A Hüsker Dü Golden Shovel Poem
So smoke it. Probably what’s the difference, what’s
gone missing is missing, is going
to remain missing, even on
a reunion tour. What’s lost and budding vs. what’s
lost and rotting. Triggers for our FOMO. Going
by the logic of looped break-ups, feisty on
the fumes of former fuels, what’s
this particular crowd passing around? It’s going
to mosh pit our bedazzled coyote minds. On
second glance, those are real fucking coyotes inside.
Real coyotes, lean and loping toward a vanishing point. My
fellow feral howl monuments, a concert’s kicked off in my head.
Third Ballad from the Labyrinth
Labyrinth of my haunted
mouth. Some birds
maybe just cormorants swallow stones
to dive the deeper river fish slick treasure
like a cellar. Victrola
spinning choked-down songs.
There’s no reason to
pretend it’s not
happening or that
it feels good. Or bad.
Listen, listen, the last
child on any path has
What a name means.
A hand-me-down, a saint
a mother loved.
Has it been a great
Recall a summer afternoon: the crows
(just a regular murder: twenty or so birds)
peppering the neighborhood trees trying
to holler away a hawk. The hawk preening.
The hawk unruffled. The motionlessness
of one bird filling up the sky to bursting.
A definite non-moving example of moving.
A secret image inside
a body inside
It’s Labyrinthitis: an inner ear
condition probably not serious
association akin to
the way think and thank spiral
from the same vine move
even dizzied like that shimmy shimmy candle wall
The whole picture stops when you stop
while lost in any maze or tour
puzzle recalling a favorite song can help
But there’s no bar
in here Can she dance sober?
When there’s nothing left Dancing at Midnight
but to walk forward Dancing at the Chance
All this remembering Dancing at the Dead Sea
A vertigo Dancing at the Edge of the World
a tarantella Dancing at the Harvest Moon
a vertigo Dancing at the Louvre
Dancing at the Odinochka
Dancing at the Rascal Fair
Dancing at the River’s Edge
Dancing at the Shame Prom
Dancing at the Victory Café
Paula Cisewski's fourth poetry collection, quitter, co-won Diode Editions' 2016 Book Prize and her third, The Threatened Everything, was the finalist selected for publication in the 2014 Burnside Review Book Contest. Both will appear in early 2017. Cisewski is also the author of Ghost Fargo, selected by Franz Wright for the Nightboat Poetry Prize, Upon Arrival (Black Ocean), and a chapbook of lyric prose, Misplaced Sinister (Red Bird Chapbooks). She has been awarded fellowships from the Banfill-Locke Center for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, and the Minnesota State Arts Board. She teaches, both academically and privately, and curates artful literary events in the Twin Cities.