Posts Tagged ‘ prose poem ’

Beyond “Lyric Shame”: Ben Lerner on Claudia Rankine and Maggie Nelson | Literary Hub

The rejection of linguistic integration and anti-expressionist attacks on the lyric subject have recently been described by Cathy Park Hong as a symptom of the avant-garde’s “delusion of whiteness,”

its specious belief that renouncing subject and voice is anti-authoritarian, when in fact such wholesale pronouncements are clueless that the disenfranchised need such bourgeois niceties like voice to alter conditions forged in history.

Source: Beyond “Lyric Shame”: Ben Lerner on Claudia Rankine and Maggie Nelson | Literary Hub

With a Petroleum Coating by Trace Peterson – Poems |

With a Petroleum Coating

Trace Peterson

The exoskeleton dries by the radiator. What is the usefulness of shells, as in putting them up to one’s ear to detect the poem? Isn’t it infringeable that we carry our mating rituals into teleology? Isn’t it lately that our mates don’t often insert parts? The problem, as if splashed onto canvas in a never-drying medium, isn’t it that we can be hurt from without as if by wifi, by rumor? By cell tower? By stork? Thanks for caring. The storks along the beach stand on one leg, and then slowly generously fly away, including me, like a teacher who warns against trying to make absent things present. What do all these little knobs on the console do? This one flies us straight into battle with a petroleum coating. This one parodies the last erotic feeling. This one entices us to have babies with the reader, sitting lax on a conveyor belt that suddenly falls off at the end into someplace decent. In your guest room, draped with necklaces, we feel thinner than a Mobius strip, real wolf fur rug inside and out, real antler chandelier. In your guest room we peel an alien tangerine.

Source: With a Petroleum Coating by Trace Peterson – Poems |

Knoxville: Summer, 1915, Agee & Barber –The American Scholar: Innocence and Loss

Susan Smith/Flickr

Samuel Barber’s Knoxville: Summer of 1915

Barber’s magnificent music is based on another magnificence — writer James Agee’s prose poem, Knoxville: Summer, 1915. A must read. – word pond


Source: The American Scholar: Innocence and Loss – Sudip Bose

Sabine Miller at otoliths

Sabine Miller


for D. Grey

A man spent one day and night hosing down giraffes and aoudads at the safari park; the preservation of wildness is something I cultivate; your absence is a cloud I take in as antidote; I prefer vapor to smoke because of the fires; I have yet to commit to a form or a position apart from my orbit of you and your obscuration-by-cloud — I disappear

and reappear endlessly for your salvation; a man spent one night and day of the fires with the zebras and antelopes, extinguishing, extinguishing: lost

his house to save his souls.


Source: otoliths

— C.D. Wright

Jean Valentine, Abridged

Valentine’s palette is mostly grey. Next comes blue (borage, cobalt, silk, robe, egg). Then white. Some inherent greens. But she draws most often from the greyer end of the grey scale. It could be manifest in a postmortem jaw, dusty glass, a sky, one degree Fahrenheit, a lone sock under a sickbed; the water is grey, and the long wall where one exits a car. Grey is the intermediate state she inhabits with no apparent effort. In the grey space, the bardo, the spirit starts to find shape, to find internal structure.

Source: — C.D. Wright

AUDIO – Franny Choi Reads From “Perihelion: A History of Touch” & & Editors Discuss – Poetry magazine, November 2017 issue

Perihelion: A History of Touch

Launch Audio in a New Window

wolf moon

No moon in sight, so I howled at the exit sign instead. Red runes, electric. Telling an old story of escape, of wind, a wide cold. A distant car alarm. Otherwise: the dark, and our bodies, two strange women trying to touch each other. Breathing strange. Moving toward or away from each other as the red ghost in the sky opened, called us gone, showed us the door to another world. Otherwise, the dark, and our mouths, tearing at what bones we could find. Grinning and hungry for something — something we couldn’t, with all our words, name.

snow moon

The magic where the streetlights turn the snow pink lasts only for the first night, the same way, maybe, a blanket loses track of its scent when it’s been touched by too many hands, or the way a body grays when too many feet have dragged their cigarettes and complaints through it. But for that one first night, everything cold- flecked and whispering was ours, the pink light ours, sent from some other world so we could, for a night, feel untouched. So we could feel like sugar—crumbling, and perfect for it.

