Three Poems by Sharon Mesmer


Anton van Leeuwenhoek, Drawing of Yeast, 1680

What is your origin, yeast of my soul?

Yeast you are unreasonable, interwoven, trite. You hide in my twenties, in my introversion and nitwit veneer, reinventing all my sunk winters with anatomically correct hex monkeys. Yeast, you got me by the smoky tux and begat my thymus, all that damn sexy hokum the ex-gym took. But what is reasonable, once the magic branch sybil hesitates in pinnacles of apse? Is the safe passage through snowy gentlefolk reasonable? Is the bee, readying itself to become Eternity’s Dad?  Yeast, you fudged aversion. You made an illegal left. You fled the interview. That feller with an octopus on his chest was a knight, I think. His name was Mitt. Or Mitten.


As if to grow a blinding antipodal proboscis
— after Elisabeth Workman

As if to grow a blinding antipodal proboscis, a seasonal coy puss, anticipating spring’s noble denim. As if in the profaned spot an inlet, a new beauty troubled with poverty (and the swiftness of poverty.) As if in this old textured abyss, ballads and drab poplin, bloodstains; and Earth, in color resembling the rainbow, unfurls its symbols of parting: thickets and thunderclouds of birds. As if to play-find and begrudge a thug playboy, in virtue the same as a child, bright and pure through the whole of heaven. As if, with a goofy wrist and pill options, Zoom fields instilled plaid and dirndl boobs. As if an ewok would. Or trainloads of spoonbills.


I Slept Through Evolution

I slept through evolution, and when I woke up my best friend Deb and I were at an Elton John concert in La Crosse, Wisconsin with our grandparents, and Elton was singing his recent big hit, “Our Heads Are Too Big for Our Mother’s Hips.” It was hard not to believe he’s a genius, especially when Nana said his message was that the only true guardians of security and happiness are Moscow’s pee hookers who do a fancy nightly urine show and cry cartoon LOL tears, and even though I don’t know how fancy a show involving pee and hookers could be, WHOA if true on the cartoon tears.

After sleeping through evolution I woke up and joined the “Cat-Masturbating the Resistance” Facebook page because I already slept through evolution once, in a past life, but that was because I knew sleeping through the Seventies would yield Eddie Vedder, and sleeping through the 80’s would yield Pope Francis. What I didn’t know was that in some parts of the world people believe that Eddie Vedder and Pope Francis are glam rock superstars sent here from another galaxy. But there are a lot of things I don’t know.

Like I didn’t know that back in the day human men had a dick-bone, and when I wondered what the Bible had to say about dickbones and I found that in Leviticus 12:15-16 it says, ”If you get trapped in a room with an emotionally unbalanced man with dickbone disease screaming at deformed children to thrust their pelvises at rich white people to get straightened out, just remember that most medieval cures for dickbone diseases called for the liberal application of feces.”

I also never knew that “Shitter, beware” was inscribed on all public toilets, private ones, too, most city streets, and even tombs all over ancient Rome, though whether this was a response to some kind of epidemic or a warning about hovering too close over human remains is, I guess, still being argued by historians, even though I don’t think those are respected historians. But still.

Were you aware that a young Ben Affleck made his national debut in a Burger King commercial? He’s driving around town when his phone rings, and it’s a girl who dialed the wrong number and is now trying to order a salad for delivery, but rather than tell her she has the wrong number (and also that she has strange ideas about fast food customer service), Ben Affleck spots a nearby BK, orders at the drive-thru, and goes over to her house, pretending to be the Burger King delivery guy, probably figuring this girl just may sleep with him if she thinks he works at Burger King. For me though, someone wanting a salad from Burger King was the weirdest part.

I slept through evolution but then I woke up, and when I woke up I was inside a sewer near the Washington Monument where the holes inside dead baseball legend Don Zimmer’s head are secretly synchronizing the government and making sure that California doesn’t try to make a run for it. And when those holes finally close, the wooden dentures of George Washington will take control and steer the entire planet into the Sun, which will finally answer the question: why do pitchers change balls?

If I sleep through evolution again, I won’t miss balls.


About the Author

Sharon Mesmer is a Polish-American poet, fiction writer, essayist and professor of creative writing. Her poetry collections are Greetings From My Girlie Leisure Place (Bloof Books, 2015), Annoying Diabetic Bitch (Combo Books, 2008), The Virgin Formica (Hanging Loose Press, 2008), Vertigo Seeks Affinities (chapbook, Belladonna Books, 2007), Half Angel, Half Lunch (Hard Press, 1998) and Crossing Second Avenue (chapbook, ABJ Press, Tokyo, 1997, published to coincide with a month-long reading tour of Japan sponsored by American Book Jam magazine). Her fiction collections are Ma Vie à Yonago (Hachette Littératures, Paris, in French translation by Daniel Bismuth, 2005), In Ordinary Time (Hanging Loose Press, 2005) and The Empty Quarter (Hanging Loose Press, 2005). She teaches in the undergraduate and graduate programs of New York University and The New School. She lives in Brooklyn, New York and is a distant relative of Franz Anton Mesmer, proponent of animal magnetism (or mesmerism) and Otto Messmer, the American animator best known for creating Felix the Cat.

Post Image

Detail from a 1918 birthday card showing a woman in a Bavarian folk costume (dirndl) with flowers (CC).

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