Lodestar Quarterly

Lodestar Quarterly
Figure reaching for a star Issue 11 • Fall 2004 • Poetry


Stephanie Gray

It will. The gas will leak from the stove. Vogue magazine will dismember itself. Madonna will go back to singing Holiday and Borderline, and then she'll shift as the Madonna who shifts for herself--into faded Levis, a Lower East Side address, a black t-shirt rolled up to show her muscles, feathered hair just below her ears, and a leather jacket that says Meow Mix. So you think the house is burning? It will--sweep you under the floor and the wind will blow out the pilot light. The blue reflecting star lines from the neighbor's above ground pool will hit your face, and the only line you'll be able to remember is a line from a song from a folk singer forgotten from the early 70s named Melanie: What have they done to my song Ma? What have they done to my song Ma? or was it Look what they done to my song ma. Look what they done to my song ma. Vanity Fair will reinvent itself clean under the paper shredder borrowed from work. Someone named Sandra Bernhard or Jody Foster or Madonna Ciccone or Melissa Etheridge's ex-girlfriend who used to be with the guy from La Bamba will never have had mostly baby boys and girls. Instead, they will be sitting inside the burning mirage house with you brewing queer patterns carved in the stools at the Clit Club. So, you think this house is burning? She will. She will tell you how the story is told, how what really happens ends up a mirage upside down, down a frontage road with no end in sight, only a turnpike tunnel for two dollars. So you think she'll burn you? She will. She will tell you how not to light candles in a wooden house and how to get assassinated in Buffalo, not unlike McKinley and nothing Emma ever would have imagined as follows. Pretend you are mayor of Buffalo and your house on the Lower West Side is Burning. You do as you are told and jump out the window, before someone firebombs it anyway and the mayor before you Won't Care. You walk on burning glass humming to the Breeders trying to forget your crush on the guitar player and singer (play-her and sing her, play her and sing her, play her and sing her). You propose an alternative to demolitions, as you are falling out of the house that is now Burning, but the reporters are sure you are a mirage even though they still have your e-mail address that you don't even have yet (was it mail or e-mail?) and surely there is Emma on cd-rom. A proposal for an assassination of a Buffalo mayor in the (fire) works. You merely suggest that all the money spent on the Buffalo Bills be diverted to free transportation, smooth sidewalks, bus routes on all streets and bike lanes and bike racks at every glance. Your last sentence finishes in an orange ember and you swear you see Emma wink and smile. This has not taken place near Bidwell Parkway, nor the roads that will take you to Delaware Park. It is somewhere downtown in a building that is close(ing) its lips over asbestos and dust for good. So you think this house is on fire? It is.

Stephanie Gray is a poet and experimental filmmaker. Her short, hand-processed, Super-8 films Kristy (about the infamous McNichol) and Dear Joan (about incognito lesbian Joan of Arc) have screened internationally at queer film festivals such as the San Francisco Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Inside Out Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, and Image Out: Rochester Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. As a filmmaker, she has received a 2003 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in film. She was a 2000 finalist for a Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. Her poems have recently appeared in the online poetry journal Can We Have Our Ball Back?

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