Laurie Blauner

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

Ordinances for Self-Containment

Be your own god of transparent things.
Leave socks and shoes lined up by size.
Swallow time.  Swallow place.  Swallow a ritual each day.
Live in a country full of new faces and birds scattering leaves.

It takes a long time to get to the bones but it’s worth it.
Ghosts will get your attention, but when you turn, they lose you.
Talk about the consequences.

Death is invisible. Look through it.
Let others see your hands, and theirs, holding nothing.
Your house keeps secrets at night when people are dreaming.

A body slips into its pieces.  Sing until undone.
If you stand too close to the meat store you’ll be detected.
Darkness covers everything like thoughts.

Lie down with someone, make necklaces, bracelets, belts from bones.
Give each part a new name.  Be afraid of the barely breathing.

Answer the continuously bleeding.

Your house has little to say about you and there’s no scenery.

There’s nothing more you need here.



The Self-Contained Man couldn’t get out of himself.  A clock crooned and strangers’ hands reached for him.  There was an incision and haphazard arteries picked like fruit.  His heart was drowning.  He needed a variable wife.  What couldn’t the body do? 

The man wrote I want a pickpocket, a girl with tricks.  (Later he could compromise).

A girl he knew always fell during the Dance to the Sun.  Light appeared through her membranes.  The girl split an organ inside, folded it, set it aside. 

A clock breathed into his hands.  The man didn’t want to run after the clock to argue, so he poked the nameless girl in acceptance and time came out of her mouth anyway.


Previously appeared in Verse.


Laurie Blauner is the author of six books of poetry and a poetry chapbook from dancing girl press as well as three novels and a novella.  Her web site is