the poetry that matters

Karen Neuberg

Karen Neuberg is a former information specialist, public librarian, marketing researcher, and social worker. Her poems have recently appeared or are pending in Boston Literary Review, The Dirty Napkin, SLAB, Clockwise Cat, and Poems Niederngasse, among others. She’s a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, holds an MFA from the New School, and lives in Brooklyn, NY and West Hurley, NY with her husband.  They spend time in Canada whenever they can.


show teeth -
or budge that fat ass
click your dowdy heels;
pyrotechnics turn a mirror
to a moon. 
Contemplation alters
illumination, sets
your somber gown
Amber plum
over the soul
a sum of words
I refuse to make
a jig or dirge.  Instead
let the moon return to gong.



[Memory 4]

Memory can behave itself as though it contains the power to reproduce delicious pangs. As soon as you crave them, however, you find its body lacking and its mouth running off to someplace else. To assist, you suggest a trinity of excursions. At once, separate events lump into a globe surrounded by rotating rings, their orbits touching in a single spot, creating a road dense with briars. All that is visible are signs reminding that remembering is not the same as memory.


[Memory 5]

On this occasion, memory bathes itself on your inner mountain with a light older than day at sunrise. It promises a trigonometry of sensation, a performance of hands. Almost from nowhere, as though a magnifying glass was placed to enlarge detail, a cherished mouth appears, lingering over your surprised hunger. You find yourself looking into the oldest room in your life. And though you can place this in its exact spot, it disperses before delivering any content of desire.


Tactics of Regret

Wielding a carnage small
as the spoke of a word, slight
as the smell of contrast
between orange and lemon.
How deft its two feet – the right
pretending weight is consequence
while the left bullies grief into heft.
And all along the edges is the light
with its core of healing 

bleeding into its smallest remains.
Some hours it sleeps not on a shoulder
but beneath the earth, perhaps a garden,
perhaps a graveyard.  Longing to make
its own story your story forever, it raises
stakes at each success you claim.  Tacked
to even birdsong, even a child’s hand
managing a crayon to produce a bright
yellow circle on a page, even
allowing the heart to melt in love -  

it will come back to challenge every gain,
open wide and full, so stunning
in unexpected appearance
it almost stops you.


Talent Pool

So much bigger than I thought.  No, than even imagined.
Can you envision what that feels like – the indigo of an
envy containing itself in your intestines, secreting its
excreting eggs during discrete participations.  And there,
within closets that smell of cloves and bay, hidden high in the corner
of the upper shelf, the old toy dog drags its tail, growls at monsters
I hadn’t meant to invent, and weeps from an antiseptic rub. 
Links unimagined exist and there are even more than that.
Infinity, it turns out, does have a solid shape:
a stack stumbling over itself in attempts to be best.


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