The Guided by Poets idea has been a blast! For this thread, I tapped Miss Ruby Fizz, Zenobia Frost on the shoulder and asked her to hoist the sails and captain this Guided by Poets voyage. And this thread has traveled some distance… Brisbane – Berlin – Cambridge – Chicago shining a light on some mighty fine poets along the way! And here they are: Zenobia Frost – mr oCean – Michael Haeflinger – Jose Olivarez – Nate Marshall.
Bathing with Gaiman
Before reading in the bath,
I ease the book’s
jacket off. I
the steaming water with one toe
and shuffle off my own dust cover
in and under,
holding the book above my head
like an umbrella. Then, spread
with my arms leaning on my legs,
I read, turning the pages
with the tip
of my tongue.
Later, while I scrub
or shave my legs
with my right hand,
I realise I’ve gone
cover to cover (or nearly).
The fingers of my left arm sulk
and strain, and I must
balance the book on my head
to flex the lameness out (and again
till feeling returns).
Then I swap hands and finish
my story and scrubbing,
to step out clean and complete,
steeped in someone else’s
Zenobia Frost is a poetic adventurer, hat fetishist and protector of apostrophes whose debut collection, The Voyage, will be launched by SweetWater Press on the 3rd of May. In her writing, Zenobia aims to highlight those common enchantments that are often overlooked. Thus, The Voyage is a whimsical journey on (generally) calm seas with a crew of curious creatures and a compass that points to whichever shore offers the best cup of tea. Zenobia’s poems have found homes in such Australian journals as Going Down Swinging, Small Packages, Stylus, Mascara and Voiceworks, and she has recently performed at the Queensland Poetry Festival, Contraverse and Under a Daylight Moon. She also coordinates The Ruby Fizz Society for Superior People, a light-hearted excuse for performance arts and baked goods. The Voyage, illustrated by talented local artist Bettina Walsh, launches at 7pm on the 3rd of May in the !Metro Arts Basement.
It is an act of impossible will,
to hold my body together,
when every nerve insists
that all I am is energy
and that we belong to the sky,
with the lightning and auroras.
All that holds me down,
all that keeps me from atomising,
is the focus of the flow of ink
and the flow of red wine
past my madly grinning lips.
I am the helium balloon
on a windy day,
colouring the chilly clouds
and whispering dreams of flight
to the child who holds me
mr oCean is an unfinished work of fiction, commenced in Brisbane, Australia, and continuing in Berlin, Germany. He has featured at La Mina di Velluto, The Kurilpa Poets, SpeedPoets (Brisbane) and Fluxus Capacitor (London). Making only occasional forays into reality, he writes predominantly sketches of views from windows or mirrors.
Love Poem for the Everyday
I love you mixed with lemon juice and basil. I love you on fire
in the sink. I love you made of plastic or small triangular pellets
or standing on a coast somewhere staring off in the distance
singing a Top 40 hit.
I love you with your hair pulled back and your eyes
facing upwards like that painting of dogs playing
poker. I love you when you change your name to Lucy
and shoot paper wads from straws.
I love you when you don’t do that, too.
I love you like I used to love you, before I stopped
loving you, because we tend to drift apart, but we tend
to drift back together again, too. I love you in the heat
of the pennant drive, coated in mustard, wafting your divinity
across right field. I love you brewed into my brain,
electric, set apart. I love you left behind as an artifact
and already talk about you as though you are dead.
I love both sides of your brain, weigh them separately
then weigh them together and then check the math.
I love the smooth rich columns of your promenade
and I love the chipped sidewalks of your memories.
I love the sound of your key in the lock, your made-up
words and own two feet. I love scanning the ends
of movie credits for your name. I love your name
and I say it every morning when the blooming pussy
willows yawn through the open window.
Berlin, March 2009
Michael Haeflinger is a poet, educator, and organizer from Dayton, OH. His work has recently appeared in BlazeVOX, Newleaf, tall-lighthouse anthology, Make, milk, Nexus, and SoMA. He has taught workshops in the US, Germany, and Netherlands. He currently lives in Berlin, Germany.
April 10, 2009
How I learned to talk to girls
Sitting on the couch
with a girl I could only dream about
I tried looking her in the eyes,
but mine were birds in the winter
She told me she liked
poetry, so I smiled sunshine
Talked poems and poets:
pantoums to get in your pantoons
but she crossed her
legs building borders between us.
said, “when I told you
I liked poetry I meant that I liked you—
Now come over here and please
Jose Olivarez is a junior at Harvard College. His work has been published in Konch Magazine, the Harvard Voice, The November 3rd club, and this spring will be published in The Gamut and Tuesday Magazine. He is also an occasional blogger at http://quetothepasa.wordpress.com/
rappers i monkey flip em
with the funky rhythm
I be kickin
age 13 in evergreen plaza
cold chillin in a b(irthday)-boy
stance i was stone still
standing in front of the
cd shop with my homie
jess was from oshkosh wisconsin
didn’t know nasir from nelly
was a fruit punch
but he bought me my first copy
popped into my discman the
crimson Columbia© disc
and started spending the jacksons
what the fuck
is this bullshit
on the radio
Nate Marshall is from the South Side of Chicago. This is by far the most important thing about him. He is a poet/MC/writer who has been previously anthologized in The Spoken Word Revolution: Redux. He is a first-year student at Vanderbilt planning to major in English and African American Studies. He competed in Brave New Voices International Teen Poetry Slam and was a part of a Chicago team that took 3rd in the competition. He has performed his work at many universities and notable venues across the country. He has also released two independent hip-hop albums with the group Daily Lyrical Product. In short, he has a higher ACT score than your favorite rapper, can beat your favorite dead white poet in a rap battle, and can outscore your high school valedictorian in a poetry slam. Word.