All Posts in Poetry

December 2012 - Comments Off

Symptoms

Julia Mounsey '13

Then you come in and punch me in the gut.
My lips are the color of my eyes today.
You bring me a gift, it’s a book, it’s about the War
that was supposed to End All Wars but didn't.
It feels oily, I am smitten with it. I am sick,
spotted. Fabulously bedridden. You love it.
In the afternoon I sit down. I write a letter.
“Dear Trench Mouth,” I write. It’s a dirty letter,
it’s full of acrobatic nudes and ways to get in.
In bed I always feel like I am on the end of every fork –
“Dear Trench Mouth, I’m trying okay?”
My tongue is a warbunker full of skunk pits
and just yesterday I traded mommy’s twenty
for a gram of the stuff. The dealer had a name
but I didn’t say it. I don’t like to be called
anything but young. Admit it, you ate my letter.
It was oily, you were smitten. My skin is the color
of my hair today and I am not a blond.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Blas de Otero

translation by Mariyama Scott '15

today I have not one rampart
that I might call my own.
(From an old poem.)

Not one word
will spring from my lips
that is not
true.
Not one syllable,
that is not
needed.
I lived
to see
the tree
of words, bore
witness
to man, leaf by leaf.
I burned bridges
of wind.
I destroyed
dreams, planted
living
words.
Not a single one
did I subdue:
I unearthed
silence, in broad sunlight.
My days
are numbered,
one,
two,
four
books erased the oblivion,
and I stop counting.
Oh field,
oh mountain, oh River
Darro: erase me
alive.
Blue peaks of my homeland,
lift up
your voice.
Today I have not one rampart
that I might call my own.
Oh air,
oh lost seas.
Break
against my verse, resound
free.

Original:

hoy no tengo una almena
que pueda decir que es mía.
(De un romance viejo.)

Ni una palabra
brotará en mis labios
que no sea
verdad.
Ni una sílaba,
que no sea
necesaria.
Viví
para ver
el árbol
de las palabras, di
testimonio
del hombre, hoja a hoja.
Quemé las naves
del viento.
Destruí
los sueños, planté
palabras
vivas.
Ni una sola
sometí: desenterré
silencio, a pleno sol.
Mis días
están contados,
uno,
dos,
cuatro
libros borraron el olvido,
y paro de contar.
Oh campo,
oh monte, oh río
Darro: borradme
vivo.
Alzad,
cimas azules de mi patria,
la voz.
Hoy no tengo una almena
que pueda decir que es mía.
Oh aire,
oh mar perdidos.
Romped
contra mi verso, resonad
libres.

December 2012 - Comments Off

who is driving

Julia Mounsey '13

Soft rain and I am cold-damp
Wheels turning in the grass
Soft car making its car-shape
Go across the grass, I am there
Soft grass growing a car-shape
Big-cold, and I am there
Soft car animal-creeps in grass
Making car-shapes at me
Soft me in grass touching car
Rain thing I am and cold
Sometimes animals are cars

December 2012 - Comments Off

Bodies of Other

Hannah Kucharzak '13

Mid-air, the fishing line runs forward at a perfect
parabola, marking the distance of the unstable relationship
of three-- sky, water, child. The lure is a fish head. My father
makes me cut a goby in quarters because I wasn’t supposed to
catch it; its brain is small but is important enough to fall out
and the void is where I hook it. Goby eyes for breakfast.
The fish’s sex lies wriggling on the dock, a dark castration,
a microscopic procedure, the booger removed that begins
the surprising steady red bloodflow. I’m aware that I need to cut
this fish to become a woman, anxiously awaiting the day
I wake up with serendipitous boobs. I see my body flung
into the water, cracked like a too-rich vase upon impact,
I see it break into segments: nibble on a piece of this,
my kneecap, something sinister, my newfound secret
of masturbation. If my eyeballs fell through my esophagus,
glazed donutholes, how long until I get skullfucked
at the bottom by eels, narrated by David Attenborough?
Would all that remain be my archaic torso? Could I still
gaze at scuba divers with my nipples? A death for science,
a pre-pubescent mermaid, of which there are none, lying
in a bed of lettuce and fish shit, a wish-you-were-here
postcard. It’s hard to feel guilt when a knife creates
fireworks, when a father says it’s what’s right. Scar tissue
is the toughest part to eat on account of all its tough white
history. At night we bellow in the stomachs of monsters,
goby and girl, a perfect discord of smut and release.

December 2012 - Comments Off

North End Graveyard

Laura Creste '13

Cowed by time, the graves slump into the earth at embarrassed
angles. The little gray stones with weather-bitten contours
lean into the mother monument. I see a crowd of infants
until I read the names of grown men printed squarely.
They anticipate the only question we would ask of them

died at sea

Reminders of childhood Halloween cakes: chocolate cake dirt brown
with Milano’s standing as graves, iced to read RIP in fat letters:
the idea of death without the horror of specificity. Tootsie pops
sheathed in tissue to make round-faced ghosts, with pen-inked smiles.
Ghosts are the exception, making a mockery of death.
We read Tuck Everlasting in 4th grade, as a balm for the dread
of a full decade, when grandparents begin to die or when you learn
that the sun will burn out, the clichéd and real fear it inspires.
The moral of Tuck is about the cyclical rightness of death,
and eternal life, less a blessing than curse. We would not believe it.
Not everyone can live forever, but I should I should.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Morning Missive

Esme Franklin '13

I learned to tell what kind of day it would be
according to the sounds coming from the kitchen.

Too quiet, bad. Too loud, bad. A man’s voice?
Better. When cupboards slammed

Sisyphus let slip his boulder
again. The silence of failed domesticity

sagged at the ankles of her mountain.
When she was able to refuse the myth

there was a boyfriend to bring hamburgers,
a smitten ex, a sack of stolen croissants.

Quiet mouths were full and quiet mornings empty.
Do not lie listening for too long, said the silence.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Surikata

Sam Dolph '13

The day you led us to the museum I walked behind you so I could stare at your back
it was either this or talk to you
and what good is the voice at a time
when the sun is peeking so perfectly around the spires of Staré Mĕsto
just to shine on you without any shadows at all!
And especially when the last time I stood in a museum with you
you taught me about the word somnambulism
after we watched the old Czech woman knit herself around the room in circles
perhaps even all the way the gorges of Divoká Šárka
where I'd like to go with you or live

Can you believe that all of this happened
before we didn't do any of the things we planned to do
like talk about Spinoza and his Positive Affects which
by the way I feel for you
or perform an homage to Marina Abramović and just stare at each other
and see if it takes us to the bed or
to the kitchen for more pancakes!
when I showed you my butt you told me it looks like Mucha
I think you mean one of his paintings but what a shame
that we looked at his entire collection in your city separately
what fools!

For eight hours you sat in the air staring straight ahead without talking or listening
I would do something if you were here
and I think that after all of this we should never be apart again
not even in March

December 2012 - Comments Off

Twenty Portraits of Ophelia

Catherine Pikula '13

God has given you one face and you make yourselves
another -- Hamlet to Ophelia

I.John Bell, 1775:
I am small, a mere illustration set on a plain page.
Contained by a black border, he dresses me,
for a ball, in long skirts that drag and trail.
He gives me a bouquet to offer as I walk
toward nothing.

II. Eugene Delacroix, 1838:
Cock-eyed I hang from the willow branch in muted gold.
The riverscape implied with dark greens and blues
with heavy grey tones. He pulls the front of my dress
down to my waist. He places weeds in the bend of my arm.

III. Gustave Courbet, 1842:
I am not the Virgin, dressed in blue, a hint
of pink on the cheeks and my wreath not wilted.
My eyes close in the manner of prayer. I look
toward the floor unworthy. He calls me la fiancée
de la mort.

IV. Dr. Hugh Diamond 1850:
One of his patients is pretending to be me.
No doubt encouraging, he weaves the weeds
into her hair, drapes the black cloak over her
shoulders, teaches her how to stare toward
death like a lover.

V. John Everett Millais, 1852:
Beneath the willow with cattails, he paints me:
water black as a coffin, my dress soaking,
the flowers floating in a line down stream.
To Lethe I go singing, my palms upturned.

VI. Francis Dicksee, 1875:
Upon the bank in a bed of moss, he has me
a ghost weaving flowers into crowns.
He rips my white shawl at the shoulder.
It falls past my folded feet to drink.

VII. Madeleine Lemaire 1880:
My breasts are exposed. She stretches my sleeves
just below my shoulders, has me hold the flowers
near my hips, I pinch a columbine upside down.
My eyes more coaxing, she tells me to threaten
with one foot held above the water.

VIII.Dominico Tojetti 1880:
I am not in color. The background is a shadow
of a room. I sit on the floor wrapped in silk
flowing out of frame. He tells me to hold
the rose to my wrist, like a needle.

IX.Alexandre Cabanel, 1883:
My wreath is coming undone. He drops flowers
in my hair. In the river, he bends my back over
the broken willow branch. A romantic, he dresses
me in gold patterned silk. Dramatically,
he tells me to reach for the weeping leaves.

X.Konstantin Makovsky, 1884:
I am in plain maiden garments. He wraps me
in garlands and tangles pearls around my neck.
My hair falls uncombed. My hands fall barely
holding the flowers in my skirts. I stare
into fog and trees. I stand in a bog.

