der Golem by Lady in the Radiator
How could I bring such a sorry creature into this world?
You, supplement to the endless series,
place this mirror up to your face:
Can you feel the steam of breath against your lips?
No doubt you know your name
and can march by rote.
I imagine you imagine
all that it is possible for me to—
I grant you all that.
You are not the cartoon monster I’ve read about,
you are the embodiment of the question that is me,
lending form and shadow, a prop.
You are the machine with my uploaded brain.
Even as Leviathans fall you stand in the flames
—with what thoughts—
while once more I have found
How shall I disengage myself,
be the distant, unseen master behind the strings?
Instead I make you me, just to see what happens,
exposing artistry and assuming myth in one move,
so that dead letters speak.
What proves it is, if I’m lucky,
you’ll outlive me.
De Chirico du Jour
Bent hoola hoops wobble
out of shadows toward a young girl
leaning the bell of her dress toward
clusters of green bananas crowding
a foreground cleared of all other signs of life or decay.
Further back a pair of touch-tone devices stand
on either side of an empty box car.
The sound of static, or the hiss of steam, issues
out from the puffy pink
clouds gently rising into space
where, even though it is high noon,
the stars can already be seen.
I think of my childhood, so far away,
suffused with aching and longing, for
the warmth of a touch behind the mocking
masks of adults. My stained fingertips distend,
the smell of fresh paint hangs in the air.
Hanging too a tangy apprehension, like that of fruit rotting,
while a train whistle blows, promising
that life exists out there, beyond
of how brightly those stars
will surely shine
At the End of the Day
When the poem is not written,
the tongue tastes its own
and your limbs move
Your day is
And that which escaped you
is already ahead in living
while the hole you left
in your pursuit of wholeness
contains only your “works”, your
fossils, which could not fit
into the new old bag of
skin, ambling in
Mark Kerstetter’s poetry has been published in Shaking Like a Mountain, Unlikely Stories, Evergreen Review and other journals. He blogs as The Bricoleur