Betsy Fagin






  oppressive fantasies
at play

 driven by scratch
and caress
        stab, hammer

small motors control
  spoons, shoes, suitcases

mercury coal around
and round: the handicraft world
  smiles its own cage;

as a vertebrate’s poise before collapse.
          a shimmering wake
(entrapment, escape.)

boundaries in the plastic mind
          are fetters
to open thinking–

mark bed sheets with
cello strains

another blue portal
          chalked in. floating
a pond onto the wall.

spatial imagination
          dimensions variable
only to achieve their result.




thoughts upon the style of architecture


sullen system of indifference
irresistible security

the building in question
to all proportion.

the loss we have
sustained, destruction
by fire, the field

that calamity has opened
improved taste.

clothed in the times,
a language so powerless
shall fail.





outside elements


I fear rust.
a sordid disguise for the emptied self that
condoned faceless gangs trumpeting the tragic.
a collision.
a sudden collective shroud,


resins of polyester,
glass fiber, foam core
structure of the natural world.
allow for retrieval of
speckled repose,
the numinous


            shallow space.
an assertive field
reconciled indulgence with mutation.
the elements flattening, flattering each other


polished brass lapses
into welded steel
subjugated to personal ends.


lends form to
unhewn marble. sniffs at
the snuff bottles,
educated doubt.




housework is a pleasant game


the ideal home:

  • stability and shelter from constant flux
  • a busy yet leisured life
  • a nation of gardeners and housewives
  • long walks in the country
  • the reading of the newspaper and baking of the bread


many women have no homes

  • home as site of citizenship
  • conservative and respectable ordinariness
  • uninspiring chairs and monotonous tables







a fantastic seizing of reality–
taking the real by surprise,

a field is vanishing
in reversed depth into
materialized transparency.

circling around oneself,
there is no equivalent in the mirror
no luminous clone, dead twin.

the never born watches over
as concentrated light
and abstract scalpel–

all the force of evidence
is true, is truly




Betsy Fagin's work appears in a variety of journals including Fence,
How2, the tiny, Van Gogh’s Ear, Women’s Studies Quarterly and Word
. She is the author of For Every Solution There is a Problem
(Open 24 Hours, 2003) and Rosemary Stretch (dusi/e-chap, 2006) as well
as a number of self-published chapbooks.

Back to Issue           LRLhome