XI. Annie French, 1889:
I’m flying over the river. She makes
my white dress the river, and me rise
with sparrows pulling at my long hair.
The flowers are ours, spangled, circles
of color filling the background
like small stones bursting.

XII.Constant Montald, 1893:
Amidst swans, I lie on a brown frame.
My bed is a bank full of water. He tells me
to pluck the gold lyre and a swan will curl
its head behind mine like a crown. Another
looks straight. A third, floats as if dead.

XIII.Paul Albert Steck, 1895:
He sets me under water among the weeds
like a mermaid as Hamlet’s mother described.
My dress clings tight to my legs and fans out
at the feet, rippling. My hair floats toward
the surface with roses. My body leaning away.

XIV.Lucien Levy-Dhurmer, 1900:
He tints me blue with green hues.
The moon is a white line illuminating
my hands. I clutch my breast and rest
in the water with soft lilies and reeds.
My eyes are opened but still.

XV. Odilon Redon, 1905
My head rests on a black wave. I have no face,
only an ochre profile. He gives me no flowers,
but he holds me like a tube of paint in his palms.

XVI.W.G. Simmonds, 1910:
He lifts my white dress behind me like wings.
My head is upturned. He closes my eyes,
tells me to dip one hand in the river
as if I were entering a church.

XVII.John Austen, 1922:
He makes three of me: the first sinks
amongst lotus, the second rises naked,
above the water, the third hangs
from the willow branch. He tells me
to throw my head back in rapture.
As if from Lethe, I return.

XVIII. David Burliuk,1965:
A sketch in black felt tip, he rubs me
with pastels. Aqua could be anywhere.
My skin is burnt orange. He gives me
no hands, no feet, but legs implied
with two lines. I sink beneath his signature.

XIX.Gregory Crewdson, 2001:
His living room is flooded black and I float
in morning, at the bottom of his stairs, pale
in my favorite nightgown. I left my robe
on the railing, my slippers on different stairs.
I threw the windows open, before turning
on the lamps. On his way home, I suggest
he buy himself a new arm chair before
he takes my picture.

XX.
To know me: make me in your image, forgetting
I reflect like the surface of Lethe. This page
with no borders is a dress I no longer wear.
The flowers are not lilies but poppies I hold in
these, no longer palms, here, pulling you beneath,
no longer here, but still--- water shows you
where you lie.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Sonnet to Fiona Apple

Sam Mayer '13

after Rilke
There were lights like eyestalks there, and lesbians
drinking beer. There were two boys in the balcony
smoking a joint and a gold ceiling painted in clouds.
There was darkness, then, almost imperceptible, She-

There was a face, smarting and a-glow, eyes like stalks of light
shooting up towards the deep midnight purple night sky.
There was an ankle scratching another ankle; imperceptible
tics and then she was to be on the floor, then salty breath on wires.

Dare to be Fiona Apple. Dare to push a spastic, veiny lyre
towards the sky towards my face, dare to creep inside
an ear and lay your gooey roe inside its throbbing drum. There
was a pile of organs there, throbbing under a sweet blue light.

And even if I was, what would I do with my face?
Could I control my muscles, could you?

December 2012 - Comments Off

Honey

Hannah Lipper '15

Honey –
I do not care if all you are is
the vomit of bees – I love you all the same.

I don’t mind the way you cling to me – because of a
power complex or my childhood.
I don’t mind the way

you glow, even without a sticky
bun in the oven

And sugar,
I’ve watched you glide into necessity like gold
beaten to a pulp within sweet juice.

Sugar,
you are sour at times when mixed with whole wheat
But I like that side to you.

And when you melt atop my skin
I never wash you away.

My love,
I don’t mind that you have no love to give me
because I find some way to take it.

I tap trees to find you and I never disturb
the loggers or the bees.

I squeeze out the last drops of summer
and things are soon reborn.

I loosen the belt of my pants
to make room for
what you reap.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Favela Risen

Nicolette Polek '15

Of Brazilian floor boards, of mothers singing their
helicopters to sleep. Of young boys carving machine
guns out of cork, calling the sun down,
in their doorways, desperately throwing down
their limbs. Put away your ashes, for
even a bird like you, dirty with snow, is so light
you cannot be kept in.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Blue Stand

Laura Creste '13

August is good because we are freed from the idea of dying.
The only time I can stand to eat a tomato or think about the rest of my life

is the summer. I would swim through the bay into the inlet
my father forbid me from entering. Kids had drowned

that summer but not here. The senseless dangers – there was once
a swan that drowned a two-year-old. The blue stand off Montauk highway

is swollen with fruit, wet in their blue square boxes,
homemade $15 pies, and the sour local yogurt.

The sun on our legs is sweet and there is no meaner trick
than skin cancer. The lifeguard has been dead for one year.

He was young, he fell asleep under a sun lamp once,
and fifty years later he died from it. His wife sits alone

under the umbrella. She braids her long gray hair
and used to put sunflower seeds in her chocolate chip cookies.

I turn sharply on the road and blackberries roll across the seats.
The strawberries bruise sugared red. Ripeness peaks, will rot

tomorrow. The bay spills out from the highway:
the deep calm of the water even in the off season. Relentless,

they don’t need appreciation to continue. They break the shore, the sky grays,
winds whip damp hair into a salted tangle. Your breath catches

in your throat to see the ledges carved out. Children walk the line
to collapse, unsure if the point is to keep going or learn to fall.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Love Poem

Julia Mounsey '13

she said she said
butter your palms
get silly crotch hum
in wet corduroy nest

butter your palms
for a better smooth
in warm corduroy mess
sweet sweet, sweet-ness

for the better smooth
in school-time sun
sweet sweet, sweetly
touch lovely said she

from school-time sun
comes silly crotch hum
touch lovely this she
said she said she

December 2012 - Comments Off

Center Point

Lila Cutter '15

What an average-sized American heart.
What an upside-down pear heart.

The aorta is the largest artery in the human
it distributes blood from the destination heart.

With ear pressed to chest and silence in a room
the steady double thud can be heard from the heart.

Capacity for sympathy; center of emotion; hollow
pump-like organ: Britannica definition of “heart”.

Be a surgeon, cut open the chest (pass
the scalpel) through the flesh, arrive at heart.

Dilemma, dilemma—Lila, you don’t know much
about functions. Of the matter, this is the heart.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Family History

Esme Franklin '13

The heart in the left side of my face has gone into cardiac arrest.
Triads of stairs to small landings or large pick-ups remind me
my knees are genetically weak. I mouth this to myself

in a crowd of people. We have always had dementia—
the only difference is that now we live long enough
to bear witness to our minds’ decay. When I have lost my memory

I hope to slip back into consciousness, one last time, and find myself
looking at a photograph of my mother: she will wear green velvet
and look out of a window. I will look out of her window and see

the dreams in which I tell her that I am in a relationship with my father.
She has born me and I bear nothing but the shame of his seed
within the eye of a dream. The nuclear trio is constantly imploding.

Ninety percent of Americans over the age of seventy
filter their thoughts through a molding cheese cloth
but do not think they are not making supper.

Does forgetting a statistic complement the hue of its tragedy?
Who will remember me when I have become an antecedent?
Who will remember my father’s penis when I have stopped dreaming?

The nuclear trio expels fragments.
Future generations will buy our silverware at thrift stores
and wash it twice before use because they will not remember who we were.

December 2012 - Comments Off

The Borough of Trees

Laura Creste '13

October

The manager of the 24-hour Dunkin Donuts
is angry when we shuffle in through the back door
to use the bathroom and don’t buy anything. No one wants

to spoil hard-won intoxication with a cup of coffee.
Pints of Majorska are tucked in purses, glove compartments,
showily revealed then added to glass bottles of Snapple.

If there was religion it was a belief
in the good luck we deserved. Nothing
yet was irrevocable. The trees above grow to reach

each other in a canopy. They carry on, ignoring
the suburban sprawl beneath.
They will grow through chain link fence,

consuming the ugly intrusion.
The roots force the slate sidewalks to buckle.
Glass glitters on the asphalt from newly broken bottles.

Girls sit low to the ground on parking space dividers,
sandals dangling off crossed legs.
The crassness is saved by its impermanence:

If we were any older than we are
now it would be hopeless. Someone says
what should we do? because

if you pose the question, you aren’t
responsible for the answer.
The cops are only bored when they swagger

in to the parking lot to say Get moving,
Why don’t you go home already?
We are only drifting around aimlessly,

with a cigarette as an anchor, but there is no arguing.
People climb into cars offended
or turn and walk down the main street.

I go home early and read The Catcher in the Rye,
which I liked until we talked about it in class.
What is the significance of the red hunting hat?

Everyone senses that the concern
for where the ducks go is too nakedly
altruistic to be believable, but we can’t

articulate this. The word soul makes me cringe,
as does heart when not used technically. Mildly
embarrassed is how I spend most of this year.

