Laurie Blauner

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

Prayers, or if you think too much something bad could happen

I watch tourists mimicking rain
inside a church. I like my world
easy to use. But I need to take you to
where my mind stayed,
phosphorescent, forgotten. 
I remember hips that flew
& told me about your life.

Your knees came between us,
repeating their knobby exclamations.
Where do I go from there?  Is
the body conceptual?  The church

becomes compliant, slow & full of curving gestures.
In one corner a woman
with her shoes off.  It's always a late hour.
Shadows sweep my feet.  I am worn
to nothing.  My thoughts

return to the scene, wrongheaded friends,
a baby's baptism, a double life.
I don’t want to change the ceremonies,
mouths gaping open, written fragments
of insects, part of ourselves.  You ask,
is it a crime to start over again?  Sometimes
I am in the floppy world with my mind. 
I cringe at the work, meaning,
I am the strangest stranger to myself.
I’m trying to hide in a forgotten place.
I am a monkey to your cow,
our bodies following us wherever we go.

I Am Born Lacking Emotional Content

Don’t unbutton anything, the doctor’s words
returned at this modern, lonely hour.
Ice cream, a man’s shoes, and
a balcony disagreed.  I swallowed
my luck like a myth unfolding into uncertainty,
juggled by a wind wrapping itself  around
shy buildings.  I adjusted, galloping 
toward a place I wasn’t invited.
When I became human the gods didn’t know
what to do with their flexible hands.  I stood
on concrete during special occasions, waiting
until it was late enough to adhere to a girl.
Some things evolved repeatedly, not me.
The girl drifted back to her untouchable mouth,
but she had less to say.  I lacked photographs. 
Had I come that far for nothing?  I dreamed
that my shadow was stranded at the threshold.
I teetered.  I organized myself into shapes:

A nostalgic stone;

Anthropomorphic hair;

An identified and interrupted boy.

I was beside myself while everyone
else was dependent, asking for help. 
And all those tests proved nothing.

Target Practice

I was pointing in all directions.

Everything was wrong, in case you asked.

We picked a moment

with a noticeable center
to surprise us.  We knew the rest because

what had we learned about silence?

The worst part grew on us,
fumbling with our buttons, our zippers.

We were stuck.

Families moved as far away as they could.

I was broken, tumbling with wind.

Even surrounding you, I never believed
you’d fill me.

There was no end to our beginning...

everyone grew smaller, further.

You didn’t see me arrive,

as if there was more to come,
as if we liked what we were doing.


Laurie Blauner is the author of three novels, Infinite Kindness, Somebody, and The Bohemians, all from Black Heron Press, as well as seven books of poetry. A new novel called The Solace of Monsters won the 2015 Leapfrog Fiction Contest and is forthcoming
in 2016.