Sometimes your body is not a wonderland. Sometimes your body wants to be wrapped in clothing or bedsheets or not the arms of someone who will no longer know your name.
I have authored a devil in me to cull in meto lace these boots with rainbows and wade the bogs to Breathe smoke in the cryogenyBreak dismal syntaxof existing as abomination — from “Lottery” Think back to before the digital sky overshadowed the world. Think back to small hands, poppy seeds, summer scenery, vermillion skies,…
There is not a right or wrong way. There is only advice. There is only a suggestion of what you might need – if you were here, and I was not alone.
Music provides a table of contents for life. It doesn’t always make sense, but it’s the order of things and it tries to present some pretty scenery.
When language and bodies and heritage and history don’t make sense, it’s not easy to find yourself within the world. When the words your family speak turn to those once spoken. When your parents silence your voice, and all you want to do is remember the sound of theirs.
What do you do when you have a sentence where the same 10 years acts as the minimum and maximum? When there is no light? A spoonful of food? Pepper sprayed and left without water for weeks? You pace in your cell.
It’s the wondering if we have purpose or if we are allowed to change, or if we are stuck with the who that we are even we are not who thought we could be.
Because at first we are skeletal; we crack, break, and hurt; we lose and win, and lose again until the only choice we have is to either heal, or heel.
“…the attitude and actions of horses have not changed. They live, love, falter, get dragged around, manipulated, fed, ridden, and eventually buried. Sound familiar?”
Sometimes we forget that when we say “I love you” to someone, it is life changing. It affirms and confirms what you feel and what will hopefully be reciprocated. But love can be two-faced and effacing.
“We are maps to the present and the past. An erasure poem of everything that has been a part of our life. It’s cloudy, dense, and filled with fog. And then everything repeats…”
“Postpartum depression is still surrounded by stigma and shame is often directed at mothers. Horan does not shy away from sharing this darker side of motherhood…”
“…he has taken all the pieces, the histories of hands, waterfalls, sanity hammers, shepherds, and suitors, and built the puzzle only to watch it fall to the floor, and have to put the pieces back in the box.”
I kept thinking to myself about the idea that nature is—and will always be—in charge, and we’re destined to bend to its will
Havens has a savage wit and open wound for you to see on every page. Their lyricism surpassed only by the abundant imagery, you can almost feel the poems being written for YOU.
Wars are waged. Bodies are born and bathed and dying. Language is lost. Friends and lovers, too. If we are “guardians of God’s words” then what is it exactly that we are guarding
We are stuck in age-old definitions of gender and personhood and parenting and life. Somewhere in between those definitions is the person we, ourselves, long to be, and who we should “just be.”
She’s taking understated moments from life and creating fantastic poems around them, bring a whole new meaning to day-to-day moments.
Kirby’s poem had to be read twice and three times and more because it grips you by the throat and doesn’t let go.
It’s an encyclopedia of the seedy, the attractive, the “I” of life within modern times and modern body. It’s sort of like the words many want to say, but then get caught up in the moment, and can’t remember what they were thinking anymore.
It’s the way the ants that crawl from skin become guides and senses. It’s the way that when you meet another splinter, the bugs are meant for each other – in sickness and in health.
Reading Lyd Haven’s work makes me want them to win. Makes my real world seem to fade away, replaced with someone I want to see succeed despite and because of their troubles.
It’s the mirror as a reflection of who you think they want – the makeup, the high heels – but really it’s the only way to be seen. No(Body) asks you to question the idea of being capable within the moment. It’s the attempt to be Beyonce, or not death.
Adam Sol’s How a Poem Moves: A Field Guide for Readers Afraid of Poetry, is a window into how poems move rather than what they state. It’s a personal approach to understanding how someone else’s words make you feel.
There is a misconception of place, time, and atmosphere of the Heartland. It’s not always calm. It’s not rolling hills and farmland and nice people who do nice things for other nice people, and continue their existence in a silo of that same nice feeling.
If life is lived, vicariously, through dreamscapes and if the moon hotel’s bellhop is “trolleying [the moon’s] baggage on a brass birdcage cart,” then we are destined to hold the weight of the universe on our backs.