November

I paint the sets for the fall play The Crucible.
They are black-painted structures:
Closing night I miss the cast party

because my boyfriend has an open house.
We say pleasant things, we bore each other,
and in the morning bodies

sprawl across the furniture,
next to red rings under red cups.
I wake to a pale form, I am in between

my boyfriend and someone else’s expanse of back.
Thom with an h. The door eased open
despite the lock – the jostle more of an indication than function –

some time after dawn. I haven’t been naked long
enough in my life to feel unconcerned.
Later Thom will say sorry, he woke up

and didn’t know where he was.
The morning after is a sharp November day.
On my boyfriend’s back porch he breathes

messily from a spliff which structures the day.
My headache has not yet resolved into a hangover
so everything in my life seems inevitable.

He climbs a tree to retrieve the glass
holding his wine. The handle, hooked on a branch,
had insects drown in the dregs.

Later No Country for Old Men is playing in town.
Tom takes the minivan and we fill it.
The William Carlos Williams Center is a rundown movie theatre,

with an actual stage for performances. Outside boys
skateboard on the generously sloped brick patio.
In December the Nutcracker is put on by the middle school ballet.

I don’t think anyone reads him anymore.
William Eric Williams was my pediatrician
until he died in 1995. He told my mother

the poem about the plums wasn’t really a poem.
The office was still in his father’s house on Ridge Road.
Life was more beautiful when the word icebox was in it.

On the steps of the Williams Center Tom and I watch
our friend talk to a girl, touching her too much for emphasis.
He has a girlfriend, and we are busy making faces at each other,

censorious mouths and laughing-
wide eyes. Tom keeps saying blatant, right?
Before the movie we have time

to walk down a shaded side street and smoke half a joint.
He extinguishes the lit end against a tree and pockets it.
Don’t do that, I say too late. The scorched mark is small.

He thinks we can afford to be careless,
to believe in replenishment, that nothing
can truly be ruined or wasted.

December

The day after Thanksgiving the parking meters
are free and bagged with a Happy Holidays
note to encourage shopping.

Dairy Queen closed for the season
now houses the Christmas tree lot.
A man drives down from Maine.

He keeps a light on in his trailer
while he saws off the bases of trunks.
My sister and I touch all the trees,

our hands sticky with sap.
Once inside, the tree unfurls overnight.
The radiator eases it open.

Our principal dresses as Santa Claus
for the Christmas assembly and gives gifts
to his favorite seniors, until my last year in school

when it is decided Christmas is too political,
and the gift-giving problematic, especially
when a girl sits on Mr. Hurley’s lap. It just doesn’t

look right. It is the last part of the assembly
before we are let loose. I do not love this town
while I am in it but for this month I nearly do.

Park Ave is strung with white lights
and red-ribboned wreathes with golden pinecones.
The air is damp with chimney smoke and snow waiting to drop.

What a waste of a life to be so unhappy inside it.
In the next few weeks my boyfriend and I buy books
for presents, and spend most of the winter break in bed.

I didn’t realize my hands were ugly
until I held his and knew them well.
Our own hands are the template for all hands.

December 2012 - Comments Off

New Skill

Lila Cutter '15

Three times out of five
My tossed axe sticks its marked log.
Satisfying thud.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Elegy for a Boy Singing Sacred Harp

Sam Mayer '13

after Rilke
And if I sang who would hear me? No one, not on
heaven and not on earth. And certainly not you,
next to me though you are, and pushing out notes
eyes fixed ahead and staring at the leader, not me. You say
you love this song; no, you grin and I wonder if you love
this song. If only I could find something pure, something contained:
To hear just one voice, and not hundreds
raised all together and raised in four. Because
what’s the point in trying to love when beauty requires
four voices? I am sorry that I met you; I am sorry that
I sat next to you; I am sorry that we sang together
and sang the same part. I am terrified of you
with your mouth open, surrounded
by the Old People. Those mouths: who are
smacking dentures spitting bits of food and wet
breath. Lovers, satisfied with each other, where are you
and how did your voice escape the body
and mingle only with the beloved? When I open my
mouth what I am escapes me and becomes part
steam part harmony, not part of him. What's it like to
feel your entire selfhood mix with another, and
does it feel good? Or does it feel too confusing, all
that sound together in the same room? Worry that
your voice will find too many others and then have to rise together.
Worry that understanding can only come from the
spittle of four different parts. If, to be understood,
lovers might sing something marvelous I only
pray that our breath will be a marvel to look at,
as it rises up towards the rafters towards death.
The Old People all have one foot in the grave. They read
the shape notes and stare into the space between heads,
that quivers and burns and reminds them of death.
You can see it in their faces, and falling
like dew on new grass: that wetness from
the cosmos that will burn away but not scorch.
Newness does not last very long. I know that
in your voice, there might grow boredom. Oh, the heart that pines
and blisters and loves and lusts, mostly lusts, but
not towards anything just towards space. But lust, lust vanishes:
in our voices. Sure, we breathe and that is great
but what about ruffling hair? What about itching?
Is the sum of our lust to be defined by our
voices? Because that is bullshit, and I do not
want to spend my life singing with what’s-his-name
and calling that sex. Who are the lucky ones?
The fortunate ones? Creation’s darlings? They are
the ones who have never sang, never thought about
a sole voice as incomplete, they are the ones
who only go about their day: buy coffee and
pick up flowers and clip toenails and are
never once concerned that in the space of silence lies
no meaning. They are unconcerned, these angels,
divine beings who slouch their way through
the mire to enlightenment. They are the ones who
walk by the church while we fill it with voices and
do not even stop to wonder about music, it
never even occurs to them to give it a moments
thought. I am lust with you, and your voice, and
our voices together, and our bodies together, and
these songs in our throats. I am in love with angels,
though every angel’s silence terrifies me.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Lovers

Allie Dunmire '15

1.
Boy says why are you always so removed.
Girl says I’m trying to avoid that.
Boy says I’ve been trying to avoid you.
Girl says you should probably go now.
Boy says okay you’re right and then he goes.

2.
Girl says I didn’t really want you to leave.
Boy says I think you need a new paint job.
Girl says you will never find better sex.
Boy says probably not and keeps going.
Girl eats a plate of cheese, then regrets it.

3.
Cheese says I didn’t want to go like this.
From the stomach, ham shakes her hand
and says, neither did I, but it’s alright.
Cheese takes his hand, is it always so dark.
Ham nods, but it’s getting brighter.

4.
Cheese asks have you used that line on other cheeses.
Ham says none as pretty as you.
Cheese blushes and is glad for the darkness
She holds his hand, maybe I did want to go like this.
Ham blushes and is glad for her hand, maybe I did too.

December 2012 - Comments Off

Trench

Julia Mounsey '13

We are going to war. We
are going to war, we are.

I put on my angry skirt!

I make sure that I am
soft enough, swollen
enough to rupture.

I make sure to rupture long
so that you get your nutrition.

That’s what I’m doing right now!

My nipples are dilating because
I am so excited for the war.

I can’t wait to dive head
first into the trench.

That’s what I’m doing now
and that’s what I just did!

When I dove head first
into the trench my skirt
flew up over my hips.

My angry underwear was
everywhere in the mud
and everything, I know

he saw!

We are at war now, we are.
Is it what you imagined? What I?

I am at the vanity table.
I am at the ready.

You are in the mud in
a sweetblood membrane.

My underwear is bunched angry
in your fist. You’re clutching it
like it’s going to save you.

December 2012 - Comments Off

To Lethe,

Catherine Pikula '13

To be is to be perceived. I can’t see You,
but how do You see? What are Your eyes like?

Are they king sized white sheets? Or blue or red
oak trees? Plaster walls or clouds or steel beams?

From above and from below, You enter us
in dreams, we forget what

Your body is like. Fire, water, air, and soil.
You must have many faces, flowers

of every color hanging from Your chins.
Every river must flow from Your hearts.

Do You love everything You make?
Even the blob fish? Why did You make it

look like a giant loogie? Was that a mistake?
Or giant water bugs? Why did you create

for them digestive salvia to inject
into their prey? They can suck out

the insides. It is terrifying. Death
must feel like that, You sucking

out our insides. And birth must feel
like the Big Bang; You create love.

You must be love. It is terrifying.
You must have the largest genitals,

male and female. I create you in this image
because You create me in Your own.

April 2012 - Comments Off

felt like

Julia Mounsey '13

towards you:
sticky, pointed
pine needles
a clump of cherries
(maraschino)
a mass
really warm and sexy
and gross maybe
but I can squeeze you
and then you glow
and juice
little bubbles
grouping
bouncing like fat, pork
belly in my mouth
rubber but alive
smelly
not food
something weirder and
more romantic
like an organ
or virginity or
something

Julia sits in the red room.

April 2012 - Comments Off

Reloj con prisa

Andrea Tapia '15

Empiezas,
reloj andante
retomas tu ritmo,
acarreas prisa,
deprisa,
que no llegas
al final.

¿Por qué los días?
¿Por qué no sólo un día?
¿Por qué no sólo un atardecer?
Uno sólo,
con uno basta,
a mí me basta,
el definitivo.

Te ríes y lloras,
¿por qué no sientes?
ya lo presientes
tus agujas firmes
clavadas en tus ojos,
te lastiman,
¿no lo sientes?

Y tú, ¿por qué?
¿Por qué la prisa?
deprisa,
que no llegas,
corre,
llegas tarde,
¿no lo ves?

Corre,
¿adónde?
Ya no sabes.
Suspirando sustraes
los segundos
que te quedan.

