New York Tyrant

OPEN FIFTHS
by Ariana Reines

Jordan Castro

OPEN FIFTHS <br>by Ariana Reines</br>


I just watched a Tony Robbins video
You may judge this a counterrevolutionary gesture
Thinking about the people I forgot to write back to
I ate as much peanut butter as I could
Listening to I CAN’T HELP FALLING IN LOVE WITH YOU

(Pats the boot of his gun affectionately) a kind of bug
As siphoner sucking up the purple world thru its straw
Whorling hurricanes out from the backs of beetles, diaper rashes
Heavy tits heavy eyes of a heavy lady, a lady with fibroids
A lady who suffers migraines, I wanna fuck a woman who knows pain

I wanna feel the heat of a woman who knows pain
Yezidi women and girls call each other comrade
I’m not at all certain this is true
I met Pussy Riot at Richard Hell’s one night, proceeded to not write about it
Richard had just read a thing in public to make him look like no friend of women

Then Pussy Riot called him wanting to be friends     the lord moves in mysterious ways
Richard’s apartment is tiny it was an intimate affair     whiskey
And thick stew Sheelagh made     Stephen
Gave someone a suboxone. Nadya had a bad
Cold and a toothache.  Maria though perhaps slightly less photogenic was sexier in person

I worship poetry she told me     what would I be if I came from such a country
Putin barechested on his horse & out a-raping
The people of Pushkin having not yet forgotten at which altar
To kneel & worship & I’ve run out of money
Again     there’s really no excuse this time

The worship of certain maladaptive behaviors
As though they pertained to art but they do
In general it’s my womanhood that takes the hit
I used to think the defining characteristic of a writer
Was not wanting to have her picture taken ever

A possible inversion of a yet deeper yearning
As the one revealed by Shakespeare in the Sonnets
For Beauty: first the despair at ever incarnating it in oneself
Second despairing of possessing it thru the Other, & finally
The sick & unassailable triumph of The Writer, the rare

Very rare one great enough to make a Beauty that won’t die
Which if you think about it is something even God doesn’t do
But the question of Beauty is no longer the question     not the question
I mean of our times     but it is     but we won’t admit it     my stomach
Hurts from all the peanut butter I’ve eaten

You are allergic to peanuts and soy you are beautiful like a tuff & tall dove
There’s a kind of truth most people are afraid of
Telling, which I understand because it would make them look bad
I am similarly afraid of telling such truths, but now I’m standing
Up on a crowded train I don’t know that I’ll be able to finish what I’m saying

Yes I will a man has just offered up his seat.  Gentle city, today again
Underestimated by me! You looked so good on Google
Hangout this morning I know it sounds jejune
& though what we discussed about the subject FAKE
Apparently what they want you to teach at Parsons

Hurt me a little as it hurts me now how the man
What gave his seat up is now um adjusting something
In the pocket of his pants less than a foot from my face
In just such a way I really wish you were here
Already even though I don’t yet know how to live

Part of me loathes poems the amorous ones
With a living addressee & feels as a reader
I not only have a right to but deserve an author’s
Total devotion. I resent that other person behind their “you” want
My writers flayed & turning on the spit for my love or God’s, that’s it

And as for artists I don’t know      in the fornicating wilderness
Through which we all have no choice but to move I don’t think it wrong
To require of a thing at least passing devotion      the train
Vibrating everybody’s genitals while half of us smash glass & spray machine
Gun bullets across our phones that shit used to badly unnerve me

I don’t want to stop but it’s time
For therapy.  Therapy doesn’t help very much. It helps
Exactly enough      sane slightly tantine presence
Bearing witness to all the normie things I never learned
Time management, the idea of not dying

Some things some beings
Just have more life in them fake as we all
May be, at least when we begin.  And yes the future at times
Itself can seem the most pernicious form of fakery
You want to stay with the truth of having been destroyed

By what really did happen but now you must go on
I’m so full I can’t really think, like
I just literally farted in a businessman’s face but I had headphones
On so it was easy to ignore what I’d done.  You’ve hit the road
Our laurel on your dashboard, you say, reminding you you will win

The moon was in Scorpio this AM, v moody &
Macho which we also were & this record’s like a piece of carnival

