Cadavre Exquis


drawings by David Scher

From Session #46, March 2, 2019 JoAnn Balingit, Susan Berger-Jones, Cort Day, Devon Miller-Duggan, Michela Garabedian, Alice Gavin, Don Hogle, Emily Wallis Hughes, Ines Pujos, Caroline Simpson, Nina Smilow, Stacy Spenser, and Farjana Yasmin:

“It should have been enough when feathers bled”

It should have been enough when the feathers bled
and the wings of Quetzalcoatl were summer
wings, and the feet of a wood duck. Where
did the bird juggle her own eggs
dangerously high above the chimney.
Like a trapeze swinger singing opera
and falling from the trapeze into the dry mote
with a sickening thump; I was shocked,
and fettered to a wheel, sounding through the night.
You quilted all the clothes of your former
lovers who told you about this, and all
the other things you said when you were sleeping.

“I lost the peach seahorse in”

I lost the peach seahorse in
the Czech Republic. Midnight-blue
glass sky reigns over Gothic churches
stained black by the water of black beans.
Perforated lines across it. I’m worried about you.
You overthink things, like the time ants swarmed
the blanket we had thrown over our marriage.
Under layers the onion plays coy, envious
of the artichoke pulling its skin back
again and again, to get cigarettes
or coffee or something, even a bagel,
sesame or otherwise, paprika this way
it all tastes like salty pretzels.
Turn away, desiring this man’s art and
hope to turn away the great Earth itself,
its orbit disrupted, it veered toward the Sun,
too much like Icarus to be remembered.


“Think of this as a memory object containing”

Think of this as a memory object containing
the altitudes of childhood only admit
climbers of exceptional, of proximitable
courage and needless rigor built in fly fishing,
but can you summon your mother’s entitlement,
can you summon your mother’s
body after death? That terrifies me,
what would she say to this group of photons.
Show me where your strawberries
are hidden. The answers hidden.
The test was given and I failed.
I am terrible at giving flowers that grow
words I want to hear right before going to bed.
Didn’t think I’d be late to each morning.
I can’t escape night, love of hours that

don’t exist.

“The smokery is at the top of the hill”

The smokery is at the top of the hill
where Mr. Copplestone lays his pipe,
is where he lays his head.
He puts his feet up like a man of war
worshipped by pears.My peers are pears.
I cannot cut pears, my knife is blunt
like my tongue, cut and split in two.
Tucked beneath are three sparrows newly hatched.
Their chirps instill mirth and frivolity.
Let us accept without question
the work of the bull.He enraged me
so profoundly, I longed to hold you,
your memories.Your memories
are smarter than you think.

“What is new does not exist yet”

What is new does not exist yet
in our sky. We only see ivory florets.
I’m a library of one book
and it’s a great matter, my dear.
The green balloon floated off into the green
distances where the sky ends abruptly
against a building. A white trellis
stands out with ivory, with sumac, with
a sign from a distance that seems to warn
of mushroom houses however sleepy.
In one man’s paintings there is no gold,
no woman, no god resolute as an
upright piano just tuned sounds better
than a recording of Callas throttling the heads
of the armed states, “a long pause which
the inner devils filled with strident laughter”
(Edith Wharton), you know the
shattered spine and all that.

“Have I left my centrifugal separator”

Have I left my centrifugal separator
in the belt-driven furge? Loosing my belt
and the coat which I always slept in.
Covering skin with skin the rooster and pear
turn green from polio, not a field
but a grave and I have
rowed the crying waves to the bookstore
when I need wings. It’s always wings.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
nor what I ate for dinner.
I always believe the ashes and the mud.
We go on a field trip.
We go to a new place.

“The mountain sun so splendidly shining, that”

The mountain sun so splendidly shining, that
made them lose their sight, but not their smell.
How silver, how coppery! As a moon
preparing the harvest. Zucchini vines intertwined
squash blossoms cooked with saffron and thyme and roses.
It screws with the inner ear, messes with your cochlea
and produces a mild vertigo the doctor says is best
to leave until it rages against the field of peonies.
What are dogs called when they stop wanting to go out for walks?
With drooping ears the largest raptor on the planet
desires to hold, warm pulses, sharp breaths,
evidence of a debilitating fear can result
in a very traumatic dream.
As if the sea light, in your voice.

“The land that time forgot is growing turnips now”
The land that time forgot is growing turnips now
the burning of men and animals on the riverbank,
in the 3rd century gave birth to celestial twins
whose constellation burst into being in fire.
These are the days formed first during an afternoon
nap the shape of iron table tops.
Tiny little leaves cracked beneath
leather before winter like white
worn before summer, white!
How dare she walk away from the walls
and the doors of the alder lead to the door

into summer and winter. I yearn
for others the sand of grinding teeth
may be a little unpleasant because I died. That’s right.
My heart stopped, and the stream ran dry.