The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Marilyn McCabe’s “Perpetual Motion”

perpetual motion


I’m walking downtown under the ghost of a half moon in the day sky
and think, I’m on a planet circled by a moon surrounded
by other planets circled by other moons in a galaxy circling something
and surrounded by other galaxies circling, and I’m dizzy from it,
and wonder why we developed the consciousness to ask why
we developed the consciousness to ask why we developed
that consciousness, and if our brain has a center whose tendency
is toward believing in a higher power does that disprove the existence of God,
or prove it? So I get an ice cream cone, and why not,
and carefully lick around the edges, a great tongue moon
lapping the ice cream planet, a great God tongue forming the ice cream mind,
like a thought moving around and around making sure nothing
drips out of the cosmic cone and down the cosmic arm
to fall on the pavement like the ghost of a half moon in the day sky.

This selection comes from Marilyn McCabe’s book Perpetual Motion, available from The Word Works. Purchase your copy here!

Marilyn McCabe’s poem “On Hearing the Call to Prayer Over the Marcellus Shale on Easter Morning” was awarded A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize, fall 2012, and appeared in the Los Angeles Review. Her book of poetry Perpetual Motion was published by The Word Works in 2012 as the winner of the Hilary Tham Capitol Collection contest (available from Small Press Distribution, Her work has appeared in literary magazines such as Nimrod, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and Painted Bride Quarterly, French translations and songs on Numero Cinq, and a video-poem on The Continental Review.  She blogs about writing and reading at

Marika von Zellen has a BA in English and Creative Writing from Cornell College (no, not the one in Ithaca). She’s had poetry and fiction published in Open Field, Temporary Infinity, The Grin City Monthly, and the anthology Rock & Roll Saved My Soul. As an Editorial Assistant for Sundress, she’s copy-edited the book Picture Dictionary (2014); as a freelance editor she copy-edited the photography book Face It (2013). In the summer of 2012, she attended the Grin City Collective Artist Residency in Iowa. Besides writing, she enjoys theoretical physics, playing piano, ghost-hunting, climbing trees, and drinking good Czech beer. She’s also a scholar of Lewis Carroll.


2 thoughts on “The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Marilyn McCabe’s “Perpetual Motion”

  1. I absolutely love the cover, much better than most modern poetry covers. It reminds me of the good ole days, the amazing Grove and New Directions covers by Roy Kuhlman and Alvin Lustig, respectively.

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