Where Not to Put Things

by Daisy Fried

illustrator Rosie Roberts

Issue IX

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Failed poems about sex, ball of yarn
twists from pink to green
to tangerine, good for baby hats,
years left over, dump of deadly drafts
stinking of the notebooks, forms
to re-register for government help,
sew-your-own-clothes manual, unused,
abuts, it always does, T.J. Clark’s unread
The Absolute Bourgeois. Battered
metal water bottle Beth left
at Jim’s book party, we were
drunk or drunkish and the kids
grew fractious on quarrel and
sugar, I took it, the bottle,
half not intending to give it back
and didn’t give it back. It leans
unused on the sill towards the postcard
from Arezzo pushpinned
to the wall, Piero fresco detail
shows (why I bought it) the balls
of the man who bears the load
of the wood of the cross
getting buried. Peach pit, wet fibers
still attached, inch-deep in
coffee mug residue, tags
the season as in haiku. Solar powered
Queen Elizabeth II figurine waves
inanely backwards. Friends keep
leaving. Receipts.  Poems about failed sex.
Report on post-Fukushima Pacific fish.
“Groaning laughter outside
like a school bus trying to get up a mountain”
from the list I keep of failed
and orphaned metaphors
and titles. “Where Not to Put
Things.” I stop reading Fukushima.
Bit of wax from off a cheese,
cracker dust, roll of dusty
barely-sticks-anymore masking tape,

cracked pencil box holding up
the window slipping down its tracks.
Teapot: leaks when poured,
oh well. My daughter’s sweater
on the floor. Making Their Mark:
Women Artists Move Into the Mainstream:
An old book, very 80s. Which,
when I flip it randomly open, reports
the artist broke through to her mature work when...
I lose interest, fiddle with tissues,
my wicker purse, poems without ends,
ball of yarn, instructions
for Reduction of Taxes
Due to Insolvency Worksheet
I can’t understand. Sometimes
it’s: how can I write in this mess.
Sometimes: that’s the point.

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