Daphne Gottlieb


Born
January 01, 1968

Genre


Daphne Gottlieb is a San Francisco-based Performance Poet.

Gottlieb has served as the poetry editor of the online queer literary magazine Lodestar Quarterly and was a co-organizer of ForWord Girls, a first spoken word festival for anyone who is, has been or will be a girl, which was held in September 2002.

She has taught at New College of California, and has also performed and taught creative writing workshops around the country, from high schools and colleges to community centers. She received her MFA from Mills College.

Photo by Marlo Gayle


Average rating: 3.91 · 1,276 ratings · 156 reviews · 24 distinct worksSimilar authors
Final Girl

3.99 avg rating — 181 ratings — published 2003
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Why Things Burn

4.23 avg rating — 163 ratings — published 2001
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Jokes and the Unconscious: ...

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3.76 avg rating — 180 ratings — published 2006 — 5 editions
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15 Ways to Stay Alive

3.97 avg rating — 110 ratings — published 2011 — 3 editions
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Kissing Dead Girls

4.27 avg rating — 131 ratings — published 2007 — 5 editions
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Fucking Daphne: Mostly True...

3.58 avg rating — 91 ratings — published 2007 — 5 editions
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Homewrecker: An Adultery An...

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3.59 avg rating — 68 ratings — published 2005
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Pelt

4.11 avg rating — 38 ratings — published 1999
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Pretty Much Dead

4.47 avg rating — 17 ratings — published 2015 — 2 editions
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The Big Click: November 201...

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really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 2 ratings — published 2012
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More books by Daphne Gottlieb…

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“you can take this mouth
this wound you want
but you can't kiss
and make it
better.”
Daphne Gottlieb, Why Things Burn

I KNEW IT WAS OVER

when tonight you couldn't make the phone ring
when you used to make the sun rise
when trees used to throw themselves
in front of you
to be paper for love letters
that was how i knew i had to do it

swaddle the kids we never had
against january's cold slice
bundle them in winter
clothes they never needed
so i could drop them off at my mom's
even though she lives on the other side of the country
and at this late west coast hour is
assuredly east coast sleeping
peacefully

her house was lit like a candle
the way homes should be
warm and golden
and home
and the kids ran in
and jumped at the bichon frise
named lucky
that she never had
they hugged the dog
it wriggled
and the kids were happy
yours and mine
the ones we never had
and my mom was

grand maternal, which is to say, with style
that only comes when you've seen
enough to know grace

like when to pretend it's christmas or
a birthday so
she lit her voice with tiny
lights and pretended
she didn't see me crying

as i drove away
to the hotel connected to the bar
where i ordered the cheapest whisky they had

just because it shares your first name
because they don't make a whisky
called baby
and i only thought what i got
was what
i ordered

i toasted the hangover
inevitable as sun
that used to rise
in your name

i toasted the carnivals
we never went to
and the things you never won
for me
the ferris wheels we never
kissed on and all the dreams
between us
that sat there
like balloons on a carney's board
waiting to explode with passion
but slowly deflated
hung slave
under the pin-
prick of a tack

hung
heads down
like lovers
when it doesn't
work, like me
at last call
after too many cheap

too many sweet
too much
whisky makes me
sick, like the smell of cheap,

like the smell of
the dead

like the cheap, dead flowers
you never sent
that i never threw
out of the window
of a car
i never
really
owned”
Daphne Gottlieb, Final Girl

MY MOTHER GETS DRESSED

It is impossible for my mother to do even
the simplest things for herself anymore
so we do it together,
get her dressed.

I choose the clothes without
zippers or buckles or straps,
clothes that are simple
but elegant, and easy to get into.

Otherwise, it's just like every other day.
After bathing, getting dressed.
The stockings go on first.
This time, it's the new ones,

the special ones with opaque black triangles
that she's never worn before,
bought just two weeks ago
at her favorite department store.

We start with the heavy, careful stuff of the right toes
into the stocking tip
then a smooth yank past the knob of her ankle
and over her cool, smooth calf

then the other toe
cool ankle, smooth calf
up the legs
and the pantyhose is coaxed to her waist.

You're doing great, Mom,
I tell her
as we ease her body
against mine, rest her whole weight against me

to slide her black dress
with the black empire collar
over her head
struggle her fingers through the dark tunnel of the sleeve.

I reach from the outside
deep into the dark for her hand,
grasp where I can't see for her touch.
You've got to help me a little here, Mom

I tell her
then her fingertips touch mine
and we work her fingers through the sleeve's mouth
together, then we rest, her weight against me

before threading the other fingers, wrist, forearm, elbow, bicep
and now over the head.
I gentle the black dress over her breasts,
thighs, bring her makeup to her,

put some color on her skin.
Green for her eyes.
Coral for her lips.
I get her black hat.

She's ready for her company.
I tell the two women in simple, elegant suits
waiting outside the bedroom, come in.
They tell me, She's beautiful.

Yes, she is, I tell them.
I leave as they carefully
zip her into
the black body bag.

Three days later,
I dream a large, green
suitcase arrives.
When I unzip it,

my mother is inside.
Her dress matches
her eyeshadow, which matches
the suitcase

perfectly. She's wearing
coral lipstick.
"I'm here," she says, smiling delightedly, waving
and I wake up.

Four days later, she comes home
in a plastic black box
that is heavier than it looks.
In the middle of a meadow,

I learn a naked
more than naked.
I learn a new way to hug
as I tighten my fist

around her body,
my hand filled with her ashes
and the small stones of bones.
I squeeze her tight

then open my hand
and release her
into the smallest, hottest sun,
a dandelion screaming yellow at the sky.”
Daphne Gottlieb, Final Girl

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The Next Best Boo...: Poetry 54 176 Nov 30, 2008 08:57PM  


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