by Catherine Imbriglio

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781885635341
Publisher: University Press of Colorado
Publication date: 11/15/2013
Series: Colorado Prize for Poetry
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 68
File size: 160 KB

About the Author

Catherine Imbriglio is the author of Parts of the Mass (Burning Deck), which received the 2008 Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her poetry has appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Aufgabe,  Conjunctions, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, First Intensity, New American Writing, No: A Journal of the Arts, Pleiades, Petri Press, Tarpaulin Sky, Web Conjunctions, and elsewhere. A selection of her poetry was anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries, ed. Reginald Shepherd (University of Iowa Press, 2004). She was the 2011 recipient of the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts’ fellowship award in poetry. She teaches in the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown University.

Read an Excerpt



By Catherine Imbriglio

The Center for Literary Publishing

Copyright © 2013 Catherine Imbriglio
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-885635-34-1




I have no one to talk with about my behavior.

Light falls on the wrought iron chair on the chair on the weight of the chair.

As a matter of unpraiseworthy conduct, too much or not enough talking may be accompanied by periods of light insensitivity.

To measure out-of-body insensitivities, a girl should use quantitative instruments, such as calendars, rulers, clocks, string.

Many obsessive internal subjects will closely align with externally extreme behaviors, empire, stereo birds, in an aftermath of haste acceptance.

Let me direct you by a sidereal motion, as with hand or head.

She stands, bare breasts to the window, as if to encounter her invasive tendencies.

Simultaneously, public and private spaces form and blend.

Though in simply not telling, you might receive a solid rush, so you'll do it again, as with burglar recidivism.

I omit the porch omit the man on the porch.

She lives in a place where talking on a cell phone while driving is the ritual equivalent of spiritual depth.

As when viewing the body of the washed mother, you should pay attention to your visual processing.

I move that her house is a box with a vertical column.

I move that the house is three boxes, the house is a technical term.

The sign says room and spirits.

To talk to an available city hall representative, press zero.

What is the first word the first word is rescue rescue is the first word.


I get jolted awake by traffic sounds, squealing brakes of a truck moving too quickly down the hill.

If a rush to start is not the same as a rush to complete, maybe you can court sleep by not saying anything.

Though I can no longer make excuses for you, which includes no longer making excuses for myself making prior excuses.

It limits my character, like tripping over a wire, light speeding through.

The agéd mother laughs ho ho ho.

I expect the light, expect the light to be about the light.

When a married woman says to an unmarried woman, my sons, it reflects a hierarchy.

A girl takes note of superior words: carotid triangle, frontal sulcus, nasal spine.

The pith can be used for producing a wick, which produces a halo effect.

Or would you be simply acting normally, as in a flash mob, crowd adjustment by crowd adjustment.

Other contrite functions do not illuminate disgraced temporality in an impulsive nation, haste makes waste, fever dew, slob ice, bastard acacia.

Shocking objects on the porch wouldn't know that person.

The painter moves into a crawl space under the house, wager against an actual passing.

Hurry in the form of plaited dissonance runs away with her, photo of a naked man on a leash, local hijinks — name something hollow that tarnishes.

On the sidewalk, members of the flash mob, following email instructions, ring bells and blow whistles for forty seconds, emulating leadership fantasies.

Yet another speedy index is a change in electrical conduction response, gold rush pending gold rush, Junelight pending Junelight.

A grown-up might tell her to sleep on it.



Though she has not been formally diagnosed, she suspects she may exhibit traits associated with a childhood anxiety disorder known as selective mutism.

In social settings, she can talk easily one on one but has difficulty when three or more are in the room.

Signs of selective mutism include a consistent failure to speak in gatherings where there is a generally agreed upon expectation for speaking.

Afflicted children often present in their first year of schooling while continuing to speak normally at home.

In one traced population, 58 percent refused to speak to the teacher and 20 percent spoke to no one at school.

SM is usually distinguished from extreme shyness though both are likely to be comorbid with other socialization difficulties.

Girls play with dolls, they don't swaddle favorite red metal shovels and take them to bed.

