hobart logo

August 3, 2016 Poetry

Curatorial Skills

jessie knoles

Curatorial Skills photo


And Then There’s That Time


we dug a hole to the center of the earth—
in that hole we learned how to love each other
(i taught you how to howl like a wolf
you taught me how to flip my
eyelids inside out.) i felt your flesh
burn, our skins becoming saltier
you asked me if i missed seeing the sky
i admitted that i did.

a cocoon transforms into a butterfly
transforms into a student’s biology project.
a baby transforms into someone who can
decide to come back, who can admit that
this was stupid.
once a hole has been dug it is there
until enough people kick the dirt back in.


A Look Inside

do the plants hear us cry
to ourselves out of frustration
does the library on campus
know i miss it and i don’t like being
older than i was at the time i was in it
i don’t keep in touch with friends
i don’t make any new friends i collect
houseplants and over time, pets
i am depressed but i do not admit it
i am disillusioned but i do not admit it
i cut my bangs with toenail scissors
after twenty four years of being alive
i decided now is a good time to
start washing my face i also decided
it is a good time to paint my face with
beets i also decided i want to be buried in
beets i love beets i think i would marry
a beet so long as it wouldn’t hump me
in my sleep.


Curatorial Skills


i want to chop your dick off and
put it in MY MUSEUM
with other things like 1.
the only female napkin
i bought from my high school’s
vending machine for 75 cents,
2. the blunt
we smoked behind the
old sorority house
where i felt high
for the first time,
3. my grandmother’s false teeth,
4. my 4th grade school picture
where i wore a vest and
buck teeth and 5. the magazines
i have convinced myself
i never found



Hidden Talents


for your viewing pleasure i ask
that you sit the nearest to me, watch
as i play ‘hot crossed buns’ on my
recorder as i did in the fourth grade
christmas performance.
when you ask for another i admit
that is all i know, i ask for a trick i want
to be the audience i want the show, you
start to tap dance and i watch as the
skin from your face moves with your feet:
up and down it goes, dancing.


Special Collections


it is in the museum of three years
that i hide dog teeth and seashells.
your semen in my belly button that
i secretly finger in the grocery store
milk aisle. how
do i collect the smell of your
hair after a shower or the traces
of your mustache after you have
shaved it off? this is a museum
that only i am admitted to. you
built it for me. a taj mahal of
our failed relationship. of us
growing together but growing
more not together.
soon there will be nights when i’d like
a sweater of yours, but it’s not
in the closet. we mustn’t
cross the rope. photography welcomed,
but no flash, please. please
be quiet, please be respectful.
we request you remember
only the nice things.


Reference Materials/Neurotransmitters


how do you know you are at the top of the page unless you go to the bottom of the last page it’s kind of like how do we know if this is what we’re supposed to be doing until we do it and either fuck up or don’t. i watch the dog sleep on the floor and think of you at work making a sandwich that may be the cure to my hangover. i inspect every inch of my body for changes. a sign of getting older. i’m beginning to wonder if getting older is a thing only children believe in. i’m sure i’ll feel it once i hit sixty, if i make it to sixty, don’t even want to think about making it to sixty. i would like for my body to stay in these cells, to stop growing, i would like to be an elk or a beaver in a stream. they don’t think about the people making sandwiches or ‘how many drinks did i have last night’ or ‘i know i will miss this but how much will i miss this'


Here Is What We Will Do:


pray for a lack of consistency
we do not want thursdays after wednsdays
we do not want summers after springs
i look at you the way i look at
a piece of toast come out of the toaster
too little, too much, i don’t even like toast
it is time to break this up it is time to
dance for the gods it is time to run
across fire, to dive deep into water,
to avoid smashing on concrete


The Farmer's Almanac


day no babies were
born nothing grew not
even the grass in the
Midwest how the prairies
sang their songs of
sorrow and loss, the sun
begged its mother to
go to bed early
that night]




image: Julian Vargas