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Jacket 15 — December 2001   |   # 15  Contents   |   Homepage   |   Catalog   |

Nicole Mauro


To Kenneth Koch

To Anything Potentially

When you are present, you are a sock. To that extent, you are accounted for,
so you have been taken, among other things, for
granted, for not what you are, but for what you are. Not. But when you are missing! You aren’t here to the extent
that I think about you so often I succumb to such an extreme
over-awareness of a lacked-but-longed for presence, you might as well be
here, which you are, sort
of, a leaf, figuratively
speaking, not of its
Well, here I am,
like that, sitting, a sock
on, another
gone, my
foot deprived of having a useful place to put itself
into, other than the mouth of
me, or up the orifice of someone I particularly don’t care
for infinitum. When I was young, my feet were mercurial beasts! They went out a lot. Puberty was the Norman conquest by the language of love that
moved me, in bursts, to awkwardly
wish bursting. I doodled back then Valentines of mayhem I’d seen on the
biceps and necks of men (“Someday you are going to die. We can’t cure everything!”), then
saw what I
was doing, and upchucked
so much sentiment I herniated
my dick, which is an astonishing feat for a female who has
none. No wonder I rarely collided with those whom
I fighted. I was too polite
a fondler
and so was fondled, in return,
nicely. Because I was,
as usual, young, I pretended to live the agony
of living, when I now, more usually, am found
caught between having sudden, youthful experiences, and then suddenly remembering that to re-experience such
agony is not living, and that for the young agony isfun, and so am, at the edge of my bed, sitting, when I could be more actively seated behind
a steering-wheel in the parking lot
of understood experience feeling, albeit, unlucky, but at least, at very least,
situated behind
something. Now I look back to see my back
literally, am so aimlessly projected I’m as sure to have an idea about this someday as
I am to project it onto people
I’m not really
seeing, one of whom will
certainly say they
once knew me, which means we will have
achieved the kind of intimacy that can only occur
when one realizes they are familiar to
the strange, as evidenced by the fact that in the scenario above I just became reacquainted with my very own stranger. Do you know of any
who need one? Tell me about
them, and them about me. I, too, am seeing
them struggle with the heads we’re
afraid we’re attached
to. And no wonder! Is a mailbox made of hair and bones not vulnerable,
like a post-office,
to being a deliverer as well as the intended recipient of messages? Every second, it’s about to be hit with
sticks, third person people, Psychoanalysis, French cheese, girls and
boys and the way they breathe into each other’s nostrils when
kissing, Moses, David and the Ten Commandments, and W. Dunbar’s line,
“He clappit fast, he kist, he chukkit...zit be his feiris he wald haif
fukkit,” and the dynamite lingo
of sleep. In it, a rock rolls itself to me. Its coreless form provides nothing for mon
couer to believe in, not even a normal, for which there is no norm,
beat. It, heart, rather the bread its between, admires me, the inventor of its
death, for creating the machine that “for efficiency” turns a loaf of me into
sixteenths. You cannot coax it to continue anymore than you
can swallow dough and will it to
become in you
breakfast using only your
toaster. Pray for the machine to break, to completely disbelieve in the
possibility of its machinery, and
along will come its mechanic with parts of you for
you and all the places you’ve heard of but have never specifically been to. Not like
he. His desire is to
insert, to correct the mistaken simply
by upholstering furniture. But there are fissures in the seat that are so chasmic they are bigger than
that. “They are bigger than big is ever,” he says,
“even at its biggest and most abstract. This is why sex
is lovely
violence at best.” It’s the attack of a moment upon
yes, O
yes, the tendency of the clothed to deny
the affirmed with existence.

A note from the author: “To Anything Potentially” was inspired by Kenneth Koch's New Addresses, which celebrates our everyday behaviors and moments via the act of oding the things we forget to remember as important — masturbation, WWII, friendship, etc. In an effort to celebrate poetry, as well as the forgotten material things and un/forgettable events that inspire it, I have written an ode to Kenneth Koch, using — what else — Kenneth Koch. Certain lines from those familar, collective addresses have been mixed with my own. O to have the peculiar resonance of being, for the time being, part of his poem.

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