Machinery, as they say, on crack.  I read a beautiful essay
By Russell Brand about crack and dope and not smoking
Them.  I hope “they” give him the credit he deserves

Soon if they have not yet.  There are reasons a lapidary
Style’s a better bet for a woman than say mine
Now I am peeing in REI.  Now I’m in Whole Foods
Buying Pro Bars.  Leopoldine gripped me by the hips
When she saw me.  I really did

Eat a sick amount
Of peanut butter & after that mung
Beans simmered in New Mexican chilis etc
Cos that was all there was.  Now I’m missing Women’s
Gymnastics now I’m looking at progressive foods

I can see the money arpeggiating in transparent tubs
Of plantain chips (tostones) & Spicy Pub
Mix, snack foods of The People, bar fare of Joe and José
Six Pack, Fanfare for the Common Man
By Aaron Copland now gleaming on a shipping pallet

Ready to be turned into human money.  I need chocolate
Almond milk and cold brew concentrate
If I’m going to clean the apartment and finish this
All in the same night and tell the boy
Named Offer I can’t go to the Noguchi

With him cos I’m in love with you
Marin Marais comes into my ears
I’m thinking of Dolly Parton
Likening her heart to a bargain store, her butterfly
Tattoo and taking money from my little brother

I gave him Thurston & Eva’s Necrobutcher book
The bent Peruvian man I met two days ago
In his new ice cream shop full of toys
I still owe him a dollar.  Except now it’s tomorrow
I’ve paid him back with interest.  This morning

I heard FINE AND MELLOW for the first time in an age
There are five lines a stanza in here open staves of slave
Wheat waving in oppressive Ancient Egypt or if you prefer
The Americanizing trumpets of Aaron “studied counterpoint
With Boulanger” Copland, I don’t know the things

It’s right to care about, that’s a feeling, my excesses go straight
Into my own pussy where I pay them not a penny
FINE AND MELLOW aches & aches with what is true
Your mouth the way you cock

Your head all over me      oblivion

Oblivion’s the larger part   possibly
You know of my art, at least latterly
It has been.  You never told me the meaning
Of the yellow pollen your grandmother blessed
Us with, so gently gently I looked it up online

Now you’re texting me you’ve stopped in Soledad
For a sandwich so I ask you to please pour out
Some cola to the memory of Jonathan Jackson and George
Jackson      have you ever seen a string of shit hanging from a fish tank
Fish I asked you cos that was a little how I felt

Rather spirderish my poem unspooling out of me
Inside this imprisoned feeling.  Men and women are not the same
Thanks for the pic of NATURE’S GIFT CHERRIES
“Remember here?” you asked & I do
I feel relaxed & amorous but at the edge

Of me’s the sensation I’m being come into by six
Hundred years of colonial horror as in that Adrienne
Rich poem, the one that is for me her masterpiece
The archival impulse in dudes makes me impatient
But who, who is clean of it.  & “dudes” made the place where we now meet

“Nothing, this foam” that’s Mallarmé
In the poem called SALVATION or SALUTE or HELLO
Or HI.  If I remember correctly he was an English
Teacher.  Why don’t people remember that when they come
All day all over what he left behind, taking him

So Oedipally seriously, “me already
On the poop,” he writes I swear to God
Badly on purpose.  White shit.  Cream
Deth, the opposite of Prince.  The day I earn
As much as Seth’s the day he’ll kiss my ass

At Leopoldine’s reading she and the other female
Reader both treated twin subjects: impecunity
And getting stoned.  Which will probably both be showing
Up a lot for a while as more young woman
Writers as they say EMERGE

Yesterday the director of the Belgian opera
Took me to lunch at the place I met Seth
Right off a redeye (I was) for breakfast
I drank two camparis & told him (Belgian opera man who by the way is Swiss)
My courtroom drama fantasy.  It made me feel a little gross

& I don’t see him going for it.  Carina says she got called “an aggressive bitch”
At work today.  I haven’t read “The Painter
Of Modern Life” in half an age but I told Sheelagh
I’d translate “Correspondences” for the Symbolism
Show at the Frick1.  Good job you have detected this is a New

