Other available work:

A chapter in: Vectors: New Poetics, Samizdat Editions, Edited by Robert Archambeau. Available through Amazon.com

Blueprints of the City, chapbook available from Transparent Tiger Press, 1685 Cook Street #6, Denver, Colorado 80206

Collaborative work, poems and photographs, The Literary Review

Conjunctions Web Archive (1998)


Catherine Kasper

Monoprints: A Laboratory of Open Fields

Number 1: Another Sunday

YELLOW          SILVER          RED          BLACK

I have given up everything I wanted to do
she said
but my children are successful and

only this morning, she was working with volatile solvents
a constant layer beneath shimmers

I presumed, she said
to demand a room change; I wanted something
more monastic
the room they gave me was huge
too airy

nails pierce the wood foundation of a new barn
pine in the air, hush of a river

porch boards squeak, warp
rock in my stomach

Number 2: Landscape

GREEN          GOLD          BROWN          BLACK

ferns curled
mud pit
aluminum cans along the road, shards
stones are always the color
of nearby water
     she collects these
     on the top of her dresser
          and pears, apples, tea bags, straws,
          forks, napkins, and a set of colanders
     stolen from the kitchen

          Maybe this is where rivers began
     maybe this is
          a footprint

what is wrong, she said, are those people
who think they know where they are

in the morning I get up and make the coffee
which I cannot drink–and
the oatmeal in a great aluminum institutional pot

someone leaves bread in the toaster
which burns
this is somehow my fault

Number 3: Glenn Gould in the Attic


she wants to hit the walls with a crow bar
pull away plaster, lath, or drywall
pull out the electrical guts
attempt to obliterate sky

it is the shadow of hundred year old trees we yearn for
how can we imagine without such shade?
I melt wax against pigment

again, she tells the story about her children
with manufactured tears
she has taught me to disregard habit
to desire a building
which houses theater
I too become consumed with gestures

it's a rock and falling upon us
we bleed

oh give it up, he says,
let's sing

edge hard on the road-side ruts from
having spent too long watching–

casualties and focus, we spend
our time drawing an outline

Number 4: The Perfect Gray


you have gotten mixed up
this paint box, and nothing to breathe but turpentine
sea echoes, mussels, grit between ear bones
musk oil, rosin

mucus, membranes, snails
on concrete after rain
storm-clouded X-ray
worms, so delicious
there are no continuous grays

we want to see you in your blue dress
     in your shimmering blue dress, eating camembert
the aquamarine
     bright goddess of silver thread
slithering memory, a pleasing fungus beetle
     or green stink
preserved in a specimen bottle

had we had discovered a starfish?
every day we were drowning conch
in the porcelain sink
for their shells

Number 5: Thwarted Expressionisms

TIGERED          EBONY          MIDNIGHT BLUE          OFF-WHITE

locals threw her out of the bar–
'because I was so obnoxious
there is no place for me anywhere'
While I thought that I was learning how to live
I have been learning how to die: Leonardo Da Vinci

she gives her paper on Pollock
     she writes poems on Pollock
she tells us Pollock once told her a secret
     bruised his ankle on a stone lantern
     stayed all evening at her house–'O'
when will we dance?

               'the sea is a charmer'; 'Lost her charms'
'Red tide manatees'                     without their digestion
                dance     of the intestines
                                   'they cut her colon
re-sewing segments'                    each to each

     she grips a blue pebble in his fist
          which she will remember again
     when she is eighty
          watching the waves lick the beach
     gripping a pebble, she knows finally
          what it is to be six years old
     she opens her palm, stares
          flings it out toward the silvered horizon
     she knows
          what it is to be eighty

Number 6: The Awesome Reptilian


tiny bones of rodents, a bird's beak
     what we swallow
why do we name Jonah and not the whale?
     the snake that's swallowed the fetus?

If the snakewoman
came down to earth and wove
a cloth of meteors, re-glued statuary, wings
if we covered Mars in candles

dead creatures are always encased in tears
but not enough, she says, so they dehydrate

I try to remember orchids
what hue was her childhood?

Even her gestures have made an impression
here in the grain of the paper, in the layers
of red, yellow becoming orange