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Best Famous Erin Belieu Poems

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by Erin Belieu | |

Against Writing about Children

 When I think of the many people
who privately despise children,
I can't say I'm completely shocked,

having been one.
I was not exceptional, uncomfortable as that is to admit, and most children are not exceptional.
The particulars of cruelty, sizes Large and X-Large, memory gnawing it like a fat dog, are ordinary: Mean Miss Smigelsky from the sixth grade; the orthodontist who slapped you for crying out.
Children frighten us, other people's and our own.
They reflect the virused figures in which failure began.
We feel accosted by their vulnerable natures.
Each child turns into a problematic ocean, a mirrored body growing denser and more difficult to navigate until sunlight merely bounces off the surface.
They become impossible to sound.
Like us, but even weaker.


by Erin Belieu | |

Rondeau at the Train Stop

 It bothers me: the genital smell of the bay
drifting toward me on the T stop, the train
circling the city like a dingy, year-round
Christmas display.
The Puritans were right! Sin is everywhere in Massachusetts, hell-bound in the population.
it bothers me because it's summer now and sticky - no rain to cool things down; heat like a wound that will not close.
Too hot, these shameful percolations of the body that bloom between strangers on a train.
It bothers me now that I'm alone and singles foam around the city, bothered by the lather, the rings of sweat.
Know this bay's a watery animal, hind-end perpetually raised: a wanting posture, pain so apparent, wanting so much that it bothers me.


by Erin Belieu | |

Legend of the Albino Farm

 Omaha, Nebraska They do not sleep nights
but stand between

rows of glowing corn and
cabbages grown on acres past

the edge of the city.
Surrendered flags, their nightgowns furl and unfurl around their legs.
Only women could be this white.
Like mules, they are sterile and it appears that their mouths are always open.
Because they are thin as weeds, the albinos look hungry.
If you drive out to the farm, tree branches will point the way.
No map will show where, no phone is listed.
It will seem that the moon, plump above their shoulders, is constant, orange as harvest all year long.
We say, when a mother gives birth to an albino girl, she feigns sleep after labor while an Asian man steals in, spirits the pale baby away.


by Erin Belieu | |

The Hideous Chair

 This hideous,
upholstered in gift-wrap fabric, chromed
in places, design possibility

for the future canned ham.
Its genius wonderful, circa I993.
I've assumed a great many things: the perversity of choices, affairs I did or did not have.
But let the record show that I was happy.
O let the hideous chair stand! For the Chinese apothecary with his roots and fluids; for Paoul at the bank; for the young woman in Bailey's Drug, expert on henna; and Warren Beatty, tough, sleek stray.
For Fluff and Flo, drunk at noon, and the Am Vets lady reading her Vogue, the cholos on the corner where the 57 bus comes by, for their gratifying, cool appraisal and courtly manner when I pass.
Let the seat be comfortable but let the chair be hideous and stand against the correct, hygienic, completely proper subdued in taxidermied elegance.
Let me have in any future some hideous thing to love, here Boston, MA, 8 Farrington Ave.


by Erin Belieu | |

From On Being Fired Again

 I've known the pleasures of being
fired at least eleven times—

most notably by Larry who found my snood
unsuitable, another time by Jack,
whom I was sleeping with.
Poor attitude, tardiness, a contagious lack of team spirit; I have been unmotivated squirting perfume onto little cards, while stocking salad bars, when stripping covers from romance novels, their heroines slaving on the chain gang of obsessive love— and always the same hard candy of shame dissolving in my throat; handing in my apron, returning the cash- register key.
And yet, how fine it feels, the perversity of freedom which never signs a rent check or explains anything to one's family.
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