"The Museum of _______," "Oh, Marina," and "The Weinstein Effect"

The Museum of _______

No one told us it was a museum.
The sterile, stretching lobby buzzes
with the glow of old fluorescents,
opens up to a narrow room
with one swaying Edison bulb.
The black platform in the center displays
a can of stickied Dr. Pepper
accumulating a hum of bees. Now wasps.
The flash on all of our cameras
turned off to keep them occupied
with their soda.
How awful. How freeing. Not knowing
what the art means or what it is or if it is.
The bathroom signs and fire extinguishers
looking more beautiful than ever.
We call them important and they
become important. We call you art and
there you are. I think of my father’s shop—
the expensive tires he arranged
by the road for FREE FREE FREE
How they sat through snow to water,
liquid trapped in the roundness,
lip too tall to ever empty fully.
When the grass crept long
around their edges and speared
through their centers, he acted,
adding signs: $90 OR BEST OFFER.
They were gone in a day, plume of circled
grass surrounded by a browned moat.
In the largest of the rooms, painted yellow,
a small woman sits on the floor nestling
an electric razor. She combs it through
her hair and the crowd grows. She runs
out of hair and weeps. Only the crying left
to be seen, the crowd thins, our phones
already holding pictures of
crying women on museum floors.

 

 

Oh, Marina
     for Marina Abramović

We peeled the tops of your breasts like freshly
plucked apples. We polled the audience, they
want to touch you with a whip, bullet, rose,
they want more souvenirs to take back home.
You were letting blood in your victory
lap. You had so much to spare and the walls
were looking pale against the drape of your
red dress. Think of the people, Marina.
We usually use leaches to take,
but the crowd demands sharp ribbons and thick
copper shards they can pay a quarter for.
They slide the blades along your arms, your face—
          Waiting for ringlets, curls—but press too hard,
          make flat lines and ask for their money back.

 

 

The Weinstein Effect 

I’m mad at you and I don’t know why /
mad your knowing is not my knowing
my mouth makes sounds like

Spa-cey, La-cey, Ta-kei, C. K.
Moore-Ratner-Webster-Baker-Singer

How could you understand / how could you

One is unreliable / three is a witch hunt/
but he asked / she said / was sober / was 14 /
of age / were friends / were laughing / just joking /
just saying / he’s reflecting / genuinely sorry /
deep introspection / regret / regret

Flimsy joy that the stories are finally
being told /sorry bruises / sorry
there were stories to tell / thank you
messy exorcism, swooping,
billowing like too-low clouds

I am holding my eyes open even
though the smoke burns / I should
know / even these hot coals /
a song to sing and my throat is burning /

I am trying to avoid words like trig-ger
because they make men laugh

We know / and still do: it’s teacher /
brother / boyfriend /stranger /
friend / friend / friend / so familiar /
and so sorry for the exorcisms we
might need but aren’t ready for

I am not saying and no woman is
saying who could have known /
there were so many men and sometimes
we laugh even though there
is nothing funny here

 

 

Chrissy Martin is a PhD student at Oklahoma State University and a recent graduate from the Poetry MFA program at Columbia College Chicago. She also holds a BA in English from The University of Akron. She is the Poetry Editor for Arcturus and an Editorial Assistant for Cimarron Review. Her work has appeared in Amazon's Day OneVoicemail Poems, (b)OINKBad Pony, and Lit.Cat. Find her at chrissymartinpoetry.com.

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