You are currently viewing 3 Poems by Barbara Genova

3 Poems by Barbara Genova

break room

oh you’re going to berlin next, nice

you must ride the subway as you listen to the passenger, you haven’t been to berlin until you do that,

and: push your head against the window!

can’t imagine the thrum of glass under your temple when he sings

I see the stars come out of the sky

little point to body crash if you can’t have some fun within the body

well the job is the point, but: no one said it had to be doom 24/7

you get to moonwalk!, jump off the rails!, slice a throat front to back!

so many ways to kill yourself on the job

so many ways to crash the body in question


christie graves, years active: 1979 – 1983

christie graves, got a nice groove to it

christie graves: stunt woman, occasional actress, good at falling good at jumping catching blades getting impaled

looks young, says twenty-six

has what we call the curse of no fear

miss graves the bullet is real blows a hole in her stomach, neat, fire

crew of ten stares at her on the ground

i’ll be fine, come onnn

getting up in three two

smoke rising from her flesh                  i said i’m alright

not pictured: the cigarette burn from last night

gets paid in cash only please thank you, steals props pawns them off

black and yellow bracelet sliding off her wrist, careful, this is old, bakelite

skin so white you see the blue running and you have to wonder how is she alive presently

christie graves moves around, drops the subject, picks it up

hits the carnival circuit, no guarantees she’ll listen but if you wanna get a hold of her, try this number, it’s a warehouse in ocean city – a phone cord tangled around two fingers, male, a class ring –

smash cut to:

the swamp, dilapidated farm, miss graves hopping off a tow truck, wearing white as a weapon

what’s it gonna be this time she asks


oh cool i’ve been wondering about that

if you can’t trust a killer scarecrow, is there anything left

(sample credits, a testament to her prowess and to film work as a reliable sign of the riptide:

dead girl island aka island of the dead dolls

live bait aka prime cuts aka the dweller

night car aka el coche diabolico

hot rust street – the fever dream of a florida insurance salesman, staying power unlocked forty-odd years after the fact)

some guy takes a minor shine to her

who is he?, does it matter?,

he chops lines he chews on pebbles he handles snakes as a preamble

dumbest motherfucker who ever lived, source: dude trust me

come to bracciano, he says, and she’s like yeah, maybe

she has no passport, no valid piece of ID

she’ll be fine if you arrange a private plane

miss graves enjoys a life of discipline

down a flight of stairs she goes, shoulder bones pop out, she shoves them back into place with a dull click

no accommodation needed

she’d rather crash in a car if you let her, grab some sleep during makeup

she’ll take her chances at the wheel

you don’t want to fall in the wrong hands when you can’t be killed

paranoid coast wrap party

christie lies in the sand her hair matted wet

what we’re gonna be dealing with here is

reaches up, loves the feel of her small back arching off the ground

miss graves is not much of a talker

(not anymore she’s not!)

her measure of solace is the reality of the body elastic, hands in the water, keys to be lost

you don’t get old, do you

oh, i do, it’s the little things

once a year a woman goes to the movies to watch herself live and die in color

she takes the day off, scrounges gum from the bathroom tiles, moves

past the beaded curtain face first into the back room where nostalgia items are stored and screened to a semi-captive audience of five to twenty

she sits close to the damp wall

no one spots her but if they do, she smiles

who’s gonna believe you

and besides

who are you going to tell


you’re in love with electra

first forget about changing or reforming her, john

she will never see the error of the murder dance

best you can shoot for is her not having a bark reaction to simonetti’s tenebrae

she will, once a month, tell you the same story

(an old friend had this nonsense bit going on with his boys, any time he wanted to break the tension, all he had to say was “the little boy from phenomena” – they would lose it)

she will stare into the void if she’s caught in a hot loop of blood past

or maybe it’s just a flash from the ruins of cinema pasquirolo

who made who

indeed you should watch the theatrical trailer for maximum overdrive: it’s bound to come up

and now that you mention it

did i tell you about the time i escaped from the living room of a man who was keeping me in chains

houdini is art