Amy Gerstler

February 20, 2023 Gerstler Amy



Hey, maybe the time has come to empty
your closet, get rid of your casual, business
and formal attire, now that social occasions
have all but evaporated. Here’s a nun’s habit
and a negligee. That should suffice, plus a sprig
of parsley to tuck behind your ear like a Gardenia
if you feel you must dress up during captivity.
Perhaps this sparse, nervous mustache (stickum
included) will also prove useful, for when
your boxers or panties torque into that frisky
sexual twist which means a code switch
is looming. That should do it for costumes
in your theatre for one. If you want to evoke
a nostalgic mood, here’s a link to staticky
radio music, and some video projections
of tree ring data for backdrop. Those were
heady years, weren’t they? Meaning all
of human history. Flocks of goddesses,
their tarry mascara running. Professors
in togas which were always ‘accidentally’
falling open. Naked underneath, they
preached from temples or capital steps,
claiming you’d been misled by your previous
teachers. Then they went ahead and misled
you afresh, dredging up old prejudices dressed
in new uniforms, panting out panicky rants
(while pretending to hold their togas closed)
rants of which this is but one example.

Amy Gerstler has published thirteen books of poems, a children’s book and several collaborative artists books with visual artists. Index of Women, her most recent book of poems, was published by Penguin Random House in 2021. She is currently working on a musical with composer/actor Steve Gunderson.