Kate Greenstreet is the author of case sensitive (Ahsahta Press, 2006) and Learning the Language (Etherdome Press, 2005). She received a fellowship from the NJ Council on the Arts in 2003. Her poems have appeared in Conduit, POOL, Barrow Street, LIT, 26, and other publications. Visit her online at www.kickingwind.com.


Kate Greenstreet's site
Kate Greenstreet's blog

Two Poems by Kate Greenstreet


Start with a word.
The proper
name, the letter E.

tens of thousands
take a stick
you must expect to suffer

Think of the miners.

hooded people on the move
things keep flying or falling down there
you still hear about them sometimes

The eternal city

the wet ink
at the heart of faith

and stitched
Or paved, for ease of use

They have a word
for it: "with new water."

Keep anger--his magnificence, certainly.

(I worry about
ice, if we get it wrong)

They have a word for:
"without the shedding of blood."
Imagine anybody trying to boss me.

There's always someone
shouting up the stairwell
sick with the news
no keys

And if it's the father
coming back drunk

coughing up some black stuff from a hundred years ago,
it's okay

to be disappointed.

It provides some extra
space (the half life).
To dig a hole they used the antlers of deer.

The "E" on its back, burning
rocks in the cart, feet chipped.
Everything by hand.

No one likes this story so I'll get to the point.
(but what's the word?
think of something nice)

You read about people who have something else.

There's a wild donkey loose in the street.
All the dogs came out to the curb and stood together.
Quiet. Not moving, not barking.

Where's the body?

Things got complicated.
"It's hidden
in the ordinary."
(a shot that everybody
and used)

She said the locket hair was
"alive as yours."

Ate a teaspoon of plain dirt a day.
Changed her name to save her life,
deepen the channel.

Reeds pushed up by waves. Something about the way the junk is
pushed around and left. Suspicious trash. (but it happens
all the time)

The visualized
are unremarkable.
Yet, the idea: "earned the right to speak."
(a line that moves through the landscape, footage from before)

The silhouette
is within normal limits.
We perched, watched them dumping
the rock. Is bone
a kind of rock, were we rocks first? (someone said)

He dropped me off, he picked me up.

Things got complicated when we started to walk upright (you know,
the constant threat of falling).