Further Problems with Pleasure
There must be some way to prolong the house.
I doubt I will ever use the word “plywood” in a poem
so there’s no way I could build anything substantial anyone
got a razor I haven’t shaved in over a year. I could write a hundred of these
and binge on free speech. “I am intensely attracted to you”
he said a year later. There were monitors everywhere
and they streamed through the world like phantoms.
It induced a kind of paranoia in some but others
found comfort in it. Let me never be the one
who finds comfort in the sherbets of prison so that I can
can kiss you and stay a love poet. There must
be some way to prolong the house.
Lake Ella Aubade
(For Chris Nealon)
“Sometimes I wonder what the novel would have looked like if instead of plots its characters had bodies”
I love to sit by this lake midmorning when I’m slightly hungover.
I love the way the water moves everything to the west, pulls
the birds, tampons, pills, condoms, cups, with it. Cosmopolitan
vortex. A century of Black Fridays splashes on its disgusting
shores. Wondering how much of life is spent getting fucked, or fucking,
getting fucked over or just being a fucker. Maybe some want
a grand narrative instead of this instantaneous flesh flash mob
bullshit but I can’t help loving the way you want me
to suck your dick. Why can’t sheer beauty kill this century
the way it kills me? All the poets write poems titled “Dear Whomever”
but I retaliate and instead sit right here in the middle of this lake.
Conceptual Poetry is a life sentence of selfies shrugging
in a privatized prison The social role
of the poet was the most annoying girl who cried and cried
all day and in the morning with a picket sign Something I don’t know
a gang bang I don’t want to say that honey He couldn’t move past
His own pornography which was a problem that involved
Trucks and generally being an idiot I think my ideas are good
here I’m afraid of art museums and Ikea oh god I hate
Ikea and you and trucks and Tallahassee and who
Is going to pay off my student loans
Further Problems With Pleasure
Friends, I’m going to leave Facebook to become a vegan and/or
astronaut. Flying high above my own sorcery, the police will never
helicopter mom me! He spent the eighties
in Miami stealing cars but he was only the middle man so there’s
something pathetic about that, no? Now he’s in Alabama sitting in a tree swing
hunting deer so it makes me hate him. Once he got
arrested for stealing a sandwich from 7-11. I want to know
what he’s thinking and then I don’t. Throw me in jail where I can write
some poetry. The problem with pleasure
is that you need to force it to be more measurable. A house a palace
a mansion a police car imagine the possibilities. When someone
refers to “the poor,” I turn into a trailer and Hurricane
Rita blows me away. Friends, I’m going to leave
Facebook to become a vegan.
I like the way you look a little depressed. Anyone here got anything
for me to suck on? Shouldn’t down bottles of red wine
I’m a drum on the run I’m a bummer a sad sack of brain matter.
Do all your boys know about each other? I’ve got some venison
in the freezer. Sometimes I read your poems at work and it makes
me feel better but when you say the word “cunt,”
I have to close my browser. I’ve neglected my
studies I’ve neglected to wash the baby socks.
I like the way you look depressed staring out from your
Facebook prison maybe we can talk? Am I creepy? Am I horny?
Anyone here got anything for me to suck on?
“Do not give up on your desire” but tell me something that will
destroy my life. The culture and the century are so entwined
so how are we going to break the hearts of the young?
I submit to the trees with this here song! I submit to the summer
and all her lovers glistening like meat! I submit to the way sex propels
the engine forth! I submit to the organisms who shake their
fists and stomp their feet and the clouds with their
complex strategies! Woke up in a Soho doorway police
run the ant hills do you remember my name? My lovers scatter
before me how will I collect them? “Do not give up on your desire”
but tell me the story of something that will.
To the Mother of the Setting Day
(for Whit Griffin)
The absence of sadness may create bitterness. I will give any goddess
who makes her way through this cheap ass apartment a free
pair of Minnie Mouse embossed baby socks. I was up all night rearranging the
that poured from six clear opals and, in the morning, begged only for one
seed to be placed in the middle of a cold, faraway chapel. This is my way
of crying don’t you know that? A few men with hammers
are putting on a new roof next door. Robert, your mama just called she
sick. The drug dealers have moved into some other ether and I wanted very much
to say goodbye to the motherless one. I know that the sun has forgotten us but god
does it have to mock us also? The absence of sadness may create bitterness.
A Poem for Roland Barthes
My story is difficult; it is one of despair.
Happy songs selling songs are not
my weapon here.
