Alice Notley



A Rare Card

The skills you lack
are designed to keep you
down . . .

Someone is working right now
to get ahead
of you.

Someone is working right now
to get ahead of me.

I have returned
I am reasonably
endowed with the skills of my trade

Those are no longer skills.


If some power came to me

if some
               and not meager. 

Don’t hide.  I won’t.  This 
            is provocation

            that’s how I’ll find it.

Maybe I just do


She swallowed the paper she needed;
It contained the
Idea.  She must have internalized it.

                                    Words are
drawn to one and soon take over. 

No, really, where do they come from? 


Mother of flies
face of the beautiful

I have
to start.

Write with a zigzag pencil
and sand.


I’m inside the medicine all
the time.  This is my

Let the words come to the space

who do you talk to if no one reads
it doesn’t matter

When someone comes
I’m always there.

Because I drew this very rare
Tarot card, the Witch.

Out in the world they have stories
that match the machine.  The one
they appear to be in

If you have walked outside the machine
          who are you?


I will enter their space
later today & become enraged.
I will know exactly
how much it has cost me
to be a woman.

Here, in magic, it’s other

any word
to bring

Mother of flies,
mother of ghouls, of survivors

Form has to be earned.  this body

Some voices
will probably talk
        to me