Carne viva
estás muriendo
no respiras.

Quizá un destello
fugaz, de luz serena,
te cautive,
paralice tu carrera,
te hunda en tu propio juego
y ya poco importe
si es que llegas,
o si es que caes,
reloj andante,
y ni los días
ni nadie
llorarán
tu despedida.

Andrea Tapia, from Quito-Ecuador. Second term freshman studying literature and social sciences in Bennington College.

April 2012 - Comments Off

The English Lesson

Naomi Washer '12

Frau Gretchen once said
You have to be careful.
In springtime you might find
yourself under a bush
with a boy
. I
was fourteen and wondered
what sort of poetry she
read to herself
in the bath.

Naomi is slowly saying goodbye to Vermont to pursue her MFA in nonfiction at Columbia College Chicago.

April 2012 - Comments Off

River Salamander

Hannah Kucharzak '13

I must have been a river salamander. Fins, feathers,
and blind. The water is murky to begin with.

In Japan, they called us monsters. They blame the river
for the deaths of childhood friends. Where else

could they have gone? I was six feet long, a smooth
wrestler. I would not bite your line, I swirled

right past and did not know the difference. One thousand
years ago, I lost my tail as I have lost memory.

I am in two places now: where does such spirit begin?

Hannah does poems.

April 2012 - Comments Off

the hot of skin on skin on skin

Alec Gear '15

the hot of skin on skin on skin:

of hali fevered and
forehead cracking and
spitting foam like sand
in storms in deserts and
blistered lips gasping gasps of leady cotton

on leg flab, lemon juiced bowl hair, Tigger,
chocolate smudge, ceremony-
less finger drums.

window:
cheek:

hot

smile-mirror had wrinkled itself from its frame
had given me three games
had had three names

belt:
stomach:

block

now: know none of them.
now: three three fingered finger
drums three times

hot:

liquid:

hali: up
child:
black: down

All on black: steamy,
black: clacky hordes gorging,
black: caked and on the bottom of the shoe,
black: veining the world in rivulets,
black: bed of your river

Alec hides beneath sheep.

April 2012 - Comments Off

Horned and Heart Shaped

Brittany Kleinschnitz '13

Female deer do not normally produce antlers,
aside from reindeer or caribou.
The head - bare between the ears
and rounded, the flesh taut and
flat to skull - feminine,
and thus a lack of congenital weaponry.

So when she is found walking in fall,
between pines, a belly full,
they call her doe with skepticism, they
look at her branched antlers covered with velvet,
17 cm. high and bearing three points,
and say No woman here.

                 Artemis, Greek goddess of wilderness,
       childbirth and virginity - a mother of the hunt and
       simultaneous protector - her chariot is drawn by
       four deer. The fifth, Kerynean, roams free and
       cannot be captured.
                 When Agamemnon steals the life of a stag in
       a forest dedicated to Artemis, the goddess snuffs out
       the wind on the seas in Greece. For the wind’s
       return she demands sacrifice as reparation in the
       form of Iphigeneia, the king’s daughter. Yet, before
       the youth could be slaughtered, the good mother
       Artemis snatches her body up from the altar and
       deposits a deer in its place.

Pretty pseudohermaphrodite,
who steals your motherhood?

Internally, too, she is horned and heart shaped.
There is a baby in the bicornuate,
the fertile cornucopia filled with a certain fruit,
the horns of which ended blindly.
No one before has told her that she cannot bear young.

                 Native American lore (that of the Cherokee,
       the Muskogee, the Seminole, the Choctaw) calls the
       deer a shape-shifter. “Deer Woman”, a spirit that
       moves and morphs between forms at will from deer
       to woman and back again. She is a teacher of
       sexuality, fertility, and maturation.
                 When a man comes upon this spirit, she
       appears to be the most beautiful woman he has ever
       seen, his desire for a body contoured, lean and soft.
       She lures him with movement and her sex, the chase,
       towards the cover of trees, gives him a moment of
       ecstasy before driving his head into dirt with strong
       hooves, their edges sharp and cloven.

I see her move and I match stride through the thick
of dripping pines.
The curve of her body bulging with young,
and pumping blood.
Her spindly legs skipping beats, wobbling.

See me horned and heart shaped, too, internally.
Congenital bicornuate,
I have branched antlers
where others are bare and rounded.
A bent and empty cornucopia,
for this body is not as lithe as hers,
and not nearly as strong
to carry.

                 In the Celtic tradition, the deer is a symbol of
       femininity. They believed them to be faeries, a
       shape-shifter as well, changing from deer to woman
       in order to protect her fellow females from being
       hunted by men.
                 Celtic warrior, Finn, fell in love with and
       married the goddess Sadb to allow her a human
       form after a druid had turned her into a deer. Upon
       returning from battle one day, Finn finds that Sadb
       is missing and searches for her for seven years. Time
       passes, and while out hunting, Finn comes upon a
       boy. He is naked and his hair is long. The boy says
       that he lives in the woods with his mother, a gentle
       doe. Finn realizes he has found his love, and that she
       had given birth to a human child, his child, and dubs
       him Oisin, meaning “little fawn”.

What women are we, how masculine,
what organically malformed beauty is hidden beneath velvet skin?

In the heat of a sunbeam
she paws the dirt, upturning stones,
and grunts like a stag.
Rubbing soft clothed antlers impatiently on a tree,
the bark crumbling, she bends at the knees as woven wicker
and I move to sit parallel,
cross-legged. Her body shifts from beneath its weight
and the stomach rests, balanced
on a bed of moss and leaves.

Brittany Kleinschnitz is a junior and studies Visual Arts, with a focus in photography and printmaking, and Literature.

April 2012 - Comments Off

Three Properties of the Radish

Catherine Pikula '13

I.

Dreaming of red again: radishes, unwashed,
and hands too rough. Soil no longer washes
off properly but has begun to embed
in life lines and knuckles like so many
birthmarks blooming, at first unnoticed.
Push the radishes in a wheelbarrow,
uphill to the kitchen for rinsing.

II.

At breakfast ask Bly,
what are radishes good for?
He says they cure kidney stones,
flush the liver and gallbladder.
Wonder what sense this makes
of the dream. He says, that it depends
on the color of the wheelbarrow.

III.

The seeds were heirloom, radishes
would be white, mild in flavor when made
into juice. Dig three inch holes
with a trowel next to the greenhouse,
squeeze saplings from plastic planters,
and place them in beds, nestled with hay --
to keep the weeds down.

Catherine Pikula studies literature and philosophy.

April 2012 - Comments Off

Entrance

Hannah Kucharzak '13

Nevermind the origins, as they are unbeknown
to even the oracles, but who knows the rules of
divine intervention? It feels lucid yet transcendent,

talking to him, as if a film or a dream in black-and-
white. I am watching myself, this girl with her
uncontrollably young grin, she is daring, she is
lucky on the spectrum of fear. And here is this man,

his narrow fox-eyes, heavy enough to have been cast
in bronze. And she worships him as such and he probably

is. Girls learn early how to speak to older men, post-
blunder, and here are the benefits. It’s all third-person
narrative because it’s too much a dream, it’s all
subconsciously calculated, but then enter hand, one

and then two, the short fingernails, the creases and I
wonder if each is for a woman he has loved, I wonder
if metaphors carry their validity into the decade he

has on me, they must, because here is the poem,
here is the entrance into a heavenly unspoken series,
here is this man, again, here are the hands, again.

Hannah does poems.

April 2012 - Comments Off

sexy haiku

Julia Mounsey '13

Smooth simian jaw
Nose grazes nose, they swap oils
Meat to meat to meat

Julia sits in the red room.

November 2011 - Comments Off

Transfiguration of Daphne

Catherine Pikula '13

I.

In summer, through cornfields Daphne wandered,
bow on shoulders, practiced her shooting.
Chased the turkeys down to the river.
Her dress cut at the knee, feet bare and loose
hair stuck with leaves. Set an arrow free,
aimed high and pierced the cantaloupe sun.

II.
Sweat gathered at her neck, saliva of the sun.
Near white oak trees three deer wandered.
She tracked them to the corn field free
of crop. Drew back on her bow to shoot.
Fingers slackened as an arrow flew loose.
Dragged her prize by its hooves to the river.

III.

Daphne served dinner at the river.
Her father’s table beneath evening sun
fenced by marble pillars with ivy loosely
strung. Father told her not to wander,
stole away her bow. Said shooting
was for men not daughters seeking freedom.

IV.

Daphne stood shaking walnuts free
from lower branches grey as river.
Bent to gather miner’s lettuce shooting
through the garden plot. Under sun
her face burned, jealous of the wandering
light. On her wrist a basket hung loosely.

V.

She hid the rabbit hides, tied loose
their hands and feet. Never felt as free
with a secret from father, how she wandered.
Washed the mud from her body at the river.
Laid naked on the bank drying in sun
warm and probing. Drew her bow but couldn’t shoot.

VI.

Dug her toes in dirt for rooting, hands shooting
into bark. Father witnessed her loose
leaves catching fire in the red of the sun.
As the geese took flight for a winter free
of snow, father cried at the frozen river--
will never have grandchildren that wander.

VII.

