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“I’ve kept a diary, writing in it virtually every day, since 1976; beginning on November 30, 2012, I started keeping instead a series of ‘Trance Notebooks,’ as a way to transform my journal into a higher pitch of ceremony, an occasion for intensified, unmoored consciousness. Now I’m distilling the results into a sequence of assemblages; here’s a piece from the second of these unfettered concoctions.”
—Wayne Koestenbaum

From Trance Notebook #2 [nerdy questions about exact pitch]

Wayne Koestenbaum

            sell me a clip-on
bow-tie or a mock
fringe chapeau worn on
the collarbone—a
new style of “shoulder
hat,” a cape to
protect your shoulders
from rain and chill and
to prevent the wearer
from sliding (like
Mickey Mantle) into
a third gender
            now I’ve
reached the “clinker” zone
of perforated opportunities
            —perforated appurtenances
but then Edith Piaf
suddenly thrilled me
            a newly
discovered Venezuela, a
            a rendre compte,
a liar on the corner
(thirsty corner) of
23rd and 9th, a gazelle,
a rendezvous chapel
             (a chaplet of
daisies around my
pleurisy brow)—

Copyright © 2014 by Wayne Koestenbaum. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on April 3, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

Wayne Koestenbaum

Wayne Koestenbaum

Born in 1958, Wayne Koestenbaum is a poet, novelist, and cultural critic. His latest collection of poems is Best Selling Jewish Porn Films

by this poet

Into the unisex nursery's toilet my undershirt falls.
I fish it out and find my face on a marquee.

Florida: in sneakers, I construct
Delft shelves to store scrawled diagnoses.

I enter an observation tank
(rightly considered tragic, irreversible)

to greet the hatchetfaced magician whose dead mother
the atonality of folded underwear

the Tel Aviv of Chinese water torture

the martians of My Three Sons 

the parsimony of Tel Quel

the archivist of beatitudes

the Helsinki of Frankenstein

the Winchester Mystery House of devil-may-care

the worldwide franchise of Croatian mystery plays

the Bettie


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