Two Poems by Jennifer L. Knox


Punk Resurgence

Driving home from the punk rock show in Iowa City,
a seventy-three-year-old French “sexpert”
on the radio discusses menopause and vaginal lubrication.
She’s taught thousands of women how to masturbate.
Even her own mother! :0 “At 55, sex became very
painful for me. I worried I would never enjoy it again!
But then I discovered anal sex, and oh! It was
fantastic! Like a new planet! My husband, he was
sixty-seven, and, uh, he did not like anal sex. So we
divorce, zen I meet a twenty-three-years-old man,
a very handsome man, a chef, who loves anal sex
and is very good at it!” As a teenager, I went to

thousands of punk rock shows in old bowling alleys
and YMCA basements. Some were just
out in the middle of the desert. Uch. Now I know
I hated all of them—every spit-slick mosh pit,
every time a friend got punched in the throat. No one
could hear me talking over the music, and I had
so many interesting things to say! But the punk rock show

tonight was phenomenal. The youngest guy
in the band was fifty-nine years old! One song
went, “I’m so nervous! I’m so nervous!” over and over
and I was like, “Me too!” With drums, I’m usually
like, “Get the fuck off me!” but these drums were
gooey and muscled and…humpy! Maybe
because there’s so much less water sloshing around
in my body these days, dragging
me in and out like a tide.


Puttin’ the U in Depersonalization

Townsfolk, whatever your names are, forgive me!
I’ve been an unmappable crop-trampling moon—
panoramming donuts on the interstate as your barns
and faces disappear like butter in a hell-hot cast iron pan.
Now I see ya’ll are super buoyant, stuffed with shock-
absorbing firefoam and trampoline springs! I mean
this as a compliment to the yous I know now: I never
wanted to love you. I—the only child of flinchers
whose mother tongue was pickax Braille mimed
in a diamond mine. You looked like lizards…until I
figured out you guys were planning a surprise party
for me!!! Well done! You don’t have to say it!
I feel you! What kind of cake do I want?
What kind of cake do you want?


About the Author

Jennifer L. Knox’s most recent book of poems is Crushing It (Copper Canyon Press, 2019). She has appeared five times in the Best American Poetry series, as well as the anthologies Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to Present and publications such as Granta, the New York Times, the New Yorker, and American Poetry Review. Her nonfiction writing has appeared in the Washington Post and Los Angeles Review of Books. She is the curator of MYCYOWA, an ongoing STEAM-themed traveling public art project, supported by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Image Rights

Molly Haggerty: Edited Bowling Alley 🎳, 2018 (CC)

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