This poem appeared in the May 2012 issue of City Arts Magazine.
Driving around in my stolen car of lines ripped off from old hip-hop, I am the ripe women in aging bikinis. Most of these bikinis are yellow. These asses are not joking around. Stop, drop, and jiggle it. We are pushing the limits of a standard zipper. Each and every one of my selves is doing her part on this fine Sunday afternoon, swiping a debit card at the gas station for something cold wrapped in a paper bag, with which we will vaguely pretend to be stereotypically French, clicking heels and all. Our imaginations will elongate our limbs, we will stretch out on them like cats monorailing branches, our long invented fingers (hello, old friend) flicking some very real debris off the park bench.
“Ode to Flotation Device: Stroke Pull” was first published in DESIRE and FLOTATION DEVICES: A Vis-a-Vis Society Study and Field Notes inspired by the art of Debra Baxter and was accompanied by a series of interactive surveys and reports via song and overhead projector at her “I want you to want me” opening at Ballard Fetherston Gallery in 2005. It appeared in The Monarch Review in April 2012.
ODE TO FLOTATION DEVICE: STROKE PULL
You forced my head down.
I force the head down.
I describe thou as torture.
I am wetly discarded.
You caused me to struggle.
Held tightly, not looked at.
Make broad mine shoulders.
I am the truth of weak shoulders.
Thou didst strengthen my stroke.
Reviled for your weakness.
Grasped between thighs.
Between countless thighs.
My reliance on legs.
I cradle your legs.
Thou revealed my dependence.
I bind and I strap.
I didst look for thou.
I force the head down.
This pantoum formed a link in the Poetry Chain that Paul Constant set off on The Stranger’s SLOG. Thanks to Sierra Nelson for tagging me!
After the Party Pantoum
Working that walk so hard it hurts,
it hurts, walking home in someone else’s high heels.
You were who you were before you came here —
a small animal, wandering, a drink in your hand.
It hurts, walking home in someone else’s high heels
so leave them by the road, a small monument to failure, leave them
to the curious small animal. Wonder — what was in that drink?
Work that barefoot walk in the rain.
Left the road for a small moment. Failed to leave
when, clearly, you’d had enough.
Work that barefoot walk in the rain
while you run through every stupid thing you said and did.
Clearly, you’d had enough —
enough to walk right up to him and
run through every stupid thing you said and did
and then apologize.
Enough! Walk right up to him and
give him a great big kiss
and then apologize
for bringing the party.
So you kissed him. Great.
You were who you were before you came here.
You brought the party and now you’re
working that walk so hard it hurts.
This poem was featured in The Far Field thanks to Kathleen Flenniken, Washington State’s Poet Laureate.
Parade of Fences
Donkey Fence. Brown Corduroy Suit Holiday High-jumping Fence. Cyclops’ Golden Grasses Fence. Spying Bushes Fence. Teenage Angst and Loneliness Fence. Tangerine Bikini Fence. Masking Tape and Wrath in Shared Bedroom Fence. Ancient Stone Fence. Family Religion Fence. Electric Fence. No Fooling Barbed Wire Fence. Angry Bull On the Other Side of This Fence Fence. Creaky Chainlink Gate Leading to Unplanned Pregnancy Fence. Falling Down Fence. Fence for Napping. Fence Without Hope. Wet Phone Books Fence. Garden Hose Wielded as Weapon Fence. Hedge Full of Surprising Thorns Fence. Invisible Fence. Useless Deer-proof Netting Fence. Bad Dog Barking Fence. Idealistic Fabric Hung By Hopeful Young Mother Trying to Be a Writer Fence. Small Children Hanging from Mother’s Limbs (Including Accidental Labial Grab) Fence. Horrible Grin Fence.
59 Goodbyes was published January 2013 on Poetry Northwest‘s website. I wrote it during an experiment conducted in the Vis-a-Vis Society’s laboratory.
Goodbye writing overly serious poems
Goodbye taking everything so seriously
Goodbye making everything into a joke
Goodbye dog poop in the basement
Goodbye talking shit while doing naught
Goodbye pee in the wrong place
Goodbye credit card debt
Goodbye hip-hurting shoes
Goodbye cold feet
Goodbye shed dog hair drifting
Goodbye drinking wine too quickly
Goodbye hoarding thriftstore clothes
Goodbye feeling sad about being fat
Goodbye fitness fantasy
Goodbye falling asleep while driving
Goodbye too-tight pants
Goodbye taking it personally
Goodbye impulse control
Goodbye yelling in the morning
Goodbye worrying about silences
Goodbye smiling reflexively
Goodbye waking up at 2:00 a.m.
Goodbye waking up at 4:00 a.m.
Goodbye fear of the internet
Goodbye cussing out technology
Goodbye rough draft
Goodbye subsequent draft
Goodbye messy desk
Goodbye disposable contacts worn for 5 months
Goodbye Sunday afternoon blues
Goodbye tired all the time
Goodbye talking about tired all the time
Goodbye busy business
Goodbye telling stories with no point
Goodbye old bra
Goodbye mindless mastication
Goodbye panic attacks in art museums
Goodbye search for authentic self
Goodbye fashion identity crisis
Goodbye terrible, overpriced cheeseburgers
Goodbye composite French fries
Goodbye uncurated piles
Goodbye IKEA storage solutions
Goodbye giant to-do list
Goodbye broken turntable
Goodbye muddy sound
Goodbye never-worn sweater
Goodbye single sock heap
Goodbye pitying narrative