain starts."
What an old wash-out Zeno.
How perfectly split, the distance, now inside
the rain I am crying,
I am thinking of my desire
for it to stop.
"Stop.  I want you to stop," I say.
The rain can be talked to.
I run and feel sorry for myself—a thing
with an edge that can be touched.




            for Erica B. Anzalone

Today as I was sitting and pondering the path to prominence,
wishing for deference from all, I decided that I should like to be
able to quote Wittgenstein, offhand—right at the fitting moment.
You are talking about the betrayal of some friend by another
friend and stop! I pop a Wittgenstein thought-pearl into your lap.
Oh!  If memorization wasn't so difficult, I'd collect Wittgenstein quotes
like stickers or like tattoos one gets right beneath the folds of a sleeve.
Normally, when I speak, I feel as if my face were flat and like a train-
squashed quarter, but when I whisper that ingenious philosophy into your
expectant, depthless face, my face will begin to break forth with
deep thinking.  Like a continent.  Everyone would be impressed.
Everyone would know that I understood.