Elisa Gabbert


Poem with Variation on a Line from Saturday Night Fever


I want anterograde timelessness,

I want to invent the future,


so people will think I came from it,

sent back to the present-as-past.


My desires depend on their being

pent, unrealized. My desires are unreal


in the future's eyes. Like knives.

The whole point of a stab wound


is the poignant memory. I don't invent

the future; the future invents me.


And then forgets me.




Poem without Free Will


Scatterplot of insect parts,

needle over E, karaoke


scansion of the radio,

I want my anachronism back—


his head in the rearview mirror,

double-bass voice extrinsic


like running commentary,

and now I hate this movie,


would rather watch

the windshield—the wind


is approaching.

Time doesn't just fly;


it ninja-stars me.

It's obvious to want to die,


but in the poem, I have to.

No life but in desire.




Poem with Assurance


Every display is fulsome. Vagina

is for lovers. I'm only saying


sayings from here on. Is it still 2007

already? You always head to


the B novels looking for World War Z

on tape(s), more Earthly Powers's,


I caught someone's zees.

I can't find the erratica section


but there's porn scattered everywhere.

When I said "I like it when you grope me


in public" I wasn't being ironic.

Now either. Now I want to go out, out


into the war. I see stadium lights

through the trees.




Poem with Superimposition


The night we met you had a stain

on your sweater, which I read


as nonchalance. I liked that

better. And freckles! The moon-


shine invasive, in our personal

space. I wonder why I didn't wonder


if we'd ever go to Canada.

In any case, we didn't.


But your previous version

is extant somewhere


in my dark-half mind; I happen-

stance against it, hovering


over a version of me, still

trying to fuck me. Sometimes


the things I say annoy me. But

this isn't called "Poem with Apology."




Poem with a Pun


And now it's cold. The air above the bed

rains blows. I want to be the girl


to watch classic porn with you

but it's so creepy-sexy it's not sexy,


or it's funny. At least now I know

that Debbie doesn't really do Dallas—


just the one guy, and only for the money,

though she makes the most of it. Should I say


I'm bad in bed? Do you prefer

an unconvincing liar, or a bad actress?


We watched two. What am I now,

the girl who watches porn with you?