Noelle Kocot

Noelle Kocot

Fly on the Wall

What will this time bring us?
A foil cup to drink out of,
A hirsute marsupial jumping up
And down to greet us?
I cannot write a sonnet.
I just don’t feel the love.
Autumn is strange,
And depresses me immensely.
But today, I don’t feel depressed,
I just feel like that fly
On the wall,
Listening to everything and everyone,
From my standpoint
Which is vague
And very, very small.

When I’m Not Obsessing Over the Collapse…

…of the World Economy, the Protests and the Fate of the Poor, I Write Poetry
Unconscious spilled all over the place,
Aquarian Age,
Aquarian Age,
Go figure it out, fast,
Before it all happens.
Taxing the very rich
And the corporations
Won’t even help that much
Over the long term,
Though it is right and just.
I prefer to meditate
On the chrysanthemums
Drying up like seaweed
On the porch.
There is no place to go,
Nothing to do
Just write, for nothing,
For no one.

The Sun at 10 o’clock

I claim back the territory,
I shake myself of the thing
That has followed me all my life.
You are a friend
To claim it back with me.
I can see so little.
Why can’t I write a sonnet?
This is why:
My hair, purple in this sun,
Has not been touched,
But the wind has grazed it
A little, and I’m only collecting
The shards of collateral damage
In a little cup
I hold out, but not for money,
For the wanting to piece
Together quilts and quilts
Of the obligation
To go on living with my sore
Shoulders and pent up
Stomach, and eyes full of
Sorrow, laughter, and the thousand
Yard stare that is with me
Now, ageless and timely,
And what persists
Has threatened to fall and yet
It never, ever does.

On the Subject of my Poetry

Dark, dark, dark! That’s what
It amounts to. See the life of flowers.
See how they live without me.

Just Now

I lay on my bed weeping.
I thought, I have too many poems,
And I don’t know what that means.
Maybe it means I have so much
Pent up emotion that has no chance
Of getting out otherwise.
I wept some more. I thought
About all of the things said behind
My back, but which were carefully
Shielded from me, God only knows,
So mental, or she used to be so pretty,
Or lazy/agoraphobic/cat lady/druggie,
Only half of which are true. I was feeling
Really sorry for myself, and so I
Wept some more. I thought of how
I got a Tarot reading at 23, and the
Last card was the widow’s card,
A woman in her bed at night,
With her hands over her face,
Nine swords above her headboard.
Something resonated (when I kissed
Him for the first time I saw a flash
Of his early death), and I just went on
Anyway, acting like we had forever.
Forever is not relative. I laughed.

For a Friend I am Getting to Know

Joy indiscriminate, husbandless, flowered
Like a two-toned apple
Or a pear rotting in the sun.
The cornstalks are fine today,
Splayed into rings around the lamps,
Or whatever you call those things.
Not shaken, not shaken, the joy expands
Into a Hegelian nightfall,
Where the cusps wander away on their
Own sarcastic feet.
O, if I could save the world,
O, if I could save the world from itself,
I wouldn’t be here, all shut up and away.
Go forth, my bivalved friend,
Go forth into the daylight,
Where you belong with the others,
Not packed into the ice around my heart.

Dear _________________,

Danger of each mirror, the hour is like
Mortar. Ethereal whore in the gene pool,
I’m trying to do my best not to think of you.
The reason why we are waves is projected
Onto the lungs, where we thirst in public.
Buried in front of what we tear from roots,
I wanted to taste a little of your skin
Against my lips. You come to me and tell
Me that my hands are thick ropes that burn
Your wrists. The parlance of a bruised
Apple grows inside a bottle. Look, I don’t
Want to dredge things up, and what surfaces
Is only the marrow of my bones. Can you see
The future? For me, a mutable rainbow persists.


I’ve lost sight of you, smothered serenade.
The night is a candy dish, perfumed by
Shadows. The heart burns with the mouth’s
Light. On the backbone of ambiguity stands
A pale body. The heart keeps beating,
The lungs drown in inherent symmetry.
I miss the salt that pours out of my wounds,
I miss the apology, inherent in the air around
Them. I brought us here, in the twilit
Collateral, architecture on its head. A common
Name is like a chord looking through a camera.
At what? The humming in the wind
As you step, or suddenly tumble, what else
Is there to know? A liar singing to the grass.

Love, Or

We spend a lifetime waiting for it to happen,
And once it does,
It can never happen again that purely.
Come to me like cancer O my Plato!
What happens is,
It makes us more lonely in the end,
The heart-shaped weapon
That does not crawl on its knees.
I am going somewhere far away
One day.
I am going to eat the fruit of another country,
While my wounds gasp and shriek
And the letters of my name are rearranged
To spell something beyond the madness
Of a second chance.

The Said

My soul is all lit up! And these jarring
Persuasions of the netherworld hold it
Together. In the full flush of autumn,
In the full flush of autumn, I go by like
A firefly, masking its lunar intentions
Like a cracked bird’s wing. Hello! I,
Too, am an animal, touch me–I’m alive.

Chaos is Infinite

And if a woman goes quietly
About her business,
Eating sweat, begging for mercy,
And then stops awhile
To smell a flowering plant
On a porch
In a no-man’s land, far from
What she knows,
The whole world will split
Open and rain down snot
From the skies
That eat us for lunch,
While decay sprouts from
The pretty things,
And time moves on, never
Twice the same
In the river that runs through us.

The Effort That It Takes

Tongue circling back upon itself,
This sharp fire is pristine. What
Discord remains? What splinters
But does not hurt? All of us lachrymose
Against this building, all of us domain
With ancestors abounding. Distilled
End of a leaf. Dislocated solitude
Of a wire fence. He who resists
Would at least like to feel better.
I might be either one, the coolness
Dripping down, the eaves covered
In whitewash. I need what? A fake
Yet instructive apron. A period piece
That inclines me to get really sad.

Maturity in Indian Summer

This feeling has made me more human,
And in the scarring heat,
And in the dasein of crabgrass,
I have become created.
Who thinks and who dares to think
Is off limits to the mouth that opens
For a moment,
And then closes on its incompletion.
I am completely naked.
I am the breath on a sign, a signifier
Dancing, alacrity in the sheen of
A fully-birthed word.


Noelle Kocot is the author of five collections of poetry, most recently, The Bigger World (Wave Books, 2011), and a book of translations of some of the poems of Tristan Corbière, Poet by Default (Wave Books, 2011). Her previous works include the discography Damon’s Room, (Wave Books Pamphlet Series, 2010), Sunny Wednesday (Wave Books, 2009) and Poem for the End of Time and Other Poems (Wave Books, 2006). She is also the author of 4 and The Raving Fortune (both from Four Way Books). Her poems have been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2001 and Best American Poetry 2012. She is the recipient of awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Academy of American Poets, The Fund for Poetry and the American Poetry Review. She currently lives in New Jersey.

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