Tuesday, March 30, 2010

some misplaced joan of arc by leah angstman

some misplaced joan of arc by leah angstman is published by Alternating Current’s Propaganda Press. This collection features some tongue-in-cheek moments, the frustrations of travel to visit family, and unexpected thrills such as filling in the crossword puzzle of someone else’s New York Times’ newspaper then leaving it behind perfectly intact. Below I am happy to share a few poems:

the day edward norton came into my bar

i wished I were naked
not because
i want to be bare
in front of ed Norton
but because
i happened to be wearing
under terrible coincidence
my incredible hulk shirt
like a geeky comic book fancore nerd

over my shoulder
tvs blaring previews
for the very movie
whose wares i am sporting

approaching the table
placing coasters just perfectly
he knows i know
offers eyes
and says

nice shirt

in my head
i ask him for his autograph
out loud
i ask him what he’d like
to drink

This poem made me laugh aloud, how about you? Whether this actually happened or not it is something I can picture perfectly and how very human nature to want the autograph of the person whose movie you liked but be unable to ask for it when presented the opportunity. All the emotions you can imagine Ms. Angstman experiencing are easily read between the lines here, the humiliation and the hesitation.

no place like home for the holiday

after eighteen hours in the airport
on a snowstorm and a
canceled flight
we arrived
to your stomach flu
to your burnt green bean casserole
to your stockings full of
coal for the twenty-eighth year
like it’s still funny

your unplowed driveway
and unshoveled walk
and broken space heater
that sometimes works on low
sometimes but not always
and not this time

we drank your weird fruit punch concoction
and your way too spiked egg nog
while listening to grandpa’s dentures click
as he shuffles through the house
on slippers and last legs
your instant coffee
that never dissolves in
the luke cold water
from your broken pot
that sometimes works on certain settings
sometimes but not always
and not this time

after working six days a week
for a full year for my only
one-week vacation
we arrived to
your attack cat killing
both allergies and ankles
your same old christmas cds
on repeat
complete with skips
in the same places
from the broken player
that sometimes works if you flick the button hard
sometimes but not always
and not this time

aunt gwen’s same beehive
aunt elsa’s same stringy hair
your same bouffant
and a new wailing sick baby
whose only gift
was the flu bug
fucking babies never give
good gifts

after planning all year
to enjoy home for christmas
we arrived
to your beat up rusted out
midwestern salt-eaten
bottom-falling-out hippie
van stranding us by the
side of the highway in
ghetto flint
your broken van that
sometimes works if you pound your
head on the steering wheel just-so
sometimes but not always
and not this time

For all of you who may have happily escaped the stressful holiday memories I’m sure this poem brought them rushing back into your mind. This poem made me laugh, too, as it is easy to relate to in my own visits with friends and family over the years. I especially love the ending lines “sometimes but not always/and not this time” since this theme really brings home the frustrations of the season and the idea of working so hard for a “vacation” that is obviously anything but. One disaster after another spelled out in the most interesting and perverse ways: brilliant, Ms. Angstman, just brilliant.

bangs are that on which the world hangs

along mass ave
central square
hopping with a
hip step
strolling with a
cool swinged
checking myself out
in curio windows
reflections of
junk shops and
hobo hangouts

thinking yeah baby
that’s right
i’m bringin back
the bangs

and i blow up a
little puff of breath
to feather them
as they fall into place
in love with each other

my hip hips
and sordid ankle
strike the hole where
a brick had been borrowed
for the foundation of a
hobo’s house

and down i go
pride and face first
my bangs landing
across a puddle of rainwater

wet as anita Ekberg
and still dancing
in their own fountain

Yes, I’m taking up the poems I find humorous in this collection. Who can’t relate to feeling on top of the world and then being fed a dose of humility? I love the imagery of the puff of air blowing the bangs up and then they fall into place “in love with each other” which shows how fluid and smooth the motion is. Then, despite the human, the bangs are “dancing/in their own fountain” at the end, still “hip” in the face of humiliation. I really do enjoy such a funny twist in a poem.

If you enjoyed this sample collection of poems, you may purchase a copy of some misplaced joan of arc on-line at Propaganda Press’ Catalog for $5.00 + $2 US Shipping or $3 Out-of-US Shipping at:


You may also mail your request for this chapbook along with payment (via check or money order) to:

Alternating Current
PO Box 398058
Cambridge, MA 02139

Please also visit the web-site to learn more about this small press and the poets they publish at:


Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…

No comments: