Three Poems by Arielle Greenberg

​Letha Wilson

Letha Wilson, Easter Appalachian Trail, 2010. C-print, paper, and paint. Courtesy of the artist.

Pastoral: Commons

I have always loved a village green, a commons.
I do not love a commodity,
until I’ve owned the shit out of it,
and we are twin depleted.

If learning is changing—
if ecology is adaptive and it’s we who are stuck in our think-holes—
then fuck me so hard I spot pale pink blood.
Alter me a little.

My body is a commons.
You can pleasure yourself through me
like a haunted house at a theme park.
On the other end, it’ll be you all shaky.

I’m not animatronic, a barely clicking swamp.
I’m mowed but still lush, a thoroughfare for glad tidings.

What I am really after is connection.

The Girl Dropped into the Homespace

green-eyed fuckers
but the wolf said
you are sweet
I said I am not but searched for the blond boy to kiss
all over as he scratched his pink skin to bleeding
I said don’t scratch lovey but your beautiful arms
not thinking of soldiers then or “the gun licensed in Maine”
I went looking for the wolf to bite through my juice
my white cotton shirt smelled of sand and coconut I took off
all my clothes over the foul river holes
in every shoe every loose motherly heart I said
I am heartsick but with how satisfied and hopeful

I Do Not Want to Fuck You Captain America

The difference between you and me, Fanboy, (and perhaps between the Masculine and the Feminine if you want to talk about it that way) is that I don’t have a single tiny need for any flying ships with glowing moonstone eyes that could swallow an ocean. I don’t want any blue flashing gadget cream screens with secret codes for my birthday, or flashing laser face screens or tongue recognition software. (I want to flash my tongue on the soft landscape.) I have no craving for a jet big as a blinking planet. I have no lust for wheels that retract or blades that boomerang back to a holster or zapping metal arms that can take down a barricade or headphones that collapse into a small bronze bullet case. I don’t want a heavy shield with a circled star: I am not so afraid, really, to die.

What scares me: anti-depressant run-off in the creek; estrogen pill run-off in the pond. A lack of nuance in stories; a surplus of lazy thinking in the media. Someone undermining, on purpose, my child’s confidence. This life of machines, where you and I aren’t given enough hours to be animals together.

Seriously. I don’t want a many-bridged matrix structure of brushed steel with wall-sized electronic maps of global villainry and loaded shaft guns and swaths of plate glass perpetually shattering and encrypted light-up thumb drives and little red digital target marks on absolutely everything. With the terrible destruction vehicle bursting through the side of the office tower. (A comic book nightmare that came true, remember? Ash and shards and falling bodies, a city smoking in the distance, just like in the movie. This was not a movie.)

This is not a movie, and when I think about you fucking me, I am not thinking of the Millennium Falcon. I am not thinking, This government protects us from vulnerability and surveillance, and this government surveys us, and this government made us vulnerable in this way. I am not thinking, How can I stay safe? When we are fucking, I am not trying to protect myself. In fact, I am trying to not protect myself.

I do not want you juiced with serum so you can save the world. I do not want you juiced at all.

Fanboy, lie down and crawl back into your fur. Give up your need for toys. Be a bear cub again.

Arielle Greenberg is co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic; author of My Kafka Century and Given; and co-editor of three anthologies, including Gurlesque. She lives in Maine and teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades’ MFA, and writes a column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review. She is working on a book-length series of pornographic pastorals.

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