Four Poems
by Rachel B. Glaser

Grand Variety

at the Community College where I clean
the students are virgins of stone
and I stick my blue gum into the carved wrinkles in their jeans

the girls show their lust in run-on sentences
while a tiny mustache grows on a young jock/slacker

I am an actress so
whatever job I take on is a performance art piece
especially when I mop the gym floor

far from the small campus, in the stark light of my cramped apartment
my date has a CVS brand orgasm
and I buy a Nike one on my smartphone

I’m not that athletic but I like how it feels

my parents have a lot of Price Club orgasms
but I will never be like them

an orgasm at the Community College will destroy the faces of the nuns
and freeze the students into a coma/sculpture state
but still, once in a while, I have a knock off Versace quietly in the trees

an orgasm pushes you far away from yourself
rushing you to the end of your life
almost every company has one

in the west coast there are a lot of start-up orgasms
very difficult to classify
and an ergonomic one I have bookmarked the tab to

some girls can only have JCrew orgasms
those are good too (in the Fall)

during a sun shower I dust the Community College
the students forget their homework and their virginity is forced upon them again
like Disney movies, VHS tapes, and Old Spice deodorant

in the waiting room at an audition for a cartoon voiceover
I find myself pretending to be a Community College student
I fold my legs underneath me, check my phone, and sigh

exhausted in my bedroom (which is covered in wall hangings the last tenant left
I fool myself into a nap, but a PayPal rep wakes me
I want us to have an Excel orgasm together, a Tupperware one, or Nature’s Pride
but I barely know her

while everyone is partying and succeeding in nyc
and all the cities in my computer’s time zone list
I turn on all the lamps to raise my confidence
the wall hangings look on with folky, unfinished faces
how haggard I feel having a Land’s End orgasm
though my breasts don’t know the difference



My common lover

if my lover isn’t a prince of a nation
he is at least a dangerous man with style

Augustine wore a zebra carcass
his hair wound around a hunk of jewel

Herman dressed smartly
and gifted me a diamond fork

I am a noblewoman
small inside a castle of cold stones
covered in furs and woods and drapes

a coat closet
a dress closet
a wing for me to romance in
flush with sentimental rugs
reflecting in the many eyes of crystal

the only common lover I ever took
was a man with a golden voice
that made women unconsciously lean forward

when he said my name aloud
I felt enormous pride for myself

to greet this man I had a new wardrobe made
one that used expensive and rare fabric
but in a less ornate fashion

the eyes of the common lover grew glassy when he stepped foot in my castle
so I redid one of the wings in a more understated style

nights we lay in bed and he told me of his modest life
no, I told him gently, tell me again of mine



Best nose

“Lucky me,” Mom said, “best nose!”
Janey wanted surgery so we all crowded around the mirror
Mom gave us old photographs to look at
“Phillis was lucky,” Mom said, “best eyes!”

Phillis is our lost sister who ran off when she was young
she used to laugh when we were naked and in a circle of four
pressing our breasts to our sisters’ breasts

she used to let the dog lick her mouth
while we all played cards in the kitchen

we began to cry, Phillis was very unlucky in fact
she had left home
and when she tried to return, mother pretended not to recognize her
though she had grown very beautiful
she returned to California without stepping foot in our house

we cried from the upstairs window

the more we cried, the uglier we got, according to mother

“Who has the best hair?” I asked, though I knew the answer
Hattie blushed and mother laughed
“Your hair wouldn’t be any good if I didn’t wheel it in curlers!”

it was true
each week we watched in boredom as mother rolled Hattie’s hair

the phone rung
“It’s Phillis!” we shrieked, as we always shriek when the telly rings

I tore across the room to answer it

“Hellooo,” Phillis said, in the sly way they talk in Hollywood
“Heloooo!” we said in unison, crowded around the receiver



I took a secret trip to have an affair

but wanted to call my wife the whole time
I wondered what shows she was watching

I knew since I was gone
my wife was living in a forbidden, wanton way
I knew for instance, that she was leaving things where she had used them
not where they belonged

if she had cooked, the dishes still sat around like guests
the dog was in the bed

I slept with my lover and it was a strenuous ordeal
I could see my wife eating popcorn through it

waiting it out

afterwards there was no leisure
as travel is just stress over leisure

there was leisure but it was foreign

my arms brushed against my lover
all the things I didn’t know about her lived inside her
like barnyard animals

my wife was beyond it all
splayed out on our old couch
in the middle of a long stare at the ceiling fan
made hallucinatory by light and a lack of responsibilities

my lover hesitated in the bed
when I excused myself to the bathroom
she shifted
and took her mood to an unknown depth
she could tell I held my phone
like a key away from the world



Rachel B. Glaser is a writer and painter living in Northampton.  These poems are from her upcoming collection “MOODS” forthcoming (Feb 2013) from Factory Hollow Press.