8.27.2006

BRICK/by/BRICK chapbook





BRICK/by/BRICK


So you might be interested in this "chapbook" with poems by Ca!tlin Meissner, but um, you've never actually read any of her work. So here it is: a way to preview four poems before deciding if the $5 is really worth it. I mean, we're talking the price of a Brooklyn beer here, you know?

After reading the four poems (scroll down to indulge), if you are still interested in purchasing the full book, you can email Ca!tlin at caitlin.meissner@gmail.com to arrange a payment method. Simple, right? Now get on and read already!

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POEMS:

1. Motherfucker #1
2.
The Shape of Lonely
3. Sistersong
4. Doesn't Matter


---

MOTHERFUCKER #1

Boy,
in ten years you will find
yourself too old for this rock star shit—
in the middle of
an expensive hotel room strewn with the aftermath
of a mini-bar war.

HBO on demand will lose it’s appeal
the TV is a sorry stand-in for human interaction
you are
no longer pretty enough
to bed the young ones,
older women just remind you of your
own mortality
and tonight
you’ve shared the stage with
a twenty year old
who holds only half
your years
and half
your talent
but you know that growing old
means growing invisible
and there is no room in this town
for the both of you.

A slow gait home from a sold out show,
your heart will hiss like bus breaks
and past lovers will flood the memory.
Solidarity will taste of regret
masturbation a sleep-aid,
unable to come in the remembrance
of a day when
you owned the title loner
but now recognize it’s root
as alone.

It was once easier to simply slide
over bodies
without touching
without strings attached
for a hug is a casket,
claustrophobic.
Sleeping like strangulation.
Waking up
another calendar box
with an X to mark it’s passing.

Soon,
you will feel the creases deepen,
Old.

Brooklyn is a hospital bed.
You are still awake at 4am
eating cereal for dinner
and wondering when the last time your apartment
felt like home.

For years you have dismissed
your upstairs neighbors
as the boring sort.
Nine-to-fivers.
Nobodies.
But their bed creaks in a symphony
of moans and shutters
making your futon seem twice it’s size
aware that when
laying completely
vertical
arms tucked to sides
legs pressed together
you take up but a third of it’s cushion/

tomorrow
they will breakfast
with eggs and toast
while you sleep until two.

And when all is said and done
you will buy a dog
label it friend,
but leave it for your mother to care for
after you’ve forgotten to feed it for
the third day in a row.

---

THE SHAPE OF LONELY

When we speak,
passion comes out all wrong.
Bruises blacken skin
where the tongue hit.
Wordsmith,
I understand where your bitterness lives,
underneath.

Back home
I’d find it in the tool shed:
hiding in the wheel barrow,
in the palm of garden gloves
the bottom of a sand bucket.

Rocks remain unturned on
dirt roads filled with pot holes
where I dug the earth raw
to throw up dust storms in the name of desire.

But here we bathe in concrete,
a park is a playground/
I complain of no real trees in this city
so you grow one from the center of your skull.
It has cracked you lifeless,
but I accept it’s shade as gift,

thank you.

Beneath it’s budding branches
I remember limbs:
the kind that clamor for touch
sliding over the jungle of my bed.
I remember tongue:
salty with skin
suck the juice from your lips
teeth grinding
my hips show no mercy
we were wetness
movement
grasping
giving
remember taking
wanting
the world stopped in the song of
elbows and knees
creating cricket sounds
with the friction of life surfacing
for a breath of this moment
watch flesh burst
into constellation:

We
have
littered
the
nighttime.

Somewhere in the country
a child recognizes the moon
as the shape of lonely
and is learning to connect the stars of our lust.
A blink away from the big dipper
he is lying back to ground
tracing the path with a fingertip pointing skyward.

We are energy.
Feelings are not to be held in hand
it is only human to long for something tangible/

So we build a raft
nailed together without care
shoddily crafted
made of Brooklyn trash
old cigarette cartons and
coke bottles.
We are humming our way through an ocean
with hands for paddles,
sitting opposite ends
to balance the weight.

I needn’t tell you that a roadmap is useless in a body of water:
colors bled/ paper a pulpy mess.
Having tossed the compass to sea long ago,
you find peace in sleep.
I search for home in the construction
of a perfect sonnet,
meant to please you upon waking
if we make it ‘till morning.


---

SISTERSONG


When it is quiet at night
and the street lamp light
leaks through the curtains
I lie awake in bed
sick with memories of an older sister
opening the pages of
a book she has no business being in.

Poorly formed letters gave away
the year you broke an arm
and learned life ambidextrous,
messy and unforgiving
the spelled the story of
my body in heaven
an angel the name of my favorite singer.
You wrote of the pain
my passing had left you with,
of our conversations
filled with unanswered questions.
Between bent pages
I hovered,
weightless with wings
while you begged
to wrap your arms
solid
around flesh
my body was air and mirage.

You were eight years old
and had written my worst nightmare.

