Linda Russo

Eight poems

from Mirth




I was a doctor, and sick, and really desperate. The only thing that did any good was the most repetitious insistence on every one of my faults, which brought effective relief. I said “look at my ugly legs” though some would say they weren’t ugly at all. I said “what a cunt!” “How demanding!” and there was a trace of truth in that, and yet people called me Un-American. I could not even tell them apart, what I was and what they scorned me to be. I had full round breasts but deemed myself fat as a pig or I had slack breasts and refused myself a bra; I was articulate but spat at myself stuck-up and bitchy; I was simply good but labeled myself fool. I waddled and took myself out walking. I had crooked teeth and told myself a funny story, I had a sorrowful tale to flood my watery eyes. I surprised myself many a morning when I wasn’t ready, I did this on purpose to catch myself when I wasn’t expecting a call, I caught myself smelly and ugly, with bad breath and bad hair and a bad complexion, and saw more to myself that way than I’d ever seen. They called me a critic and meant I was a rat, they called me a witch and knew not what they meant, and that helped me to see I had not been mistaken. I came unforeseen, victim and failure and danger and vixen and fraud. Because there hides the essence of love.




perfecto fiesta

my party
that made
me cry ———

it’s my
dress they
demand
and
the way
the sway
demands




gender mark-down

I make my own marks girl-kind I’m little girls she’s sexy like that like an identity I fit myself into like deployment it’s optional like pill

A girl’s sexy with arms twice sexy not right and left just two not parity but bi-party the girl her charms she uses her arms like levers like digits like machines we vote in moving us forward and into the back

Past-ward low-tech-like like still phallic intern sex she’s good with her arms




It’s a boy and It’s a girl

don’t throw
it out
without
a doubt ———

it’s our
space
station
demands
damnation ———

all want it girl-like




“Photoillustration of Martha’s last laugh” and “post-attack”

Martha Stewart’s face on some Teutonic body
what are the boundaries in the case involved?
it’s her future that illustrates the angle on the story
and the joke is that much the richer without intending to
deceive but to muse and for that we’ve gotten regrettable attention
we were too successful a little too successful
attempts at economic destruction will not work
investments and businesses would be devastated
consumer confidence would plunge
the deficit would sky rocket
another attack would scare bank rollers
let’s make the economy resilient to another attack
faster clean up would boost consumer confidence
let’s make the economy resilient to another attack
let’s plan to clean up faster to boost consumer confidence
let’s send a clear message
an attempt at economic destruction will fail




          Here is love and peace
except that I am wounded
and have no faith.
     I want to be taught in the school,
like a scholar, to itemize
my booty, but I’m much too nice to
be bothered and besides
     I am wounded
and troubled and
delighted and aroused and appalled.




My biggest problem is making decisions which freedoms would I most
readily give away?

Considering the obvious menace touchscreens and being singled
out for intimidation the assumption is you choose the identity you construct
and you cannot avoid it ultimately

I don’t practice release I visualize my essence I don’t project it

Actions speak louder than words I thought as I waved to my reflection
across the crowded showroom floor

Don’t let them tell you it’s relative take me for example I often imagine
what I would look like if I were naked

I fancy my intentions swerve from the accepted concept of stasis

They remove (you, me, it) from chains of causation and commandment




don’t do or say that to that

okay I’m just going to flake out now and have an idea

my reputation is none of your business

every word calling
upon the wisdom
of those assembled

I know some among you will deem this a lofty pursuit

Madam, and madam — is the nature of my criminality entirely mine own

you say my disposition is bad for my business?

why shouldn’t we remove our clothing for the photograph

in bed rushing
and in conflict
insurance against personality loss

why couldn’t we all have been more . . .

you’ve got my hair

were it not for her appearance
these questions could not have been asked

let’s switch places

don’t say no like I do



May/ June 2005 / / Buffalo, NY


Linda Russo

Linda Russo

Linda Russo is co-editor of *verdure* and author of two chapbooks of poetry: o going out (potes & poets, 2000) and secret silent plan (curricle patterns, 2001).



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