Monday, March 18, 2013

Eric Elshtain

“Wooing the Mazoo” (“We must obey the time,” Othello I.iii)

Put money in thy purse
follow thou the wars
offices’ most solvent pockets

lambent circles off officers’
helmets like coins keep
hooplas blooming, candying

over eyes sequins paraded
under-dressed as our girls
and all the pettifogs agree:

in the coarse events
selectmen choose in smoke
as we gestured empty

behind our curtainties
arranged before our being,
dream realms ghosted embrasures

sickened Quakers dropped
arrows from as mad captains
hammer doubloons to masts

follow thou the quavering
cables to mermaid’s purses—
put your money on.

Make faces hatcheries
for our kind of fresh hell.
Strum up some becomings

within the next stun-
gunned chest: freak crisp
chiefs—whatever spends—

for stuffs she chuckled,
air forced diaphragm deep
it ain’t over it ain’t over

lover—my cause is hearted—
put it to your pursed lips
sweet; sweat foreclosures

and get stinko’d as we fiddle.
The news fills us up in gold
as the rest crawl for crumbs.

Eric Elshtain is a homemaker and also the poet-in-residence at John H. Stroger, Jr. Hospital and UIC Hospital where he conducts poetry and art workshops with patients through Snow City Arts. He also teaches literature at the Better Boys Foundation in Chicago. Elshtain's poetry, reviews, and interviews can be found in McSweeney's, Skanky Possum, Notre Dame Review, Ploughshares, American Letters & Commentary, Interim, Salt Hill, GutCult, Denver Quarterly, Chicago Review, Fact-Simile, Kennesaw Review, and other print and on-line journals. He has a book forthcoming from Verge Books and has been the editor of Jon Trowbridge's on-line Beard of Bees Press since 2001.

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