One might attribute SM behaviors to an oppositional nature, though some clinicians have found anxious and oppositional behaviors in the same child.

Phrases such as "let's not get carried away" or "that isn't happening" shouldn't be endlessly practiced for just the right vocal entrance.

Rumor has it one student used his fist to break a classroom window a few days after an ill-informed teacher tried to force him to read aloud.

Often in conversation with acquaintances, she stumbles over names and ordinary small talk like "Hi, Harry, how's it going?"

Is her continued fascination with repetitive musical behaviors opportunistic or a purposeful engagement with the inhumanity of the linguistic code.

A father and a mother may be ill-advised if they think their daughter will grow out of it.

You shouldn't bring a book to a party or family gathering and spend hours reading by yourself as a safety mechanism.

Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer, do.

A common denominator may be a neurodevelopmental immaturity that makes afflicted children react badly to sensory overload.

For example, how do you say "what a mess" in a teasing tone.

For a Carthusian monk, the absence of spoken language impresses on him the singularity of each moment.

Five will get you ten he will not tell you of his god cart, glowing.

Even days later, you could still see the knuckle cuts on the young man's hands.


Though she was often mute, she found herself preoccupied with internal word bursts.

Spider glass, spider glass, spider in the glass, alas, alas.

At night she really did hear her clock ticking ten times more loudly than ordinary, an auditory hallucination not unlike Poe's.

Unlike children with other conduct disorders, often mute children are not seen as a bother.

This one conjures up a giantess for acting out hairyscary disagreements with nearby "higher-ups."

There has been little research about the course of the disorder into adulthood, so the eventual removal of symptoms may not necessarily be indicative of a successful turnabout.

Whose boundaries are confused.

However, one could argue that it is the very fact a person does not speak that makes her more noticeable.

Impressed upon her is anything that rests on a silence, so as to install weighty moments, lengthening ear reach, wool after the carcass has decomposed.

The worst carnage came north of Baghdad at a Shiite funeral.

Implosive findings suggest a familial resemblance between speech avoidance and nonaccountable spectatorship.

She could sit with the father for hours in what she thought was a comfortable silence.

Silence! Silenzio!

Still, she thinks she might manipulate her environment by being silent, a refusal not unlike Job's.

Or that silence can help you with forming neural intimacies, unlike coming to your subjects already predisposed.

Brain be nimble, brain be quick.

The president says his decisions were based solely on conditions on the ground.

She reverts to about-face maneuverings, forms for speaking when there are no expectations for speaking, broken ear nests, deathbeds on paper, an aluminum skull.

Lotus seeds 1,200 years old have been sprouted in China.

For the monk, death may be simply "my death," an alter ego, a winnowing.



She places two ladybug magnets on her refrigerator.

The ladybugs are red with black spots, good luck belongings handed down to her, circuitously.

Imagine animating your things so they could simply fly over, while you remain stationary.

Underneath, none of them are solid, just like you, replete with rabid energies in motion, subatomic bed-rocking.

Listen up when deploying above-board coarse-grained mimicries.

You'll mainly notice a thing if it breaks or goes away, viz., in selling the house, we had to discard many things our elders had accumulated.

Doorstops, bookends live on past them as depreciating testimonials, along with the trees and shrubs they planted.

Yet you are not supposed to want for too many things, a desire for things not considered a higher order of wanting.

Still, she remembers a story about a boy who was bored with his everyday things, so they all went away.

Except for one sympathetic blanket, he had to sit on the ground naked and shivering.

Fancy the set of communal axioms aimed at that boy's thing hatred.

My things cry out to be dusted or at least touched: cookbooks, rocking chair, copper-plated teapot anticipating heirloom ontology.

She asks me if I want to live with her: what about my things?

There are latent obligations hanging over you, not just things.

The afghan's red squares, held together by white borders, organizes homegrown flight paths by way of the deceased crocheter's fingers.

There were many more of those charming magnets, but my brother threw them away.

Quick, touch that thing!

There are things she needs to do today, laundry first, among them.

