Monday, November 9, 2015

#184: Three Poems by Corey Ginsberg

~This poem previously appeared in PANK  (2012).

My Mom’s Getting Plastic Surgery

Tonight on the phone my mom tells me she’s getting plastic surgery and I’m not sure what to say because it’s weird to think of my mom as a candidate for a facelift because she’s not Anna Nicole Smith or a Kardashian or an instillation art exhibit and besides, her face is the face I reconstruct when we talk from our bipolar country corners, it’s the face that used to drive me to swim practice at four a.m. and sit in the car while I lap-after-lapped and bring me donuts before school, it’s the face I’ve seen twist into every combination of swear words and sometimes apology as my adolescent asshole self told her I hated school and I hated life and I hated her goddamn fucking face so now that I don’t hate her goddamn fucking face I don’t know if she should change it because I’m used to her wearing it just like she’s used to me wearing that stinking rotting hoodie she bought me when I went away to grad school the first time and she’s seen it on me so often she begs me to get a new one, tells me she’ll give me the money if I’ll please just go shopping but I don’t want a new hoodie and I don’t want her to have a new face and her offer makes me feel extra bad because it leaves me wondering if I had the money, would I give it to her to get her face did or save it for that inflatable bounce house I plan to get for my thirtieth birthday party, which she better come to, new face or not, and better bounce in, because if she gets her face lifted she won’t have jowls anymore that would flap, and maybe if she had the surgery she wouldn’t call me on those drawn-out nights when my dad’s out of town as she channels her third vodka solipsistic assonance about how she’s droopier than our basset hound, how that shithead got his eyes done when they sagged so much the vet had to do emergency surgery so why the hell can’t she be more special than the dog for once, and I don’t know what she wants me to say so instead I ask what they do with all the extra skin because in my writer mind I’m imagining a huge quilt of lady necks and liver-spotted flabby folds pastiched into a modern art cannibal canvas, and it freaks me out because I’ve seen Face Off enough times to know how wrong face surgeries can go and she could come out of the operation with taut Spandex cheeks clinging to the scaffolding of her skull or looking like Connie Chung, and the face she’ll be staring out from won’t be the one that used to oogle google my brother while he drooled in his crib, it won’t be the same face that used to fishlips crosseyes my sister from the front window while she walked home from the bus stop, and I’m worried that when they revise her face, trimming and tightening the second draft, that the new dust jacket will forever take the place of the original.


~This poem previously appeared in PANK  (2012).

Her House is Pepto-Bismol Pink,
My Neighbor Says

Look at that asshole house on the corner. See that eyesore? Yeah, take a look at the cement box twat on that burnt-out lawn. Wonder who lives in the taint of this street. Bet it’s some Barbie Doll icing hooker. Bet she collects flamingos and parades them on Valentine’s Day. That house over there, it’s tongue pink. It’s a 1987 Boy George hypercolor nightmare. Good thing I’ve got on big aviator sunglasses. That’s one slut of a dwelling. Makes my labia hurt thinking about it. Cirrosis of the senses. Could be the bastard stepchild of Mr. Bubble and Tinkerbell. Check out that shriveled soul of the captain of the cheerleading squad. I used to have Chuck Taylors that color—when I was six. Spit your gum out on that cotton candy sexpot. Gas station carnations, that hole is. There’s a douchebag in my friend’s frat who wears shirts that shade with the collar popped. That’s some tacky kitsch bullshit festering on this swatch of land. We should call someone about it. Dear officer, arrest the foreskin of Miami. I’ve seen discharge from a unicorn more subtle than that house.


~This poem previously appeared in the MacGuffin  (2013).

Ode to Ranch Dressing

Lay it on thick, harlot
of the Hidden Valley.
You’re a freckled floozy
who can’t keep herself
off every spud, bun,
and cheap cut of meat.
Straddle that salad,
slinking dominatrix,
always on top.
Ride the face
of that open sandwich.
You’d fuck
even the most bland
bottom feeder.
You do so much better
when released
from your single-
serving entrapment.
Seep into the folds
of the lettuce,
enslave the carrots,
and let us use you
until you’re nothing
more than a slim streak
on the bottom
of a paper plate.



            I’m a prose writer at heart, and wanted to challenge myself a few years ago to write more poetry in order to achieve an overall more poetic mindset. I devised a “Year of a Hundred Poems” goal, and in order to accomplish it, tried to do a thirty-minute poem several times a week. All three of these poems grew from thirty-minute writing exercise, in which the goal was to create a complete first draft of a poem in one sitting.
            “My Mom’s Getting Plastic Surgery” and “Her House is Pepto-BismolPink, My Neighbor Says” draw from the Ultra-Talk tradition of poetry. “Ode To Ranch Dressing” was inspired by my love of condiments. A bottle of ranch dressing happened to be sitting on the table one night when I was doing a thirty-minute poem. The ranch ended up taking over the poem.

Corey Ginsberg’s work has most recently appeared in such publications as Third Coast, the cream city review, Suptropics, Puerto del Sol and Quarter After Eight.Corey’s nonfiction has been named a Notable in the Best American Essays in 2012 and 2014.

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