Send this book to a boy in the Armed Forces anywhere for only 3¢ postage
Made in accordance with wartime regulations, this is a thrilling story—shockingly realistic—of a world in which viciousness is paper. In its own chemicals toasting and flaking sinister solubles busty legends furthering the cover reds now pearly, now freely, unmendable after the first pound of tape. Ribs and hope for the best juicy dizzy girls like Victory tomatoes. Did they go and come back by parcel post or APO or never leave, did any mother take advantage of the offer to enter a reading wedge, sign of care, or why say boy when not one word has been omitted but clocked, convincing or convinced. A book of deaths for private reasons restricting the use of certain materials. Save paper and one day it’ll save you. Due to wartime. Count small costs in bright eyecatching inks of exhortation. Buy a savings. In a bind. Wrap split feet in hungers. Going without. Victory gardening. Doing your part. Liberty binding. This book is not a condensation or digest of the original. It is the complete book.
How such a boy measures now, swears to uphold, is a girl, nerves for a slip, flips porn pages, grunts his stint. Where he’s sent. What he’s told. Dogged earmarked dog-eared as does it. Stimulus payment notice as bookmark. Check: the spending war at home, the mouse-bead eye. Buy a liberty new car in expansive spirit. Free money. Send nothing to the reality of reading. This is a thrilling vision of bright sleeves and white eyes, teeth in a line of fiery color slapping by. Private deaths for public reasons made personal. Made public. Word has been omitted, wrapped in heavy duty; paper drifts, stacks hallways everywhere, coupons, drafts claim baskets, hang shredded in balloons of translucence and shadow. Classified: who is the hidden criminal doing what behind closed covers for reasons. What soldiers place to protect their chests in fiction, porous plaster, layers of paper, faith. How to keep the part at home wanting to do, to spend substance by proxy, drop what we can’t kill for others to handle. Nothing personal, pulp. What’s bad, masked, is going to happen to him, send this boy anywhere.
from Ethel’s Dream
Ethel the influence striding through grainy color. Stoplight, no light. Easy to tell
as a story once gleaned. How she herself condoled with her persona, contracted around it, bead on a
winding necklace. Fair use of salvage mythology, Ethel set firmly between the shores of windows. My
mother, the dumpster diver. My grandmother, the collector. Extremity makes figures; worshipping stones
turns you to stone, iron turns you to iron, wrought, perched thin as the painted edge of the page. Either
firmament or bathroom counter. Edge of the sink,
“teeny tiny boats, you’ve seen them,”
design of the self narrows to a few elements. Anything’s pride you harden yourself by. If there was hesitation, their memories have purged it of the future.
“Teeny tiny boats, you’ve seen them,”
adorn the surface of my mother’s dresser. Saline crust and verdigris. History stained, votive confined, each with its invisible name. The dark categories of her making. Ethel the same person sutured differently into the canopies, cranial vaults, multiple skulls, Xanadus. A small upright woman made herself so much so she could be handed into the copper stern of order and be sailed away. Ethel’s dream exile: after that it didn’t matter. I sew her buttons onto gauntlets, I write her details, the land of the banana trees drifts by. Nostalgia is no part of it, nothing between her and the boat, between the boat and the water.
Kate Schapira is the author of four full-length books of poetry, most recently The Soft Place (Horse Less Press), and her eighth chapbook, The Ground / The Pass / The Wave, came out this summer with Grey Book Press. She lives in Providence, where she teaches at Brown University and other places, and co-runs the Publicly Complex Reading Series.