Three Poems

Mz N Nothing, Mz N Enough, Mz N Goodbye Hello, Mz N Considers the Years and Centuries


Mz N Nothing

This is a tale
about nothing
Let’s pretend
we have to establish
the scene & characters though movies
do it so much better
to the despair of the novelizing tribe
But let’s say
the midafternoon sun
is striking the leaves in the woods
visible from a screened porch
such that the maples liquefy
into a queer green flame.
In the foreground
are ferns, a few daisies,
a black-eyed Susan
or two. Mz N regrets
what she drank
almost as much as what she said.
And then there’s what
she didn’t do—kiss
for example
the lithe lovely
in the purple sheath that hugged her ass
like the plumskin the plum.
She bites
the plum in her lunch
a lunch someone else
made. Further chapters
will unfold the full ecosystem
of labor and erotics
that structure the whole panoply
of exchanges
that make up “life”
which is the contract
I make with you reader
hungry as we are for the fruit
of the real

Mz N Enough

Enough with the children
with memory mountain
& bliss was it in that dawn
nostalgia porn
fueling the perpetual infancy
of a glutted citizenry
All the skinny girls
sing I’m so fat
they wear their skinny
polemical hats
but O the adults
of Central Europe!
I fell in love
with her sd my friend
in Berlin because
she had no expectations
Soviet bloc austerity
revealed another way
to want. Mz N’s thoughts
of others their opacities
only sometimes resolve
into clear expressive skies
when all the people in the world
might suddenly rise
& sing or walk sublimely conversing
a sacra conversazione
as in Giovanni di Paolo’s Paradise
Speech / is a mouth
& a blade
held against the throat
of justice
& a blade of grass
held against the lips
& brightly played
a tone as old
as the mastodons whose bones
enthralled Thomas Jefferson
What is the grass
What is the earth
And may not a reed
be fashioned for us
by us out of this parallel
immaterial world
Should we all swing scythes
like Levin go to scything school
with the just man in England
who reminds his friends
of the work of hands and land
Are we not made of earth
and stars the dust
an old god breathed
into accident
& if I love the green
of green is it green
or all the greens quilted
in the mind I love?
If I say fir and fescue
and clover and lover
whither identity and qualia?
I am I am the iambs
and trochees of assertion wobbling
like Weebles who always
get up as I now do
thanks to you
dear one who’s extended
a sweet hand right now
your hand now warm now capable
as hand in hand we take
our provisional
companioned way

Mz N Goodbye Hello
MzN Considers the Years and the Centuries

Mz N was a kid
for a long time & then
wasn’t Hello
21st century Goodbye
endless adolescence
the old wishes
to be dead
or same thing furious
& alive
& done with the coffin
of youth—
the ones who touch you
and leave no mark
the skin of those years
an unrippled water
anyone could drink from
it always seemed the same
the lake of the self
calm as glass
over years
you saw
its slow moving

Permission required for reprinting, reproducing, or other uses.

Maureen N. McLane is the author of four books of poetry, including the forthcoming Mz N: The Serial. She teaches at New York University.


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