from THE SINGING GERUNDS — Stephanie Anderson

Noodle soup for breakfast
& pan flutes he tells me
his early sightings hot
& hotter today new bites on
my knees moon on blue like a stray
slip of cloud sheets hanging
to dry on the tennis court
during the time of the
Americans & their puppets
the starving figures make
the empty cell blocks sadder still
tiger cages are humans in
pits it’s too hard to keep looking
stark cellular repetition
so overlay luxurious
blues sitting on a boat
the islands knuckly
& crescent full one sun
bleached igloo floats alone
fish skipping like stones on
the surface of the dark sea
turtle’s silhouettes in
a roiling waltz
they will try to pull him
down what seemingly sweet
violence I bite the mouthpiece
& dive the fish flee before me
a green mouth closing to purple
mine steeped with salt
what insane privilege is this
pinocchio florescent black
ringed in cobalt neon neon
neon creamsicle striped
& shy tangerine bits
lemon drops lime sherbet
ribbons with eyes so many speck-
led things flippering to
greater resolution
in miniature topographies
giant mushroom shelves &
green gummy worm bouquets
thundercloud coral the
cathedral light cuts through
all of this is just futile sounds
our boiled backs shrimp soup
elected at dinner
she rides past frozen fish
slipping off to dream in
quiet drips & dartings

He goes early to the mountain
I sleep late in the breezy room
descending through the conifers
in a fancy car again rain
& sun please do not open the
exit unless emergency
goodbye highlands the white
coffee irregularly shaped
fields & romantic kitsch
sweet reds & whites down to our last
pen blank out the window
the sea behind walls to
a city of tailors
the betel garden another
small paradise in the
old city silks & some
singing he says it’s like
Disneyworld for everyone else
authentic in its surfaceness
rose dumplings & pea coats
nonetheless I love the
lanterns that’s interpolated
no it’s not this mosquito net
is made of wedding lace

Singing at dawn propaganda
through the town speakers Multi says
though they tilt them up to
catch the rain but the government
replaces them here’s your
bike the white cliffs draped
with foliage dress the air
vibrating each bug an
amplified tuning fork
driving between vaulted
peaks trailing butterflies
tiny tipsy trapeze artists
mountains perpendicular planes
we climb to get inside
it’s a boardwalk on Mars
stalagmites stalactites
here Nutella gelato here
hen of the woods morels
the girls see a ghost with long hair
copper running to red
tentacles & column clusters
roots & bulbs & helixes turn
& the chambered chest expanding
back & open & again up
the river cerulean blue
crossing to the next cave
shallow pools at the mouth
sharp pebbles & sand &
finally mud slick at
first the floor underneath
then it thickens over
all the walls a deep brown
one step sinks the knees trudging these
narrow trenches slithering &
slipping headlamp flickering I
lurch to sides a kind of
bobblehead skater a golem
learning to walk or even to
crawl until we at last
pool in a pit they can’t quiet
we sit & slurp someone
tastes it the deeper dark
the body blanched in mud
the uncomfortable laughter
& blind echoing I want to
listen but the brain gets
in the way so we slither back
to black water & shed
our geoskins let the talkers
go ahead we float on our backs
empty sans sensation
illuminate bats the distant
mouth’s light refracts on stone
& water an otherworldly
mirage we have become
cold blooded in our tremendous
privilege faint & full of love
bike back to elemental air
we stop for sugar cane
juice they bring wrapping for
the skewers shots for him
a boy hides & blows kisses lots
of school kids stare & wave
& make all the peace signs


Stephanie Anderson is the author of In the Key of Those Who Can No Longer Organize Their Environments (Horse Less Press) and Variants on Binding (forthcoming, National Poetry Review Press). Her most recent chapbooks are Sentence, Signal, Stain (Greying Ghost) and Charting Practice: A Fictive Essay (Double Cross Press). She currently lives in Chicago and edits the micropress Projective Industries.