100.1: Erica Anzalone:: Red on Maroon & Booby Trap & Hysteria with Hummer & Muir 100

Who is Erica Anzalone? Rumor has it she’s the premier designer of sonnets–if you want a sonnet that packs a knife in one pocket and a comb in the other. For those of us who like our poems gritty and gorgeous, these sonnets are a revelation. They pick us up with Rothko, Bolshevism, sharksuits. They seem to have practiced the couplet many times before they took us out. And they drive a fourteen line convertible so you can feel the wind in your hair. When Anzalone’s sonnets finally get to the Hollywood sign and show you the whole city from above, they deliver a line you didn’t even know you had been waiting for your entire life. A line like “The rainbow I chewed up and then I spit it back.” Or maybe “…he knew how hope / was little more than antifreeze in an old // jalopy.” What can I say? These sonnets have swept me off my feet. There’s just no way I’m getting home by midnight. Ryan Winet

Red on Maroon

After Rothko

I started like the masters and skinned
my rabbit blue. A live burial
on canvas, they called it. A chapel,
a one man show, an empty gym

where the fat ate caviar. No, Seagram’s,
Four Seasons, no. Red on Maroon
won’t take your money. The subway
became my only audience and muse.

I turned to Texas oil. I burned my lungs
to shit. My marriage collapsed, an artery
clogged, a heart so full of color, swung
onto the operating table. I cut it out

to show how blood’s underbelly’s black.
The rainbow I chewed up and then I spit it back.

Booby Trap

I napped in a down closet, a Bolshevik
nosegay folded in prayer across the middle
of my crammed chest. I was a booby
trap meant for all the lathed boffos, thimble

receipts blocking a tiny vellum telescope.
A coat of many crayons. I was bogus,
and he knew it, like he knew how hope
was little more than antifreeze in an old

jalopy. But he wanted me to oracle eye
his dreams, a job with health insurance,
the esteem of his people. I diademed
his wife instead. We were two rank

porcupines, nudging closer until our soft
bellies touched. Until she lanced my heart.

Hysteria with Hummer

I threw a navy

Tree are alive, Septimus said


For the sailors

Hunger in my mouth like the pit
of a plum. My turtle turned on.
Clawfooted or foxed, lightspit–
I hit my head on the moon’s bow,

went under. You were there,
an actor in a sharksuit. Trailing a fin
swathed in kelp and coral. Muir
along the starry floor and aspirin,

provocateur of lunar conservation.
Haven me from the sizzling black
of mating snakes. Heaven on the ocean
is hell, a puddle of oil. A teething of blond

heads or tails up, braid me with pig gut and murmur.
My rainbow broke or else I’m snow. Muir–