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The Milk for Free

by Brooklyn Copeland
Scantily Clad Press, 2008

With special thanks to the editors of Canopic Jar, Openned, Burnside
Review and Death Metal Poetry, where some of these poems first
in slightly different versions.

couldas come back to bite us. We shoulda warned once the signature’s signed. I have wound my scarf around my cheeks and chewed the topskin from my lips to keep from fainting with laughter in the street. the woulda car insurance. Sister. we are a hapless second helping with twenty-twenty vision. it is Liberty. sister.A Femur is Not a Female Lemur And we are not real feminists. not Justice. who is blind. man-faced queen. We are barely even legal when our shoulda. I woulda an ounce of prevention. . I coulda sold you good wool over. The bickering gaggle before us threw that baby out with the bath water. This time. In Helsinki I have seen a toothless. The woulda flu shot.

a snag in a hand-me-down fairytale? Or was he gentle and saucer-eyed. the bosom of Loren. done with his famous impressions? So was that him last night at Big Sur? At a guardrail on the Seine? . a political from a sexual hangnail. blue-moody.The Milk for Free Was he Dutch who crooked his thumb to hitch a weathered Mack truck. Is he Fascist now. nestled smugly against the cheeks of Garbo. the perverted joey-mutt. barrel- chested cubist chasing chunky groupies up the Cote? Was the elk heart the calling card of his bodice-ripped Transylvanian? His fur-lined fraulein? His cerise-trimmed Canadienne? I saw him. abandoning the dam? Who’s to know in this climate a plugged dike from a plugged dike. lamenting the long-drawn suicide of an English rose? Was he Danish? A towhead townie on a bike? A nouveau-riche slice of gateau? Did he puncture your babyish peach-skin with glistening incisors? So was he Spanish? An inquisitive.

That you pulled a Paul-Celan. Said Darby I read you came from influenza just to enough’s enough and croak of last-straw broken-heartedness. That your fingers smelled of matches. strike-anywhere and safety. and your palms passed dollar-note psalms. . blue jazz static. to pour a villain beer. of camel’s back and crow’s feet.Derby. That you jigged up clapboard walls and personalized your Valhalla with a pebble skipped over Baikal. and your palms were creased and oily. sleep-walking to the April bank to mourn a fallen star. with a stolen.

We’ll trade carefully measured lullabies. my right hand. I always knew you’d be you. Your second.Nation. One Day you’ll traipse through the sponge-red and they’ll unwind the cord of your purple-gray reliance from your whale-neck. A half-year of blue-eye. Alliance. Your first song will be Mama. The acid reflux concussion. You’ll arrive having known Every Good Boy Does Fine. your true yodel pierced the hovering sky. you were glowing. And you’ll grow into mine. before ambition stretched my womb. These songs you’ll know the way you’ve known bone-char and water-glass percussion. and I listened. a plotted star. Even before. . my baby treble cleft. a firefly caught in my cat’s cradle. Before.

the dog-bone paintbrush pinched between his beige lips. I tried saying it as yours. Simberg You’re a thinner spitting image. His blood and impulse on a drum-machine. a mangy Harry Haller. You’re his grinning skull cloaked in a smoking sweater. His side-glance and white-smocked brooding. all the macabre. none of the fruit. ears like wings and knees drawn up like knobs on a faucet: hot and cold. His pre-Magritte dimensions. his dream-perceived black wash.For M. You were shy that day on the cobblestones. . You’re his boy-man in a bowler. You’re his wild archipelago ghoul. Shouldering his name.

in your place. In your place. a nightingale. I think you named her Lindsey after that one man. Or. They laid me romantically bare on a doused pyre. your footfall hushed by your pale pink slippers. Lindsey Buckingham. I was roasting. You used to sing all night. I might come back as a black pearl. I was dead. I might come back as you. . the hastily-smithed diadem tangled in my hair. I was not comatose up there. In pale pink slippers. your dolly is crying and pissing.In Passing That year you believed me asleep and spilled the beans: really. or a pea of cinnamon toothpaste from an aluminum tube. Lady Bell Jar. in a farthingale.

Blue Jean admits his sin down the twin barrels of Ginger Ale’s pistol. Nightly sighing. and sleeping sees the lotioned legs clamped akimbo around his face. he lets slip the shared-smile smells of Dutch clover and hot crotch lace. .Sister Georgia Peach. Figuring hard those racy eights against the Dixie bars of his buckle. your downy cleft features pinkly in Blue Jean’s dream.

and when she asked we fell apart and spotted her the dough.Kate She was cat-eyed and turtlenecked. Her soul was lost but her cry had heart. shale bangles jangling like so many airport tambourines. top-heavy and moue- mouthed. powder-nosed and sloppy. she had one of those and she worked it like any blank-faced waif in shredded runway clothes. flicking her kretek over a pop can. And that’s the last we knew of Kate. . Her teeth were rows of ice in a tray. her poems Rorschach blots on a page. bursting from her barstool like a weasel from a mulberry bush. And the stick-fig-faux-scoliosis pose? Stage-wise. wobbly on her ankles. Which she probably blew on blow. In crowds she laughed alone. She was fur-tongued and blurry-worded.

a prayer in ink shoulder-side. At her insistence. Stories. clockwise. Her candy-glass heart-mirror Lolita lunettes. One thing I like: her resolve to stay pink. Her eye-slits rimmed in white-bunny red. Goes on like no tomorrow. Her talk of healing crystals and a psychic Christ. Her Sophie shorts hollering citations from the crack. Her hugs of fatigue and chocolate-tinged nicotine. Her new shock-hair is emblazoned in my periphery: the pepper- mint floribunda in a bush of modest brunettes. One thing I like: her fecklessly accepting. a butterfly tramp-stamp spanning lower back-wide. Her brash. Her forty years and forty nights of gracing covers. a sly planetary rise. . suggestive cadences teasing from the track. does she ever.Auntie Bolstering her womanlies within a brassier of Kevlar.

Cassandra. Pity the trick who teased the prick belonging to a god.Pity Cassandra the gimmick of knowing fiction before its promotion by a gullible wife to a terrible truth. then dies. pity the sleuth with the damning third eye. . hiccups. Pity this ditzy concubine. prattling prize. predicts. The cunt-stain on the negligee? The lip gloss on the beer stein? The bra strap on the harp neck? All truths best left as lies.

blogspot. . Her personal blog is located at a new journal of poetry and translation. She has since lived in Florida and throughout Northern Europe. Brooklyn Copeland was born in Indianapolis in 1984. She co-edits Taiga.