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Almost Funerary Family Relief:
A Postpartum Haiku


In the time before

“pregnant sims can no longer brawl”

near death, I saw the life.









After Shelomo Ibn Gabiriol


I’ve stolen your words, I don’t deny it---
   I ate them and broke teeth on the liberation wall;
did I think I could soar with your songs
   or use them to hide my flaws? I did.

Can a woman scale the tree of life
   and eclipse the application of light in the world?
It’s always, I think, a simple plan of clouds:
   can the East River be drained with a teaspoon?









I opened my mouth
when I started
talking about my car.

I started the car
and found 
the after-world limping.

To fight the bad vibrations
I listened to the song I could never do
up to 100 times a day.

The car said:  
"I guess I should have kept my mouth shut 
when I started to brag about my car".

I found myself midway
alive in the bog "big box" 
lookout cultivating "yes" 

said driver in the rain chatter domain
thick this dark makes free way
synthetic honey wood.








SQUARE (Yellow Rock)


World of square caring quarters
Simplified household hollow

Lemonades today secrete brain lint
Into lemons mothering loot

I am the happy water softener
Chain link drain swallower laboring

Weightless striker throwing shock
Commons carrier bored toreador

Bottling up my signature public sauce
For my readers to take notice at home

It takes a mind of strip corrosion
To strip it down and write it off

It fakes the mind with ‘friend’
To strip it off and write it down

In ten frilly rat fink hours
Around the go-go hot woe-manned station

Haters hate 5 Daily Winners haters daily
Wait shift fixates tips squared times attack

In the rinky dink sunny delight remodel
Surf the indoor body hollow into limoncello









for Manny Farber


The cue on the skyline:
one of the big electric signs
down toward the river, blinking on and off.


on and off the word:
the head, all eyes on passing
time at the table with a sightless stranger.


Watch your step
Don't trip over the electrical f r e e d o m  t a n g l e
go under the Lenora Carrington electrical cords

From soup to nuts mostly made handheld without paper,
now and then futzing messy cluster notes on atm receipts
collecting jokes for summer unemployment ghost stories.


Last night I told my boss
at the graveyard,
where I am always digging
that I was gonna quit
and he said
“Have a heart!”
so I helped myself
to his.

Ha ha ha.
If you know what I mean.



Creature of the lagoon descending a staircase,
hair dripping, left, right, foot, left, right, wet
honeysuckle ankle over and over and over.

I Divorced a Warlock.
Which way I, in two climactic settings,
exactly the snow Mary Shelley


creates, empties and destroys itself,
heartless voids and immensities of the fugitive
from which we shrink in the paradise florist.


Remembering the green flash of my youth
I followed the monster following me
fast forward into the fish market by the harbor


a whole tuna had been neatly
portioned and the pieces laid out knowingly,
like some mystic arrangement of symbols.


The stallholder invited me to taste
a thin, dense, dark slice of intense fishiness.
“Cuore di tonno,” he smiled: tuna heart.



"If you went to the cemetery and dug up a grave
you couldn't find a better man than him."  


Floating up through space a feather
little by little a buried spring or dried up pond,
my work finished me in solitude.


It’s better than a sharp stick in the eye.
but just don't get your arm caught
in the giant fan on your way out.









You have the best hair in undead Prezwood
What do you do with it in the summer?
Sometimes I get so confused,
Are you still the refined Samurai of cool green flash,
Or is that little ol’ me writing prayers for
Paper food, paper clothing, and paper air?

I sweat bullets year round in my summer shifu
Student loan sweat-protector of twisted koan,
Accounting textiles from uncooked books
Ink speckled with counting house writ spinning
Into woven paper weaving hidden warship pattern.
Independent enemy of social media enemas.

Do you come through Philly often to newsprint tree shade?
Do you miss the sounds of the fire department university?
Milling on commons, milling ceremonial
In the three-feather crown headdress thing,
You are the most postal of them all.
One hundred degree shade, manufactured down the hall. 

No news keeps this voter cooler in the heat
And I am well spent for lack of raw materials
So here’s to cutting up the plaited pages of ancient account
And allow me to say, I ate the ivy. I bit the sheriff.
It was delicious. I paid the farmer in words
With elaborate folding, cutting and spinning.

