Where have you been all my life

now that it’s nearly done?

Here on this island of our birth?


Where minds venture like hands

and pedestrians traffic in

solstice cold they import from


There to Here on overcoats into gin mill

noctilucence wherein
  frigidity ensues

then overturns  


Where they sit apart, that woman and man

once lovers, on the longest

night of the year.


Here they speak only in syllables but

there in the throwback booths fashioned

perpendicular, prismatic high-

gloss red


Where two slip into one

as we did once

risking scandal. Those two over


There—it’s obvious they are in

over their heads

having once been head

over heels.


Back then, Ramses II was believed

to have fathered

one hundred children.

Matrimony is like that.


Everyone was drunk

when first they met.

The woman was a girl in disguise.

Ricochet barlight on white of a beard.


There, poets were never made to adhere.

Where again, it’s your dime.

There, the scherzo’s on you, pal.

Put a couple of quarters in


Where once you might have wrangled a tone.

Request permission to employ vocabulary, sir!

Currying curious favor I, choir member, cant.

Right here, te quiero, quemamos. I want you. We burn.

Can I carry your books?

Are you generous or dangerous?


Beware, where poets dally, neologisms

being diagnostic for madness.


Where mushrooms grow and worms wind.

There goes thy long-reserved senility.


There, swans are mean, they mate for life.

Where you dream of eating

one, but I pushed the head of that last one

under, as into an oven, thinking

Now “it’s your turn, PeeWee.”

Where I once was angry,

I now swan around,

my heart,

the size of a fist.


There, Buoyancy took hold,

where no singing I do fails

to please me

and that is saying something for to go

there I know you



There is still a market

for a woman who knows how

to diagram a sentence

in a corset.

Here she is.



Late June


Humidity grows high and heat holds it tight.

Pupils wiggle free of their seats. An angel cracks

A can open. A voice breaks. Triple plays transpire. Twilight

Corazon radio love, Sonido Suave and tank tops are back


With a vengeance. Sirens mesmerize. Quipping, some flirt. Beach

Boys oldies resound with static edges. Freedom screams,

Whiffle-snap nights herald the long-awaited reach

Of lilac and garbage-scented June. Waterfowl careen,


Raw-voiced over the harbor. A little spot outside

Goes a long way here, where a fire escape can save your life.

Rockaway Jamaica Bay gulls swoop, drop, dive

Over Gotham waters running various and rife—


Veils of low-hanging humidity June imposes

Promise July’s chain-link fences lousy with roses.



Maruccinus, You’re Asinine

Adaptation: Catullus XII


Marrucinius, you’re asinine, deft indeed, slick too,
at least when you’re sober, and your crappy de-
meanor otherwise leaves much to be desired.
Take your sleazy maneuvers, Klepto, like your
brazen pilfering of my dinner napkins!
You think larceny’s funny? Don’t believe me?
Go on, question your brother. Ask him. I dare
say your Pollio doesn’t find your antics
so amusing at all! And we know what a
great sport Pollio is. He can take a joke.
We know Pollio’d cough up a million just
cure your sinister penchant, fix or break you—
Come clean, cough it up. Give me back what’s mine.
Pronto. Fork over the linens you swiped, Lefty.
Come on, gimme the napkins, Veranius,
carried all the way from Spain for my table
by a friend who came to dinner here and left
empty-handed and this is why 300
mean lines packing a wallop are headed your way, O,
asshole dinner companion. Better act fast.
Send the napkins which Veranius, my true
friend, bestowed upon me back, that precious item
whose high-caliber fibers are well woven
close, tight into the fabric of my being.
Those linens you swiped did not come all the way
from Spain, Stickyfingers, so loser scum like
you could pinch them in between courses and
bites and pocket them the minute my head was turned.



by Michele Madigan Somerville


Michele Somerville’s collection of poems, Black Irish, was published by Plain View Press (2009). Her book-length poem was also published by Ten Pell Books (2001). A reprint of this book is expected late this year. She won Honorable Mention in the May Sarton Contest, sponsored by Bauhan Publishing (2012). She won first place in the W.B. Yeats Society of New York Poetry Contest, which was judged by Billy Collins. In the Davoren Hanna Poetry Competition, sponsored by Eason Bookshops, she won Honorable Mention. Her poetry has been published in Hanging Loose, Mudfish, The Nervous Breakdown, Mad Hat, Puerto del Sol, 6ix, Downtown Brooklyn, Eureka Street, LiveMag, Brooklyn Review, Purchase Poetry Review, Big Time Review, and Quarto. she also writes essays and has been published in The New York Times and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. she teaches in New York City, and is an avid painter.

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