York School of Poetry poem, for one thing, by the presence
Of the Frick with its Polish Rider so beloved of Frank O’Hara
And I’m going to show it to you when you get here
Even though you’ve already seen it but like the song
Says, I’ll Take You There.  My pen she glide so smoothly I can’t

Stop.
           Actually I could stop and did but now I’m back again
Tex Ritter’s singing RIDE RIDE RIDE.  Seth had
An extremely Western shirt on when me met
The other week.  A pregnant mare is not for riding
On.  My hat’s beside you as you drive you said.  “A Step

Away From Them” is a poem I love.  I can’t remember
What happens in it right now though.  “As I Walked Out
One Evening” is an Auden nonsense poem.  A love
Poem I thought of as I walked out one morning into the porky
Air, families of Queens having slept in then all set in unison

To frying bacon.  Now the cat is yowling
To the tune of RIDING INTO THE TOWN OF ALBUQUERQUE
Which is where I got that leather biker
Vest for $7.  Where Byron would go on
And on a lady’d be wise to stop for my experience has shown me Romance

Looks better on the rich & lordly.  SING COWBOY
SING goes the radio, not bidding Ariana go on, supremely cracker
Ass & so hokey in its stylings you have to think it is “on purpose.”  Is my heart open
Like O’Hara says his poem is?  I’m looking at his
Long-lost dick by Larry Rivers on SELECTED POEMS

Poets and painters, the joys of men, midcentury modernism
Whatever.  My mean way of reducing to furniture all the old avant
Gardes      I close my eyes and see your open
Hand, your fist.  Chelsea just walked in.  Hello I say
Her check has yet to come.  Mine too.  I guess I should go watch gymnastics

It’s true what they say, that meaning can be made from anything.  The real
Question might be must it & if so how.  It’s true what the Jews say
That the drawing-together of the two most disparate things is the real 
Mark of intelligence.  It’s true what the Greeks say

That metaphor is transportation.  And Art’s

Demand that one turn a single idea into a thing, a place
A series, and do it elegantly, I’ve put that in my pipe
All over again and smoked it too.  She picked
Her potted plant up off the floor but did not disturb
The dirt that it had left there.  Transparency, surveillance

And whiteness.  These are the three things.  Compression
Dispersal, being everywhere at once, dark feelings, sustained attention
Paid to other people’s major obsessions for minor & neglected modes
Of production, recent-past antiquing that can & must be turned to profit
The delicate art of sculpting as with a scalpel using the market as one among several tools

While all the while fleeing, seeming to flee from it or at least to appear
Relaxed.  I’m a romantic & a voluptuary.  I like
My food & my lord you.  I like lying around & getting dressed
& walking around talking only to the shit
Talking little Mozart of my mind

& I who was nowhere near Annandale-on-Hudson
How could i know SCORPION GRASS was another word for FORGET
ME NOT another blue flower
Of poetry not that I had read Novalis either
But I did see an early picture by Mondrian one time

Woke up with MOTOWN PHILLY in my head
Guess whose fault that is
I was gonna send you I LOVE YOUR SMILE by Shanice
But better you send my love to your grandmother
But I do love that song.  Then all of a sudden the birds begin to scream

I’LL BUY YOU A CHEVROLET IF YOU LET ME DO SOMETHING TO YOU and
THE WAY YOU SHAKE THAT THING MAKES ME LOSE MY APPETITE
I had another dream I was in a cave filling out forms I couldn’t
Understand while JT yelled at me all day.  Then finally here
Come the warm jets, Crowley tears on my pillow...

2

And he rode into town in his sores...
In the idiot cloth of a do-gooder...
Seated backwards upon an ass
Lo-res infinity in quiet carbonation about his head
Neither top nor bottom tier, plaintive strains on a kind of trombone...