The paper is closest to the skin (see note)
With more than enough aerospace value
To circulate between my inner citizen skin
And the outer public garment doubt
Though readership is narrow I’m glad
To serve others by inventions of my own.

M. Neilson, Poet

Note: Nice old paper money is growing, it is absent, it is used to make undergarments---certainly more durable than thunder bolts of credit reports, but definitely lacking the softness of paper yarn and poetry.  The summer leaves of grasses of mighty warlords’ visions are all that they have left.








Dear Chuck Jones,


My Zenith radio still sends alien abduction research sometimes:
“At the La Brea Tar Pits there is a sheer drop, then twenty feet of stars. The white skeletons jammed in there in the black tar don’t come back.”

In the moth math round of nightly zeros I must live in my lantern and survey the results. The stars throw down their tears over the lost Crystal Pier you lived near as a kid in Venice. Buster Keaton shot there and you were in the crowd scenes.  Red and blue faster than green. Leaving ground zero tattered and funny.

The poem is a clearing and a cliff and ACME. When Wile E. Coyote falls off the cliff and he goes off in the distance and disappears, there’s a little hesitation, then a small “bop”. He’s working poor and starving with big elbows and a raggedy tail. 

We have raided the lost observation deck. We have eaten the pet goat.
We have cast 600 archers marching. We have met Zenobia.
These poems were never made for children, nor were they made for adults. They were made for you and me. 

You never know what dark matter is going to be used for down the line.
Automatic-mockingbird: chak-chak-chak. Another day, another chak-chak-chak.
Every day’s a new game, ever hungry like a flame.

Good-bye for now.











This cartoon begins with Marvin the Martian observing the planet Earth from Mars through a telescope. He is examining a rocket launch that is taking place. As he watches, the rocket takes off from Earth and soon appears to be heading straight towards him.

Soon enough, the rocket lands on Mars, and a reluctant Bugs Bunny exits it.
It is quickly apparent that he is the only occupant and he has been lured onto the rocket by a carrot and then sent to Mars as what Earth considered an expendable “astro-rabbit.”

Bugs immediately claims Mars as his own (using a metal carrot with a flag inside) in the name of Earth. However, Marvin does not agree with this and decides that he will not allow Bugs to take his planet away from him.

After failing to disintegrate him with his disintegrating pistol (which resulted in Marvin getting disintegrated himself and going off to be re-integrated, "Being disintegrated makes me very angry! [huff, puff] Very angry indeed!"), Marvin gets his Time-Space Gun and intends to project Bugs forward into time so he can use him as a useful but harmless servant.

However, when Marvin zaps Bugs (though Bugs tried to beg for mercy, which of course makes Marvin angry), he realizes too late that he had the gun in reverse, so Bugs is reverted into a huge and muscular Neanderthal Rabbit.

Marvin goes off to be regenerated again, while saying: "Well, back to the old electronic brain!"

Bugs then breaks the fourth Wall while speaking to the audience about how when he gets back to Earth old Elmer Fudd and the rest of the hunters are due for a big surprise before eating the metal carrot.

Mad as a Mars Hare behind the fourth wall.  Good night Mars.








For Warren Sonbert


Plunged into the realm of spy

I was reading along singing

Variously abducted in the veiled trailer

Another signature set piece

Framed for life and super late love.

But frankly, Oh!


The traffic was acting like the sky again and

There were no yellow leaves in Hollywood

When your mind hit me like a tour bus.

Suddenly, crop-dusted postcard libretti

Autumn vertigos all alone ago busted

The last pale leaves spilling their today

Right and left all over tonight,

Breathy Star, thy audience is hanging.





Melanie Neilson

MELANIE NEILSON's latest book is Palmyra Pieces, forthcoming from theenk Books. Work from two new manuscripts, Double Indemnity Only Twice and Eco-Pulp Trio, will be presented this fall at the Brooklyn Public Library and the Multifarious Array reading series. Neilson is co-author of The Autobiography of Jean Foos, with Jessica Grim, her long-time collaborator and Big Allis magazine co-editor. She lives in New York City.


The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2014

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