To dissect a year: Sing along
Write a comet, Aphrodite. Repair
the subject. A note or two
about love: I love the quasar! Her tentacles,
her trance of blood in a city
as she drinks. The street
is a trace of lemons,
a mud bath. Stars that break
through their own
demonology. Oppression like the phases
of the peach: Moldy, tender, a pit, a grave.
Incomplete value. Temperamental. Estranged.
I took off my lover’s uniform.
I call him “Uniform”; he’s just
some petty shopkeep and
yet I touch his chest hair,
force myself to listen to his moronic pauses.
His moronic reasoning. My story is difficult;
it is one of despair. It is the inverse
of a line of votives. Church mouse:
it is the inverse of church squared.
I like the way comets are just like, “fuck you, whatever.”
What’s the matter? You don’t seem to be happy.
I like the way they think. Their logic
is sound. It is granite.
I take for granted their clarity and I enjoy
the way they demystify some
essential affirmation of spunky
social media gurus.
I saw masses of people swarm
the glaciated brainchild
of doubt. Oh Uniform,
come hither, you bastard. You idiotic
piece of the plural good. Some glittering stupidity
like the eyeball of a round lamb.
Come, my little comet. You baby doll.
Hi back. To your gorgeous desire
to suffer in realism.
Born of literature, berated by work.
Beaten down by the inflections of viability.
To my own philosophy, I am none!
My lover’s truck is gone.
Zero energy’s the only wise thing I know:
to gather as undertaking; to undertake
as gathering. To be one’s
own undertaker. These worn codes
refresh themselves by the moment as bone. We break
through them if we cannot
afford to. I love you.
But not enough. Not yet and beyond some
limit where life is what’s reversed.
“The sun’s magnetic field is poised to flip.”
I speak to myself as if I’m my own
horrified narrator. It is sick.
Inside the idiotic keyhole of language,
you grip some corrupted verbs
and call it a day. Or a vase. Or hyperbole.
Or a wage. Talking
to yourself like ancient, brazen
history. White page after
white page skin tone encased like a hard drive,
information is what
The anxiety of losing
the lover is a Bronze Age guise to remake
reality. A mask. Your remarks are clever.
In other words, hell.
You dazzle me with your little piece of medieval flesh.
When will you admit that I surmount
your repetitive and myopic
star work? The New Year
exhumes some commonplace
errors. One rule of thumb would be
that our story is ours that our love is ours
that we keep our scrolls because we do not know
anything other than an alter
of syncope and endless
banalities. A lovely phrase like the skin
of a flayed shark. At times, I crave cheap
Chinese food so hard. Or the sea that
continues its course of wrecks.
I look out my window and the stillness
of the rural scene
breaks my heart.
Devout as I am, the devouring’s
stronger. A horrible ebb
within the envelope’s dreaded
contents. Secretions pulsate like various
forms of criminality. Text me or circulate
like intense visions of Mary
in palm trees or coral reefs.
Every so many seconds a woman is hit by someone with
direct tectonic rage. Geology is
is some rough sadism I know
not what. Agony is property
but it is also agony. Vow to me, agony.
Declare your allegiance! Or buy me a house.
In the hotel, alone, I wait for jealousy
to return me to everything I know.
Some fucked up figure will either fuck
me or become the background to
my intensely cold hands.
The terror of a breakdown is the background
of the History of Art. I am calm. Anxiety mounts.
Having lost him, I move closer to the comet’s
deranged equipment. I situate myself inside
the overblown moment as if
I am the birthright of madness.
I enslave the bathtub. Doped up
lamps are stupid and I’m not okay.
I am my breakdown I’m not okay.
Wrecking my life was the origin of love.
Read about the Hittites or Hitler. Above, the sun
is a carved marble.
Oh Barthes, is there some triumphant dictionary,
some magic charm that will save me from the rent ruin,
the wage ruin, the loan ruin,
the him ruin, the page ruin, the nerve ruin?
Maybe she wears hymns around her neck
and lives in the country
and is content with nothing
less than making a demonology
of the granular surface.
Maybe she keeps goats. Maybe her home
is in the sun where all the suicides
go for their little banquet of wine
and milk and trees? Maybe she knows
the passageway to the mountains?
Perhaps she is a song that can only
please her enemies. Perhaps with one
glance she can slice through the agony of
property. Maybe she dances in a shell. Maybe
she wears no uniform at all.
Maybe she is really a skull. Or a pulse.
Maybe she smells like weeds on the seashore.
Sandra Simonds is the author of six books of poetry: Orlando, (Wave Books, 2018), Further Problems with Pleasure, winner of the 2015 Akron Poetry Prize from the University of Akron Press, Steal It Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015), The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012), and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009). She lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is an Associate professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.