Bring me that blue thing from that closet; put it over there with those other things to be taken away.

Was that a sex cry or a cat cry, from the neighbors?

Here's the thing.

Suppose that __________________.

Suppose that she supposes a spirit residing in the ladybug magnets on the surface of the refrigerator doing a spirited ladybug thing.

You have been invited to speak on behalf of what things?

In the living room closet she keeps two purloined x-rays of her skull, from which to develop a thinged intimacy with her head's interior: brain, eyesockets, sinuses.

The boy's things did come back when he said he was sorry, extending a here-there liminality, like each key on her piano.

Expect dizzying side effects — humiliation, shame — when she takes on the filmed head's subject-object ambiguity.

As when after the earthquake, you need transport vehicles to get things to the damaged island, not disappearing solaces.

Like the repentant boy, she apologizes to her things, acknowledging in them excess metaphysical presence, cultural fantasy: fetish, value, totem.

Probable causes, happenstance bind music box interiority into her solid state appurtenances, "I beg your pardon" motivating aura, wish in the real or fake coccinellid, skill in joining.


Lately, I've been "caught up in things."

He was fighting his decline, but does not remember he put 39 photo albums together for his children.

Here's a photograph of an evicted woman on a sidewalk with all her household things.

Think of eye-catching, literally, your eye being tossed around by your things.

On her piano is a gold statue of an elongated woman playing a violin.

The heavy-metaled woman would make a good defensive weapon, if someone broke in.

Likewise, stolid gadgets holding down the virtual realm stir up residual grace, soul, atemporal utopia.

Over what's inside the thing, her nominal adulty-hood superimposes digital war games, plants zapping zombies with seed missiles.

Appalling visitors to the substructure seek out vital innards with more than just idle curiosity, child picking apart a beetle.

She used to picture soul as a leaky pail, sometimes a thimble.

If so, what to do with continuous grace drippings.

Wistful gradients on the emission, absorption spectrum require formal generosity in assessing another one's cherished objects, frog collection, glugging fish pitcher.

Time to set limits for sorting out statistical illusions underlying the constant clutter.

How about if she pleases herself with a clown face instead?

Draw it on her nose, brows, cheeks, lips, forehead, implementing virtuous space, history of her object-sense, then open wide, molecular letters in ragged greens, blues, yellows!

The nursing home staff calls the WWII veteran's assisted bathroom visits "toileting."

Seek forgone intimacies with him in recollection of tadpoles, oak galls, jack-in-the-pulpit sightings, even those all too frequent arguments over insect repellent.

The young army lieutenant brought home a miniature English-French dictionary dated August 1944, a gift from Georges Illy, who may have been a French soldier.

M. Illy wrote his name on all the odd-numbered pages of his 624-page book, which fits inside her closed fist neatly.

If beauty is pleasure regarded as the quality of the thing, don't be surprised if underneath the thing there's probably an überclown that says, don't get comfortable.

Hence, the dictionary is becoming all that's left of times past between unknowable soldiers.

Est-ce que c'était si tôt? et qu'est-ce que vous avez fait pendant ce temps?

She depends on inconspicuous blossoms from backyard tulip trees to ward off aesthetic casualty from over-ripe economic systems.

Good heavens if I have been bombarding you with bricolage, intimacy as contingent as yarn culture!

The blossoms resemble a yellow-green cup, with yellow pistils and stamens, orange splashes at the base of the sepals, perfect flowers for decorative bowl floating.

She wishes that in the bowl she could float him three thousand years of memory blossoms, Etruscan jewelry, Da Vinci diagrams, Mezzogiorno.

Can she exchange her bowl's forms of value for her clowned forms of value, visible or invisible?

Believe me, I am not dodging the question of the trivial.

Though evoking tender scenes or touching objects by cultivating memory wishes might make even a remotely emotive daughter crumble.

You can see why the ladybug magnets opt for their right to remain humble.


Excerpted from Intimacy by Catherine Imbriglio. Copyright © 2013 Catherine Imbriglio. Excerpted by permission of The Center for Literary Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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