rotten oasis

By Judith Goldman Judith Goldman
Treachery abounds, look
inwards! Your bird jangles its small
swing. You’re getting sleepy, very
sleepy. In a vulnerable tyranny.
Leave for now the marksmen to
their desolations, they ruin everyday
life. & luck can’t do anything
about the undying devotion of
the undead, putting their backs
to the bus shelter while
crumbs still stick to the dishes.
I guess someone is a king of France & apart
from whom nobody is a king of France. Same
rockstar, different poem. I like icons
& the toxic halos of figureheads, I like
to beat people up & rehash among the swan.
I was born in captivity, having
fucked the right people, thick
in the France of it. The uniform you
design may still be stripped & not in
some pleasant mannerism. I guess treachery
abounds & scruple keys the addresses
out of their shining wrappers. I guess gin
relieves the need for whiskey, I guess I
can think as well as talk. Come to
think of it, I spoke to your exo-
skeleton. It had been
sacked for cribbing a back salary
from your stunt double. I watched
you chewing & the human body
is a great mystery. Sun, look out for yourself.
Embody your own adaptation.
You’ve got no corner on fire
& marauders upbraid those
vehicles invisible to them.
Nobody is a king of France, licked
all over like a stamp, my every garbage at
the actual border,
making it, making it over, taking up the slack.
The bottle broke in your bag & you’re
getting flammable, very flammable. Luck
knows nothing, peels down
like a stocking & I
thought, why wait any longer,
& found myself caught in
the breast of the beast
as it staggered to carry
me up the stairs. His clothes are
dirty, but his hands are a sumptuous pyre.
What’s so perfect about a stranger,
the greasy smoke of being
swallowed up or disappearing.
I can’t carry the remainder.

Judith Goldman, “rotten oasis” from Vocoder. Copyright © 2001 by Judith Goldman. Reprinted by permission of Roof Books.

Source: Vocoder (Roof Books, 2001)

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Poet Judith Goldman

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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 Judith  Goldman


Judith Goldman earned a PhD in English and comparative literature from Columbia University in 2007. Her collections of poetry include Vocoder (2001), DeathStar/rico-chet (2006), and the chapbook The Dispossessions (2009).
The poems in DeathStar/rico-chet address the political, post-9/11 world, partly through the use of found material and fragmented language. Poet Joyelle McSweeney, in a Rain Taxi review, commented on the ways . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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