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The Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life
Edited by Andrei Codrescu
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the corpse reads classics letters the book of revelations and epiphanies
the making and unmaking of person
The Making and Unmaking of Person

by Emily Kruse

An Evening with Myself

With a view of the parking
lot and in it the teachers'
minivans crowding
the space there never
is enough of,
I debated abortion
and capital punishment,

in that way the young
have of being
certain knowing what
I was against before

I had any notion
of living, how
it is never
moralistic or simple,

and always you
will surprise yourself,
always you will
be more capable
than you ever

Take this evening,
for instance,
how folding our laundry
reminds me of
momma, who ironed
for hours to the televisions'
low hum,

who couldn't keep
any of our socks straight -
who would agree
with the prepubescent girl
who keeps unmaking

my mind just like
she always and with
unfailing rancor
took the side of the judges
locking the day
time delinquents away.

The room is cold where
you are not,
where I sit with the cats
at my elbows and
the same tired questions.

You are writing
the Great American novel
in your sleep and I
am doing laundry.
Our house is so old it
keeps the weather in,
like an old woman
with her dusky secrets.

Your ears burned
on the bike ride home
so to pass the time
you sang a song
about a poet you
loved and the lies she
told. I'm trying
to find the right way
of saying I don't
know how

to go on, I
love you like a tree
bursting into leaf but
I do not know how
to go on.

There is no way
of working it out,
not in sleep, not
in the talking before
sleep, not in
the steady rhythm
of folding your shirts -

only this desire
to slip into a quiet
where your snoring mimics
the sound of the waves
lapping the shore,

that is calm, that
will go on and
on and keep going,
wave after wave
of salt and a new
beginning and no
mind for the shells
it crushes, laid
bare on the sand.

Taking Out the Trash

This is not the person I
meant to become, painted
over with grief,
standing alone in the
street while the arc sodium
lamps extinguish,
one by one.

A bird twitters, and
low in the distance
there is the sound
of machines grinding
up - the crane on third,
the garbage men on castle,
our neighbor creaking
off to his day job.

Our job is just
this: to fall silent
while the day breaks
underneath, pace the streets
of our lives lighting
the lamps, then
extinguishing them,
apologizing for the air we
breathe as we sit
at our desks with pens
in our hands and too
much consideration.

If there were something
more than the garbage
men huffing
another morning.
If I went back
inside and put my pants
on right side out,
left for a desk
in the suburbs with
a computer, a schedule and
a switchboard telephone,
then returned, in
the starting up
of the street lamps,
the traffic lights' flickering
and the regular commuters'
headlights, looking
haggard and something less
than myself,
perhaps also refreshed,
perhaps relieved
by the simplicity
of the day's tasks, how,
without proposing to
go anywhere, to
extend beyond this
moment into some infinite
space where our lives
take on meaning,
a purpose,
they do.

Her Insides in a Special Receptacle

Outside, the street cleaner shoves the rubble
up against the curb.

And under its gigantic whirring, the dog wanting
to go out again and her clutching at what

She needs to say. There are those words that explode,
that are ugly and we don't mean to say.

How she screams, for example, when he rises from
the couch and throws the laptop out the window.

Then there is this need to create a story, to line
up cause and effect in retrospect.

As in, it wasn't she herself crying in the airport.
Just this other version, the one who underwent

The procedure, the one who keeps bleeding.
Give it a week, he says.

A week to find her mind, lost somewhere
between scenes. Blip blip

In fast forward or reverse it's this same indecision,
this not knowing that embeds her in the wallpaper.

All the reports are biased, either way to
convince you, into or out of it.

According to recent studies, 99% of women
in her situation express no regret, are

Highly educated and overall less depressed.
I.e. these days death

Isn't what it used to be -
like a procedure you can turn yourself

On and off. Simple, like a medical vacuum
cleaner. There are unquestionable

Advances - like travel by air or email or
cars you can plug in - and then, also,

The dubious ones - her the statistic, glued
to the wall no legs no voice just one overblown

Nodding head. The two of them say it must
have been fate, because you can leave it

At that, like an oracle's proclamation
or refuse swept to the side of the street.

It takes an animal to nose through it, the dog




home archives submit black market comrads hot sites search ec chair peotick kultur anti-amthropomorphism
new economics of late capitalism gallery zounds the making and unmaking of person
diaries and memoirs translation and her retinue
the book of revelations and epiphanies working class sweat
the making and unmaking of person the corpse reads classics letters

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