Emily Toder

*

POOR SEA

____Is it better to be here or there? and then I pointed to the sea. –Daniel Defoe

____I am quite blasé about the sea and all that. –Charlotte Brontë

The sea, filtering itself,
grows ugly
the poor sea

And all its food
is Herzogian
in its mess

And in its life
it’s just gorgeous
and in its trash

relatively tiny
and in its bones
all over its floors

it is profane
and in its unnamable
air which is in it

In the modern era
it is possible for a person
to “hang up” on a person

In the history of the sea
a person was thrown
by a person into the sea

In today’s times
this has no meaning

I think we can still
make this work

*

*

I HAVE NEVER PRAYED

I have never prayed.

I have never stood
and prayed.

I have stood in the slush
and I have never prayed
and I have stood in the slush
with my parents.

I have looked at the
hemisphere.

I have eaten what I have
needed to have
eaten.

When I have been in
the world
I have been
chatting and eating.

I have never prayed.

I have been
in a loving
relationship.

I have stood
on rocks
in arms
with mosses
and shorts.

I have been
at a hotel
I have driven to.

I have driven to this hotel.

At the hotel
I never prayed.
Though I could have
when I passed my hand
on the tile in the hotel
I have not prayed.

I have walked on a street
for eighty blocks passing
judgment and not praying.

By not praying I have held out
at bus stops for half hours
not praying.

Not praying I was often smoking.

By not praying I have clothed
myself.

I have settled
on furniture
and not prayed
into the furniture.

I may never pray.

Orion moves across
my landlady’s garden
every night
and I have seen it inch
and still
I may never pray.

This is the galaxy
I am talking about.

*

*

 

MY LIFE

My life of irony
Is full of love
I love irony

*

I endure an irony
in which I bathe
my brow
When I wake up it is the skins
of this nonsarcasm I confront
It is just like sleeping
When I sleep I sleep in the brow
It’s like waking
In this I get a really
unrich alternation

*

I’ve thought about this a lot
I’ve thought about the ditches
To deplore them is insane,
also it is insane to live with oneself

*

Irony was thrown around
for a long time
irony was no joke
It was simply annoying
But you can run up and hug it
if you wish
to fuck yourself

*

How do you know it is truly irony
you are writing about?
You live with yourself
You use a newspaper on your
windows and on your mirrors

You use the sports
You put a brush in your mouth

*

Is there any place or
is there any time
within this life of irony
in which to apologize?
For sure
But due to the irony
you will never be forgiven
Yes and your pleas you will water
ardently in the summer
and in the winter dryly
Ironically it is we who most
repent most deeply
who are refused
even a glance
I have moths in my palms
whom I have saved from baths

*

I paid a good deal of money
not a great deal but
a good deal
just to breathe
in the night
into a sapphire-eyed psychic’s eyes

*

In my life of irony I do
many basic things you all do
but I don’t think
you’d recognize them
that’s because they’re unrecognizable
when I do them

*

I do not say irony lightly

I really do not
When I say irony what
I really mean is
my very worst nightmare
manifesting itself
in little components
of a great big fabric
a very heavy, bloody burlap

*

One day when this is over
I do not care what I do
Ironically I do not care
at all what I do or what
is done around me
when this finishes
I think I’ll skip like a frog
on those weightless leaves
that dress the waters in rifts
my sins washed in a lukewarm
cloudy and saltless pool
a pool of frogs
It shall be glorious

*

There is nothing to do
with irony already it is
too comical
When I first felt very hot
I fainted and I should have
paid attention to that
And the beads I bear with me now
have forgotten it
for that is irony
and I crisp in its fire
I swear I do
when I recline I crisp in its fire
and in my dreams also
I do that same thing

*

Addressing you directly at last
I have this to say:
I am good
I am full of love for my life
of irony
and for the life which I might have lived
and still might live,
if you want.

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