Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 6 • Summer 2003 • Poetry

the emerald city

sara seinberg

dear dorothy,

do you remember when you found those shoes on your feet?
the terribly red shoes you got in that boutique on haight street?
and you met me for coffee in the mission
and you told me,
lion, there's no place like home.
and i said, dorothy, i'm getting evicted.
and you said look at these shoes... aren't they so pretty?
and i said dorothy, i'm getting evicted.
you turned your tiny feet towards me in the california sun
and said
lion, toil is a gift.

do you remember when i got here?
winded from the cyclone,
dizzy and twisted and panting on the street,
a tangle of mane and teeth
afraid of everything?
a coward.
a liar.
do you remember that, dorothy?
my throat was papery and ill
with what we used to call faith.
i laid on the pavement,
my paws jabbing at the sky
begging for a home.
a place where people would
smile at my teeth.
put ribbons in my hair
and ride horses changing hues
like a gay windsock on castro street.

dorothy, i learned to lie from you.

you said there's no place like home.
you said you'd risk it all to get home.
fuck you, dorothy.
home is a bunch of mutherfuckers
talking talking
fucking each other
sewing one girl to the next
never realizing that the elbow
belongs to someone.

dorothy, you fucked me over.
you said i could afford it here.
you said i could be king of the jungle.
you said all the coconuts and bananas i could eat.
you said there was loyalty or dignity or love.
you said kansas ain't shit, old man.
make a den, lion.
put your enormous paws to your tongue
and lick your wounds here.
you said lion, we can win.
you said lion, we will be beautiful in a place like this.

and now look at us, dorothy.

the tin man
looking for his heart in the tenderloin alleys
shooting quarters from a spoon.
squeaking and rusting in the rainy season
his hollow places jaundiced,
no ticker to be found.

and the scarecrow.
you told him, he was smart.
if he believed in you,
he could get a job at a start-up,
keep up with the joneses
wish on a program
and it would appear
like a keyboard clacking,
a rooster at his fingertips.
you're the liar, dorothy.
he's driving that muni trolley
up and down market street
all day, every day
in that brown shirt
going over the same steel tracks
like every mistake we ever made.

dorothy, why'd you do it?
invite me here and tell me beautiful stories of
victorian bay windows, vaulted ceilings
parks for dogs and streets paved with art?
you said sliding scale therapy for all.
you said my issues would get locked up
far away on the rock of alcatraz.
dorothy, what does oz look like from
a gingham dress
and that goddamn picnic basket
always filled with food?
what's it like dorothy?
i can't even imagine your glory
shopping for new shoes.

sara seinberg is a writer and visual artist who lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. Her work can be found in a gang of anthologies: Sex and Single Girls, Will Work for Peace: New Political Poems, Thrills Chills Pills and Heartbreak, and Lowdown Highway, and her photographs appear in galleries and magazines including Ms., TimeOut New York, and The Stranger. She has a nice Taurus dog named Gus.

Go To: Issue 6 or Lodestar Quarterly home page