Wardrobe Poems


          I want a garment
          made of goat hair
          waxpaper-thin wool
          crinkled silk
          semi-transparent mohair
          fine alpaca
          embroidered with
          angora words.
          I want Atlas-rich satin
          coarse cotton knit
          gold gauze
          a ribbed pebbly
          broken weave
          horizontal striped
          linen flag with
          looped brilliant
          lustrous raised
          alphabetic pattern
          and a stiff-finished trim.
          I crave plain white
          cashmere crepe
          heavy honest burlap
          dark brown hemp
          soft charmeuse
          leather-strong chintz.
          I wish to wear
          glazed drapery crinoline
          sheer duffel dungaree
          cypress woven toweling
          berry colored flax
          scarlet dyed
          shiny spun gabardine
          gingham grosgrain herringbone
          with woven rows
          in parallel slope.
          I crave huckaback lines
          hounds-tooth hem
          checked stout jacquard
          with intricate loom
          shaded rayon
          weft-knitted lamé
          metallic lutestring threads
          through felted lightweight plaid
          rubberized madras mackinaw
          quilted corded matelasse
          and meshed down moleskin.
          I’ve a lifelong desire
          to recklessly don
          jazzy translucent organza
          diaphanous pashima
          ornamental nylon
          nubby poodle poplin
          with faint puckered finish
          worsted russet ramie
          feathered sateen stockinette
          watery silver flannel
          tarlatan and terry
          length of velvet
          soft mixed
          lucid west wind.


          I saw a shirt that said
          Got nukes? Cuba does. 
          Mega Geek.
          Sons of Comisky.
          Happy New Yr.
          We survived.
          Rosemary is my homegirl.
          I’m proud to be white. 
          “I love New York” in Arabic.
          High heels, high hopes. 
          Love all; trust few.
          Christina sucks.
          Just Kiss Me as she leaves
          sunset Plaza in Los Angeles.
          I am a motherfucker.
          Straight pride.
          While you were reading this
          I farted.
          I am a drunk.
          Working Class Hero.
          Porch Monkey 4 Life.
          I screw trainwrecks.
          Too hot to care.
          King of dorks.
          If his package ain’t packing,
          ship him off to another biatch.
          I’m Gandalf.
          US ARMY.
          Hey world, I bite
          my thumb
          at thee.
          Eat beef clip art.
          Occupy all streets.
          Love me; don’t eat me.
          2 cold 2 know I’m cool.
          My little Princess.
          I have no opinion.
          Change your incandescent lightbulbs
          to fluorescent.
          I am important in ways
          that don’t mean a damn thing.
          I love Jesus. 
          Feed me candy.
          I went to Key West for spring break
          and all I got was this illegitimate child.
          Not my fault.
          Coming soon in big block letters.
          They’ve found something
          that does the work of five men:
          one woman.
          I’m too pretty to do homework
          so my brother does it for me.
          May the odds be ever in your favor.
          I (picture of an elephant)
          the San Diego Zoo.
          I invented this swagger. 
          Not everything stays in Vegas.
          I’m mean-ass.
          Support Darwinian evolution:
          kill a weakling today.
          Nobody likes a nobody.
          I am Republican:
          are you surprised?
          I’m going to the prom.
          The mighty.
          If you like my guns
          you’ll love my rocket.
          I’m retired but I work
          as a part time pain in the ass.
          Back in black is rampant in schools.
          So I’m kind of a big deal.
          No future.
          Poker freak.
          Hey LeBron
          how’s my dick taste?
          Favorite grandbaby.
          Smart cookie.
          Take care of uterus.
          Some dudes marry dudes:
          get over it.
          I love wine.
          I’m naked under here.
          That’s how I roll.
          Not in the band.
          Only this. 
          Pump up the fruit.
          I eat more pussy
          than cervical cancer.
          Everybody has to believe
          in something; I believe
          I’ll have another beer.
          I own Disney.
          There’s a party in my tummy. 
          When the rapture comes,
          we’ll get our country back.
          I’m too pretty to breathe
          so this respirator does it for me.
          Get high.
          Marines suck.
          Eat shit and die.
          Office rat.
          I’m with me.
          I’m too stressed
          to pay all these bills.
          I scored high on my drug test.
          Bullshit 80s baby.
          I slept on the Great Wall.
          I have a feeling you may be a douche.
          Think of me as the Barbie
          you’ll never get to play with.
          My heart is behind bars.
          The world is my ashtray.
          I don’t mind if you kill me.
          Sorry if my loud pipes
          disturbed your phonecall.
          Zombie pony.
          I will be masturbating within the next hour.
          I have lupus: what’s your excuse?
          I can’t—I am a Mormon.
          Talk to me in French.
          Eat bananas.
          Bible camp blood bath.
          Does this shirt make my tits look big?
          Get out of my head.
          I’m out of my mind at the moment
          but feel free to leave a message.
          I beat anorexia.
          Dip me in chocolate
          and throw me to the lesbians.
          If you knew my family you’d understand.
          Fat people are hard to kidnap.


