BathHouse Journal

Anna Vitale


Wearing a t-shirt, I had a lizard on my face. Watching dad.

“You killed me first” is an excellent place to start.

Passing thru letters

thru the key hole, passing the steeple

thru the church, flipping open

all the people

Tear a thousand

rhymes with

silver fish with

shiver filth with

shibboleth with


       Crane the neck
    of the word
over the porous
webbed feet

      Out of living he

      charged the estuary

      dosed the

pool with singing

thru the thigh each

night and the crib

each morning

Sought out sinking

in my sinking

way, my white boy eyes

my neat


the Poet draws out pain to make its efforts erect
from Parenthood pit the lie

head shaving glib
     off shells
sucking them free
     from acrid color

                   side back side front
           been sliced, been road
      spilled the cream of me
the tendered theme of me

What do you mean my “first”? My uterus is the size of a fist? I assume you’ll tell me if it’s upside down.
          (It’s upside down.)

          This theme of firsts—Rimbaud in New York—which aren’t even first; they’re Never, just like Joy Division in the US.

first ink carved
     out ugly
                            sheeps’ heads
                                              I poured                 the stairs
                                            down                            I poured
                                                                                    the whole

roach of it

So who’s in this movie?

Lung Leg, David Wojnarowicz, Karen Finley, and someone else.

The first thing I did was run away.

You found a cliff where you could suspend yourself.

Like the Roadrunner. Like that.

I like your house.

It’s Wojnarowicz’s.



I hear

Tell me something good.

terrible things about Indiana.

Tell me. Tell me. Tell me.

I have some terrible things to say

Tell me that you like it.

about Detroit.

I would like to hear them.

wearing fur, eating fur
eating deerheads and washing them down with squirrel flesh
and shaving our heads and putting a filter on
patching the eye with gauze and shoveling
a hole in the gallery, shooting a paint gun to spread around glue or milk

Call me the dead body man.

Who said that?


Bullseye! I’m Shaggy 2 Dope!

Did David Wojnarowicz even know about ICP?

That’s not the point. Painted nasturtiums never killed anyone!

Infinite consanguinity it bears—
The tendered theme of me


You Killed Me First!

                                                    that light
Retrieves from sea plains

You Killed Me First!

                                                   where sky
Resigns a breast that every wave enthrones


You Killed Me First!

from Hart Crane, Voyages

            There were bears there with chains around their necks just like that poem I wrote which was published in Model Homes. It starts off with two little organisms in an alley.

One of us went into the armed forces

The other wears a Rimbaud mask


Anna Vitale was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. earned an MFA from Bard College and a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. A poet and performer, Vitale is the author Anna Vitale’s Pop Poems (OMG! 2010), Unknown Pleasures (Perfect Lovers 2013), Different Worlds (Troll Thread 2017), andDetroit Detroit (Roof Books 2017). She lives in Brooklyn.