It’s being told that “making love is for making babies / and gays are intrinsically disordered,” and realizing all the misguided beliefs behind that statement. Realizing that your love for another is in no way a disorder.
Elfie gives us a look at the daily struggle that can be experienced when fighting against these natures, and in the end, shows us the relief that comes with the recognition of our own personal truths.
If Death brings a flash of life before our eyes, and we see each detail of what and how we’ve lived, and everything that was once background became foreground, then Where the Road Runs Out, the new collection from Gaia Holmes is that flash.
Dominik Parisien’s poems embody chronic pain, elevating the traumas, and illuminating the act of breathing being the most essential part of living. He uses body parts, the act of breathing, religion, and science, to illustrate the struggle and the pain that the poetic voice endures.
This is a notice that life is genuinely what you make it, and that if you live it while looking at it, you might miss what is actually in front of you.
Alongside beautiful imagery there is stark loneliness, the desire to curl up apart from what we might naturally think of home, a metaphor perhaps for the isolation death might bring, or the boundaries that come with having an earthly body.
It’s a world where men paint women, and women have no say. It’s the world in which she knows “you wanted to fuck her unconscious / and have her wake to your fists.”
This is the tale of gutting it out until you think you want to tap out. It’s a glimmer of hope because, damnit, you’ve worked too hard for there to not at least be a glimmer.
This is a collection of survival in spite of all that happens in life. It’s the learning of “the sound liquid makes as it works through the body’s waterways.” The unrelenting feeling that while life is draining from one body, another is taking it back.
“…it’s the constant feeling that some person, some feeling, some moment is lurking in the shadows, waiting for the opportune time to make their move…”
Generally, I will take another sip of water (but it’s really vodka) and make deep eye contact with whomever I’m speaking to, whether it’s the niece Lily or the Prime Minister of Britain. — from “When I am President of the United States” I remember the day that Kurt Cobain died, sitting on my neighbor’s…
Written masterfully, in prose form, quotations italicized, Walsh’s stories embed the past and the present, while questioning religion and the hetero-normative masculinity.
It’s the push-and-pull of one language and culture erasing the other; it’s the beauty and decay of both. It’s the changes that feel like too much change. The Sea that Beckoned is the tightrope walk between being ourselves and the self we may yet become.
In short, this book is a microcosm of identity politics, giving faces and names to those who must learn how to exist in various spaces simultaneously.
To them, she is not real. She is who they will fantasize about when home with their wives. She is the babysitter driven home by every father. She is the toy of their desire. She is within reach, but untouchable from above them.
One thing that distinguishes Kaminsky from many poets writing in English is that his poems are never just rage, never just fear, never just joy or whimsy or lust. Instead, Kaminsky’s lines are fraught with the full, messy truth of humanity.
Brumett walks through “butcher paper bed sheets” because sometimes that’s how it feels to evolve. Sometimes you have to discover the clitoris and learn about dolphin masturbation in order to get to the part where we can leave legacies and deal with cleaning out memories from closets.
But, body is language. Code talking is language. Coding is language. Even “math is poetic in nature;” It’s just that people aren’t too interested in listening to that which they don’t care to understand, let alone anything poetic.
These poems are moving, beautifully written, and fascinating, elaborating on the fears, the excitement, the trauma of pregnancy, and anything in between from the labor, and the everlasting relationship between Gruber and her daughter, Quintana.
all this can be yours is a patchwork quilt of what should have been said by all the dicks in the room.
You have to be ready for this collection. You have to prepare to feel. You have to be able to breathe. You have to know that War/Torn is a journey, and a metaphor that digs well beyond the surface.
Giantess is like an a cappella Americana album — it’d be nice to hear the picking of the strings, but they aren’t needed to dance with these words.
Directness is difficult. It’s not easy to be bluntly-gentle. But that is exactly what Whiteside has done in his newest collection of poems from Bull City Press.
REVIEW: UNMONSTROUS – JOHN ALLEN TAYLOR (YesYes Books):
It’s rare to read a piece that so beautifully captures the anger, emotions, beauty, and need for survival while trying to navigate all the evils of the child-to-adult journey.
