HER ART rides a polka-dotted bicycle past the absinthe drinkers & they ask themselves, was that a bell? They ask each other, was she naked, or not? MY ART sets aside a cloudy month to invent 30 contiguous ways to grovel without brushing dandruff off someone else’s black panties.

HER ART uses mirrors to create weapons-grade enigmas. MY ART cannot decide which part of its nose to call ugly.

HER ART beckons the singers under trees to halo her with peppermint cupcake frosting. MY ART is a list of adjectives searched online from a child-safe thesaurus.

HER ART fills its pockets with bus tokens, walks into rainstorms without locking the door behind it, & feeds on the cold & hunger that drives clouds south. MY ART works from 9 to 5, counts calories, & longs for the days when accurate typing meant something.

HER ART is slow & precise & rigorous, like a brown recluse waiting for sundown, like a prayer for peace that expects to be answered. MY ART is jerky & tentative & unfinished looking, like a bedbug eagerly anticipating the ass of the next motel guest, like a morning of zazen wasted on imagining what it should have said during last night’s argument.

She plucks HER ART from the reclaimed landscape, leaving her well-turned footprint as a gift. I have to frack for MY ART.

She has a vita. I have a résumé & a lame website.

HER ART is not for sale, but she gives it away to those who are worthy. MY ART is pissed away in cube farms, where it is diluted into a paler ale that intoxicates no one.

HER ART exposes its sags & wrinkles & all of its scars & mistakes, by which she effortlessly contrives to define beauty for every generation ahead of & behind it. MY ART buttons its top button & apologizes to the plumber for the mess.

HER ART opens a third ear to the underlying hum of being human. MY ART fakesneezes to disguise its fart.

HER ART resuscitates the beauty of shoulder-padded horrors from 1983. MY ART furtively redesigns clothing from sweat shops in southeast Asia, which fools no one.

HER ART is friends with all of its exes. MY ART slinks out of rooms where it might have to encounter even one ex face to face.

HER ART leaves clues & hints & keys to fantastic doors you never knew existed. MY ART leaves sticky wrappers & spilled bottles & the stink of last night’s pity party ground into the nasty beige rug that will never get clean.

HER ART is young & accomplished & cunning. MY ART is played out & drowning in cultural references to last year’s virus.

HER ART gets her laid. MY ART embarrasses its former tricks, who pretend they never met it if they fail to avoid it. Awkward.

HER ART has an MFA. MY ART scoffs at academe, what a wasteland, who wants to be hobbled by all that highfalutin’ dead-European-guy baggage.

HER ART invents a new language that incorporates itself into the rhythm of your heartbeat & the remembered voice of your mother when she still sang to you. MY ART inoculates you with necrotic grammar that bombs the bridges between your brain & the gods.

HER ART evokes & makes your heart work for it & you love that work, you were born to do that work. MY ART wants to tell you what to think & how you feel.


* From Land of Lists, 2016 Floating Bridge Chapbook Award finalist.

Lydia Swartz brawls with words, sound, movement, pronouns, and light in pursuit of capricious form. Does that make Lydia a poet? Lydia sporadically performs weirdly mixed un-hip genres in hip Seattle. Does that make Lydia a hipster? Lydia obnoxiously refuses to drive a stick or acquire an MFA. Lydia has a degree in editorial journalism and a job in health care marketing. Lydia blogs at No One Tells and keeps a Seattle Spoken Word calendar at Seattle Poet. You can find Lydia on Facebook and Twitter.

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