worm moon

Like any girl, I pulled myself into shreds to test the rumor that something with blood like mine could be halved and still whole. And what did I learn? I buried myself all over the garden, but the pieces only sprouted into new riddles: squid leg, spaghetti squash, a jerking thumb. Their names still sounded like mine; everyone in the same dress, chewing dirt to avoid each others’ eyes. I lay down next to the one beneath the porch, hiding among the oyster shells. Don’t cry, I said, but she cried anyway. Her tears fell straight into my eyes. What a lesson—to watch them float back and forth between us until we knew each one’s shape. Until we knew, finally, what to do with them.

pink moon
Outside, the colors leapt from the trees. Here, inside, some new word was blooming in my underwear—darker than I’d expected. I’d expected something pink; a slow, sweet trickle. Not this wet tar, treacle, dark, like the blood had been stretching inside me for years, slow-building into a sticky chord, the first falling away. Soil’s been watered; come play. First stuck, first gum, first hum of pollen, calling in the bees and readying to wilt.
flower moon
Spring is the season of crying and seeing nothing. Of choking up on someone else’s trash. Barbed tennis balls that lodge wherever air’s supposed to go, nasal cavity homewreckers. All spring my lenses wrenched themselves from my eyes, jumped ship, spore-lined and furious. Everything melted and ran down my face. All the trees wanted my number. Sent fuzzy messengers to murmur in my ears: I get so afraid sometimes all I want all I want is. All spring I brushed confessions out of my hair. Tore the little letters apart and locked myself in the refrigerator, until the world promised to stop birthing such soft things
strawberry moon
The house was filled with the smell of it, the last misshapen, sweet-heavy berries of the season losing their shapes on the stove. The house was filled with the smell of fruit unbecoming, fruit pulled to its knees at fire’s feet. All summer long, the bushes had whispered take me, shown us all the places we could kiss if we wanted. And so, as the light died, we put our mouths on the least lovable, the too-full, the easy-bruised, we shouted, I choose you, and you, and you, and you, and canned that hunger, and spooned it into our mouths on the coldest days.
buck moon
Some of the cloven-hoofed things are good at leaping from one rock shelf to another without shattering. Good, in other words, at falling. I never trusted that ankles were any match for my body’s insistence on becoming earth again. So when I found myself on the cliff face, I knew it was dive or dust. A boy called to me from the bottom of the gorge, called me all the names he knew, and I stood frozen, wearing a crown of bones. The gravel laughed as it fled from my feet. I shouted down to the boy, Don’t try to milk me unless you’re fond of being kicked — buck and bray and jawbone. He responded, No, totally, sounds tough, how are you feeling?
sturgeon moon
I hid in his rivers and estuaries. I ate his wet earth’s crops. I grew plump for him. Grew egg-lined, thirty tiny hearts in my belly, fruit thumping with seeds. He pulled me from the mud. Laid me out in the sun. Opened me down the center. Scraped every dead daughter from my silly maw. I learned better next time. Next time, I grew three extra rows of seeds. Hid them in my mouth. Sharpened them to teeth.
harvest moon
Last winter, when we finally kissed under fluorescent lights, that was the seed we pressed between the ground’s lips. Then I laughed when the sky collapsed into pathetic rivers. Then I drank the dirt through my hooves, and liked it. Then I ate all the sun I could find. Though the weeds claw, sugar-starved, at my thighs. Though the sky casts over, cataract, callous, and the earth fumes as iron claws uproot the children’s children we keep warm in our bellies. Still, when the moon and the horses are fat on the horizon, still you’ll find me, arms heavy with eggplant, chard, tomatoes bruised blue, blushing kohlrabi till the kohlrabi’s gone. Will you pluck me before the dust does, root and all, radicchio tendon? I promise, I’ll feed no upright animal. Only the bees and the bees, beans sitting on the squash’s face. Will you turn your palms to the sky? Will you turn your palms to the prayer hunger makes? Will you feed and feed, and lick the bowl clean when we’re both full?
hunter’s moon
I picked up my own scent somewhere on the forest’s edge. Spoiling flour, holy basil, sweat. My oldest smell is the smell that still clings to pajama sleeves late into Saturday afternoon. Toothpaste, mixed with the musk of rest. I pressed my snout to the ground and breathed deep, watched the tendrils of my slug trail bloom blue, bioluminescent. I followed the maze, pushbrooming forest floor with face, followed the promise of a rapid heart. Don’t ask who’s the bloodhound, who’s the hare, when there’s a chase to be made: the clarity of a cardinal direction clicking into place. And: the quickening—the tendons that appear, sudden, when the distant, rabid howl of hunters rolls across the tree line, and you lift your head in greeting.
beaver moon
We made our home in the place where the water slowed. Yes. We flooded the plains until the landscape bloomed with wet. We stopped the tub. We drew a bath and called the river to its new, quieter life. Ring-builders. Kingdom carved. At the end of the line, we made our own place. Sure, from above, it looks like a snaking tail, headed by a circle. From here, in the mud, it doesn’t look like that at all. It looks like a world. Like a cleared space. Like everything that’s left when the trees soften and come, at last, crashing.
cold moon
Back below the ice. Back to
swim.    Seastar.    Creeping
brine.    We salt, sink.     We
pull down the cold.         We
pull  the  moon to our floor.
           Hello.       Waterstone.
Brinicle.  Cold-blooded and
still flesh.        Still    horned
       fingers groping the kelp
bed.       Still       salt.       Pull.
Everything  the  ice  touches.
Is ours.     Is quiet now.     We
sink  slow.          We pray still.
For moon.          We answer it
now. Ourselves.
These poems borrow their titles from the Farmers’ Almanac, which cites Algonquin origins; however, their correlations with any indigenous languages are inconsistent and unclear. Colonial knowledge makes for strange distances.