The life of a laurel: thought to be free.
Wind blows across the stationary river.
In cornfields alone, turkeys wander.

Catherine Pikula is a student of Literature and Philosophy.

November 2011 - Comments Off

Le Mot Juste

Anna Gyorgy '14

deeply feeling
the feeling of
falling but feeling
the falling as
falling not feeling

             it is
so simple he says
to fuck poetry and
not to feel it
not to feel
fall or

feel anything
             at all

but indeed and oh god
             he does so feel

             that
             this all
             has ends

Anna Gyorgy comes from the smallest state and has many small problems.

November 2011 - Comments Off

Eve

Julian Delacruz

I lead you darkly through the real wilderness
where light precipitates from the moon down
through the trees and hits the ground in quarters.
Snakes all around, gnats in transit, young apples,
old apples. How precarious our situation turns
when we are judged naked in the light.
But no one’s eye is like God’s eye
who discerns correctly the lily,
can shuck in one breath the orchid.
He knows what animal you stir in me.

November 2011 - Comments Off

Wife Life

Hannah Kucharzak '13

I wake up and relay my dreams to him,
whether or not he sleeps sideways or
longways, with me or not, beds are beds

and dreams are indiscriminate illusions.
I gain sleep tales in handfuls, even awake.
They are a number of things because they can be

but it pains me to create these stories. I feel
as though I am weaving a quilt of fine horse hair or
reading tea leaves from a black mug. But one must

think up stories, one must shift reality into
half-fiction, half-nothing. (Old men do this
masterfully, sitting with their pipes and their

yellow eyeball-whites, a life made of
sidewayses and longwayses with women
who did their dreaming for them.) One must

always change: these are the destructive
images we flash to create behind our globular
eyes, the tornadoes ripping through oceans,

the lordly tsunamis and the deteriorating
New York City wooden houses. I am never
tired but I always sleep, always wake changed.

Hannah is a palindrome.

November 2011 - Comments Off

Sestina (Gummo)

Julia Mounsey '13

In the backyard her mouth is full of marbles
Comes from a shaking throat down a stomach full of scars
I remember this through glass, my eye to a beer bottle
After I drank it and before I chucked it at the cat
It didn’t break though because of the grass
Thumped and bounced, little sound on a big brown Ohio

There’s a thing, a brown thing about Ohio
It’s nothing like throwing marbles
It’s more to do with lying in the grass
Like my mother’s stomach, it’s a state of scars
She birthed me and felt ruined so she got a cat
When I was old enough I killed it with a bottle

I knew a girl once who could fit inside a bottle
She was the prettiest girl in Ohio
But she was eaten by my mother’s cat
So I tried to make it swallow marbles
We fought and he won, left me three scars
Skinny like three red blades of grass

Whenever I lie down it feels like grass
I wake up in green like my friend woke up in a bottle
One time we counted all my mother’s scars
She wasn’t awake but she looked like Ohio
There on the bed with eyes like skin-wrapped marbles
No one saw us do it except maybe the cat

And I don’t think she ever found the cat
I split it somewhere in the tall grass
And I don’t think I ever found my marbles
I got sick of glass which was why I threw the bottle
Thumped on the ugly bottom of Ohio
Very deep and bad and busy with scars

There’s a thing, a funny thing about my mother’s scars
When you squint your eyes they look like the cat
Or they look like the shape of Ohio
I saw her in the yard once with a mouth full of grass
Trying to get her face inside a bottle
But that was before I threw the marbles

I know the marbles are good because they don’t make scars
I know the bottle is bad because it killed the cat
And I know there’s grass always – I stuffed it in the bad wet mouth of Ohio.

Julia is from New York City. She likes Harmony Korine and Adventure Time.

November 2011 - Comments Off

Eurydice

Julian Delacruz '14

All I know is I got inside,
but not the way a man gets inside.

I sank into the earth with no shovel
where I became dim and agreeable.

For once, the sound of the lyre did not strike,
and the sun couldn’t sink low enough to follow.

I was allowed, finally, to taste umbra.

And then I began to remember,
because I did not yet drink

from the river,
what kind of person you were.

A chaser of things, a lover of beautiful things.
You would run after as if losing me

meant losing the rest of your life.
So I sat in hell’s burning throat

wondering what love note would pool
at the back of your throat,

how you would reach the gate of hell,
how you would open the gate of hell

to sway the gods.
And how I would dread the embarrassing song

That you would sing. That you would actually sing me back

when you have the arms to cast off the lidded earth
for the impossible journey alone.

November 2011 - Comments Off

Stopped for the Night Halfway South

Ben Redmond '14

Last night I dreamt that I was in love with you and you
were in love with the idea of my loving you. In a foreign
bed low to the ground like those from ancient Egypt
I lay down to sleep states south from my own
mattress, resting at a friend’s house midway to coastal
Carolina. I was far from the thin streets I take to get to you—
those with the elms and pine trees encroaching
heavily upon the pavement like the Yam Suph
waters closing in.

Heat unlike home led me to lay awake
and watch the dark and the time it took
to sleep led me to notice the light until I could make
out the corners of the room, not illumined, but present
again in the faintest plain yellow glow from beneath the bedroom
door, from the light of midnight outside—the sky must
have been clear—from the streetlight near the end
of the drive. Little radiance lithe enough to work
its way through the blinds albeit I had them closed tightly.

I remember the small twitching
of my fingers and knees when I did close my eyes, waiting for the saccade
of sleep to arrive, moving subtly the way dogs
sometimes do. And as my eyes moved below
their lids in REM, quick like minnows are, you showed
yourself. You were the same. Your arms were your arms
and I remember well how the warmth of those arms around
my shoulders resembled how your body feels
when it is near mine—I know the feelings of our waking
closeness. This goes for your eyes too and how
they search and lock at the same time and I always
wonder how you can do that. And I was some part
of myself, maybe something like astral
projection, maybe just an eye floating above the rest
of me, but only one, for I see clearly in dreams.
This one comes to memory in flashes; your lips
on my cheek; the pulse in my fingertips; the soft sounds
and the rustling of sheets; my lips on your cheek. I do not
know if I can call it a memory, though, recalling
in a dream how it felt to kiss and hold like lovers do.

I think about
you and I think about how much
I think about you
and I think about that, too. Did you know that?
I have told
you a third
of it, but hope that
somewhere you
know the rest, and I ask
myself what Brautigan asked
Akiko or Janice, but most
probably his Marcia:
“Do you think of me/as often/as I think/of you?”

I tell my new friends, faces you will never
know, about how you let me down
easy once, written word through computer wires
because of a he said-she said that was all true.

I wrote you letters and this is not the first
time I have written you into a poem, but the greater
guilt gets the best of me—this is a hard
thing to share.

If we are as close as we will be I would rather forget
having dreamt last night at all. If you cannot
love me, I should have been sleepless.

Ben Redmond used to read Word Up magazine.

November 2011 - Comments Off

Northeast

Hannah Kucharzak '13

It is the glade of dead trees that wakes my eyelids
and slur their film, each trunk like the stem
of a rose with its roots all brambled. The needles

are sticky on the ground; the light comes in patches
and rests on them like too-thin summer sheets.

The land is an animal. Heather fur surrounds the bald
underbelly, the most vulnerable, the most bizarre.
Inside, just trees dying at comfortable distances,
as men stuck up in tattered houses, unwilling
to submit to proper care. The last left to a name.

Azalea whistles on the outskirts. The sun presents itself
in bows of white, bending around pointed treetops,
generous with life. Yet the only life here is the slow

build of energetic death, the sound of my pulse
returning back to me in echos. Somewhere behind
my body, a tree cracks and I do not see it fall.

Hannah is a palindrome.

May 2011 - Comments Off

Saskatchewan

Sara Judy '11

I would ask you to believe here is only
flat with wheat grass and canola flowers
dust bowl dry and hot in the summer
whipping cold in the winter, painful white.
You will make a liar out of me if you listen.
The sky is the only whole truth I’ve told you,
and even that, badly. If I even speak about
the valley, the river cutting tight along tree lines,
the grass as fluid as the ocean, more deceptive,
just as deep, you will know the things I’ve hidden.
Jeweled fox backs and owl eyes, abandoned
silos like petrified giants, tractors and threshers
push out the fat bellied grouse, running forward
on their feet, chests out, under fences and
across the highway. The reservation dogs,
all lean muscle and teeth, big beautiful
half coyotes specked with blood-grey ticks
in the spring, who hang heavy in the fur
until the children pull them off to pop,
or they fall to the ground and splatter softly.
Barefoot boys play basketball outside
and check each other as hard as they do
during hockey season, smelling always of ice.
Growing up with scars from the rink, scars
from broken bottles, and scabbed mosquito bites;
raised by a crush of women: mothers, aunts, kokum.
Outside the rez store kids suck on candy,
drink cokes, turn the inside of their mouths
a sweet, corpse grey, when all the colors blend.
Garter snakes push up from
along the foundation of buildings, sweet
rotten musk left on the ground behind them.
Old men drink instant coffee and exhale
cigarette smoke into the darkness, so few
windows in the restaurant; hiding from the tiring sky.
So much space you need to move through
between the clouds’ shadows, to stand in the sun.


About the Author: Sara Judy '11 studies literature, and was recently awarded an American Academy of Poets prize for her senior thesis in poetry.

