Anne Waldman

Fun-House Mirror

A Monologue for Elizabeth Murray

The “attack” from the midst of the action is here (stay awake)
A palpable one informed by love and arabesques
You might say in love with this lozenge and that cupped article
This loud bark and that rectilinear microorganism
That seems to be singing itself to you
I am here to outlast the blast and storm! I am dusty old soul!
Out beyond the waves and foils, endeavor at war (table turning)
Isn’t an option, fossil mongers and editors of dead zones, listen
People, why do you waste your time outside paint (96 tears)
And its denizens of dance and light? Come alive with me
In my quirk geometry, in my atom-smashing laboratory
Consider radical swatches of life, switchbacks, liberty
And the pursuit of unmitigated happiness (a trembling foot)
That follows like undulating squiggles…tempting, seductive…
Lie on this bed, under that table, a dog will follow (flying bye)
With droplets of blood, more tears, sweat to
Collapse happily in a pool of syllables, exclamations: Whoa!
And the cut of angle and no-nonsense fun digs in and muscles
Over the 3-D “brane” universe, you are all welcome but
Boys please step aside, green slime and protozoic empire is mine
Today, I created and cut the umbilical cord
And I will embed monolithic desire as well in my book of dreams
I am horizontal, I am swimming off the page
I claim materiality for all the females in 10 directions of space (water girl)
I is a woman and am not damned but making noise
I is an actor in the theatre of light and more light
And will pilot a way through mazes of objects and expressions
When I inhabit no barren terrain but full of shakti
Triangles on the surface of a sphere warm up now to break a code
Ride the canvas in a saddle be not afraid
What is gravity’s relation to space?
What is the secret tangible phenomena you hunt?
Mystery’s a temperamental keyhole!
How long do we survive intricate squawking vortices?
I’ll give you an inkling (she says), Bug off!
The universe expands beyond frame & starburst & making it up
I’ll ride the quantum breakthrough trans wood & pigment
Rush me, clump the flames into galaxies
Hold the vocabulary reliable not hostage, and
Be you me inter-connected reflexive startled universe
Stare into it, then jump
________________________but not goodbye

Photo: Nina Subin

Anne Waldman

Anne Waldman is a poet, performer, professor, editor, literary arts curator, and cultural activist. She is the author numerous collections of poetry, including the 1000 page feminist epic The Iovis Trilogy: Colors in the Mechanism of Concealment (Coffee House 2011) which was the winner of the 2012 PEN Center USA Award for Poetry. Other recent books include Extinction Aria (Pied Oxen 2017), Voice’s Daughter of a Heart Yet to Be Born (Coffee House Press 2016), Jaguar Harmonics (Post-Apollo Press 2014), Gossamurmur, (Penguin Poets 2013). She co-edited Cross Worlds: Transcultural Poetics (Coffee House 2014), an anthology of lectures from The Jack Kerouac School at Naropa University. Waldman is the recipient of the Shelley Memorial Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a former Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets. She received a long-life achievement award by the Before Columbus Foundation in 2015. She has collaborated with numerous visual artists, including painter Pat Steir. Waldman has also worked on a collaboration with Meredith Monk performing at Danspace and ICA in Boston, which will also be presented Brown University in the spring of 2018. She founded Fast Speaking Music with musicians Ambrose Bye and Devin Brahja Waldman, with whom she also collaborates. Publishers Weekly has deemed Waldman “a counter cultural giant”. She co-founded the Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics celebrated Summer Writing Program with Allen Ginsberg, a program she continues to curate in the summers. She has performed in recent years at festivals in Mexico City, Paris, Brussels, Calcutta, Jaipur, Marrakesh and Tangier. Trickster Feminism was released from Penguin in 2018. Website: