Jay DeFeo, “Traveling Portrait (Chance Landscape)” (1973), photo collage with acrylic and glue on paperboard, 14 1/2 by 19 in. (image © the Jay DeFeo Foundation / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, image courtesy the Jay DeFeo Foundation and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York)


(to be free, improvise)

I did not know the difference / between Intuition and Instinct. When people say “trust // your intuition” – the dog inside me > doesn’t (o)bay / the animal inside / feels the urge to go off//-leash to be free, improvise > I vs. I / if you are a trained animal / you suture yourself to the thing they left to die. I need to otherwise I / reread Dubois / I double myself / I-I reread him twice > RECOGNIZE: your fists are a fight response { I feel I should have died, but instead I ended up here, and . . . } I don’t know if what I am doing can be qualified as “living.” Not implied. Oh. I / (without the words) took what was broken and put the hole back in // after my death | I tried my best, I made a revision and I came back / changed, so I would not say that after that encounter “I” survived. Turned my body into a shield. Opposite the whiteness / I became > a concave depression. But you don’t always perceive this. The way I resist / the bon bon of my oppression > A force. When everything I do feels like a mistake > I turn to my butchness. Not because I have been violated (though I have been / the instrument of my own degradation). If this is not the moment where I unknowingly write } my present / duress when I build the arsenal (then what is?)


(what it’s like to pretend)

Do you teach / Magical Realism? #NOT2NITE // Too bad (you could have been something). She wondered what. A performance artist / an astronaut / a banana leaf / a tarot card / the moment between what you wanted / and what you got >> For example, J.Lo in the Versace green dress with the plunging neck vs. my IBS – a triple threat >> ¡Carajo … Since when / did Fiction become the barometer / for “excellence”? Part rhetorical question, part polemic: Do you feel burdened (by the expectations of others) / Honestly, all the time >> ACTION: You, set the traps / then, take a laxative / my friend / who succeeded / where I had failed > convinced me that she was passing for something she was / not. I know / what it’s like to pretend > to shave your goat / to cross your legs / on demand / to want / an impersonal visage / to take the place of the past.

*   *   *

Lara Mimosa Montes is the author of The Somnambulist (Horse Less Press, 2016). Her poems and essays have previously appeared in BOMB, Fence, The Third Rail, and elsewhere. She is a senior editor of Triple Canopy and CantoMundo fellow. She was born in the Bronx.

The Latest

Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu is the author of the poetry collections Phrasis (Fence, 2017), winner of the 2016 Ottoline Prize, and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013). The recipient...