November 17-23, 1997: Daphne Gottlieb and Amy Zug

week of November 17-23, 1997

Daphne Gottlieb and Amy Zug

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Daphne Gottlieb


Daphne Gottlieb is a San Francisco-based performance poet She is currently at work on a chapbook tentatively entitled, “Pelt,” and is the 1996 Queer Poetry Slam champion Her work is anthologized in the forthcoming “1,001 Kisses,” edited by Anna Livia and David Hirsch

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Daphne Gottlieb and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

After Years of Therapy

Across the nation, people are listening to
their inner children and
their inner children are mad Gaylord Cummins had six children
just to prove a point
Wayne Gasser
the Gas Man
Gas Mask
ell `em one he hasn’t heard
Cleopatra Collins has had it
up to here with the comments about
her wicked asp and seeing her delta
Dick Johnson still finds it hard to cope
and drives a very large car
even Amber Love feels unkind some days but worst of all is
poor Johnathan Jewett, raised Catholic
Even after 12 years of
dreaming of changing his name
he can’t After the swastikas painted on his locker
the jokes about his nose
everyone assuming he was rich and
just lying about it
he dreams of changing his name but
can’t stand the thought
of abandoning his people.


In hours of squabbling over
how many angels can dance
on the head of a pin
no one has ever asked
what dances they do Perhaps the cha cha Maybe the merengue They might begin the beguine and
switch to the tango Or they could do something really dirty like
the frug — a saintly choir of 200 billion
pumps away at the air
with the blind dedication of sperm
all on a spot the size of a human egg Astonishing, you say? Breathtaking?
No Just impossible Angels wear
flowing white robes because
they have no feet Angels wear white robes
like frothy waterfalls
like frozen vanilla swirls
like dusty drapes
like cracked greek columns
to cover up
not only do they not have
left toes
right index
left middle
right ring
left pinky
right piggy went to market
never came back
and stole the calf to the knee
if mine thigh offends thee
pluck it out
and angels know
are so dirty
that they are better left
to the flesh
and so, clean pure and white,
they let the rest of their bodies go to hell
shrink their souls to
the size of pinpricks
and forget how to dance.


he got where he is today by
building an empire with his
own two hands and his
daddy’s money

stick a hand in a back
pocket and it’s an offer stick
a hand in a front pocket and it’s
sex stick a
hand in another hand and it’s
a deal, baby pleasure
doing business with you.

skin deep

clean laundry, new shoes and shiny hair that’s how
good life is right
now and when i walk down
the street i can see
people add me
up twenty dollar
thirty dollar
haircut with
ninety-nine cent
one hundred and ten dollar
shoes three
dollar lipstick and a five
dollar word for

present for the sweet sixteen

in your 21-year-old wisom
you gave me a pair
of thigh-high fish net
stockings and a paperback copy
of The Fountainhead
a recipe for a pin-up
with velvet panties and an iron

at 29
i must tell you:
it worked too well
it’s ok by me if
Ayn Rand could only get Atlas
to shrug but
right now he’s cleaning my floor
and when he’s done
I’m coming
for you.

Amy Zug


Amy Zug lives in Somerville, MA

The following work is Copyright © 1997 and owned by Amy Zug and may not be distributed or reprinted in any manner whatsover without written permission from the author.

Crash Test

very frankly she was heard to say in no uncertain terms, 
something next of course there comes the usual matter:
the ninety-nine or more percent disintegrated likelihood
that anything resembling even the most slightly real idea
whatsoever what that being who near you there so strangely is, 
whose facial expressions you cannot seem to prevent
yourself from noting continuously and over and
over to your great and consternationally distracted
stimulatedness is even saying, much less thinking or
for god’s sake meaning will ever be created ah, thankfully, 
thankfully a poem.

Shut Up

you know how even or especially perhaps when a bug
is just about gone it keeps trying to fly somehow
this connects to a waiting lady who apparently
very much needs to speak as outside the market stars
awake to a perfect passing stranger at length regarding
the maniacally inconveniencing nature of cab drivers
and to how discussing haircuts passes away
a slow chunk of day (it’s getting longer I say
displaying the usual wit) flapping and dragging
the half-dead ass across the floor the dissonance
of lift-off impossibility does not deter in puzzling
fact this wingspinning frenzy appears paradoxically
fueled by the deadening life, more uselessly mighty
than ever before.


ringing telephones crisscross paths
with the limping idea
of the rest of your life what’s leftover
when the attempt at housecleaning fails
fills two hungry trucks, slowly compacts
gathered and stacked by the curb, your childhood
was strikingly finite.

The Humongous Moccachino

there was a man who had a plan to celebrate his birthday
by going to the library and checking out 273 books
this was because his birthday happened to fall on a Tuesday
unfortunately the plan was interrupted by a violent fit of
contemplating the meaning of a particular word of which
he had no knowledge the violent fit was rudely interrupted
by a knocking at the door which continued for 17 years and then
continued by this point the man’s birthday was almost over
and he became clinically depressed over the fruitlessness of
sand and related matters finally he did end up going
to the library but predictably it had been converted into
a humongous moccachino the humongous moccachino
cost $4.78 so he bought it and he drank it and he died
the end.

Unheated Sunday

the drunken stuff sunk enough gah gah gah
it is Ronald McDonald as the Buddha
and the house never empty ever the sound
of a door almost shutting you and your good china
and silver and crystal heaped with ashes and sand
it is when he looks in the distance, the white
hungover sky, the merest of winds oh the flowed sorrow
of the bottomless trees.


nothing will be finished other magnetisms discrete and unfathomed how to pull back the shortness of the stay please go away PLEASE GO AWAY! choked franklin delano roosevelt choked old
photo choked candlewax and the compacted quality of cooked
kale this is no poem this is no joke this is a recording
I will force it to spill out the window with the mooning bear below
in the street angry peed-on cops security clearance, fingerpainting
darlings in the tub, power strips camera angles jokers wild lost data is this a recording? is this saying something? is this the best
you can do? I don’t think so so I don’t think
broken crystal eyesockets the man with the crystal skull the man
with the polyester tongue being dead like the crazy lady who sewed that
cat being dead like a fox saran wrap dead beings hammering out tunes
on harpsichords store coupons freshwater fish sharks sleep swimming the inability to stop the inability not to stop the inability not to be
stopped to go on forever to go on forever to go on forever to stop

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