          No clothes allowed
          that’s what they say
          no clothes no waiting

          the economist has no clothes
          the generals have no clothes
          the university has no clothes

          the architect has no clothes
          no clothes on Ragged Island
          Putin is Batman without any clothes

          Hans Christian Anderson officially has no clothes
          the market knows the dollar has no clothes
          no naps no clothes no clothes for the party

          no shame no clothes
          no clothes or sleep
          no curtains no clothes

          the ambassador has no clothes
          no clothes cartoons and comics
          the Euro has no clothes
          the analyst has no clothes
          no clothes in Pennsylvania

          the metabolic syndrome wears no clothes
          and no clothes gets you free clothes
          so this animal has no clothes
          no clothes in America
          no clothes anywhere

          the belle has no clothes
          at the rental marketplace ball
          the Fed has no clothes
          Natalie Portman: no clothes
          no clothes ‘til December

          the MFA has no clothes
          big tobacco laptop revolution
          no clothes, the peace process
          has no clothes, no clothes
          beyond this point

SHE WAS NAKED AND ALL ARTICULATE                                   
          She was naked and all articulate
          naked and I said firefly
          she was naked and kneeling
          a thought came down
          and washed away the hurt
          she was naked and he was dead
          within seconds she was naked and all over me
          she was naked and handcuffed on the bed
          with tape over her eyes and mouth
          naked and only had her panties on
          naked and covered in blood
          she was naked and he wasn’t looking
          quite so detached anymore
          in fact he looked panicked
          because she was naked and the father knocked down the door
          she was naked and chained to the altar
          her pink undies wrapped around her neck like a bow
          she was naked and lifeless and no streetwalker
          naked and hugging a tree
          the hot sun on her skin
          and the cool breeze
          felt very good indeed
          she was naked and her tongue was like a snake
          she was naked and fifty years old and alone
          naked and passed out from wine coolers
          the sheets were covering her
          naked and completely hairless
          a pentagram carved into her stomach
          on which rested a note
          she seemed to be asleep
          naked and battered
          naked and distressed
          she was naked and cool and free
          she was naked and looked quite mad
          she was naked and she was vacuuming
          naked and lying on her back on top of a fire-ant nest
          her long black hair had been shaved
          she had been laid out, bound in his cabin
          shivering from the cold, naked and he fully clothed
          she was naked and covered head to toe in feces
          scrape marks on the door showed
          that she had tried to claw her way out of the room
          she was naked and running away
          naked and running through the woods
          she was naked and she refused to speak
          coated in a fine sheen of sweat
          briar scratches on her body
          she was trying to sever herself from her vagina
          to her navel with a razor blade
          she was naked and still no one cared
          naked and smiling naked and tied up
          and did not even try to put her clothes on
          she was naked and barefoot as her head swiveled around
          naked and tied to the wooden dining room chair
          she was naked and she was standing in front of him
          holding herself and a thought came down
          and washed away the hurt
          she was naked and stunning
          dirty, glorious, kneeling
          naked and not breathing
          lying in the snow when they found her
          naked and walking
          bent forward like a monkey
          bare-bones skinny
          naked sans scars
          naked and pushed up against the fence
          dehydrated and clutching a handful of raspberries
          she was naked and she looked as if she had been crying
          naked and dirty and free
          naked and red, bound, shaved, begging
          she was naked and removed the blankets
          she was naked and ready to have casts applied to both legs
          she was naked except for white knee highs and saddle shoes
          swimming out towards the lovely little rock island jutting out of the water
          she was naked with the lights on and curtains open
          she was naked and in view of everyone
          naked and being watched
          and she laid down on the ground
          as if she had been shot


