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Tome On The Range

Two Poems By: Fiona Helmsley
Karl Smith , July 12th, 2015 10:55

Back in the familiar 'Two Poems By' format — and, of course, on the usual top form — new writing on tQ this week comes from Fiona Helmsley. (Image: Peregrine Honig)


I prefer smote to smitten,
old girls to women,
politesse to chivalry,
risible to laughter.
Tonight, I will have sex,
write about aging faunlets,
and read about suicides with so much young promise.
To the graduating class of desire,
stay in school as long as you can.

Radiant babies

We were man repellers on the beach,
lipstick killers, you and I,
in our boxer shorts, and t-shirts.
Andy Warhol said, “Love is a pink cake.”
He knew nothing of our desideratum.
You had the ability to make everything appear fresh.
The most tired icons glowed like radiant babies with your affection.
This was true of regular people, too,
and I would get jealous,
so jealous.
I remember talking to your infant daughter on the phone.
Her twee baby voice recited a list of all your favorite punk bands as her own.
You were standing right there, and by the way she stumbled saying their names,
I could tell that she was performing.
Why do we talk about enthusiasm like it’s a disease,
either “infectious” or “contagious?"
While I couldn’t see her through the phone,
I imagined her,
handing it back to you,
all aglow.

Fiona Helmsley is a writer of creative non-fiction and poetry. Her writing can be found in various anthologies like Ladyland and The Best Sex Writing of the Year and online at websites like The Weeklings, The Hairpin, PANK, and The Rumpus. Her book of essays and stories, My Body Would be the Kindest of Strangers is forthcoming this year.