:: Article

Six Poems

By Ana Božičević.

Children’s Lit

I saw a lake
make it into your dream. It was weeping all along the bedpost.
I never seen a lake act like that

and I saw a bumblebee fall from his
home in the rafters
the hole in his laughter
done him in. Poor that bee.

I’m writing in some kind of vernacular
that’s not even my own, just to endear myself to you
am I not endearing?

I’m a fat married girl
and a mushroom cloud
a downright doom boutonniere

blooms behind me all over the lake in your dream but
the bees’ bodies keep filtering it out, as well as
the presence of my parents

and my sister’s bride’s parents

isn’t it nice how everyone’s married and fat?
I love big cars. I fucking love to stuff them up my cunt.

I feel so much tenderness for you
as you sleep…

originally published in Tarpaulin Sky Journal


The Mystery of the Seagulls

Please love me
while there’s still days. I’ll never have that breakthrough
Let’s face it, I’ll stay just like this, a little fish, no I mean a dream
here and there—I’ll keep making like
I have personality, not this
little steady flame
in a darkened field. With the wheat bunched up for baling. No,
I’ll never be that sexy. Never to seduce you &
always cry bitterly at advice columns—
I cry to think all those people are just as ugly as me
and on the inside
they’re getting their big break
in front of gleaming listening
I just love how lonely it is out on this ocean. Can I tell you a story?
A story:
the big fish jumped and grabbed
the gull of today.
She swallowed. She jumped again but
the gull of tomorrow
stepped back; she kept at it and he was always
just out of sync—This is not how it’s supposed
to go, fish said. Anyway, what kind of tomorrow
can you have without today? Just
sayin—And at that same moment millions of plastic bits
settled on your plate
on the table in the middle of the ocean… What?
The waving tablecloth, the waves. Where’s
everyone? You ate all your
dinner companions, and now—
open the book in front of you. It says:
the world gave itself to you
but you didn’t give
you, grasshopper, back: ah so. This suffering. Is it also a kind of gift?
After the rapture, amid the lions and the limns
you’ll see me and know that
me being into you
was me being into the world. Are you as into the world
as the world is into you? No, I’m not being weird.
What I’m saying is, there is a sustainable energy. My great
aunt, for example, the way she bunched
hay at the base of that little pear tree
to safeproof it from drought. She could barely walk—
but it was the kind of thing you could see from the moon
as I walked away from her house I
can’t explain it, the trees were screaming,
a finger pressed from the sky
down on the field the whole of which
was my sex. And earlier in her room I felt like puking
when she told me
she saw only a big light in front of me
but instead of the big light I walked into
big silence and
there you stood. End of story.
Is this what you meant
when you said we should watch some porn together?
When the smoke cleared
I could see the field upskirt all the way to the end tomorrow. We
stood a little to the side of it,
cicadas next to their old dried
shell. The sky there’s classic blue, the campanile goes off
in the Croatian Savannah morning, and frankly
this tomorrow can take care of itself— we’ll know how to be old. What I need
us to be now is nudes,
painted by no-one. Don’t you see the museums are just giant strip clubs
and the backyard’s the gallery where you can touch
every single work— there’s no-one here
to tell us how to do this, except for
the millions of idols
glimmering fluttering turning

I’m staying in this day because
all my friends are still here.

originally published in Tarpaulin Sky Journal


About Mayakovsky

I’m older. I’m waiting to care less.
Cheat on my kids
with dead people. I’ll tell you straight up:
you don’t get to talk about Mayakovsky:
take that skateboard and go back to the suburbs. And talk about them.

They’re luminous. Big baby,
I hope going forward there will be consequences.
I hope to thin into that era when female people
like me were given hooves & the strength to pull the field over
their stepson, like a blanket. Without kitsch I’m called witch & turn
white stone in a fern forest. Not having been “finished,”
I use the implements of housework
for miracles. Grow the darning needle
into a mast, rag into sail. And having

no husband or boy-child to save from the court of the Sea-King, start!
In search of pale-from-overmention, recycled semblable –
& find her: seaweed-bush, hot

blabla… How can I protect her from
her body from not writing about me from my own lack
of trust in that trust bears apples?