REVIEW: Most of My Heroes Don’t Appear on No Stamps
Walker gives us our “Window Seat” to the world, as we consider why we are where we are – the good and the bad, the understood and ignorant, the anger and excitement, the love and passion of the way the world is today.
Over the course of your correspondence, you begin to discuss your dreams. Begin, in fact, to have dreams that echo the other’s. There is a house, creepy yet somehow luminous. Stables. Treasure, possibly, among the muck. But should you be there? Who (or what) lurks in the dim? – JPC from “You Correspond with a…
The physicality of life and the ache that it can bring – through love, death, sex, and survival – makes Robbin’s writing visceral and emotive and painful and beautiful all at the same time.
Sprinkle my ashes across the north side of Chicago & the surrounding suburbs. the south side has seen too many black boys become the end of a flame. “In the Event of My Demise” After reading the introduction to Nate Marshall’s Blood Percussion, I was deeply moved, but a little worried that the pieces…
I am hesitant to include quotes from the book in this review. Not that it is a bad book, completely the opposite actually. I had such fun reading the book that I feel like any lines or poems I could use would be short changing the book as a whole,almost like watching a few…
To say I hate you would imply a world in which I kissed more than your stomach. Look, we’ve established that I’m a jerk, so let me say this: I am a flat tire and you are a pothole full of lug nuts. I am a pile of bricks and you are holding…
the truth was a mirror the church led me to believe I discovered the impossibility of finding my reflection in the pieces when it broke a single-parent household I ran my fingers through the shards of glass probing the edges for where they once fit together finding only the weakness of my own skin…
If you are looking for soft, pillow talk love poetry, this is not the collection for you. If you are looking for honest, real, hilarious, disgusting, uncomfortable,and fun truths, look no further. The titles alone were a laugh out loud experience unto itself. “Get ready baby, ’cause I’m about to go balls deep into your…
“She told me that she bought the ring in San Francisco at an outdoor market. I like to imagine she was watching the Pacific hold the coast the same way she would hold my father later that night. My father is a shore, my mother is an ocean; when they are together you cannot…
“The Bones of Us” is part poetry collection, part graphic novel, and all well done. J Bradley and Adam Scott Mazer have given us something we can appreciate from a few different angles. The poetry is moving and relatable… “We will kiss like passengers without floatation devices, Hang on to the side of the bed…
from “Crown” In this photograph, I am a girl child. My thoughts come out in my hands and my hair. If only I could realize it. Be just the person I just am. With What is a Domicile, Joanna Penn Cooper has essentially written the ironic version of “Easy Like Sunday Morning.” Where Lionel sings:…
[Facebook] splits at seams : instructions to reduce your look Avoid: just : these : five : food : no : exercise : miracle : fruit the other orchids posing that way But I’m thistle Spectrum of stick you meant poke me my own toe Could be the hatred of mirrors : last year’s concubine : her orchid glow…
from Petocha Virginity is $$$ in a vintage velvet pouch Touch her if you can for virginity is no real but she is wanting to be touched Not being a woman, and not having a daughter of my own, I think that I look at Monica McClure’s Mala (Poor Claudia) from a completely different perspective….
I had the esteemed pleasure of getting to see Mighty Mike McGee twice in the last week – once at St. John’s Booksellers for Them’s Fighting Words, and at Slabtown for the Portland Poetry Slam – and when he performs, the audience listens. It’s no different with Harmony, his newest CD release. In fact, after…
There is something about C.D. Wright’s 40 Watts (Octopus Books) that tugs at my heart strings – strings that are often silent, often questioned. The romance inside these 40 pages reminds me so much of my grandparents, that I can’t help but watch the movie of their lives play on my eyelids as I read, and re-read,…
I had the opportunity to go to the book release – at the Independent Publishing Resource Center – for We Try to Touch Everything, a new chapbook from Portland, Oregon poets Alisha Bruton, and Noland Bo Chaliha, where each poem is titled “We Try to Touch Everything”. It was pretty incredible to watch Noland, and a crew…