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Some Vague Wife

Some Vague Wife

by Kathy Lou Schultz

Prose. Poetry. Part of Atelos' Hip's Road project, which is devoted to publishing writing that challenges the conventional definitions of poetry, Schultz' book does just that. Comprised of three sections of prose and poetry, with the last section entitled A Novel: Some Vague Wife, Schultz continually pushes the boundaries of language and form, while exploring,


Prose. Poetry. Part of Atelos' Hip's Road project, which is devoted to publishing writing that challenges the conventional definitions of poetry, Schultz' book does just that. Comprised of three sections of prose and poetry, with the last section entitled A Novel: Some Vague Wife, Schultz continually pushes the boundaries of language and form, while exploring, most often, the constructs of sex, gender, and class. Schultz is the co-editor of LIPSTICK ELEVEN, available at SPD, and her poetry, experiemental fiction, and critical essays have appeared in many journals, including TRIPWIRE, FOURTEEN HILLS, and KENNING.

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.30(d)

Read an Excerpt


By Kathy Lou Schultz
Edited by Lyn Hejinian and Travis Ortiz


Copyright © 2002 Kathy Lou Schultz.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 1891190121

Chapter One

My essentially receptive positionality reinvented as submission
except for the part that says I liked it

My organs tucked away each morning as a necessary clerkship
complete with starched whites and a pen and clipboard

Invented partnerships result in a heavy schedule
of opera and picnics

Especially because of, or appraised as "a beautiful thing"
though I couldn't decode the appropriate remedy of creams and lotions

There's the pot of paint, the pot of ink, the implements of my derision
or just the daily silver

A number of settings complete with etiquette
when I realized I should have been paying more attention

Now more than ever, in the marriage bed
or when your chickens come home to roost

Memories of you are accompanied by the confusion
of one who knows that the conclusory mechanism is unhinged

Keyless entry systems resulting in all manners of disguise
nonetheless appropriate when I wrap my mouth around it

The daybook reveals minutes spent repasting yesterday's collage
though steam never fails to unloose the resulting total

God, man, don't you know that I meant it and this is no time
to put the spin on pretty baubles

If I seem insistent, this is the final call
and you don't even have a twenty-second timeout

From beyond the arc I've caught a glimpse of you
primping for the camera, tossing your hair off your shoulders

The property-owning class welcomed you with open arms
my cache is fading, I have only this to show for

At one point I wiped the lipstick off the rim
but a flush remained so much as the detritus

of a memory more hardened than the present
by our insistence upon it

It was much this way with us
where sensation replaced flesh, image overrode form

Even now an increase in temperature is possible
despite our facile techniques

I can't say that regret is part of the equation
though we're rushing ferociously toward a equal sign

If I begin by breathing from the diaphragm
the esophageal tendencies are more so

There's a reflex in place where I jerk my hand from the fire
without even having to think about it

The number of seemingly inconsequential incidents colluded
to form first a coincidence, then a pattern

We formed a search party yet the body doesn't reveal any clues
despite the requisite number of openings

Officials on horseback storm the countryside
where we want to believe in a history that can play on the evening news

Connect-the-dots seems a likely map but results in
alphabet soup with crackers

There's nothing so much as a tin can with string
to make me believe you were listening

The advent of streaming media replaces the announcer
with a customizable avatar sporting large breasts

When body parts are interchangeable
each person sees a face in the inanimate

Perhaps this is where I end or decry the present
olfactory humor, unnecessarily negated potential effects

If we only knew the scope of audible knowledge
bound by an experience to believe in

Please let me know when the "x" factor has been defined
or if formulas are still staining the palms with ink

Still a color-coded universe
attempted a justification of your dismissal

If I'm not mistaken there's a bowl of porridge to go with her golden hair
skin the color of an unbaked meringue

By and by the river shall come to you
wading up to the neck

Sadly all cleansing effects are temporary
Looking back, salt our only antecedent

Evening tide sonnet loosed through toothless stem
where a touch waits to bastardize

I traveled the country to search through
a goal as glitter goading me

It's even possible to manufacture purpose
to theorize intent

In the great northeastern corridor
crumbling under the whispered threat of prosperity

The birthplace of democracy
beset by temperaments of weather

Liberty wastes itself on the street corner
folds arms across the chest like armor

No longer content with
breathing through a tube

Belief in a narrative of patriots has now worn thin
but books are still worth their weight

I've placed a bet that may or may not pay off
but for now I'm in the game

There's only the possibility of forward motion
to begin the day

Feminized intent to gather the luscious
hunger and sweet and salt

I press him into and upon me
memorizing points of pressure, of rhythm

That call to other plains I've visited
eager to return

Only this daily, though, this weather
the air fueling seasons for passing

Quickly I press a narrative into service
to substitute for the leaky center

Now in the Mid-Atlantic southern flavors
the itch you cannot scratch

Or girlhood a thing I've parlayed for cash
a kind of uneven barter that justifies my existence

Even past hoping for hope or wanting for want
implosion the next order of business

Where lust is altogether unbecoming
take cover from hunger

I imagine a "you" to meet the "me"
that keeps flapping its gums

Under and over, and in between
passing static across time zones

Finally, as if always, on top of
aims to please her, pleasure, ridden or wrested from
by the time of her confession, confusion
unknown destination, lack of reason
plagued with expectation
frayed or frightened, for her justification.

What I mean is I didn't plan it
though I can't let go of it
intention my religion by this time heretical
while you breathe beside me
no way of knowing it, showing it
forestalling it, recalling it
justification replaces all of it,
my hand resting on your heart.

A Sonnet after "The Wife's Lament" for Emily Steiner

I can say I have not suffered
But we should live far from words
At dawn I set out then to search deep waves
Laid in secret, tossing with longings
Part old world, each wide wanderer that man's kinsmen
Forsook so that as now I am most wretchedly up

I was where my sorrow grew such hardships
These from my family I draw in or
By the anguish of this world
Since his lord might be fretted to us first
To her plans
A lot my sorrow for the I, for the other
My lord, my man, tortured, friendless, seized in the
sadness that new exile

Excerpted from SOME VAGUE WIFE by Kathy Lou Schultz. Copyright © 2002 by Kathy Lou Schultz. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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