By divorcing
Mayakovsky. Divorce
sadness as a substitute for sex,
the weight-of-forest male lard, marbleized tears
banging hard against my torso, that whole mystery of!
Sure you can talk about him. Have him. He’s more you than he’s me now, I’m

that white herd of cows
gliding like brides
to the small green island in the middle.

Sometimes I’m full of water, like of spirit
even as my passenger’s drowning – and before Xmas

there was a day or two when I was almost
someone who even sometimes reads:
a person with interests. Even if fake:

in truth, dissing Mayakovsky, brother,
as much as I do now – it hurts me…

Sometimes I’m a stone half in half out of water,
green above and fire beneath. But really

what I’m trying here’s to care less
so I’d care more, like when I was bride of Mayakovsky
like when I loved the one who was the bride of Mayakovsky

like the time when to read and write
was an offense punishable by death
and taking it or leaving it was death,

and so we did.

originally published in Otoliths


Paris Pride Parade

I don’t know what else to say. Really it’s the middle of the night,
and I’m sobering up from too much almond
liqueur, trying to persuade my body it’s
not dying. But it is.
At planet velocity, velocity of falling in love.
She’s right next to me. And I have landscapes inside me.
Did you leave these landscapes in here? Do you know that
I can change the size
of all those memories, just by the power of thinking?

And if tomorrow I jump off, and at the same time
think the jump back, would I not just hang
flying above the bridge-water? Well.
The inside of a rainbow
is brittle. A kind of waiting room made
out of marzipan
& an air of exclusivity,
like watching a marionette theater do a Holocaust play inside the
top of the Arc de Triomphe.
The inside of a rainbow is
peeling from too much
pressure of how
I love death now,
the way I used to love rollercoasters: that she and I
are hurtling towards it & breaking,
age-blooming outward from the imperceptible speed— of all
the things that make me happy, this one is strangest, oh
city of Paris,
body of spring.

originally published in Free Verse


Rise in the Fall

It’s spring in Manhattan, but everyone’s wearing
summer dresses, through that bit of cold
that death. At the table next to mine, the young Brit and the witch

brainstorm about holding
enormous healings. At this point I’d settle for you

just trembling next to me. Don’t you know how to do that anymore?
Do you know how unhappy one is
who wants a ghost for a horse

when told that only the living can marry the living?
This poem’s boring. I dreamed some lesbian wrote a really good poem
called Pinko and

I woke up to a straight straight world.
Let’s sit here in the café for now. We’ll rise up

next fall, when they can no longer deport me.
And at the end of our revolution… It’s real hard to say what I’m seeing

I see, a planet?
the kind of green I can’t even describe
I’m falling asleep. I see


They found me sleeping
on the tallest wave
blanket and all. They said my name and
down I wept—
next I stood on the sand and
the love pulled back
I could see the sea floor
all those hinges in the sand-grass
needed tongue-grease to work. I said Come back
and it came back in, like it forgave me

That’s all. Pinko was not even that good but
I can still change everything
about it.

We can change everything.

originally published in The Awl


The Day Lady Gaga Died

What is this day: is it like a rainbow
an abstract I kinda grasp, is it a house with the white streamers on it
how can I get at it.

Once I knew a girl called herself Beauty
and her leather accessories Beasts.
So can things be what I name them, is that the secret.

Once on a time in Osteuropa
a girl lived who went to the Contours Club:
she touched herself on a Slope among the Sunclouds™.

That all sounds vapid. Yeah, I touched myself. Kind of fat,
never thought I was a natural, a star,
I just didn’t “get” the others. But you,
you don’t want to hear that part, you just want me to keep having sex
among the politics.

Fuck you: all I want to write about is
bumblebees, bumblebees.

New York School is because
you have to name things in New York.
Otherwise, too much exists

originally published in The Awl


Ana Božičević was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1977. She emigrated to NYC in 1997. Stars of the Night Commute (Tarpaulin Sky Press, November 2009) is her first book of poems. Her fifth chapbook, Depth Hoar, will be published by Cinematheque Press in 2010. With Amy King, Ana co-curates The Stain of Poetry reading series in Brooklyn, and is co-editing an anthology, The Urban Poetic, forthcoming from Factory School. She works at the Center for the Humanities of The Graduate Center, CUNY. For more, visit nightcommute.org .

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Sunday, August 15th, 2010.