Another Gerstler

A Blessing and A Curse

 AMY GERSTLER

Spoken by a twelve year old girl wearing a paper crown. She addresses her younger brother: So far in this life, you’ve done me no harm. But in past incarnations your crimes against me were numerous and abominable. As punishment, you must spend a goodly portion of this existence making it up to me, or be reincarnated as a Beaded Gecko in the Gobi Desert next time around. I expect the first in a series of well-thought-out presents to begin arriving the day after tomorrow. I’ll tell you when you can stop. And they better be nicely wrapped, too. You know what colors I like. Woe unto you if your offerings do not delight me to the wellsprings of my being. We shall both be exhausted before your forced worship of me runs its ferocious course. No one understands my rituals. You will study them and explain my winter injuries to our childlike followers, whose guileless, manic antics I alone was born to atone for. You’ll trace ancient diagrams in the sand so they’ll understand why my breath smells mostly like ammonia, why my halo of curls undulates like balletic water-worms at play, and why my future melon-like (but at this point in time still theoretical) breasts may be drunk from only on feast days or after a total eclipse. Don’t make faces at me! Hold perfectly still while I anoint your sweaty, freckled forehead with this stripe of sacred paste, made from candle wax, gutter mud and catbox gravel. Kneel down right now and let me smear it on, before mother calls us in to wash our hands for lunch.
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Gerstler

I am loving, absolutely and fully, Amy Gerstler, the poet.  I think I’ll start posting some of her poems because she’s such a treat and you should be invited into her world.  Enjoy!

Hymn to the Neck  
by Amy Gerstler
 
Tamed by starched collars or looped by the noose,
all hail the stem that holds up the frail cranial buttercup.
The neck throbs with dread of the guillotine's kiss, while
the silly, bracelet-craving wrists chafe in their handcuffs.
Your one and only neck, home to glottis, tonsils,
and many other highly specialized pieces of meat, 
is covered with stubble. Three mornings ago, undeserving
sinner though she is, yours truly got to watch you shave
in the bath. Sap matted your chest hair. A clouded 
hand mirror reflected a piece of your cheek. Vapor
rose all around like spirit-infested mist in some fabled
rainforest. The throat is the road. Speech is its pilgrim. 
Something pulses visibly in your neck as the words
hand me a towel flower from your mouth.

Mayer Madness

I don’t know if a review is necessary, but I’m gonna do it anways.  I have to tell the truth, in the past, I spent a lot of time and money following John Mayer.  I’ll admit – I loved him.  There’s a part of me that just craves the folksy-poppy-singer-songwriter-with a guitar.  Well, not all of them.  Actually only like two.  Him and Dave Matthews.  Would Coldplay be in there?  Snow Patrol?  I don’t know.  So even though these days I try to ignore him and any press he gets – I still like his music.  I still think he’s remarkable in concert – especially if you love the guitar – I mean love it – like wanna run away with it and marry it and build a life of stringy goodness with it – which is me.  Really, don’t knock him.  The man can play and it’s beautiful.  Even my father, who hates pop music and can kill a guitar (meaning he’s one hell of a guitarist), gave Mayer a headnod.   But when I hear Mayer talk and he says something that suggests he has no real understanding of his place in the world – I get so uncomfortable.  I know arrogance is often synonymous with rockstar – but I never really love rockstars.  Common, You play a guitar – you didn’t end world hunger.  Keep perspective. 

So the new album, yea, I bought it.  And I don’t really get it.  Because it’s supposed to be his album, you know, like really his album – Produced by him and all.  And it’s supposed to be a throw back to his favorite artists – but I don’t hear them.  I’ve read reviews that said it’s like U2 or Sting or Steve Winwood – and that sounds GREAT, but then I put it on and think, “Huh?”    Occassionally a lyric grabs me.  There’s a few songs I think are worth a damn.  But overall I’m bored and occassionaly have the urge to dry-heave.  Not good.  Where’s the blues?  How do you write an album about heartbreak and not include the blues?  Common.   

Songs I Like:  All We Ever Do Is Say Goodbye  ~  Perfectly Lonely  ~  Edge of Desire

Lyrics: Don’t say a word, just come over and lie here with me
‘Cause I’m just about to set fire to everything I see
I want you so bad I’ll go back on the things I believe
There I just said it, I’m scared you’ll forget about me

So young and full of running, all the way to the edge of desire
Steady my breathing, silently screaming,
“I have to have you now”
Wired and I’m tired
Think I’ll sleep in my clothes on the floor
Maybe this mattress will spin on its axis and find me on yours

NOW, if you want to be moved – I’m revisiting Martin Sexton’s Live Wide Open album.  Knocks my socks off.

Friends

Sometimes, right before I fall asleep, I think about my friends and I feel so damn lucky.  Can I say that?  Because I think it.  I think it all the time.  It’s a bit dramatic, I know. 

So life is hard.  It’s short and unending.  It’s complex and tragic and at times just achingly beautiful.  And the tendency I have is to get lost in the big, unknowns – the parts I can’t control, the impending feelings of doom, like everything could at any point fall to pieces.  But then there are times when I have the where-with-all to look around and see who is right beside me and it seriously blows my mind.  I think I’m privy to know just about the kindness, deepest souls out there. 

I’m thinking of my dear Jen today, with her tenacious spirit and open heart.  I’m thinking of her babies with their bright eyes and toothy smiles and how they’ve inherited their parent’s unending kindness and generosity.  Jordan, last he was here, left his toy airplane in my car.  I keep it there.  It’s now a staple in the back seat.  “Why’s this airplane here?”  “Oh that stays.  It’s Jordan’s.  He’ll get it next time he comes.”  Jen, if you’re reading this.  I don’t have the words.  I never do.  It’s deep, deep inside.  It’s some mix of gratitude, understanding, utter disbelief, and what?  What’s that final word?  Love? Hysterics? Luck? Luck.  I feel lucky.