poetry, poetry mixtape

Poetry Mixtape for October 2011

…being the ninth in an occasional series of poems what I read on the interwebs and quite liked…

The Bat – Marie Gauthier

turned up like an artifact
of our early days,
the time one zipped
into your kitchenless hovel

& you hopped from leg to leg
your coat a white flag
as it flapped along the ceiling.

Sucker for a dadpoem, me. Gauthier provides great insight, here, into how parenthood inspires you to be – or at least try to be – a better person than you think you are, particularly when facing a father’s traditional role of dealing with the things that everyone else is scared of, even if you’re scared of them too.

Cherry Heart’s Body Has Been Found – Chloe Wilson

Or maybe it’s Lola. Or Ginger.
I can never remember. This season
eleven were shot, perhaps twelve,

some by strangers, others by those
they know well. Asphyxiations are
predictable, and someone

always gets stabbed. It’s a pattern.
Trace the trajectory, the spatter,
then cut to the ads.

I want to thank Ms. Wilson from the bottom of my heart for articulating the thing that I find so profoundly disturbing about the forensic porn that fills the TV these days disguised as “police procedurals” or “crime drama”. It’s nice to know that other people find it upsetting that every single one of these shows starts out with someone dying – which is to say, a life ending.

Rotundas – Ben Pobjie

Please come and we can meet between the rotundas where the grass is green and the sky is blue except when it’s not and let’s talk about our feelings I have some and you have some too I didn’t quite catch what they are but as long as you have some and I have some too that’s what’s important and maybe between the rotundas we can play a game something with words or maybe with our hands and it won’t matter who wins but I will but it won’t matter and maybe between the rotundas we can kiss and cuddle

Poem #20 in Mr. Pobjie’s poem-a-day-for-a-month-in-response-to-reader’s-suggestions-for-titles is a supremely endearing encapsulation of the nervousness that comes from trying to kiss a girl for the very first time. Thus my reaction: Aw.

ABCdarian About Women’s Right Today – Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

Abortion rights, that is what my mom and I fought about.
Babies, she says. And she’d know. Three kids in four years:
Caitlin, Kevin & me. That was the 1970s and this is the 2010s,
Decade of Instability, of Anxiety, of Anger. Laws are being passed:
Each abortion must be proceeded by an ultrasound; Listen to the
fetal heartbeat
, they say. It’s a baby. Your baby. Now it’s your choice.

The New Verse News‘s goal of publishing poetry that engages with current issues could, on the face of it, produce post after post of screedy enjambed rants, but O’Keefe Aptowicz’s poem is well-measured blend of personal and political, of story-telling and deep consideration.

Children With Lamps Pouring out of Their Foreheads  -and-  The Father of the Fictional Alphabet – Patricia Lockhart

       Descend into the fact mine. We are here because
we failed fifth grade, we could not pass the bone unit,
we tried to pry up “greenstick fracture” and pried
“greenhouse fracture” up instead, it seemed logical
at the time, we saw panes of glass bursting out
of their frames because someone threw a stone,

(“Children with Lamps Pouring out of Their Foreheads”)


Hovers over his invention, all spirals and lightbulbs and
whistles and bells, all knobs and dials and black balloons,
blinking panels and pinwheels, whirs and beeps and flying
signals, doors with smaller doors behind them, cuckoos
on juicy steel springs, mechanical catfish whiskers

(“The Father of the Fictional Alphabet”)

A two-fer from Patricia Lockhart this time, both on the theme of language, one from a semantic perspective, the other from a surreal phonological viewpoint. For an editor showoff-with-big-words guy like me, poems about the structure of language are like crack. ‘Nuff said.

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