Karen Neuberg







Waving its Shaky


There–that one. Waving its shaky.

Rolling its perky, stroking its regular size.

Extolling an unsaid, an undone, a redone, a hash

of a batch, a piece of this thought and that, lackadaisical

and smashing, downy and sequined, a mosaic

from beach glass rubbed smooth by time.

It can shimmer all it wants. Or simmer (it’s summer!)

or hide in a tank. Soft cola edges already dissolving.

Hole in the middle spreading to fingers. Lifting the sheer

weight of the hour. And promising, promising

it will reveal in a singular shine.


 (originally appeared in Storm Cellar)





Summoning Stones: Instructions and Narrations


I will search the reality of you beyond the accident of time

Isamu Noguchi




Within a dish, they overlap and sleep. Wake them and lay them in a circle. Lay them in a line.  Pass them from hand to hand. Touch them to your most pallid parts. Lick them. Call them. Call them in tongues. Set them in the sun. Set them in bowls of water. Summon them to repeat what they first spoke to you that made you pick them up.




Notice the brown eye on my edge, sculpted by a break. Whoever danced on me did so outside the circle. Lonely, and no real stone, I am a Druid yawn. My heat fills a portion of your palm with memory, tongued and light. I slept under the moon, entered by distances. Every kind of time poured into me. I give you the code built upon the plain.

Broken-walkway stone, Salisbury Plain, near Stonehenge


Twin singers. Pillars of salt. What memory heard during the last cycle when you called the storms by rubbing us together. Now we make you thirst. As we grow, we fill with bruises. If you drop us, we could bore a single, silent hole. Always return to our voice, as though we are a ladder. What we cannot teach you is too new.

Crystal twins bought from a street vendor, East Village


Whoever touches my fish lips with their mouth will never underestimate both sides of a heart.  Taste the salt I inherited. Use me to outline. Press me until the world seems flat. Seize my scales and use me under night. You hope you will never lose me for you feel nearly perfect as I run smoothly over your skin.

Black, heart-shaped stone, Bar Harbor


I am an egg designed in creation. What can you do with me except hold me on my back. Inside, I contain the sound of the beginning. Toss me, I will infer what you wonder. Read my lines, my fine, coarse grain as though you use wind as a finger to stir sand and water into design. Like you, I too am only now.

White oval stone with brown markings, Dead Sea


 (originally appeared in PoetryBay)






There’s a whole convertible articulate

continuously conversing

around me. In the hinge mountain

where I sat pouring salt.

In the luncheon

crowd where no knowledge is too small.

Wet my finger to catch breeze

and I’m up, running to keep up.

Location, locution, or the right cute top.

Once the spell is cast

nuance holds me thrall–charmer

barging in, flaring–the way a knot

of pitch explodes to frenzy

fire blazing lazy.


 (originally appeared in Blue Fifth Review)






An erroneous flashback

builds the first step


of what becomes

the centerpiece of the entrance hall


in your house’s home.  Your base perception,

a holy ring inviolate.


Some days, you wake wondering

why you feel constricted,


but the busy takes the day

and soon you can’t recall.


This, too, becomes a tier

under which you’ve buried something


you know,

but don’t know what.


 (originally appeared in Right Hand Pointing)






Imagine if we could look at that first event on which all our future decisions about
the way the world responds to us have been incrementally based.  And imagine if this invisible chain between now and then could be captured with a time-exposure camera onto film small enough to view the entire progression


but also large enough to record it.  If that were possible and we could clearly see
the continuum of any one response, trace it backwards (this might require a crawling under, or regurgitating all the flowers we’ve ever smelled, or returning rooms to dark from switches pressed to bring light);


what we view might resemble Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase, or Muybridge’s Animal Locomotion, or another variation, not yet done, not yet conceived, our very own; and we might get so caught up in the design we forget to return with full gaze upon our first face revealed from under what we have become.


(originally appeared in Elixir)




Tremendous Idea


Then a tremendous idea flashes its backside

at you in the dark.  You hear its raspberry tongue

sound a dare.  If you fall into dream, you’ll lose

the scent, lose the string you’re conscientiously

following over scree that is under your feet.

You feel the grip of sleep pulling you

hard, down into a familiar garden

where the tremendous idea is praying for you,

praying you find it on every sheet, divining

a redemption, dancing under a floodlight

of rain, willing itself to spin out of control

onto the floor of your four-chambered beat.

Secrets pass hands there, and ideas are wild.


 (originally appeared in Superstition Review)














Karen Neuberg lives and writes in Brooklyn, NY and West Hurley, NY. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Big City Lit, DIAGRAM, elimae, Otoliths, and Pirene’s Fountain. Her chapbook, Detailed Still, was published by Poets Wear Prada. She holds an MFA from the New School and is associate editor of First Literary Review-East. Links to her work can be found at karenneuberg.blogspot.com


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