Confidential

By Rae Armantrout b. 1947 Rae Armantrout
Shooting pleasures   
Ok’d by
My being seen
For
Or as
If.

                   *

Not just light
at the end of the tunnel,

but hearts, bows, rainbows—

all the stickers
teachers award if pleased.

                   *

Pigeons bathe in technicolor   
fluid “of a morning.”

                   *

If I was banging
my head with a shoe,
I was just exaggerating—

like raising my voice   
or the ante.

Curlicues
on iron gratings:

Can it be
a flourish is a grimace,
but a grimace isn’t a flourish?

                   *

On the inscribed surface
of sleep.

Almost constant   
bird soundings.

“Aloha, Fruity Pebbles!”

Music, useful
for abstracting emphasis.

Sweet nothing   
to do with me.

Rae Armantrout, “Confidential” from Veil: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2001 by Rae Armantrout. Reprinted with the permission of Wesleyan University Press.

Source: Veil: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan University Press, 2001)

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Poet Rae Armantrout b. 1947

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Rae  Armantrout

Biography

Rae Armantrout, one of the founding members of the West Coast group of Language poets, stands apart from other Language poets in her lyrical voice and her commitment to the interior and the domestic. Her short-lined poems are often concerned with dismantling conventions of memory, pop culture, science, and mothering, and these unsparing interrogations are often streaked with wit. “You can hold the various elements of my poems in . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Social Commentaries, Popular Culture, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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