Emily Bludworth de Barrios


Being pretty is how a museum feels

Being pretty
is how a museum feels

All the money
located in one firm spot

someone owns a mansion and they invite everyone to the mansion

To sometimes
drink wine and listen to smart people think smart things

Wearing perfume
or cologne and spare jewelry and black clothes and shaved legs and clean hair

is a museum the location where it’s luxury to gather and hear intelligent things

to drink wine in a rarefied mansion where even the common people

Can see
pretty things and drink

The common people
exist together among the pretty and expensive things

Having and learning
an expensive way to be or think

I mean
it’s a benefit and it’s expensive to learn intelligent thoughts and to be among luxury and beneficial and intelligent things

Like being a color
or a special object in a museum

To be pastel or aqua
or an intense and antique blue

Pretend there is
a mansion with a lawn strung with lights for an evening party

And we are
in that party and the light is dimming and in the sky

I am talking about
that color of blue

In a museum
you experience that kind of feeling feeling like a light which is deep nuanced or curved

Again it is lucky
that the wealth has been gathered so generously to one firm spot

A museum
is a mansion for where the common folks to sometimes live

And in so living
have a chance to think some rarefied thought

It is a feeling
when one is in a museum when it is evening and deep blue


"Being pretty is how a museum feels" first appeared in The Nervous Breakdown. It is also included in the chapbook WOMEN, MONEY, CHILDREN, GHOSTS (Sixth Finch 2016).

I would pray to heaven to clear up your uncharitable surmises

I always knew I would
marry a rich man.

You think I am joking.

I assure you I am not.

You wonder about my moral

I sometimes and sometimes
don’t have one.

I assure you that you are
better than me,

thinking your good

which are impossible for
me to even conjure.

I can’t even find examples
of them,

you and your good thoughts

appearing like milk and
green beans

on a supper table.

I always knew I would
marry a rich man

or else inherit a rich pot
of money,

which is actually true,

the family trust sits
obscurely in the bank

(but in my mental
framework it gains more and more concreteness

like a Caribbean island
growing more and more detailed

in the plane’s window).

It assures freedom from a
certain kind of base suffering.

As a girl

I thought the richness
would be an inheritance from a long lost uncle

(I received this from a
book I read),

then from a prince
(another book),

then maybe a discovery
that I was the princess (another book),

then for a long time I knew
I would never receive wealth in this way.

It was not wealth I was
after but more like acclaim or arrival.

How beguiling is the sense
of unearned accomplishment.

That is something at which
one cannot fail.

I always knew I would
marry a rich man

and then I did.

Andres thinks it’s gauche
to talk about assets and investments in front of strangers and friends.

This money to me is a cave
of glittering orbs.

An assuredness of what I may
do in this life.

I live in a fantasy land
and nothing is this simple.

Of course Andres would
never use the word gauche.

He lives and things happen
as they are.


"I would pray to heaven to clear up your uncharitable surmises" first appeared in B O D Y. It is also included in the book of poems SPLENDOR (H_NGM_N 2015).

using their gentle violence to stop and calm

Now that we are trying to get

A zygote continuously divides in
my abdomen

Inside my body it is another

Etc etc it is very dark

Asteroid is also another universe

He has six nipples and will never
have kids

Though he would make a good

And would be soothed I know

By six plump kittens suckling his

And kneading it with miniature paws

He practices this laying on his
side with eyes half closed

And has the gruff and fixed attitude
of a mother

Now that we are trying to get

Now it is a time in life
where one gets very

Superstitious with words and

Like as if each could jinx
but I am like as if stepping into water

Windy leaves windchimes toads
at night

Something very tranquil

Science is happening inside my

And I’m so casual

Like someone who never worries
about nothing

Not the stove, not zygotes

Just taking a walk at dusk around
the block

And making sure the dogs have

Becoming not so important


Now that we are trying to get

embark upon the misty path

One mythic brave humble hero

Feeling his way throughout
the world

I am sifting my values

As if to keep them in a

Or articulate them in an
irrefutable way

Like a math formula that’s true
for all the situations

A rock among variables

A rock among the hard quick


"using their gentle violence to stop and calm" first appeared in Tender. It is also included in the book of poems SPLENDOR (H_NGM_N 2015).