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from Candy, or Catastrophe

Kay Gabriel

To be brutally clear she was never a twin
I could wink and say a sister
I could rub at a stain till I perish
if I've affronted then I've nothing to confess
not bad coffee not a burnt casserole
not weighing on the brains of the premises
Candy I'm embarrassed for my temper unfurled
over points made in passing
my sadness though I say I'm not sad
my repetitions though I wanna be novel
the rude health of my keyboard brain
I'll stamp and my C.V. will reflect
the stamping of feet and the hair in the drain
hey, you admit, congratulations




sonnets don't leave me with my keys in the door
lost my farecard in the sonnet downtown
now I can't get home to the words Rosario sent
for my use and intention: interleave, derring-do, the
calculator symbol for middle-school boobs
I like even the lexicon i can't beat up for pulp
Becca generates others by secret process, I'm saved
MECHA Georges Perec by radio wishes
good mental health and better methods
today I'm somebody's sissy of art:
writes garbage, but real fast
I'd rather be kissing than hard at work
I'd rather be reading than photographed
but I like to be photographed, too




First I dated handsome bisexuals,
then in medias res I joined the dead.
You can print that twice:
first I dated, dot dot dot
what else did I do with my bitchy life
I hopped into debt, then out again
I stuck my head out the window,
on the highway, for a joke
I picked a casualty—no, not that one, that one
some synapses fire and my boobs get bigger,
then smaller,
then smother a man
we're scaling the aisle of history, right to the top
hey! you can see my house!

Kay Gabriel is the author of Elegy Department Spring / Candy Sonnets 1 (BOAAT Press, 2017). She's also a 2018-19 Emerge-Surface-Be fellow at the Poetry Project and a PhD candidate at Princeton University. Find her recent work in The Brooklyn Rail, Social Text, The Recluse and The Believer.