Stacy Skolnik: You’re Thinking to Yourself, Nah
I’ve been sitting on a single rock
for half a decade. I’ve been looking over a single field, the field
which is constantly muddy
with goose droppings and mist.
I’ve been staring at the chimneys
which are perpetually smoking
on the houses across the hill
like delinquent teenagers
who spend Friday night
tossing phlegm into the gutter.
It seems about time I go
for a run, get a tattoo, catch up
with some old friends, learn
a language or something.
You’re thinking to yourself, nah,
don’t bother, you haven’t
been missing much. The sun sets
the same everywhere, skin sags,
you never can quite catch the wind,
bad days come back, the truth
gets learned no matter what.
Sitting down or standing up,
one foot is always out the door,
our pinkies are forever linked
with fire, our bags stay packed
for Sheol. What you’re thinking is,
we die. So why bother?
That question sticks
to our clothing like a discharge
Why bother? If it merely amounts
to a bill you can’t afford, for a dinner
that wasn’t all that enjoyable.
Why bother? If it only ends
in tears, divorce, asphyxiation.
If either way we are bound
to continue whipping our backs
like self-flagellating slaves,
why bother? I’m not exactly sure.
The only answer is to eat, sleep,
drink whiskey. Keep no reserves.
Better be a live dog than a dead lion.
Why bother? I bother
because it would be suicide
to die here on this rock. You’re not supposed to
just let it happen.
It’s supposed to happen to you.
a lamb bloated with glory and sun
who slaughters herself out of necessity
consecrates and defecates and wakes up still drunk on the altar
was unblemished until the ashes became an effortless mask
has shed blood
has lived in a earth quaked blood shed
was cozy there and very warm
stabs a circle of swords into the grass
and leaves them there for you to pluck
like lilacs or begonias or weeds
spits profanity on cocks and tongues and cunts
has become an animal
suitable for offering
just plump enough and very much ripe
has been valued at sixty dollars no more no less
burdens you on sunday with a request
for just six more days
has huddled inside chimneys
wrapped in a cloth of hues and leather
has slept between lips and found it comfortable
says amen amen as the curses are written
as you enter her amen
feeling particularly hallowed
feeling especially holy
Editor's Note: These poems appeared in a previous issue on our old site.
Stacy Skolnik is a poet currently living in NYC. You can find some of her work, for better or worse, scattered about the internet on various websites such as Red Fez, The Caterpillar Chronicles, The Poet in New York, and Josephine Quarterly.