A Poem by Martha Boss

I have known Martha Boss at Out of The Blue Art Gallery since Feb. 2014 when Out of The Blue was in a small shop-like place on prospect avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We have only exchanged of few words and listened to each other read. I know very little about her at a personal level. The old Out of The Blue place had a gothic aura that filled me with lots of apprehension. The small place looked more like a barber’s than an Art Gallery; hadn’t been to the paintings, the eccentric crowd, the dogs, cats, dog-wolves no one would have made me believe otherwise. I continued to visit Out of the Blue since it has moved to to a much more bigger place on Mass. Avenue where I see Martha each time I am there. The Gallery however kept its aura and artistic enigmas and so did Martha. Her last name ‘Boss’ belies all truths about her. Martha is one hundred percent a warrior who holds her arms concealed in order not to inflict a visible harm on self or others. One thing of which I am sure, she is no Boss but rather someone who defies the boss. Her very calm tedious voice denotes exasperation while her acidulously stringent words sketch a ridiculously satiric image of an almost Walter Mitty speaker. Other times all you hear is a very routine picture of a person rumbling their thoughts to an involved audience that is a continuum to themselves, while shopping, doing the dishes or lounging on a chair among a crowd each of whom is self-absorbed in their own meditation that tunes to Martha’s very bored tone who knows how to draw them in a very meticulously dark ridiculously funny image. Structurally, Martha’s poems conjure e.e. coming to the point that one might visualize him watching over her shoulder wagging his finger whenever she attempts to place a coma, full stop or capital letter where a linguist expects. In other words, her pieces are what one can call free verse with no ” accurate” observance of punctuation and a rather strong inimical attitude towards capitalization especially the ‘i:’ the self. So let’s get hold of ourselves, sit and listen for Martha Boss who might be everything else but a Boss is on the Mic:

Get hold of yourself

it looks so easy to be a flower
while we struggle with so-called self
that petaled thing makes its easy bloom

the self is slippery slope,
you need shoes with good tread,
you need a compass.
it has to have a needle
which always has to point to self,
keep it whith you in a pocket
of a jacket that suits you.

most of the time ourselves are lost
lost in the person close to.
if you’re in love, forget about it
& the compass.
ditto, if you’re a new mother.

when you’re saying uh-huh a lot
& the smiling agreeably & not meaning it
the self cringes & hides with embarrassment
& might not show up for some time.
this happens too if yo have a job you hate
but love the money

& you think you can call the self back anytime
& you put it on hold
&you play that maddening music
& think it will hold forever
& you thing that’s ok you’ll hold forever
& it gets tired of waiting and hangs up
& you thing that’s ok you’ll get back to it
⁢s not there, it’gone
the self is why death is such a problem,
how to take it with you but leave some behind.
& when you’re near closing time
it’s hard to remember what it that is you.

this morning I bought a dozen eggs.
the cashier said did you open the box
& check them
i said yes & she went on to explain
how she knew a woman had bought a box of eggs
& upon opening it a lot of feathers flew out.
& said a box should never have
feathers init.
but it seems to me it’s the chicken’s way
of saying itself. It didn’t just lay eggs
there was a time when it could fly

the unconscious tyrant.
a sneaky dream.
& it’s like quantum mechanics.
somewhere else as soon as it’s here
which means as lot of people are having
the same crazy dream
& a multitude of shrinks are simultaneously
getting their 45 minutes of ” I see”.
or this illusive self might simply just
be that sound you hear
when a flower opens.


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