May 2011 - Comments Off

Reverence, Defined

Crystal Barrick '11

more than obeisance,

             bent knee, swept
             leg, eyes lowered
             only for a second.

more than a right

             hand dipped in water
             before entering
             the building.

remove your sandals

             at the foot of
             the mountain, our bed, burning
             tree booming names.

reverence is a small bud

             opening
             into the shape of some name
             not yours.

giving the last

             drop of water
             from your canteen
             to the desert floor

in hopes of a mustard plant, exaltation.


About the Author: Crystal Barrick '11 studies literature, education, and the fine art of fixing things.

May 2011 - Comments Off

Haiku #32

Alana Orzol '11

a rain starts gently,
so soft only puddles know
and ripple assent.


About the Author: Alana Orzol is about to graduate after having studied Literature and Biology, and will go on to bigger and better writing adventures, or just become a crazy cat lady.

May 2011 - Comments Off

To Sleep: Angry

Hannah Kucharzak '13

Grapes, inconsequently
placed on ice
for days oh years
fleshy green burst skin

slab of
plateaued antarctic
crystal glue. The bed

turns on its side.
Not our nights.

Actualized nipples,
for once and now
sheathed;
sewn pleats. Wished

communication: wry
ample verdict sounds.
Large shell

home.

Esteemed or red-
stringed-finger sky
depending on the
activities. This was

a careless one.


About the Author: Hannah writes with her hands.

May 2011 - Comments Off

A Life Imagined South

Anna Gyorgy '14

In the night the magnolia leaves look like dark water
My feet are bare by April
By June they feel each raindrop
I listen to the stories of the storms and she records them
She corrects the syntax of the thunder
I help her light candles when the power goes out
She likes to work at night when you can hear the mountains sleeping
And I like to hear her dreams
Because she dreams when the sun is coming up
And the dawn throws orange shadows on our walls

The season sees me grow sweet where I fall
The golden headed wasps keep me company

In the night she assumes shapes
Turning her bones into blackbirds
I sing to her winters
I live beneath her eyelids

Lost on the map of her skin
I can hear the birdsong


About the Author: Anna Gyorgy sunburns very easily.

May 2011 - Comments Off

How To Perform An Exorcism

Kaitlin Tredway '11

Take this all of you and eat.
this is not temporary. read
every instruction with care
Do this in memory of me.

suspect satan at the Church
door. salivate and swallow
circles of rice flesh soaked in
sow’s milk and sparrow’s ash.
there may be skin sensations.

This is My Blood. I am not
Worthy to receive you, but only say

it’s the numbing of the
Curd made flesh; slowly sniff
sapinsense and fyrrh to feel
nothing in the brain. it’s never
about feeling. do this in mockery
of me. risk all that’s held true.

Lamb of God, You take away

the ability to see, hear, discern.
genital motor skills—gone. get
a room, concrete or imagined.
one entrance, no exit.
it is fixed. This is My Body,
which has been
thisismybody
                             given up for You.
My Body. this is My
                                   thisis           mybody
                                                       my body won’t be given up for

                                          steps in line with the lion’s den,
                             or soft yet subtle hymns to Him.
                victory pump in the
neck, ribbon pinned to
                breast.
He’s                      risen.
                                          i’ll raze hell on
                                                                     bended knee.
i’m taking it back,
                  making a newer vow: to never love                                          You.
                                                                                                                                                       two years ago,
                                                                                                                                        i kissed His nailed feet.
                                                                                                                       my mouth still tastes like Crucifix.


About the Author: Catholicism, the Japanese American Internment, James Joyce, and Icarus have chosen Kaitee; she will probably write about them for the rest of her life.

May 2011 - Comments Off

Idolatry

Crystal Barrick '11
         a gloss after Elizabeth Gilbert

Not all my prayers beseech you—
on the widest nights I’ve tied

a wire to a tin can, swung for the neck
of the nearest shining idol and howled

so proud. I needed answers right then
and no, not you nor the moon have ever

spoken down; not to me.
I am not ashamed

of a man’s teeth on my ear, his cold,
slick arms as he uncarefully

removes all doubt. I pull his brass hand
onto my thigh, and I

let it stay there, because I asked
him a question and he answered

it quickly. If devotion is diligence
without assurance, no—

I can never wholly worship you.


About the Author: Crystal Barrick '11 studies literature, education, and the fine art of fixing things.

May 2011 - Comments Off

A Bit of Dried Grass, Broken Off Onto Live Coals

Sara Judy '11

Laughter in the buffet line.
Someone behind me made
a joke about three-legged horses.

I grin as quietly as possible
at the baby in front of me
making a fortress out of her

mother’s? cousin’s? sister’s?
shoulder. I worry about being creepy.
I worry about being

overdressed. I try to be easy
in my stance, in the way I scoop
potatoes onto my plate

and use up all the aerosol
in the whip cream can. Later,
at his funeral, someone

passes me a bowl
of loose cigarettes.
They look like the beams

that are left stacked
next to train tracks,
half buried in snow,

waiting to be used in repair.
We all light up together, and
kill ourselves a little, in memory of.


About the Author: Sara Judy '11 studies literature, and was recently awarded an American Academy of Poets prize for her senior thesis in poetry.

December 2010 - Comments Off

Drone

Sara Judy '11

                                  The bees
                                                                are inside
                                                                                          your creases

                        folded up in bed
                                    the swarm
                                    and us

                                           they are                                 making honey
                                                                 of your heart
                                                                                           combing
                                                                     your ribcage

perfect hive

                                   bees work
                                   to death
in the            summer
                    it must be hot
                                                            inside your chest
           their
quiver or                                                                             your ragged
                                                                                             breathing

                                                       pressed on your back

                                                                                             wait to sting.


About the Author: Sara Judy '11 studies literature. Her work is preoccupied with the Canadian prairie.

December 2010 - Comments Off

Tulips

Alana Orzol '11

They rose while I was gone,
in a burst of scarlet,
but now they fall like dawn,
breaking at their slits.
Each petal wilts on cue,
swooning like red palms
that held bees, dew,
but now embalm
the earth alone.
Yet I cannot sorrow
for passing beauty shown
today, not tomorrow,
for dust is never truly dead
but blood for future springs instead.

Lancaster, England, May 2010


About the Author: Alana Orzol is a senior studying biology and literature. Originally from Portland, Oregon, she enjoys tea, rain, reading, writing, and nature.

December 2010 - Comments Off

Give Us the City

(for Cleo)
Jenny Rae Bailey '12

We lavished in landscapes—the Gate of All
Saints on ninety-sixth street, avenues paved in ice—
also smoked joints lounging in grassy expanses,
crouching on front stoops, or outside my
grandmother’s house. Accept our faults, among
them addiction, dependency, procrastination. Negotiate
fondly with manic tendencies to rake the eyes out
& scream. Inebriate as you contemplate
which snacks to buy from the bodega at four a.m.
What shape would form if we fused together, bone-strung,
then what kind of mistakes would we make?
The appropriate gesture is easy—too easy
leaving no one with confidence. Forget
mannered mechanics, reject the robotic talk
of here and there. Give what’s for taking like
tastes of honesty from salty skin; & find rhythm
in country evenings until we sit again nine flights
above the whirr of hybrid clean air buses.


About the Author: Jenny Rae studies literature & the properties of verse. She grew up in New York City.

December 2010 - Comments Off

Hands On Me

Emmet Penney '11

He showed me the rippled, scarred name inked
into his arm, burnt off with a pan pulled

from the blue burner. He pointed: “This is how
you love a woman.” The rain-swollen Playboy

I found when I was ten had the most delicate pages.
I parted it open with a twig snapped

from the nearest pine tree. My pulse’s thick hum
radiated from my chest. If trains passed they did so silently.

In Baltimore, you and I watched some guy wearing
a Shaggy 2 Dope t-shirt fuck a girl with Michigan’s

state bird tattooed to her throat. Her fist-clenched
ponytail, spit frothed on a car window. You lit

my cigarette and we waited for the sound of skin
clapping together to die down. You took me, when

we got home, to bed. Your breasts hung from
your ribs. I heard only the dampened thunder

of blood throbbing through my body beneath you.


About the Author: Emmet Penney '11 was born in Chicago, IL. He now lives in White Creek, NY and spends most of his time reading and writing.

December 2010 - Comments Off

Untitled

Jiray Avedisian '14

Rain on the ground
Echoes in the ear
Of God himself.
Yet to man, His
Brother in creation,
It burns like a rhythm
In the soles of his feet.


About the Author: Jiray Avedisian enjoys the sun, especially in Bennington. He also likes to study writing words.

December 2010 - Comments Off

After Einstein

Anna Gyorgy '14

god made your clavicles to bite like hungry dogs
your hands to kiss like empty atoms


About the Author: Anna is very clumsy. She drops things a lot and hates wearing pants.

December 2010 - Comments Off

Farmer’s Almanac

Sara Judy '11

Farmer’s Almanac Part One

The wheat stalks come
toward the house like preachers
mutter and knock splinters off

front doors. The wind makes
sense of this place, searches
out the empty spaces to be filled.

I tell you: farms and fences
and preachers, all worn down.
The farmers plant trees to keep the soil

from blowing off the ground.
The thin and dark trees:

hair grown in tight lines
on earth’s long, brown back.

