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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 10: October 2021
Poem: 140 words
By Madeline Artenberg

Crak, Bam

After he lifts my veil, 
the territory given me 
is orgasms like M-16s, 
bowling, crushed-
pretzel meatloaf. 

On Mahjong night, between 
one Crak, two Bam, 
talk of who has the biggest 
bedroom set, best vacations, 
best chance to get pregnant, 

I can’t say 
I’ve been sneaking around 
with my hippie sister, 
eating rice that isn’t white, 
riding my Brooklyn train 
to Washington Square 
anti-war protests. 

I can’t say 
I stopped looking up to him 
after he keeps his eyes closed 
during Ella Fitzgerald 
at the Rainbow Room, 
tells me he can’t 
get past her skin. 

I can’t say 
I stopped looking at him 
after he marches me 
to the Clinic, tells me to say, 
“We’re not ready.” 

I am ready to toss 
my veil, scorch earth. 

Footsteps barely 
on new ground—
I fall off the edge. 

Madeline Artenberg
Issue 10, October 2021

Before falling for poetry, Madeline Artenberg was a press-pass-carrying photojournalist and street-theatre performer. She has been co-producing the Alternative New Year’s Day Poetry Extravaganza in New York City since 2002.

Her work has been published in, among others: Rattle, Mudfish, theravensperch, The POET, Caprice, Literature Today International Journal, Absinthe Literary Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Pudding House, Salonika, Vernacular, and Ducts.

Her awards and prizes include:

  • Mudfish poetry prize: finalist (2020)

  • Best of the Net: poem nominated by Poets Wear Prada (2020)

  • Highland Park Poetry Challenge: honorable mention (2017)

  • Margie, The American Journal of Poetry contest: semi-finalist (2005)

  • Poetry Forum contest: 1st prize (2003)

  • nycbigcitylit/Lyric Recovery contest: semi-finalist (2001)
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