          He was naked when he awoke
          naked at the car wash
          naked when they found him

          he was naked in the Bellagio fountains
          naked in Alaska
          he was naked, I tell you, naked

          no one had to tell him he was naked—
          he knew—naked in the steam room
          naked as he drove through Scarborough town center

          he was naked on stage, naked and hungry
          naked and unarmed, bathing in the creek
          when a Crow warrior seized and held him

          he was naked from the waist up
          naked from the waist down
          and he started to apologize to everyone

          when the cops came to the hotel he was naked
          he was naked and I was young
          but that’s a different story

          he was naked (they
          usually are) the woman realized
          he was naked and ran inside her house

          this morning when I woke up he was naked,
          upside down in his shallow fresh water bowl
          with a silly desperate look on his face

          I gently flipped him over
          he ran out of his room
          and then out of the house altogether

SHE WORE                                                                                                                       

          She wore
          red flowers
          yellow ribbon
          baggy clothes
          singed silver
          wedding dress
          shadow swaying
          bed to street
          blue wellington boots
          with bright white soles
          a doll-sized shiny jacket
          bright gold ring
          wreath of roses
          red glitter cape
          heels in the winter
          and go-go boots
          emerald fishnet stockings
          sequined bodysuit
          black scars leatherwork
          a-line gown with back drape
          ballerina neckline
          tube top boat neck
          bias cut bolero jacket
          boot cut box pleat
          broomstick camisole
          cap sleeve sheer chemise
          crew neck form-fit
          empire seams
          convertible collar
          handkerchief style
          illusion jagged to flowing
          from waist to ankle
          falling off the shoulder
          just below the bust
          kangaroo pocket
          keyhole neck kimono
          broad sash shelf bra
          peek-a-boo petticoat
          ruffled lace panty edge
          scanty shrug spaghetti straps
          tea length tankini
          tear-away shorts
          tie-cinched waist
          tulle wrapt wings


          We make money
          not art


          sensors on the skin
          LED lights

          so here I sit


          a likeminded

          sans zipper—
          oh little black

          dress I’ll never wear,
          I carry you

          with me
          carry me too

          you can and do
          take it with you

          all movement, fabric
          is functional





          is memory
          odor free

          stain repellant
          disposable: no

          necktie from which
          to hang—

          get a second skin
          that’s smart—

          be shirted squid
          square root

          blue circle pattern
          slowly lights up

          (or not) for all
          the factories in China

          for all the tan
          microfluid fragrance

          embedded iron-on saying
          or keen Plathian


          would I were I
          so inclined

          to take one article
          clean and toss it

          over bridge edge
          into pure route—

          I’m ill equipped
          for nudity

          always detachable

          project sweat ring
          and QVC

          with pink blush
          skin tight garment

          appear naked yes but not
          essentially clothed

          fabricated yet organized
          according to color

          a segregated closet
          emotionally fit


          yr frisson forever
          flame retardant


Lynn Behrendt is the author of petals, emblems, available from Lunar Chandelier Press. She edits the Annandale Dream Gazette, a chronicle of poets' dreams, as well as co-curating Peep/Show Poetry. She is the editor and publisher of the micropress LINESchapbooks, which has published works by Ron Silliman, Robert Kelly, Kimberly Lyons, and others. She lives with her son in Red Hook, NY, and works in the grants office at Bard College.