Prepare ye the way; or, On Poetry I’m Reading, and Possibly Stealing From

I love when I’m reading someone else’s poem and find it’s inspired me such that I have to put it down and run over to my own notebook to write something. Usually when I go back to the triggering poem by the other poet, I can’t for the life of me figure out how I got to what their poem said to what I felt compelled to run to write down. But hooray for the whole enterprise. So I turned with relish to the pile of books of poetry that has been growing at my elbow, and will today share some of the choice lines from them.

So thanks to some trade deals, I have three wonderful little handsewn books from Ethel Zine & Micro Press:

– From Joanna Penn Cooper’s When We Were Fearsome, from “The Keening”:¬†¬† “…That scene in The Shining that terrifies/a child, the beautiful woman falling old./Now when I see it I think, It’s just a woman./His whole big horror was just embracing/the woman’s changing body.”

And this from her “Existential Kink”: “…My whole life has been one long/creative exercise, a Life Prompt, if you will. Try it. Go/from something kind of funny to something kind of sad/and back again. Repeat. Keep repeating….”

– From Annmarie O’Connell’s Hellraiser, from “Tonight I’m sitting in the front room”: “Im telling you/that a story can remember me/hunt me down/and sooner or later/knock me dead into the past/with its invisible/arms.”

And this from “This is a road.”: “Suddenly inside we are better people/miraculous/with the undertow of failing.”

– From Barbara Ungar’s Edge, from “Madascan Moon Moth”: “To distract bats, he spins his extravagant/and expendable long red tail./They aim for that/and miss him as he burns through the dark,/improbably and fleeting, the Comet Moth.”

And from “April Journal, 2018”: “Though living in the end days/with thirteen kinds of crazy/still the birds return one by one.”

– From Prolific Press and Ann E. Michael came her Barefoot Girls, and this from “Roller Rink”: “…We never missed the novelty tunes,/triplet skate, Elvis and Glenn Miller recast as honky-tonk/organ numbers, blue collar kids doing the hokey-pokey/under the red lights and the mirror ball, you and I/at fourteen, putting our whole selves in.”

And this from “Beautiful Cause”: “You are sixteen. What you already know/about longing could fill/the relentless, empty sky.”

– Stuart Bartow’s new book Green Midnight¬†is out from Dos Madres Press, with this moment from “Merlins”: “…To be//a merlin for one day, to eat life raw…”

And this from “Double Helix”: “…The infinite/must loop around itself/carrying chromosomes like galaxies,/genes like stars.”

– And finally a book I was excited to receive but ultimately could not make much sense of, Spring Ulmer’s Benjamin’s Spectacles from Kore Press. The philosopher Walter Benjamin pops up in my ken on a regular basis, so when I was looking for a book to order from Kore, I saw this and leaped on it. But I struggled to find what Ulmer was telling me about him or what she was making of his life and its work. I’ll work on it. Nevertheless, I share a couple of lines. Here from “The Typewriter”: “To write his way home pounding the keys of the Olympia, Benjamin (who normally employs someone else to do his typing) must break the glass voice of his childhood into fragments he shakes like dice. Each ding of the carriage’s end returns him to the city he can never again love….”

And this from “Fairy Tales”: “I pick at the glow-/in-the-dark stickers on my wall…//I take down the moon and all the stars, too.”

So if you heard anything that intrigued you, please support these small presses by buying a book.

And did I mention my own from Grayson Books?