She doesn't believe in purgatory. The walls of her room prove this: Faith No More, Nirvana. She's fifteen. All Souls' Day.
The souls of 4927 gasp at her irreligiosity. They simper around the two-flat like
jealous siblings, spooking the mice, clogging the sinks. They pour from faucets like poofy genies. Emily says fuck when the doc
prescribes steroids for her blue-fingered asthma. She'll never make it to purgatory, I think. Like me, she’s going straight to hell.
Jennifer in Early Snow (Manhattan)
She was strolling through Washington Square Park in headphones when she lifted her face to the snow and her soul leapt there,
right there near the old at checkers and the young at dope swaps. She called this bliss and brought it back to her only room in Chelsea where
a jack-o'-lantern stood on a tiny table at one of two windows over- looking what some call Sodom and she calls home.
Self-portrait, Beginning with Zagajewski, Ending with the Beach Boys those who love music for itself are few and far between (Adam Zagajewski, from “Three Angels”)
Although I’m intrigued by those who love music for itself are few and far between, I have absolutely no idea what Zagajewski meant when he wrote that line-- not really, not enough to make the same pronouncement myself on a Tuesday afternoon in the lackadaisical beginning of September when music has seemed to halt for a time except for the pop of crabapples on the roof and the occasional woodpecker laughing itself silly from one dead tree to another, but I believe I’m often spied upon by angels, although I mostly ignore them, which, I’ve been told, is not the best course of action-- still, think how they just show up when they feel like it, how they make extemporaneous speeches, much like the three angels in Zagajewski’s poem, “Three Angels,” and since I’m not Zagajewski, more a wilting sunflower (you know how their heads droop in September), who’s completely self-absorbed and often detached from the mutilated world, which is, after all, why angels show up in the first place (though not the only reason-- birth announcements, tidings, sex), I must admit that when I realized, as a result of Zagajewski’s discerning words regarding music and those few who love it for itself, that I can’t absolutely swear that I care about music that way, without strings (pun intended), or, for that matter, without the horn player who dropped by when the band needed someone to announce its new song. French horn or angel? God only knows.
-- Maureen Seaton has authored two dozen poetry collections, both solo and collaborative—recently, Undersea (JackLeg, 2021) and Sweet World (CavanKerry, 2019), winner of the Florida Book Award for poetry. Her honors include Lambda Literary Awards for both Lesbian Poetry and Lesbian Memoir, the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award, an NEA, Illinois Arts Council Grant, Society of Midland Authors Award, and the Pushcart. She was voted Miami’s Best Poet 2020 by The Miami New Times.