for Jennifer Firestone
The small circle cutout
not the mouth stitched seam but the overlay,
a porthole, a saint's medal, the other pressing in
the painting is a telescope, a microscope, a device
for seeing the god in the gay body dying of AIDS
larger than geography or any attempt at mapping
how can one locate oneself in history when
history denies, erases you
and the others you contain
organisms on a dish, the male form giving and taking touch
the baby, a fetus, in the palm, a violin,
a bleeding globe, its objects hanging perverse
mobile both holds and drops what it contains
in tension; the voice, the text knows it is dying
is a breathing organ making of its breath
a fight, a righteous fight, a saint's struggle
on fire, cigarette in hand
where does the self end
"I can't abstract my own dying any longer"; "I am standing
among all of you waving my invisible arms and hands.
I am shouting my invisible words"
but now I am reading those invisible words
made to appear by looking
the way money is a seamless background, and makes
for seamlessness, behind the bad moon rising
the clocks that pull away time's orientation
or the orientation of the self to time.
For time is a petrie dish, the body already skewered
with it, with the pleasure of a body,
reclining, the traditional subject of art
an angel diagnosing a message
Author Bio: Karen Weiser is a writer who lives in New York City. Currently she is in advanced training for Psychoanalysis at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City. She has a Phd in English and American Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center and an MFA in Poetry from the New School. She writes poetry as well as essays on 19th Century American novels and poetry. Her second collection of poems entitled Or, The Ambiguities (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015) was written in conversation with the works of Herman Melville. Her first book To Light Out (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) considered the idea of talking with the unknown while pregnant.