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Alyson Hannigan Ordered Me To Be Made


Alyson, bitter letter, my magic
I’m not exactly in love with how this is turning out

I look distracted too mellow entirely normal
I look calm adjusted heavy with whimsy kingly
iconography dripping from me don’t you hate that
when this happens turning
out Alyson, paint me
bowing to flowers (narcissus) or some other
repeating grace worth being bitchy about          like Williams
undoing the world in his cleaving variable beginning (Did I
turn out like that?) his raging liquid music edged so hard
in the present, “rich in savagery” he says at the end
of Spring and All
When I read that book I imagine Williams
is Tom Waits and T.S. Eliot is The Eagles, the former’s
monstrous delight leering against the latter’s breezy
symptomatic melodies, both disastrously male
but Waits feels it. Terrific.
Alyson, do I look like that?
At Tom Waits’ 2011 induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame,
Neil Young stands at the podium like a gorgeous dirty goat and says
“This next man is undescribable
and I’m here to describe him. This man
is a great, he’s sort of a performer singer actor magician
spirit guide changling and I’ve seen him standing
in a bunch of dust and I thought I saw you know sparkling
things coming off of him and then I looked at him
while he was singing and I said is my vision going I’m seeing
three maybe four people up there now and they’re all seeming
to be waiting for the other one to finish so that they can come in
and this other one would just whistle at me and then
one would speak in a kind of speaking in tongues
kind of voice and then the Eagles covered it.” Oh my god
Alyson, will you paint me like that, gnawed on, split by dreams?

I look like Rack, you remember, the warlock magic dealer
in Buffy who told you, who told Willow, “you taste
like strawberries” before your and Amy’s demonic, orgasmic
trip, your inverted surrealistic pillow, feed your head
feed your pretty red head.
But is that me saying that about you                  or is that my portrait?

In Season 6, Episode 22 Grave, I look like the grave
That’s the one where Giles comes back a coven-dad with power
to take on dark Willow undoing the world of men killing
women everyone so desirous of love and the dead fucking
the living in the rubble, the intricate ship. Willow overloads
on magic, overhears the world of people suffering together
“It’s too much it’s all too much” she says in her refusal her
red hair black eyes black at the red end
(Where’d you get that red hair, Nick?) Xander
normaled down like a man on the satanic bluff, suddenly that exists
in the show like a soul
what’s needed to be real performing the story strawberries pain
the only mother in the series is dead

I look like Patricia in Godard’s Breathless when she says
“I’ll put all this in my book” the incongruous surfaces
of a French new wave weekend purring together
in their naïve infancies founded on a violence jade
static we’re brought up to feel is charming but oh I do
adore that look, that book, it sheds itself in knots
but the hair isn’t right

I look split as much as possible so I’m reading (crying) red-headed
Alice Neel’s biography The Art of Not Sitting Pretty
“realism can be as good
as abstraction” she says about a 1946 portrait “I didn’t see picnics on the grass
and all that stuff”
“I was abandoned I didn’t feel it I was” “This is called
The Futility of Effort” I love
the articulate blues draped around her
portraits’ faces suffering as obsession, intimacy
worshipping hard on canvas, it’s not always going to be charming






















I dream

I overhear Alice Notley a dream “I don’t know

if I’m a good person” she says “I had to cut off

part of myself / for this family to believe

me / to belong to what surrounds me”

cramming her magic in a dark backpack (she leaves)

It’s not a choice it’s a position I think

listening to C to J “wanting to chew my own

arm off / wishing I could hang out with my poems”

It’s a position toward light 1 white lamp I keep

in the future from my position (crying) in the dream

the bones of my mothers in the grave I am

dug in the yard the grave of my mothers heavy piled

living & him I walk himly crying himish to it All

things dreaming he’s I’m pulling up the grass

like a soft loose door because I’m in it

                        “the earth wants you back”

“I’ve got your back”



out of the grave

beautiful and powerful the mothers     hair red


WHEREAS, the parties were married and have one child born as issue of said marriage; and

WHEREAS, unfortunate differences have arisen between the parties making the continuation of their marital relationship impossible, and as a consequence thereof, the parties are now living separate and apart; and

WHEREAS, the parties desire to settle all matters between them arising out of their marriage, including a division of property and alimony settlement and support of the child.

NOW, THEREFORE, in consideration of the mutual promises of the parties, and other good and valuable consideration from each to the other passing, it is hereby agreed by and between the parties as follows:

The parties henceforth shall live throughout the remainder of their natural lives, separate and apart.


