Stacy Szymaszek

For my final post, I’ll leave you with another excerpt from my long poem “Famous Hermits.” Thank you to those of you who have read my posts here over the past month. I’m grateful to Futurepoem and Ariel Yelen for extending this platform to me to share what I’m thinking about these days. I’m especially happy to be able to publish parts of this unpublished poem here.



/ / / R wrote “don’t be sad” she is staying near Jean Seberg’s grave and will visit for me nothing makes me more sad than women who don’t recover from being destroyed by an institution they become lesbians in dying alone Joan of Arc and Jean lesbian the moment of their blanketed deaths PERSON A IS CONDEMNED TO DISCREDIT A WHOLE WORLD VIEW WHERE REALPERSON A LOVES A REALPERSON who gets credit and discredited what is life without a public who remembers what you did the rules of heresy simply update like fashion each decade of rosary the other night the spirit of art was everywhere as usual I argued with Rilke that I had examined myself plenty even at a tender age and didn’t need to change my life as much as a thug who wasn’t going to read his poem and then I argued with Sharon Olds that her fantasy about going back to tell her parents “don’t do it” but knowing that she wants to live so “do it” and she bangs them together is similarly distressing in that of all things I go to poetry to free myself from moral imperative i.e. HERE LIES A POET WHO GIVES UP A CERTAIN MANNER OF CONTROL Listen… (no thanks) / / / the rocks at the wellness center were in small pots with descriptions of their powers noted on brown paper I held rhodonite with sorrow for all the times I was (taken for) a ride variation of a man safe harbor but it was moonstone that held me in snowy dreamland with no gravity something about a poet in concealed backland of a familiar place where I would still need sculpturesque boots in lieu of these grass-bottomed house shoes perhaps the question is gaining in the collective what Duncan meant by “before the war” no poet can stand apart or above all-time war which includes internal warfare YOUNG WOMAN: IS OUR ERA WORSE? HUMANITARIAN: FOR ANYONE WHO IS SUFFERING NO ERA HAS BEEN WORSE / / / “Not now” could mean “Maybe someday.” “Not now” could mean, “Not after all the things I’ve seen and done. Not ever.” ― Tina Modotti it was cavalier to get off the moving train but my wrists protected my hips as we all hit a newly tilled garden ya maybe you can’t go home again or step in the same river twice the rapidity of accrued cells formed a river monster of grief YOU CAN’T BOARD AGAIN LOOKING LIKE THIS in a deft move against collective insanity I scrubbed glochids from her shoulder some of which lodged in my fingertips a truer love pact not involving blood but soap and water / / / ELDER WOMAN AT THE POST OFFICE: YOU GET A DIME BACK ME: WHAT WILL I DO? ELDER WOMAN: REBUILD AND COME BACK AND SEE ME power hates when it realizes it is being moved slowly to do certain things that disrupt accumulation we pray certain entities never know we exist even if it feels like we’ll perish (publish or…) responsibility is the ability to respond (Duncan) which requires the space for unpredictable gestures to the elite city I was no devotee though I took notes like one