It is here that the folding house comes to mind—
the weight too much for the shallow foundation.
The house developed germs: scotch soaked pillowcases,
mold in the toilet, a head-sized hole in the linoleum,
broken television, cast iron skillets,
wood stove and the bones of a cat.
The tipping point was the father’s behavior.
The house developed disturbances: dehydrated houseplants,
yeast lining the inner walls, blood on the seat, a knife at the mattress,
sniffing cockroaches on the ceiling, cracked cusp and a water filled,
It is here that the function of the house became irregular
the daughter began to break—
the fluctuating heat from the stove set the dwelling to sweat.
The house slumped,
[First published in Jet Fuel Review. Also in Catastrophe Theory.]
V= x³+ ax
Simple, isn’t it?
The folding house folds faster.
Now I’m repeating myself and you hate that.
The folding house folds faster.
The folding house is folding faster
and faster and faster and faster yet
just one more step and you’ll open the door.
You’ve been warned. The house could fold on you.
But you keep coming closer.
And you haven’t left this room (it’s your last chance)—
x=teeth, his teeth. Your teeth. You want to hear how he bit her?
Just press your ear to a window. Listen to the singing.
a=daughter. Little runt. Her last name Cunt or Yount or vice versa.
Or how ever you like it. And you like so far? Don’t you?
ax=daughter with teeth. Ax. A girl at 16. Tells everything.
Cannot believe anything. School Guidance Counselor.
Government. The factors failed.
She does not. Ax will not fail. Not this time. Scissors prevail
when they strike out like suicide just missing his flesh.
And that worked. And now we’re all friends.
And I’m outside the folding house and you’re still in there.
And I’m outside now lighting the fire.
And I’m looking through the windows.
And I’m just at the edge of stepping back in.
[First published in Catastrophe Theory.]
or in 1995 my mother put it this way,
you’re not white trash yet.
Feminism had pushed her to an edge
I’ll never recover from nor forget.
In 1913 the play’s opening scene establishes
the Doctor as medical authority, his office
basks in the light of morality. Act I unfolds
in 1995 when I am sick as shit vomiting in his office.
In 1913 the play Damaged Goods functioned
as propaganda for the social hygiene movement
which advocated sexual responsibility.
In 1995, I still didn’t have either.
In 1995 I didn’t have syphilis
though I was tested for it,
instead, I could have had a baby.
Olga Nethersol On How Not To Appear Wounded
agree even if it isn’t necessary
use good posture and swallow everything
make hand gestures between bosom and chin
smile even if it isn’t necessary
listen to nothing but give them everything
show up anyway
Olga Nethersol On How Not To Appear Weary
go on a laudanum binge but break it off quickly
never lose control of your fevered right hand
too important are theatrical posturing and manners
so let your eyes twinkle with the epiphany
that you’re the only one who knows where the dishes go
knows the secret to washing them
Olga Nethersol On How Not To Show Despair
repeat I’m happy everything is perfect I am better now
go on a laudanum binge and let no one seek your heart
adieu adieu adieu [He goes up and sits by the fire.
She goes to the piano and plays.] allow no scarcity
of amusement forget everything but the final act
Olga Nethersol On How To Make A Successful Final Exit
go on a laudanum binge
kiss the nearest person passionately
have yourself carried up a winding staircase
step off the third floor balcony
Susan Yount is editor and publisher of Arsenic Lobster, works fulltime at the Associated Press, teaches online workshops at the Rooster Moans and is the founder of Misty Publications. She recently completed graduate studies in poetry at Columbia College in Chicago. Her poetry has recently appeared in several print and online magazines including Roar, Jet Fuel Review, Booth Journal and Menacing Hedge. Susan is a 2003 recipient of The Lynda Hull Memorial Scholarship in Poetry and in 2010 she was awarded first prize in the 16th Annual Juried Reading competition at The Poetry Center of Chicago. In her spare (!) time she moonlights as madam for the Chicago Poetry Bordello and writes the Rebellious Women in Poetry column with Jessica Dyer. Susan is currently designing a poetry tarot deck, which you can view at tumblr. The first two poems you see here are from her book Catastrophe Theory (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2012).