Poor Claudia published poetry, prose and conversations online and in print from 2009 to 2018.

Jennifer Macbain-Stephens

poems inspired by Man Ray's film 1926 "Emak Bakia"

  • a simpler time for scientist music
  • arrogant grand jetty
  • a rotary phone
  • I bite my thumb at you sir
  • Adieu, Neptune
  • Shirt collar
  • circles

a simpler time for scientist music

an eyebrow pencil control group

burns glass test tube aphasia

mirror spin string theory

rotate a deux grandes stomach rumbling

automobile winter cascade dream

it’s this year’s model

to bleed out using

leeches and a bowl

Like the sow toiling for truffles

her high heel kicks record

tonal angles

graph ding a ling dips

steals a quartet cacophony

social knees curtsy

above the appropriate

Victrola note hem length

banjo licks an isosceles arm

over pebbles and gray grass

ghost shins scrape dance

off the walls

tow corners into next week

knee joint angst plucks the pluckiest

violins cannot keep up

see how dark the brow furrows

heaven’s light tucked into

catastrophe pocket

walk to your sitting room

head live streaming regret

arrogant grand jetty

brush fire flings cosmonauts ocean side

sea foam and short shorts calm

even the longest drawing room note,

our wiliest hour

cold carp flutters gills

those impatient hairdos

turntable dizzies and readies,

draws a bath zeitgeist

ancient runes rotate

forfeit and tremble

this Driver’s Ed test

coerces us to

tremble, forfeit,

and rotate

any semblance of vision

lost at the Capitol Hill

shapes multiply

deception buries hard hats

who destroyed your castle today?

the jumping man suit

the child’s fists

sign this and triplicate

a rotary phone

parlay brown eye

time travel into

white teeth

flicker the commercial

erase wire electrocution

your face is every

forsythia every bee

stung lip

annual rates drop

manual dial tones forsake

the silent muse slicks sly

cheeks burst like crystal

goblets land

a new time share

the waves swallow


I bite my thumb at you sir

this box

is a

hat box

which holds

a man’s

hat but

he signs

away his

hat box

for one

wooden nickel

one light

bulb one

pen, one

watch, and

one last

grasp at

his hat

which is

the sum

of his



Adieu, Neptune

water a hair shirt

see what grows

guilt buttons

rage sleeve

your own importance

cannot stand still

a constant reminder

you kissed first

my skirt has the flu

scalpel headache layers

with hot and cold compresses

gentle moth wings beat

the Ferris

wheel of doubt

whirling so fast

skinny ant legs

swing in time to the

Music of Chance

laughter too light

propagates outer space

sound bubbles

wishing away eyelashes

Shirt collar

a trapped swan is

crumpled Kleenex

don’t you see it’s

crisp wings

begging to flee

a sunburnt neck?

Stubble the little people

razor apathy

flying is an unforeseen



pushed into

a modern art


dreaming of suit jackets

to tuck itself in at night

faster and faster

flying poison dart

circus of cleanliness

sepia infused

tea manikin dust

this attire is gauche

a piano writes letters

to formal wear

light a candle

grow some malice

in a petri dish


are not hard headed

aloof hexagons

your pale oval face

collides into daffodils

no smelling salts needed

just curve lower backs into

a chaise lounge

cat eye glasses fog up

the doll

teeth grimace

snap fingers for

biscuits and tea, roll the dice

just to misdirect time

signage points this way to

the Plaza

that way to the first

polar bear club

minus the fur and paws

a thought bursts

into firecracker detritus

the exact moment

you ask a question about

God wearing a black

suit jacket with

white pin stripes

because he knows

how to dress for a funeral

or a Christening

or a small struggle under topsoil

Jennifer Macbain-Stephens

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in the DC area. She is the author of two full length poetry collections. Her chapbook Clown Machine is forthcoming from Grey Book Press this summer. Recent work can be seen or is forthcoming at Jet Fuel Review, Pith, Freezeray, Entropy, Right Hand Pointing, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Inter/rupture, and decomP. Visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com.