postcard from the left bank: what's with Rimbaud and Richter these days?

They keep rising from death or depression,
or from my dreams where I divine
    both David, the tortured pianist of St.-Sulpice,

and Arthur, tortured poet across the narrow rue,
    dancing the macabre music of mistaken identity
    leaping through multiple-personalities’ perspectives.

Haunting the rhythms, Un à droit, un à gauche,
my twin ghost brothers waltz in drag                                
into broad daylight to cathedral chimes.

ego's couchemar

When she finally fell asleep, she dreamed she was enclosed in a small, 10’ x 10’,windowless room, door locked behind her
from the outside, its four walls, ceiling,
floor, papered walls edge to edge in a repeating
pattern of Nazi swastikas (2” x 3”).
A surround-sound soundtrack piped in a continuous

loop of goose-step marches— cutting-edge
torture that makes waterboarding so, so yesterday—
100% effective in a single five-minute application.

Yes, yes, I’m atheist. Go ahead, shoot me.

She dreamed of a warehouse of such rooms— each customized for its bespoken
infidels; she dreamed towers were being built

of such rooms— snapped up like poison hotcakes;
she dreamed fifty rented yesterday to a vigilante
army for streaming full-surface video
of 1’ x 1’ burning crosses, its audio a relentless
crackle, crackle, snap, crackle, crackle…

Yes, yes, I’m a black witch.
Go ahead, burn my wise black  ass.

She woke with a jolt, then collapsed in sleep
again, and dreamed the same dream, only this time
she’s strapped into a chair inside a cubicle

displaying a wall-to-wall 2’ x 3’ film,
close-up images of
Homo s. s. copulating
with his hetero mate, scored with the drone
of gasp, gasp, gasp, cum ad infinitum.

Yes, yes, I’m an Islamic lesbian.
Go ahead, beat me to death.

Superego Sites also available off shore at Guantanamo Bay,

and for short- or long-term rental in remote black boxes worldwide.

A nine-time Pushcart-Prize nominee and National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had over 500 poems appear in dozens of journals and anthologies. She has twelve books to her credit, the newest of which is Bunchberries, More Poems of Canada, a sequel to.Godwit:  Poems of Canada (FootHills), which received the Eiseman Award for Poetry. She is assistant editor and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye (,). Visit her blog, Vagabond Poet, at




Rimbaud in New York, David Wojnarowicz, 1977-79

Rimbaud in New York, David Wojnarowicz, 1977-79

social chemistry

Begin the experiment by rolling your tongue over

    Eastern Europe—

Yolanda Badinski, Maria Halupka, Francie and Joseph,

    the Mockevicius brothers.

Follow Maykovich the Ukrainian’s instructions

    at Max’s Delicatessen:

sample halvah, gifilte fish, lox on bagels or the challah

    from Bodner’s Bakery.

Write your lab results report, recording the monumental date,

    May 22, 1965,

when, at the intersection of Joseph Avenue and Farbridge Street,

    an alien teenager

arrived at the crossroads of the old neighborhood’s cultural quakes,

    her body rioting

in the public petri dish of racial violence, religious skirmishes,

    rampant sexuality.

Now, revise the arcane formulae to account for first bullet, first bigot,

    first kiss.