"Survival Equipment/David Wojnarowicz"

Karen Weiser


for Jennifer Firestone



The small circle cutout

not the mouth stitched seam but the overlay,

a porthole, a saint's medal, the other pressing in


the painting is a telescope, a microscope, a device

for seeing the god in the gay body dying of AIDS

larger than geography or any attempt at mapping


how can one locate oneself in history when

history denies, erases you

and the others you contain


organisms on a dish, the male form giving and taking touch

the baby, a fetus, in the palm, a violin,

a bleeding globe, its objects hanging perverse


mobile both holds and drops what it contains

in tension; the voice, the text knows it is dying

is a breathing organ making of its breath


a fight, a righteous fight, a saint's struggle

on fire, cigarette in hand

where does the self end


"I can't abstract my own dying any longer"; "I am standing

among all of you waving my invisible arms and hands.

I am shouting my invisible words"


but now I am reading those invisible words

made to appear by looking

the way money is a seamless background, and makes


for seamlessness, behind the bad moon rising

the clocks that pull away time's orientation

or the orientation of the self to time.


For time is a petrie dish, the body already skewered

with it, with the pleasure of a body,

reclining, the traditional subject of art


an angel diagnosing a message

            See me

I am

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Author Bio: Karen Weiser is a writer who lives in New York City. Currently she is in advanced training for Psychoanalysis at the Institute of Contemporary Psychotherapy in New York City. She has a Phd in English and American Studies from the CUNY Graduate Center and an MFA in Poetry from the New School. She writes poetry as well as essays on 19th Century American novels and poetry. Her second collection of poems entitled Or, The Ambiguities (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2015) was written in conversation with the works of Herman Melville. Her first book To Light Out (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2010) considered the idea of talking with the unknown while pregnant.