Franny Choi Reads From “Perihelion: A History of Touch”

Sabine Miller & Carole Kim :: otoliths issue 46 of the southern winter 2017

Sabine Miller & Carole Kim

Of Music Stands and Mushroom Breaths

I imagine Arvo Part gestating in a church bell and raised by a village of solemn angels. John Luther Adams in a mushroom patch. Annie Lennox at the airport. Nina Simone, the slow current of a cypress grove. Beethoven in the foreshadow of the bomb.

My neighbor’s mother grew up in Northern Germany during the war. When she was seven, her school was hit during an air raid. The teacher took most of the kids down to the basement shelter. My neighbor’s mother ran the other way, toward where her mother worked, toward where her mother was running toward her, a small grey figure amidst the leveled landmarks.

There’s that grainy video of a group of men in Syria digging out a tiny, buried child: They’re shouting directives and Allahs, swiftly clearing around first the head then the arms…It takes about six minutes, and the child touches his eye and whimpers and is whisked away. The men cheer, a birth from and to the brotherhood of dust.

I think James Brown was the magic bean planted in magic soil. Snarky Puppy came from democracy; Miriam Makeba, magma; John Lennon, our collective dream. The girl and her mother lived long, rarely apart after that day. Ghandi said something about becoming humbler than the dust. I want to be carved by a river. Ink lines fuse and spore.

Source: otoliths

Gabe’s Fiddle by Katie Yates


Gabe’s Fiddle by Katie Yates.

Scott Watson – Radiation Daze


Radiation is anxiety. Radiation is uncertainty. Radiation is being powerless. Radiation is not having a safe place to live. Radiation is having no where to go. Radiation is having no air to breathe no water to drink no food eat that is not radiation’s. These are radiation days. This is how it weighs though we can’t see or smell it.

This is how it’s ours to be of forever like some wicked fairytale curse.

Radiation eyes where is truth? Radiation love is unlivable lives. Radiation is Pre Traumatic Stress Disorder. Radiation is the way we’ll never be. Radiation dream disintegrates God. Radiation is living without hope. Radiation erases what afterlife you may believe in as it erases you the believer.

The radiation that can be seen is not the true radiation. The radiation that can be said is not the true radiation. Radiation is in our piss and shit. It’s in our sperm and eggs creating offspring to the earth’s end.

Radiation is a prefix for every word we utter. Even though we can’t hear it. Radiation is a never-ending suffix of contamination, the sound of words flapping in an on the beach wind. Radiation is the etymology of our existence.

– Scott Watson
July 2013
Sendai, Japan

Just Enough, by Donna Fleischer / contemporary haibun online

Just Enough

The river trail is flush with wild rose bushes. Flanked by them, their just enough scent, pale whites and pinks, kimonos slightly open

the folds
of the geisha’s robe
wild roses

Donna Fleischer
contemporary haibun online