Farmer's Almanac Part Two

It is this way:
yellow and white
crops, dirt-wash

over everything else.
Grain silos are obsolete,
now is the time to

get a cosmetology
degree online or get a ride
to the strip malls

in the Magic City.
Behind me on the bus
a girl plucks her hair out.

One by one, leg by arm.
I wonder how she expects

to keep her skin
from blowing off her body.


About the Author: Sara Judy '11 studies literature. Her work is preoccupied with the Canadian prairie.

December 2010 - Comments Off

Daisy: Gainseville, FL

Emmet Penney '11

You wick the sweat from the small
of his back in the darkest corner

of the pool hall. It’s hurricane
season and rain comes down in fat

fists. With their bed sheets as sails
children catch the wind. Briefly,

they hover above the cracks
in the pavement. To forget the weight

of your body you put his hand
to your throat. How can you even

ask to leave.


About the Author: Emmet Penney '11 was born in Chicago, IL. He now lives in White Creek, NY and spends most of his time reading and writing.

May 2010 - Comments Off

Escondida

Mary Terrier '10

Everything is exposed: the twitching limbs
of leafless Aspens, the glinting asphalt wound

around mountains, the succulents: armed,
defensive. Here, every street is named

for a saint, every church bell chimes at once,
but try finding the horizon—blocked out by the dark

charred shoulders of mountains—only visible
if you climb, and climb.

May 2010 - Comments Off

Limerance

Allie Simmons '10

I. palimpsest
a parchment from which writing has
whispered those adjectives immediately yours (capable,
understated, the smile – I know) and
nudged what is left to uncover,
to pull from sea sand, to blow with salt breath, to discover

with new-comer’s worshipful hands, find
the part other long-haired girls
like me have touched and tampered
until it has
been partially erased to make room for another text

II. nihilarian
a person who deals
the tarot knows the order of things, the
syntax of coincidence. you and I met
without foretelling – between the entries on
‘astrology’ and ‘astronomy’ – and
we have been spangled with stardust
from three dollar vials, with salt
from upset shakers,
with things lacking importance

III. tenebrism
the use of extreme
happiness must be guarded. a story
with a happy ending, you say,
will not tell truths. all of us – in our
secret rib-shadowed cores, dark
and wet and sweet – want
contrasts of light and dark

IV. achloropsia
color-blindness
made a lover of me. my passion is barefoot
red; yours, baby-blue soft. where
I see you do not, where you feel I am
tasting. but we agree the magnolias
were bruise-white; we both nod
with respect to green

V. rachis
spine or axis of
tiny tender things
slim as nettles and needles
and easy to put beneath skin.
I have paid for it from others, have
asked for the needles to bear ink
to my body’s seams but
every coupling is to me a tattoo
and the permanent acts scareme
more than the ethereal
body; in order I feel:
a feather; the spinal chord

VI. achene
a small one-seeded
body: thick-skinned, weak-hearted, tired
of perennial blooming. you want me to
plant with you, to grow new
things in the muscle’s dark
soil but my seasalt
has made me too thirsty to bear
fruit or naked seed of plant

VII. acescence
becoming sour; souring;
reversing the colors of skin; giving
new adjectives to old sounds. I tell you
my nouns are my own; you answer
in the infinitive
and your clauses grow duller
as the color
of my vocabulary
grows paler,
turning of milk

VIII. carphology
the delirious fumbling with
the texts I have consulted
on the subject of you: you
do not like loud yellow; you touch
without purpose; you heal
slowly, with time and blood thinners. also
your fingers are slow to relax
when you’ve been tugging too hard and what
will I do with these lessons?
they were taught from you to me, so they will not
do for other
bed clothes in fever

IX. sirocco
a humid southerly wind
is all I need; that is what I really learned.
a callused hand
with a mis-healed thumb would be just
nice enough, a dark
stubble would hurt
in the proper amounts, but the wind
is all that is needed, just enough to whisper
the lichens in the tangled oaks and make
the salty ocean breath come calling across
the low-lands
accompanied by rain

May 2010 - Comments Off

Late Heavy Bombardment

Chelsea Harlan '11

I hear the hinge whine, the screen shake,
count footsteps on fingers and meet you
past one. You’ve promised me icebergs.

I dream them and they’re there. Chandeliers
of sea cerulean splint our sheets together,
we wait and lie and thaw. Above arctic:

Saturn, all opal-bashful and stunning,
winks when we see her. I hesitate,
I have no fate in space but want it and you

fascinate me, pull me in fast and sinking.
This is Saturn’s own summer. Beneath her
I think now I am getting to know you,

knowing to get you, the starlings caw.
It’s not far to where the hay hills are
so we will go soon by beeline, humming

heads tucked between knees. New me.
Honey tea teeth and I can’t stop touching,
I here, you there, wading in from the sea.

May 2010 - Comments Off

Precious Thing

Emmet Penney '11

--As sung by Greg Puciato

Broad-chested, teach my
Bare breast a new breath
To match your heaving hips.
Lock your veined arms
Around my skull. Swirl our sweat
On the pavement. Unholster me,
Show me what trigger fingers
Were made for. Beg you bite
My bottom lip. Let the bruises
Bloom where they may. Pray
You stubble rub me raw. Hold me
Still, beautiful.

May 2010 - Comments Off

The Turtle

Sara Judy '11

You saw him first, trying
to cross the highway.
You swerved to miss
hitting his curved shell,
woke me up and kept me
that way—talking about fissures

and dark wet spots.
You told me newborns
would come out of the pond
near your house. In your
sixth year the older boys
stamped them out. The one,

still moving, that you picked up
dyed your hands, oil dark.
When I drove home
two days later, I stopped
to call and say there was
no stain. The next July you

came home, hands sticky
with urine and salt. You saved
him from the road, you say,
recognized the shape of his back.
I hope he loved you
how I do when we walk

and your hand, on my curved hip,
guides me away from the road's edge.

February 2010 - Comments Off

I Am From Horse Tails Crying and Eyes Not Shining

Abbey White '13

I am from red clay, born with bare legs and elbows stained with dirt.
When the sky got too big to carry, I pressed an ear
to the ground, listening to the heartbeat that lay beneath.
And when the hoof beats of the buffalo shook my bones,
I knew it was not man who set the world to spinning.

I am from the open prairies where my hands,
small and starved and caked with dirt between nail and flesh,
reached down to grasp fingers belonging to a man
with a fiddle on one shoulder and a gun on the other, in a place
where the trees give way to the sky in every direction but down.

I am from the crest of a hill where I crept to his place, watching him
as he cried from his shoulder. It was the strangest sound
I ever heard, the way those horsetails cried— the bow looping
up and around, dancing, as he pulled that stick into song, singing
Oh Mary, Mary, will you marry me?

I am from a cloth village, possessing not what the brick village does—
skirts that reach my toes, corsets lacing me up like a cakíra¢ in a cage.
With my hair wrapped round like a little rock, at the nape of my neck,
he let a whistle escape from his puckered lips. But by the smudged mirror
I had never seen anything so ugly.

I am from a dowry of beads and buffalo skins and his house upon the hill
where he learned my real name. From making cornmeal with bacon,
stirring dough with my hands when he wasn’t looking, smiling
at his blue-as-the-water eyes when he was, and folding his clothes
with flour covered palms, as if a ghost had done the laundry.

I am from an imprint left on cornhusks and feathers, leaving him wake
to a clap of thunder and the sight of me standing in the doorway,
the wind pulling at my nightgown and hair I let loose. Rain drips
through windows, licking at his feet as he kisses my cold cheeks
whispering, Bright eyes, Bright eyes, why ain't you shinin' no more?

I am from stolen land, bought lakes, lost tribes, and captured souls.
Salt skin with blistered feet from blistering sand— a brown mermaid,
plucked from the sea, in borrowed gowns my ocean eyes stain with tears.

February 2010 - Comments Off

Dead Grass

Emmet Penney '11


To do: remember that he is not you.

You have plateaued where he plummeted, stayed

afloat where he went under. Back when you

were younger, the inert july air made


you woozy in the back yard. He tried

and failed to keep himself from falling in

front of the neighbors. Mr. Baker sighed,

like, Now I know why I never liked him.


You watched as your mother shook him awake

then took him inside. It was like a crop

circle—even the new seeds failed to take.

After enough kids asked you learned to stop


trying at the truth. “It was just some bum.”

You can’t explain where marks like that come from.

February 2010 - Comments Off

Visions After Gathering

Sara Judy '11


1.


Clay-colored men outlined in the thick smoke;

I will hold them in my hair. The morning's

water frees them. My sweet grass ghosts, mourning

feet that touch the ground while moon shine coaxes


the beat out from resin-hard skin drums. Beads cloak

the arms of dancers, feet are offerings

painted red in dust and sweat, mixed. Cêskwa

I will tell you a story: what sleep softens.


In my dream I squat like a squaw, hunched up

over my ankles. And when I wake up

the sheets are wet, you are a still vision,

you become a soft woman, beside me.


I follow your spine in living worship.

I’ve never been in love with a woman.


2.


