The Cortland Review

Dorianne Laux
"Dog Poets" by Dorianne Laux.

Dorianne Laux
Five poems by Dorianne Laux.

This marks an author's first online publication Carl Adamshick
This marks an author's first online publication William Archila
Wes Benson
Roy Bentley
Michelle Bitting
Kim Bridgford
Stacey Lynn Brown
Grant Clauser
Michael Dickman
This marks an author's first online publication Matthew Dickman
This marks an author's first online publication Geri Digiorno
Cheryl Dumesnil
Molly Fisk
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Kate Lynn Hibbard
Major Jackson
Greg Kosmicki
Keetje Kuipers
Michael McGriff
This marks an author's first online publication Philip Memmer
This marks an author's first online publication Jude Nutter
John Repp
R. T. Smith
This marks an author's first online publication Brian Turner
Book Review
"Sister" by Nickole Brown—Book Review, by John Hoppenthaler.

Book Review
"Superman: The Chapbook" by Dorianne Laux—Book Review, by David Rigsbee.

Michelle Bitting

Michelle Bitting has work forthcoming or published in Prairie Schooner, Nimrod, Narrative, Crab Orchard Review, Passages North, Many Mountains Moving, Rattle, Linebreak, and others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily. In 2007, Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award and C & R Press published it in 2008. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon.

Patti Smith    

—after the premiere of "Dream of Life"

On the street outside The Aero Theatre,
two women puzzle
under the late summer stars,
dumbstruck in their Loreal lips
and pastel sweaters
by the unconventional allure
of the Godmother of Punk.
Where is the beauty?
they are wondering,
about her mannish mug,
the razor chin and dingy teeth,
her unshaved pits,
the way she stomps around the stage
in heavy black boots,
her faded peace sign t-shirt
drenched with rock star sweat.
What is it about her,
blindfolded, arms raised,
clapping to the hellfire
heavens as the audience belts
the soaring refrain:
G—l—o—r—i—a . . . Glooooooria!
like some ecstatic shaman,
whiskers of white spittle
sprouting down her chin.
She's spewing Rimbaud,
Ginsberg, Baudelaire,
a long silver cross
slung across her chest,
as the airborne audience
howls and stamps its collective feet,
the wings of her scraggly hair
flapping open and shut
around her urgent, transfixed face.
Singer or saint?  Like me,
these ladies want to know,
as they fumble for their keys,
yakking away as cars buzz past
and the red marquee fizzles out.
They want to know
but there are no answers,
only the rush
of being baptized
for two cinematic hours
in the golden showers
of a factory girl from Jersey
who moved to New York City,
opened her cowboy mouth cave
and felt it ripen,
burst like a grape
in the cosmopolitan sun.
Don't you wish you wrote
those wild, edgy songs,
trashed the Chelsea Hotel
with Sam Shepard,
CBGB's and going platinum
only to take the money
and run to raise two kids
in the suburbs of Detroit?
In your fifties you re-emerge,
reinvent yourself,
rock 'n rolling the world stage
from Seattle to Berlin.
And when you're not
chanting for crowds,
inhaling a microphone
or fondling the pebbly contents
of an ancient Persian urn
filled with Mapplethorpe's ashes,
or being interviewed
for some bitchin' documentary,
ten years in the making,
you are tracking Blake's ghost
through the cemeteries, parks,
and urinals of Paris,
every place his bony,
misunderstood ass
is known to have squatted  
and scribbled something beautiful
while taking an ordinary,
everyday, entirely human piss.



© 2009 The Cortland Review