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J A C K E T   #   T E N  
O C T O B E R   1 9 9 9


Kate Lilley : Four poems


      (say) when

even the blossoming tips of fruit trees
weep when they taste the exceptional flavour

that last aperitif was too much
I'll throw up the late harvest and ruin the season

are those two sisters now or were they ever
why don't you just shut up and run the test

when I bite through the striped seam of the gel cap
it is bitter to the nth degree

      say so

the figures are up across the board
the columns look sorry and feverish

if I memorize your reasons
I'll have to love them

in the meantime let me buy your initials
and afterwards change the locks

when the gauge is lit it's busier
so make a fire and evaporate


For starters it's vexatious
a meritocracy

you might look like her
she might look like me

undulating brunette fixation
melting depositary

backyard wreck and salvage
mount of piety

      Starry Messenger

Mouthfuls of shame like an understudy
subigatrix voyage

my melody
my novelette
my secret solar system

courier of lightning's borrowed oeuvre
strolling fricatrice


Starry Messenger [Sidereus nuncius, Venice, 1610] is the title of a treatise by Galileo announcing the telescopic discovery of the satellites of Jupiter. Check out the virtual tour of Galileo's room:

(obs) subigate, v. Obs. [irreg. f. L. subigére (f. sub- sub- 26 + agére to bring) + -ate3.] trans. To knead or work up. ¶ 1657 Tomlinson Renou's Disp. 172 Stir them together . . that the whole masse may be subigated.

fricatrice [ad. L. *frictrc-em, fem. agent-n. f. fricre to rub.] A lewd woman. ¶ 1605 B. Jonson, Volpone, iv. ii, [A patron] To a lewd harlot, a base fricatrice. ¶ 1708 Motteux Rabelais v. v. 165 Ingles, Fricatrices, He-Whores. ¶ 1871 R. Ellis Catullus xcix. 10 Like slaver abhorr'd breath'd from a foul fricatrice.

[O.E.D. online. Neither entry glosses the lesbian implications of 'rubbing' and 'kneading', but certainly these were words used in the early modern period to connote improper, sodomitical (i.e. nonprocreative) contact between women.


Kate Lilley
Kate Lilley teaches at the University of Sydney, Australia. You can read her response to Bob Perelman's "The Marginalization of Poetry" in Jacket # 2 and three poems in Jacket # 9..


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