An essay about writing
The poems of
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Photo of Gail Wronsky by Gary Goldstein email
Anachronistic Night's Dream
She will sing a love-song
and pin a creamy gardenia
in her hair. She will smother her hands
with ylang-ylang lotion and turn her claws to jewels
that excite men's skin.
What does Oberon want?
The feather-tufted nest
which was their starting point. And Titania?
Simply to write him a letter: Each time
I make love I say to myself
if only Bottom were here,
twisting my thoughts
like cigarette papers with his
A Compulsive Love of Scandal
Resulted in: some prostitute
who wouldn't give her name
telephoning Lysander's rehab counselor at
with a hotel address. The counselor refusing to
help, having heard that Lysander
recently squandered his
in an Indian casino.
Demetrius, in a drug rage
running down some street: My
friends are homosexuals!
Hermia at her mirror: Look, I'm
like a corpse! Bottom
closing his eyes in pleasure at the
image of that teenage homeless
drift-girl in the movies always
lost then found.
A million trivial domestic
quarrels in the city of Athens.
The woman has been self-othering lately.
Abandoning that childlike
candor she'd rather desperately cultivated.
From now on, it's
games of wisdom and clairvoyancenot
the ingenuous fascinations
sparked by chance meetings of words in a
poem. She still believes,
of course, that the whole earth is art, and that
the marvelous must be
an integral part of our everyday drama. But she's
stepped outside the skin
of her former muse/femme-
enfant. She has
her gaze. Her mane, a mass of stone ringlets,
trails down her back like a
monument to anarchy. Not failed anarchy,
to a kind of rush and tumble vivacity she
no longer seeks nor finds
as useful. So many people die
anyway, don't they. The future,
a matter of stagingI mean, more refusing to
conform your words to your acts.
Being, Having, and Lacking
after Hans Bellmer
The doll has four legs and no torso. No
head. No arms.
It is hanging from a meat-hook,
wearing white socks and
Mary-janes. Its father was
a Nazi. Its mother drowned in
a river behind the house. It wants
you, reader, to put
of your fingers into one of its holes. It is
Oberon, being a decent king, can't
bring himself to do.
Even Puck falters
at this threshold of genital disorder
to his role as bad-boy
in the perverse universe of
In Fear Of Being Understood
If the world is a shooting gallery of random
forms, then, like light, we have the power to
penetrate all sleeping bodies.
We can occupy with confidence the
abandoned throne of the object. We can
call Oberon Bottom
from the deep oceanic nightmare of our beds.
hurts him. And he leaves us, taking our Indian
In the morning, at the coffeehouse, when we
confess the slip-up and its consequences to our
rustic lover he'll shrug it off, radiantly disinterested.
The demands of love are too great, we'll say
and we'll withdraw.
Ring of Fire
Oberon, being Shiva,
sits in the middle of it.
It is heaven and hell. It
like frangipani then like an
elevator packed with
grandmothers like a truck
stop, like a
looks in. She wants to
worship him. She
wants to feel the rush
of a smuggled
makes herself long. She
into something pointed and
slim. She pokes her way
in between two parted
tresses of flames
taking back everything she ever
felt or believed in.
Gail Wronsky is the author of Poems for Infidels (Red Hen Press), Dying for Beauty (Copper Canyon Press), The Love-talkers (a novel, Hollyridge Press) and other books. She is the translator of Volando Bajito, a book of poems by Argentinean poet Alicia Partnoy. Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including Poets Against the War, A Chorus for Peace, The Poet's Child, Pool, Volt, and Runes. The recipient of a California Artists Fellowship, she is Director of Creative Writing and Syntext at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.