Come down to the basement I’m going to wear this
statue of Nike, I’m not going to make any more of those
the man says. The wings folded around her hips
I’ll wear it anyway. You’re too old. You don’t under-
stand poetry I say to the poets, you don’t even
like it. All the houses are empty. Someone says
stream-of-consciousness as if that’s a thing.
The sword gets wearisome, there’s no one to talk to
you are a beautiful homemade virgin a soul, I’m not
made. I wasn’t ever, lighter than words
but engraved on gauze the eternal code for my victory
it’s stitched into all wings, airplanes absorb
clear nectar; and I’m passing the bright orange flowers

on a secret shortcut, I’ve always had those.
I’m sorry. I don’t know who that is. I
can’t make it stop hurting, retrieve
history of pricelessness from the garbage
That won’t help there aren’t any books left
It was the litter of unread words that disgusted me
pouring through machines, trying to justify
an existence—Oh come off it—of people emptier
than cups on a shelf. Who said that? I couldn’t
bear it. We’re full of our culture. Who said?
What would I have won? ever won? I’m
approaching the other way to live, there’s
no affect here, but here isn’t anywhere.
I have stepped into place, breaking my heart. Some-
thing has won inside; all I remember is my poetry.


Read Lindsay Turner's interview with Alice Notley.