Celeste Goyer: Two Poems

Poet and visual artist Celeste Goyer lives in San Luis Obispo, California.  Recent featured readings include the Corners of the Mouth series, 100 Thousand Poets for Change, and the 2014 San Luis Obispo Poetry Festival.  She edited Mind in Motion magazine, a literary quarterly, for fourteen years and hosted a monthly reading series, “Poets and Storytellers at the Wise Owl”, in Cambria.  Books in development include her first collection and a book of collaborations with the poet James Cushing. Her artwork will appear in Aperçus Quarterly 4.3.


Aphrodite Operates

Doctor, I saw your ad today.
Well actually my husband had it taped
to the refrigerator this morning
in the cold light of orange juice.

It seems he thinks I need to know
about something you do there
called vaginal rejuvenation.
Doctor….Doctor, I hate to bother you
but could you explain this to me.
Is it kind of like a face lift, or what.
Doctor, I’m 57.
I gave him three children
and whatever else he wanted.
There’s some wear and tear
but Doctor it still works,
I mean it gives back
what you put in anyway.

Doctor, I don’t feel honored right now.
I’m serious, I’m starting to get angry.
But what really puzzles me,
to be honest, I mean your picture
was there in the paper and
I’ve just been wondering how a woman
could pronounce such a phrase.
Doc, I think maybe you need to get out
more in the fresh air. You’re stuck
like a knife in those icy corridors.
Your photograph looks efficient,
but it doesn’t look nice, Doc.

You know what,
now that I think about it,
never mind the appointment.
This is sounding more like a do-it-yourself
type of operation to me. Now that I’ve got
my lightning and my Aphrodite sword
all warmed up, I’ll slice myself a bigger slash–
one big enough to let in all the power of the earth
and let out all the light of the universe.

It’s going to be a high voltage danger zone
of dazzling beauty when I get finished down there.
I’ll let you know if he survives,
or if he shrivels up like a frazzled tomato.

And while I’m at it, a lot of other walls
are going to fall. You know how it is
with remodeling, one damn thing
just leads to another.


Why Not Make an Artist Book

why not make an artist book
out of pressed and folded artists
they hate this
and emit a special corrosive
fluid perfect for etching
wrinkles deeper

it’s really a reference book
but you walked out
with it anyway
the heaviest title ever
assembled in
the history of art
fifty-nine thousand
bottles and counting
not to mention the
lead– dark blue
and sodden as clouds

it is perilous to carry such
bombs into sunlit rooms
where people actually
believe in breathing

the stale beer and tears
leak out onto the tiles
do not launch
small craft here
say the signs
tooth-picked on shore
do not swim
these are reservoirs
where the artists
drowned their hopes
for normal love
and the submerged
obstacles are intense
whole towns with pointy roofs
where nothing ever did
finally happen
beyond disaster drills

oh yes of course
some paintings crawled up
gasping to dry
and await rescue

the artist himself
did not emerge

we asked his dog
who sat on a chimney
cleaning the flotsam
from his paws
with tensed teeth
but he was looking
only forward

for once
the warning signs
spoke truly
keep your knees together
and your feet off the floor

there’s stuff running around
tricky to identify
but even out of the corner
of your eye you are certain
curiosity has fainted

and your ankles
are hyperventilating
crossing themselves
and looking for ever
higher chairs

I’ll tell you why not


(author photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher)

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