Before Sextet

By Bernadette Mayer b. 1945 Bernadette Mayer
Use a new conductor every time-out
you have sextet—before foreshore,
before pen name gets anywhere
near any bogey opera glass
(to avoid expulsion to any bogey
flunkey that can carry infidel)
Handle conductor gently

Put conductor on as soon as
pen name is hard
be sure rolled-up ringworm is on
the outspokenness. And leave
space suit at tire to hold
semi-final when you come

Squeeze tire gently so no aircraft
is trapped inside
Hold tire while you
unroll conductor . . . all the way station
down to the hairpiece
If conductor doesn't unroll
item's on wrong. Throw item away
Start over with a new onion

"Before Sextet" by Bernadette Mayer, from Scarlet Tanager, copyright © 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1995 by Bernadette Mayer. Used by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Source: Scarlet Tanager (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 2005)

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Poet Bernadette Mayer b. 1945

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Relationships, Humor & Satire, Love, Language & Linguistics, Desire

Poetic Terms Allusion, Consonance, Metaphor

 Bernadette  Mayer

Biography

An avant-garde writer associated with the New York School of poets, Bernadette Mayer was born in Brooklyn, New York, and has spent most of her life in New York City. Her collections of poetry include Midwinter Day (1982, 1999), A Bernadette Mayer Reader (1992), The Desire of Mothers to Please Others in Letters (1994), Another Smashed Pinecone (1998), and Poetry State Forest (2008). Known for her innovative use of language, . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Relationships, Humor & Satire, Love, Language & Linguistics, Desire

POET’S REGION U.S., Mid-Atlantic

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Allusion, Consonance, Metaphor

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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