Two Poems

by Michael Rectenwald

Degas´s Wax Horses

He left the ears off
one, the drippings like scar
tissue forming the breast sinews,
clinging to it a beautiful deformity;
another the jaw ajar
revealing bone death,
stick legs on which all the weight
Compare these to knickknacks,
so daring,
on my kitchen counter, for instance;
the wooden cow smiling,
the udders hanging to real life scale would be
like fifty pound tits and still
the cow smiles a black curlicue.
(Art ain’t perfect.)
I know he was working with drippings,
dealing wax is precarious,
but still the ears are ostensibly
not there;
which took nerve to look at
that horse without ears, then
walk away.

Stolen Lines

Of all I desire,
exhausted double –
other Aprils and Mays,
some friends,
back to the bay,
dried roses,
Greyhound west,
(there are so many),
city lights,
Chinese restaurant,
much discussion,
(in desperate situations):
Once I was someone
who spoke,
not long enough,
and how much to tell you –
I have nothing else to say.
Humans, they taste a little salty.

Michael Rectenwald teaches writing and cultural history at New York University. At age twenty, he was an apprentice poet to Allen Ginsberg at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, at Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. In addition to essays and books in his fields of cultural studies and the history of science, he writes poetry, fiction, and Marxist analyses. In 1991, he published The Eros of the Baby Boom Eras (poetry); in 2013 The Thief and other Stories, a collection of short fiction, and Breach: Collected Poems. His website is

One thought on “Two Poems

  1. Pingback: Michael Rectenwald, “Degas’s Wax Horses,” and “Stolen Lines” in Former People « GLSNC

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