Anna Meister’s “Alice Notley, About My Home, You Said:”



Nothing happens in Iowa, so
can I change myself here?
 *

& Alice Notley, some people would disagree with you, though I know
I’ve felt similarly from time to time, sighing
like an air conditioner as you did
about our shit-black soil & boiled eggs
writing your first poems. I used to say
nothing happens here, but really,
didn’t everything? At least in my life,
though I didn't really know
how to fuck or call myself a poet
until just after I left. I was born
there (here) & so was my brother & my parents
got married & the house was filled. I changed myself
here (there) in that I grew & chose
& kept doing those things. I left for the “nothing happens” reason,
but my face still burns when I read a poem
about my home full of nothing
good.

I’ve got a rock in my hand, then,
for you, Alice Notley, busy
kicking my state in the stomach.
An icicle string of spit swings
over Iowa’s eye
from between your lips & I
step closer.


* “As Good as Anything” (Mysteries of Small Houses)