Issue 16 · 2012




Making Need Known


by Lianuska Gutierrez





Is there a speech to learn to communicate no;

because he leaves the pinch-lipped swath of

bond immeasurable down low, and bleat and

nimble budging of lips (an animal feeding from

your palm, or empty zenned out chew of cud)

give way to stitch of words a chain mail or

politic nimbus to neon the way—a mansion armory

of names, a spill of walls of water named talk—

and as if nothing still gets said;

and nothing still gets done. 


“I need” is trade.  Is this human, or if one masters

the forms will the effort turned fluency make you

a sermoner and sail you back to paradise, to the

lift on shoulders—a cushioned litter on resting stilts,

with all swum in: provision; or was that bodiless

face bent over, with lips an incessant suckle on air,

built on toil, just hushed, a coo that tapes over

the mouth in two black bands that make an X. 


In that space, you were bounty and jeweled

calf without tricks to turn, without return,

without, Pay or have your knees buckled. 

Or must dire tellings swirl in a funnel

with the peep in an ear to guzzle what

you did not pour in, to mess your message. 


What can you dance us?  Give us a jig so we can

put nickels in your pants, pat lucre to crotch and

say “goodie,” this is your earn.  The girls in NY 

City brothels go to college and have rent to pay. 

The bunnies in the pet store only scream in pain;

but they piss before an audience just the same. 










Lianuska Gutierrez has her B.A. from Harvard University and M.A. from Fordham University, and she is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Missouri-Columbia.  Her primary area is creative writing (poetry), but she also focuses on twentieth-century American poetry and poetics, modern and contemporary Spanish poetry, Lacanian theory, and phenomenology.  She was a 2008 Saltonstall Poetry Fellow.