May 29, 2007


If I tell you
Gertrude Stein wrote to my mother
to say Rena’s son Freddy — that’s what the great
Buddha called me — was a self-indulgent savage
who augured the end of civilization
and Mother cheerfully sent “poor old
Sophie and Alice B. Luckless”
family recipes...

If I tell you
the Mama of Dada dressed me
in lederhosen so her great white
poodle Basket, wet from his daily
sulphur bath — the French countryside
vermin otherwise crawling into the dog’s
curls to suck his skin red — could chase
me and scrape his sharp long nails
into my bare legs while his master
shouted from the second story
window, “Faster, Freddy, faster...”

If I tell you
Transition — a Paris magazine
that published Ezra Pound — printed
“Spire Song” by Paul Frederick Bowles…
I was only sixteen. When I was twenty,
the iconic Miss Stein said, “Freddy,
you don’t write great poetry.” I believed
her and left the City of Light
for the filth of Tangier.

If I tell you I traded the truth
of poetry for the invention
of prose. If I tell you I lived
loving a wife who filled
my dry pen while hers
spurted blood
like a shotgun wound.
If I tell you my stories,
greater than the lives
of people I knew…
if I tell you my stories,
how many times
would you say I lied?

—Karren Alenier

Posted by dwaber at 12:59 PM

May 28, 2007


On our way
not knowing
where we go
Poof! The past
gone. Abra ca
dab the door
to tomorrow still
shut as we stand
watching the hands
of the grandfather tick
tock. I say: delete
commas. Period!
Repeat for the daily
dilly demands

—Karren Alenier
First published in Looking For Divine Transportation, The Bunny
and the Crocodile Press (DC, 1999). This poem is also part of Alenier’s
libretto Gertrude Stein Invents A Jump Early On that premiered
June 15, 2005 by Encompass New Opera Theatre at Symphony Space
Leonard Nimoy Thalia in New York City.

Posted by dwaber at 12:57 PM

May 27, 2007


If they took my ink, I would kill to write.
Bleed finger, I’ll be my own shill to write.

All press closer, here is the drill to write:
Scream foul till your voice is too shrill to write.

Trickster I say: you are too ill to write.
They say, doctor, give me a pill to write.

I whisper, none of you have nil to write.
Where is Monsieur Flaubert, his skill to write?

O, K.! le mot juste, the will to write,
Their blood flows, I drink my fill to write.

—Karren Alenier
First published in Karren LaLonde Alenier: Greatest Hits, Pudding House Publications (OH, 2003)

Posted by dwaber at 12:53 PM