I’ve never been in love with a woman,

(I can see that you are not a woman)

but when you ask me, kapîsin, and touch

my breast soft as new leather, breathing such


that I can hear the distance between us

and sky. Endless prairie, suffocating sky.

I sleep in the dust of the arena, in the dust I lay,

in places tamped down from frantic dances


and frightened cattle weeping hot skin,

black cow eyes, beads rather, I remember

them red. I remember yellowed feathers


that were mostly black. I find one, worn thin,

under my body, think that must be why

I can’t sleep, not because of your absence.


3.


I can’t sleep, not because of your absence,

but because the wind will not leave my hair.

No, not my hair. It bends through the wheat spires,


those thin reedy women stand crowded, present

visions to fill the eye even at night,

singing we will be cut down soon. Thresher,


combine, saying them even tastes finite.

Hiding in red morning clouds, horror

lives here, too. Watching the dangerous sky,

Omisi, I will show you what they do:


while we are pierced and bound, metal mouths chew

into earth. You circle the pole four times,

ignore the spin of combine teeth, undone

for the whistle of a bird’s hollow bone.


4.


For the whistle of a bird’s hollow bone;

why do we insist on better reasons?

I long for the nights alone on the plains,

reaching for the milk-blue and yellow moon.

Visions come from the yarrow, whitlow-grass,

Moon is an illusion; they light themselves.


Instead I had those painted nights with you–

naked, too smooth. When I reached for you, passed

my hands to you across the dark bedroom

the quilt appeared to me, but no visions.


My elbow lifts me to the window, watching

I pretend to see a fox move, so low

that all I have is his grey back flexing.

The skin-taut moon is very much herself.


5.


The skin-taut moon is very much herself.

I push at the smoke. My hands move through it

as if it were a ghost, clothed in red bands

cast off from the fire. The sparks live, fly lit


to be reflected in eyes and glass beads.

I should get up for the dance, but I sit,

watch figures move in rings, the moon recedes.

The night takes over my eyes, barely lit

figures move to re-light the fire, to coax

away darkness. I tried singing, but spoke

to myself instead; tired woman, rise.

Wâpiw, can you see them? I strain my eyes

to see, profiled against one sky’s expanse,

three men moving, outlined in the thick smoke.


6.


Three men, moving outlined, in the thick smoke;

they will do this again tomorrow. Beating

drums that start down low, deep inside my chest

the circle passes with wide steps, bent heads.


How do they know what to do with their hands?

I never know. Their feathers blur, never rest.

This pains me, so I walk out to the vendors.

A large, old woman, dressed in jeans tells me


her dream catchers cost a dollar for four.

Their red beads are questions, or no, just beads.

I drink a warm canned soda and move bees

away from my face with slow, awkward hands.


If you were here would you buy the promise

of quiet sleep? Of a night without visions?


7.


Of quiet sleep, of a night without visions,

would you sing to me? Wash the smoke over

your body. I have heard you make the pledge:

braided sweet grass, four days without water.

Wail in early morning, meet in the woods

to make your war against ceremony.

The men will sing with you, show you how to

close your eyes, to not look at the women,


hanging your red strips of cloth in the trees.

Focus on your hands and the thirsting sun.

When we met, you let me ask a question:

What do you think to do by catching me?


Holding my arm you brought me out, saying

Kiya niya. Yes, but only for a while.


8.


I am yours, yes. But only for a while

can you keep me. Outside the painted dreams


I lose myself. Under your sky, I find

that I never belonged to you. I came

out from fields, milkweed and cone-flower; all

my red petals hang down, drag in the clay.

That is to say, I am from the expanse


between destinations. Stay too long, risk

my body to the fields of gumweed, sam-

phire, all gone to seed. Here they burn fires

for the night’s dance, collect embered feathers;

women paint visions across their cheekbones,


see sparks flying up and think: Manitou.

I lied to you; give me back to the moon

February 2010 - Comments Off

New Revelations on Euphrates

Crystal Barrick '11

And now, a shrinking river.

O, on the bank of the birthplace
of civilization, we turn around and we

are salt, are surrounded by
mounds of salt, excavated

from waves, from our desires—

piled, hollowed out; we
are tired. But we are unashamed.

Disregarding drought, we muscled
in crops, canals. With hard and heavy

hands we chased away
farmers, fishermen, other allusions

to God: We did this, needing.
We did this, knowing

when our Euphrates runs dry,
so will our burdens—

so was the revelation,
so is the Word.

We look up now

from our work, mouthing
prayers for smoke and trumpet sound,

for locusts like horses,
like women, like lions.

He who has no ear,
let Him hear our Spirit—

Loosen our angels!
We cry as we have tried

to pry them from
the calloused banks ourselves,

and failed.

December 2009 - Comments Off

Takamine

Jenny Rae Bailey '12

I piece you here—

steady, freshly strung,
a hum from your
belly, delicate.
Made to soften
my rigid spine. How

you encourage,
upright against the
wall. Your silence
loud as any blank
page. I listen
for the strum of your

tendril, perhaps a
chord is formed. To
me, a gentle phrase
as your body
exhales: strings rough and
smooth, neck long, frets
perfectly aligned.

December 2009 - Comments Off

On the Invention of Innocence

Abbey White '13


I.

He came from a place that made you want to beat back the world.


At the wheel his heart-shaped lips pouting about words of war

and ghosts helped carry us down the black river, a brown baby boat

slicing through still air towards a place we wouldn’t call home.

Without sure destination we allowed ourselves to be swept away

by easy refrains, smooth lines that made up for swallowed phrases,

eras we found ourselves singing all loud and shameless. From time

to time my licorice gaze would sweep over the side of his face

that was glowing. And in this certain Arizona light, he possessed

a silhouette that made me long to watch his head fall back.


II.

This type of landscape could make me forget where I’d been.


I found my fingers tangled in ginger curls, a gesture that had him

fumbling over words that typically flowed in proverbial harmony.

Shamelessly did I trace bone structure, lean closer and whisper

expressions reserved solely for lovers. On the radio, Cole Porter

lulled Anything Goes. And I believed him. Nothing was to be

concrete on this melting asphalt. Nothing but what was shoved

furiously in suitcases after we’d felt the allure of second chances.

Was there a moment I could’ve paused to reevaluate? I wouldn’t

know. Desire took over and things moved too quickly to notice.


III.

What a thing to learn: how to create too much friction.


It would be here, in his ’69 Camero, where I’d kiss

lonely freckles, follow their trail with soft sighs to his lips

while fingertips danced over heaving earth-toned skin. Forgetting

blouses and frayed jeans, forgetting our minds and bodies,

forgetting repercussions of the previous—our only intent?

To meet the other’s needs. And oh, what a thing to learn—

the true heaviness of our pitiful limbs—as we struggled and

tussled, back and forth, in and out, picking up where the other left

off. Under the blazing sun there was too much heat between us.


- Based on Dorianne Laux’s Singing Back The World

December 2009 - Comments Off

Elmhurst, Illinois

Emmet Penney '11


Summer days stood still. They rippled

up from asphalt parking lots. Edges bent,

the horizon accepted the sun. The earth


shrugged. Cheerleaders wilted at the fifty

yard line and burnouts became lodged

in their parents’ throats. Flags lied limp


at the tops of their poles. We looked out

at night skies sliced by 747s. Satellites

marked the middle-ground between


our bodies and the stars. We learned it from

echoes overheard on contusion colored nights: only

trains leave this town. Not people, not anyone


we knew. Not even us. Everyday felt exactly

the same—like waiting to breathe.

November 2009 - Comments Off

Untitled

Megan Costello '12

Daddy says ignore the corpulent monster
In biology class,
The one who sends you notes labeled
“Keys to a sustainable relationship one:
Limit runoff of affection
And the leaching of resentment
Tickle me amoeba
Without you I am haploid”
Mitosis wailing selfishly
Creates replications of this torture
In history class
With the boy who thinks I am a reincarnation of Napoleon
And he is my loyal Cambaceres
Takes it too far
And is banished from high school
For bringing in a sword
Stolen from a young antique store
But at least I got to touch it,
Deltas
Estuaries
The border of Italy and Germany
Here we meet

November 2009 - Comments Off

Untitled

Jordan Amchin '11

The highway is
lit up
with gold
and there is
green inside
my chest.

November 2009 - Comments Off

In The Well

Tori Arend '10

A veil spun in the water. Thin
like rice paper, it held the heat
of the water; boiled finely.
It was a thermometer a sheet
of mercury wedged under the air,
enclosed above by masonry.
Under this the tongue,
the freshwater ripples, and rows
of tooth-like stones the veil floated
in stove-like heat. Unseen coils
wrapped tightly around roots; sunk
underground into wellspring.
Thick bark began to pulse,
the grass to singe. Birds rested
on branches before lifting
like steam. They flew overhead
while you, on the ground, you pressed
a leaf and held the veined green
until your fingers itched.
You let it go, let it spiral down
shriveled and dry.
By dusk, the leaves have browned,
have stopped circling. The few
burgeoning buds have turned orange
from the heat, and the ground
has softened. The wells stones
its teeth, glow like hot coals,
and the veil in the well spins,
spins further down the mouth
of the long cave. Its fabric disintegrates,
the water evaporates, and you, as you look ,
at your feet, hidden by steam, you
begin to sink further into the ground.