10.2 / March & April 2015

[from L’Heure Bleue, or The Judy Poems]

I am not very clever today.

There’s a strange rain falling:
slow drops, yellow sky.
The scientist makes us
take personality tests.
This seems beneath him.
Given two options,
I’m troubled by the worry
I could get this wrong:
You feel involved watching TV soaps.
You trust reason more than feelings.
For Jack, it’s a chance
to build a new Jack.
Every type is plausible:
The Warrior. The Diplomat.
Why not just choose?
I’m stuck on a graffito
I saw this morning
in the café bathroom—
a simple kind of thought,
but I had thought it mine.

I wake up with bumps

all over my legs.
They don’t hurt or itch
but are very ugly.
I can think of nothing
but my ruined legs.
would “quote” himself,
no way to know
which parts were
the real S.
When I can’t sleep
I try to imagine
impossible things,
to force myself
into a dream. The mind
keeps slipping back
into simplicity, memory—
not consciousness, just memory
in real time.

Elisa Gabbert is the author of The Self Unstable, a collection of lyric essays (Black Ocean, 2013), and The French Exit, a poetry collection (Birds LLC, 2010). Follow her on Twitter at @egabbert.
10.2 / March & April 2015