Season 7, Episode 13: The Killer in Me an allusion
to Dylan’s “The Man in Me” New Morning (1970)
with blousy Willow hexed to become the man she
murdered when she kisses the woman she loves
it happens she’s having trouble with the whole
“guy event thing” but she’s still of course “sexy when
you pout” then “I was sorry” (the magic) “you dumb
bitch” it’s not glamour becoming him misogynist man
“I almost destroy the world & you all keep on loving me”
her himly you know what I mean Alyson Hannigan says
as a man but you said her you said I was there is it magic
to be so ordered under inventory of Wife and Husband grave
I’m made there my red haired mother my loving mother my
present mother my witch lover making

me in the him in me    

& one morning now I hear that song

(crying) as in the documents I read I look

at what I said
“No, mommy”

in the documents “having come

before the court” she said “fuck you”

she said in the documents “feel free to fuck

your slut girlfriend” “she threw Nick’s new book

out the car window” he wrote “we were playing

outside” I read “Nick had

seen too much” I was 3 I remember

calling her a bitch mommy is a bitch I said did

this ever happen I remember screaming on the couch

“be quiet, I’m watching TV” I was turning out I was

watching Eureeka’s Castle a show about a female wizard

who lives in a wind-up castle owned by a friendly giant

with a sneezing dragon who plays music with a plunger

& a fish frieze that sings from the façade of the castle

& a smart aleck bat with a New York accent named Batly

& the only idea they ever have is to sing about things

they sing about sleep & sheep & collecting & having silly fun

mommy is a bitch I said I was 3 I sang along I overheard

the singing & so I sung turning out jade static at the castle

as a name overhearing a song at the soft loose door did this ever

happen & red-haired dead with them (too much)

my natural life begun


Wife’s possessions:

Dining table and 5 chairs
King size bed with box springs and mattress
Dresser with mirror
Television (Zenith color), coffee table
Rocking chair
All things that belong to child (furniture, toys, bonds)
Clock Radio
Knickknacks and wall hangings
All photographs (have negatives if Husband wants copies)
Bathroom things (green towels and stripes)
Kitchen/split as much as possible
Keeps pans and pots/cookbooks and other small things she’s accumulated
2 small lamps, plus 1 white lamp
lawn chairs (her birthday present)
Books that are hers
king size sheets/spread/blankets/pillows
Wall phone
Cooler and Jug
Round Wooden tables and covers
China Set
Brown carry-on luggage bag
Christmas items
Couch pillows

bitter letter 

I’m in it
(Where’d you get that red hair, Nick?)

last night I dreamt of a black haired lion I kept it

it killed me letter I don’t need a dream to know I’m that

turning out a part of & evidence of the other (Zenith color)

life & lives Alyson I am

that a man or a ribbon dreaming weighted in

three maybe four people to sift a lineage (negatives)

so diffuse & contingent on other small things accumulated

(bonds) (All things) as the black lion I love

pushes me into books (Books

that are hers) separate

& apart, blousy, utterly, so

that that (a color) suddenly doesn’t

exist in this


exist in this


Husband’s possessions:

one couch and matching chair
one small black and white television
stereo, phonograph and tape deck
one regular size wood frame bed with matching chest of drawers
(Wife gets dresser with mirror)
one stereo stand
one small desk
one card table

& in class the issue is “what is wrong with sex”

as a question to read “The Waste Land” but I hate

that poem its male diagnosis oiled as a promise

of recovery as if the present isn’t a body flower

slay noise I just quoted a mother (crying) let me

be clear: this isn’t a choice it’s worship letter

body wet into wet where’d you get that dream

like me the poem lays out 2 versions

of death 2 versions of life but I’m not studying

that division I’m writing (crying) as a lilac splits

into my friend’s kitchen dreaming a certain direction

slanting jade static should I be clearer in Middle English

I read that poem “Alisoun” but time is not a division in it

Ich am in hire baundoun Alisoun & I we are turning out

I am in her power Alyson in the kitchen Ich habbe iyerned yore

Betere is tholien while sore does not translate pain flower

kitchen floor I read “We can’t be together, but you’re

always with me in my heart” “you don’t know what you’re doing

to my heart” she writes in a blue envelope I barely remember

her hair is me is it a choice a dead land living forms my mother

depending on possession of the child they call that custody

I hate that poem where there’s a man in me in the poem

women are completely inept & ruin the world

he says with emotions so Eliot has to pretend to surrender

to what’s beyond the male see modern ego

as if being made were a law (one couch and matching chair)

it’s been a bad year for fun & all because of dick Mark says

not symbols in my position I’m lying (phonograph

& tape deck) between the defendants in the documents

like a man jade static frothing breeding song I la la

jug jug can’t translate what light & love surrenders

(Cooler & Jug) in the disaster’s (China Set) Middle Class

sound of lilacs seething bitter letter where devotion is

crushing strawberries into my red hair I’m asking

what is a choice?

potion not a portrait a looking dying sparkling thing or spring

being a list a name is what made me

I’ve been studying you know dreaming

of heavy melting snow like love Betere is tholien

while sore it is better to suffer greatly for a time

where the walls don’t hold soft loose viscera

a bitch a song in me is a family the question

a castle did this ever happen (crying) I’ve been

studying in the best interest of

All things, the child

fuck your peaceful
easy feeling







Nick Sturm

Nick Sturm is the NEH Postdoctoral Fellow in Poetics at Emory University’s Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. His poems and essays are published in Jacket2, PEN, ASAP/J, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. His scholarly and archival work can be traced at his blog Crystal Set.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2017

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