“Nothing makes me tenser than masturbating”

Cash flow problems* in the Maud household have so far prevented me from ordering Lizzie Skurnick’s prize-winning chapbook, Check-In.

As you may recall, poetry’s pretty hit-or-miss for me. But Ms. Skurnick has turned out enough hilarious yet economical parodies and poems on her website (older version here) over the past few years that I’ll pick up her book in a heartbeat as soon as I figure out how to convince the student loan people I’m dead. In the meantime, she’s graciously passed along some samples, and says I can post my favorite. That would be this:

My Husband is a Broker at Bear, Stearns

Nothing makes me tenser than masturbating.
    I mean, meditating. Alone with a candle
In a minimized room, with only the scent
    Of my nasturtium pillows to release me.
I’ve tried isolation tanks, isometrics, but they too
    Were hooked on adverse circumstances.
I am on a constant forage with my women:
    Versolato, Yamamoto, Barneys inner sanctum on Madison.
In the day I leave my children with a black woman
    And they stare at me like a stranger when I return.
I return, they are staring. I have to cut some harvarti,
    Snap a few carrot sticks and order the girl
Around for an hour so the troops remember what’s
    What. In fact she’s little more than a girl —
This black girl — a girl like the girl I once was.
    And the tape says, Embrace the blank. Embrace
The area of blankness. I always giggle. Alone
    Or alongside in my bed, I am with a body not my own.

 

You can hear the author on WYPR’s The Signal tomorrow, September 23, at noon and 7 p.m.

* Namely, a general shortage of this thing called money.


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