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Academy of American Poets Summer Series. Recorded at the New York Public Library, August 5, 2014.

About this poet

Bianca Stone is the author of The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House Books, 2018) and Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014), and is also the illustrator of Antigonick (New Directions, 2012), a collaboration with Anne Carson. She runs the Ruth Stone Foundation in Vermont and New York City. 

The Future Is Here

Man burns at a certain degree
but I always burned a little slower.
When I went into school
I left a trail of blackened footprints
to my classroom of spelling words,
never starred. At the end of the earth
we’ll be locked in our own spelling mistakes,
our arms around the legs of our mother
so she won’t leave, our heads filled with beer, the light
receding. What kind of death is reserved for me?
The green plastic soldier has his gun up against everything.
And what does one do with a gun really?
I’ve only held three my entire life.
The third I held was the first I used.
I was with Rebecca and her father, deep in the woods of Vermont
when she was staying with me in the heap.
I shot at a beer can until my hands went numb.
And I loved her the whole time.
With car accidents and barbiturates. The way
she got wasted, knocked her teeth
into her lap and told me
I loved her too much—what was all that?
What man does is build whole universes out of miniscule
disasters and educational degrees.
I have mine in an enormous envelope two feet behind me.
My name looks good in gangster font.
It makes me want to alight
on the thigh of my beloved like a moth
because I know all careful grief
comes out from behind the thigh
and makes a fist at the grey sky above Brooklyn.
The destroyed continue into the snow-filled future, shoveling.
And love is either perpetually filthy
or intermittently lewd.
I’m sweeping the entire apartment because it’s mine forever.
And that’s valid, too: domestic eroticisms. The way
he gets up out of bed before you
and puts on clothes and can’t find his keys.
All of it, without parents, without children, without roommates.
It feels good to get something
back. And the whole feels
detrimental and complicated and forever stimulating.
Which is why we live—and why we send out
balloons into the atmosphere
with notes tied to them that say
Nothing bad can touch this life
I haven’t already imagined.

From Someone Else's Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014) by Bianca Stone. Copyright © 2014 by Bianca Stone. Used with permission of the author.

From Someone Else's Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014) by Bianca Stone. Copyright © 2014 by Bianca Stone. Used with permission of the author.

Bianca Stone

Bianca Stone

Bianca Stone is the author of Someone Else’s Wedding Vows (Tin House/Octopus Books, 2014), and is also the illustrator of Antigonick (New Directions, 2012), a collaboration with Anne Carson. 

by this poet

poem

Erotic dancing takes the place of Greek tragedy
just as the gladiatorial fights did in Rome—but it is a
private dance
no one can touch or see. A feeling every day I enter and close
a curtain behind. Sitting alone with it,
looking at it through a tiny hole,
something lithe and naked,

poem

All of your giant beige bras
floated up into the atmosphere.
Blue eggs fell down the chimney;
the porch,
losing its screened-in mind,
caved in.
I mistake one living cell for another.
Hand on the mallet
of my life—
you come
detonating midair
with your own grief

poem

Someone told Mom it takes six months to realize
            someone is no longer on the planet.
On a commuter plane from Portland to Seattle
it was exactly six months later,
            on the tiniest plane in the world.
I broke out in hives
            like a nun blushing all over for