I was found,
as any unpracticed criminal is,
with your diary in my lap.
Your face held more shame
than any child should ever feel.

Eight was an age of awkward and emotion.
I remember your stretch of insomnia
bursting into my room at odd hours
of the morning
where the cruel trick of the moon
cast monsters on the wall.
You stood by the door,
whispering me awake,
fingers nervous
and teeth clenched.
Long before braced and straightened,
they jutted like the ridge of a mountain
escaping the sweetness of your
mouth
with a turn of the lips
when I lifted the covers
and cradled you to slumber.

This is a different nighttime now.
I am no longer thirteen and
in the odd hours
I sleep with a lover,
but long for you
to wrap innocent around me
when I cannot sleep.
He will be gone in the morning/days/weeks/months
but you are the juncture
of forever

and here.


It is morning.
Bananas ripen to rotten on the kitchen counter
brown spots, the sweetest bits.
Outside the window a car is singing a Brooklyn streetsong
of boom/hiss/boom.
The sun reminds me how
summer shows your freckles.
I think to bring you love in a crate of blueberries,
count each one carefully
juicy and plump,
line them with delicacy
name them your character:

This one is for your patience

This one is for your beauty

This one for all the songs we’ve sang

This one your heart

your spirit
your laugh & it’s warmth.


How easily kindness comes to you.


You were birthed from the same womb
made of cinnamon
and white milk/
I worry you will give your every fiber
to people who deserve not a taste
of your sugar.

The spindly limbs
on a six foot frame.
The pride of height.
The hair,
shoulder length and yellow.
The belly,
the center of a body
Chipped toe polish
and dirty fingernails.

Save it.
Save it all for those who understand you
who listen with an ear to the every wall
of your person.
Save it for the pages that will tuck
your stories
under their armpits
and carry you like a book
that is not to be dog-eared
precious and respected.
Save it
for the street lamps
if no human can hold you.

We all search for a place.

At eight,
it was my arms
your head on my chest.
At seventeen you will find it
with a lover temporarily,
perhaps a friend, if you're lucky
most importantly,
within the home of your own bones
and any building
will serve only as shelter.

You will find it
on buses
and trains
on the floors of college dorms
or in the song on the radio
from long ago
you will find it,
and you will tell me stories
and I will wrap these arms big around you
sing you, sister
love you, sister
see you colors I never imagined
see you grow
be always right behind you
forever

and here.


---

DOESN'T MATTER

It doesn’t matter
that three men have called tonight
to tell you they can’t get you
off their mind
because you just don’t have
the energy
or the patience
or the willpower
to say
look,
you’re cool and all but
I’m falling for somebody
who doesn’t really want me
and consequently,
I don’t want you.

Doesn’t matter
that a boy with love on his lips
was drunk with your presence
working up a sweat convincing you
to stay another minute—
he was right to tell his friend
“she’s hung up on some motherfucker.”

and

it doesn’t matter
that nameless #1
has cheese-grater abs

or that nameless #2
has read all your favorite novels

or that #3
promises to be there
for everything from PMS
to your late-night-insomnia-
needy-phone-calling

or that #4
thinks he loves you
and your words
and your life work

#5 could be my soul mate

and

it doesn’t matter

because this is where life dumps you:
by the side of the road
with a thumb bent further back
than looks comfortable
waiting for an angel in a pick up truck
praying they don’t have a gun
or a switchblade
or a crazy look in the eye

and

on July 18th
it’s hard to remember
what winter feels like
in the heat of summer.
By January
I will probably have forgotten
your details
only remember your voice
when a stranger uses your slang
when a new lover asks about my last
I pass your stop on the subway
or your smell exists on the passenger next to me…

I hope I will remember the good things
enough to wish you well.

But for now
I am no fortune-teller.
Have got neither the exotic appearance
nor a predilection of the future
I own but two scarves
and the only eight ball I’ve ever known
was part of a Halloween costume
in eighth grade.
My palms don’t tell me shit about
where I am going,
just reflect where I’ve been
and
all
that’s certain
is this:

Sunday I will reinvent myself.
Move to a wasteland
of Brooklyn storefronts
where Bodega’s blink like carnivals
and elevated trains barrel overhead.

I will stand on tip toes
dodging chicken bones
and garbage
to try and reach divinity,
meditate on the M train,
see God in every tattoo on the block,

for home
is what you make it.

Listen now,

sometimes the world pauses
to understand the motion of collapse
around it
without giving in:

here a girl stands
unsure of the next step
and asking for a hand to steady
the weight.
It seems far too difficult to cultivate
a new semi-relationship situation
because then you must start
your story
from the beginning
and truthfully,

I am tired of speaking it.

and

really,
there is something to be said
for familiarity
and comfort
and safety
even when it is teetering
on the edge of insanity
and nothing short of temporary.

There is something to be said
for the art we have created
in the telling of falsities
for the hope of

a sleep-filled night.