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September 1, 2021 Poetry

Two Poems

Rachel Stempel

Two Poems photo

Hot Girl Manifesto


Give me something simple
to say to the violets, something

fuzzy like the feel of
television static

or of humming
in the shower, like a revving car
in the distance

or in the belly.

The slime of soap coats it:
the belly, my belly, the elephant’s



The brutalist theater is a home
except for when it’s a church.

And there’s a resounding collapse
of the pews in the maw of the church 

except for when it’s so quiet that all I can think of
is lunch meat and masturbation



and the plastic crinkle of my old skin
when I tried to stuff its folds into
older dresses and snakeskin skirts.

I am all
sloppy footwork
and all
grating sounds on tile.



I don’t know why I bother.
It takes one blowjob to know them all.

And laughter.




There’s a girl on the subway I’ve seen in pictures, her dolphin teeth asking to be unscrewed // I am worse today than yesterday // I grew my hair out for the 6 train, for the rush hour shuffle between cars, half a cigarette between stops // I’ve outgrown the romantics but atop my head, a bleach ring or almost-crown or other virtuous reminder // I would’ve been the next son of god had I known better // A window in motion is a prism, my face splitting into its ancestral condition // If Dolphin Teeth looks this way, I’ll sell the war horse // If Dolphin Teeth looks this way, I’ll spell I  d o n ’ t  k n o w  a n g e r  y e t between the folds of our soft furniture—tidally locked, we all are in love // when it suits us // I don’t know anger yet, my dust bag chest cracks, and if Dolphin Teeth looks this way, she will call me Useless, meaning Please