“It’s a lie. It’s a bunch of sad strangers photographed beautifully, and… all the glittering assholes who appreciate art say it’s beautiful ‘cause that’s what they wanna see. But the people in the photos are sad, and alone… But the pictures make the world seem beautiful, so… the exhibition is reassuring which makes it a lie, and everyone loves a big fat lie.” - Closer (2004)
Some poems from “B Is for Bad Poetry” by Pamela August Russell
In the bar I ask the man what the saddest moment of his life was.
He says, “When my baby died.”
Wanting to be on a different note, I ask him the happiest moment.
He says, “When my baby was born.”
See, this is the trouble: you have a face like a Walt Whitman poem
and arms I’d imagine Dante would have if only
he explored my skin instead of the seven circles of hell, which,
if you want to get technical, are the same thing.
Love is not something you deplete but after a while
I erased the greatest parts of my loving; the beginning, middle,
and end of our story, which is not to say I gave up entirely on your
face being a poem, but that I stopped reading the pillow marks
against your cheek like Braille, stopped
feeling the hair along your arms like a letter I can’t
open, the sender sealed the words too passionately.
Even in that dark bar with the man speaking of his individual sadnesses, I think back to you in the city we both know
and me, slowly decaying on a park bench with cigarettes and coffee stained with liquor.
I ask the man in the bar if he’s ever been in love. We raise our glasses
to the past which loved us; and eventually we raise to the future,
which hadn’t the audacity to get to know us yet. Evidently
I think back to the times when you lay beside me like a still life, all gracefulness and truth, not wanting to be anything
except what it was and me, wanting
to be everything I was not.
I sit, waiting for something else
itself. But nothing comes.
Crying at the rain
is a whole other thing, don’t
wanting something else
it begins to
leave a bad taste
in your mouth.
I never wanted this - all
your furniture thrown out into
the street, but goodbyes
feel heavy under the tongue;
it starts as a sweetness
and ends as a bitterness
and after a while
* * *
I still want to believe that all
the boys who have ever
fallen in love with me
are still, in fact,
in love with me. I sit on the subway
watch my eyes.
I can look away with my right eye and have my left one
still indefinitely focused on your arms which,
by the way, resemble two parentheses
I can’t quite close up. I stand up
and leave this train watch my face.
I have great trouble opening sentences
but no trouble closing them look watch my feet.
Slowly walking away from you,
the memory of two people on a bed or
laying on the grass somewhere in a
strange city losing itself. I am sorry. Cities always lose me.
Words always lose me like I
This is it: all the boys who don’t love me won’t love me. I sit on the subway watch my eyes.
I will go home and think about how I never wanted this for you,
all your clothes thrown out
onto the street.
— (two poems)
by Anna Ladd, This Week I Am Strugging With Self Doubt and the Transition From Iced Coffee to Hot Coffee
— Anne Carson, from Lines