Afternoon new music
The early dawn is very old, PRELUDE
TO THE AFTERNOON OF A FAUN except that wasn’t it

At all, a daffodil or Wordsworth’s sister
Dorothy, the poem Wm wrote to Toussaint Louverture

Worlds whipping themselves slowly into a cream
She left her broken beaded necklace scattered where it fell
“I’m paid a toll by every star inside this constellation”
Humid Alberti bass of allergens & other dander
Dusting haughtily the unchurned Milky Way

Moving unconsciously through this
Apparently open system... The color
Of neutrality, dignity’s gender
The babysmooth cheek of specie
But I don’t feel it’s my job to resolve these things for you

& here’s a little bag of preservatives inside a big bag
Of jerky & here are condom wrappers & fingernail parings
Engraved lead pipe fittings subtracted from the sites of their utility
Soft black lead scored with the long long names of demons
Held now in a white flame & now thrust deep in a cold cold mountain spring

Tears on my pillow.... And what of the Dumpster™ 
Marked CENTURY WASTE, mess of tubes
Comprising the inspirational skyline of tomorrow?
Bay Bay it’s fucking hot out
LADY U NEED A TABLE was the old sluggard’s weird catcall

To me as I scrivened fast upon a legal pad outside the deli     & what if I did? 
& who was he to say.  Hélas, the human heart
Whose work can in no wise be avoided
The sluggard retreated indoors with a Family
Size bag of Lays & quickly drew the curtains

My hair’s at least as good as Seth’s
Or Byron’s so get down
On yr knees & pay me I mean pray
To the rainbow preserved in a jet
Of oil, the ordered entrails of a bird...

As I mounted the stair fat drops of acid
Rain bursted down upon me     I thought of Diego
With his sour and silky-looking hair
Diego who has fucked more women
Than you sir have even seen

The voice of Mick Jagger in Wild Horses
Always makes me think a little of cough syrup
I didn’t come here to resolve
What you take to be MY DILEMMA

Though for there is sir NO DILEMMA

For love requires leisure, the love poem
Leisure too & slightly more.  I have won
Myself both by my refusal
Ever to do anything else.
Next question?

Clear Channel, The Complete Poem
Brazilian Blowout by Ariana Reines
Moroccan Oil Tome The First, too many Olympic
Rings on yr fingers my friend but we both know
That you are not my friend

What if it were true about the magic figures
As simple as writing them down
Roaring like a lion and never barring a seven
With a bar, just never crossing your legs? What if it is
As simple as that, and who can prove it isn’t?

I am ready, frog titty, to receive the key
I am wearing my organdy windbreaker
I am shining like an alabaster
And painted pig
& I have hands & opposable thumbs

The pure religion of Blind Lemon Jefferson
The horrible deathlike stomachlike feeling
For Avital says the stomach is the crypt of the body
And she is right about that and death’s deferral
Is another’s upcycled trash.  Now there are two fat men

Inside of CENTURY WASTE & a truck goes by
With “TRAGEDY” tagged huge over the cab, quotation
Marks included.  I was watching this woman eat a bag
Of Cool Ranch Doritos, it was ten in the morning & I swear
It said in the upper corner of her blue bag MADE WITH 100% DOG OIL

Tears on my pillow, silhouettes on the shade
Black words like falling hairs upon repurposed sailcloth
Shipwrecks in the cool whip mind of Mallarmé pirates highwaymen knowing how to hit
The glancing edge of badness where the setting sun’s acclaimed
By bolts of lightning falling fast into the hills


______________________________
1 ERRATUM: The 2017 exhibition Delirium: The Art of the Symbolist Book for which I translated “Correspondences” by Charles Baudelaire, is at The Morgan Library & Museum, not the Frick. 

 

 

***

Ariana Reines is the author of The Cow (Alberta Prize), Coeur de LionMercury, The Origin of the World, & the Obie-winning play TELEPHONE.  Her performances include MORTAL KOMBAT at the Whitney, MISS ST'S HIEROGLYPHIC SUFFERING at the Guggenheim, and THE ORIGIN OF THE WORLD at Modern Art, London.  Writings & translations have appeared in Harpers, Bomb, Granta, The Boston Review, Artforum, Triple Canopy, & many others.  Lately she's been a visiting critic at Yale & she astrologizes at lazyeyehaver.com

*Image: “Hostage Video Still With Time Stamp,” Seth Price, 2005—. Freeze-frame from Jihadi video file screen-printed on archival polyester librarian’s film with signage ink, steel grommets.


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