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Collected Poems Autumn 2013


Poets

How To 21, Unlocking Doors

01

Lily Pfaff

03

Camille Montano

04

Kathy Wu

07

Sequoyah Madison

Containment

08

Frederick Powell

type into google

10

Marisha Lozada

12

Sarah Plummer

14

Sarah Wang

Winter is Here Inventory The Family from America

prayer for the late entreaties of a wooden floor Shame you foil Rust takes to metal with dubious grace SHOWER THE HUNT

iv


19

Cayman Robson

Row Bee

20

Charlotte Acevedo

~

23

Rena Rong

27

Cara Lowe

Loss is not a List

28

Corey Comenitz

Thank you

29

Peter Young

32

Melanie Patterson

The Pickup Artist

33

Dariel Filomeno

Goya Malta

34

Joshua Shiau

The Passing A Reminder

period In my dream, in my garden

Contents

Sayings from My Grandmother Dear Regret


for Rick Benjamin, bad-ass teacher & poet.


viii


ix


x


How To

slough off your skin to leave where it lies, do not swallow yourself as you curl out of bed

Lily Pfaff

gag convenience with your comfort in the bloody heel of a felicitous bend by the familiar road unclench the right fist and enlist both hands, to feel all sides of one whole love speak with the din of one thousand mouths plunged to a dead hush.

1


Lily Pfaff

21, Unlocking Doors

Use the brass colored key for the front stoop always hold your breath in case the bowing blade breaks savor the small gasp of a popped door as you’re slung into a tower of thick stale air a stairwell with impossible scuffs on its sides evidence of evicted tenants clawing (your own lore) tooth and nail resign your legs to the two-flight climb past the scrunched paper drywall and the squat wooden railing of your floor the silver key is for your apartment remember which way to twist for the deadbolt which to turn for the doorknob it took three weeks to learn how far to insert the blade into each lock before their pins warmed to your hand forfeiting in front of your fist without snickering prattle

2


Winter is Here

curled against the elements, relentlessly torment. shoulder bonewings folded Camille Montano

frozen eyelashes, causing tunnel vision hunched waiting for the light, to warm body and melt troubles stretch out on flat stone, water delights arches of feet warmth streams through lattice of green Everything will be alright.

3


Inventory

Kathy Wu

measure each day hair and growth of fingernails number of miles trod weight subtracting clothes take note, count pebbles for today’s joy, teaspoons for sadness, exact to the milliliter tally fears, calculate density of a jar of dirt—how much you’re missing home sometime next month realize a mountain had grown beneath re-measure everything

4


The Family from America

We scratch at dirt on the stoop of the old family house—

Kathy Wu

milk, biscuits, liquor for the shu shu’s and yi ma’s, a village I could hold in my hand. Gestures that feel like returning— Welcome Home, a table set with rice, fish. Pavement, blue jeans, toilets, vaccines things they do not have. As half-bare children bat stray cats great aunts grin with shingle teeth, towards grand-daughters—

5


Look, she bore us a son. My father laughs, tucking chopsticks,

Kathy Wu

stretching a promise like rope across oceans, while my brother, the last of the Wu family men, forgets Chinese at the rate of falling.

6


Containment

Stab your neighbor with the Blade of your words Don't think before acting speaking reacting and you will most definitely end up Contained with the victims you Target

7

Sequoyah Madison

silence Shrugs nods No validation Passive Aggressive comments Sarcastic compliments Unconstructive Criticism Unnecessary comparisons keep dreams Contained


type in google: why are Americans so obsessed with the UK?

first page is a dud

Frederick Powell

but second link offers a list of fifteen specific things (only fifteen?) - the accent - the Queen - Prince William - the history - the way of life - the food - the thatched roof - the little cars - the telephones - 007 - Monty Python - THE SIMON (Cowell) - the drama - the music - the literature go back a page and type: why are the British so obsessed with the USA?

8


find a trusty BBC article that offers ten specific things

Frederick Powell

- the portion sizes - the service - friendly folk - salty-sweet food - no royal family - bigger homes - tv and film - toilet seat covers - diners - the opening hours deduce that the English love clean toilets and salted caramel, while Americans all want to be driven by Simon Cowell in a small little car. God Save the Queen Obamas (especially Sasha)

9


Marisha Lozada

prayer for the late

i am a closet shy of lace too close to fragile words without a length of thread to lend for stitches pink or blue.

10


entreaties of a wooden floor

11

Marisha Lozada

press dirt  into the expanse of my  mouth wax my  teeth to a  shine drip  oil   against my chapped lips wipe the dust from my navel comb my  skin with thatched  branches and do not forget  that i swallow all  that you have  said and all  that you  will  say.­


Shame you foil

Sarah Plummer

wrapped sphinx: Go on, lap froth from this basin. My selfhood (a tiny, spent thing) rests somewhere in theretight knotted ampersand between sharp clause. Gargle and spit so I can cling to your plaque like it clings to your fangs.

12


Rust takes to metal with dubious grace

lassoing my waist in one stroke you draw up my scent from lank height: pepper, guaiac, vetiver.

He could smell me too, followed my smoke to its fire.

13

Sarah Plummer

Its hard to think I was one of two kids splintering each other


Sarah Wang

SHOWER

Breathing warm humid air is a pleasant chore between four walls a door and an imperfect gap soap myself to ash the future is fumbling at the knob with wet hands i make her wait only i can take that clockwise turn to choke the spout time and gravity know what they want they're really going places but i am still fumbling behind the curtain there is a mysterious order to it, and i know only how to be honest to a certain extent trying is hard and so is giving up specks of water drop despite the mountains they have climbed

14


heard Bruce Lee showered with his clothes on never had to do laundry what is possible once i am clean

think stone thoughts animals look sad when drenched whales are always gleaming

15

Sarah Wang

magic? the sun isn't on its way but i search for ... chlorophyll knows the tallest trees are made of water and, breath and light sprout from rubble feet i am made of water and food bread or rice maybe in my neutral and naked state, within the white cube of the shower, it doesn't have to matter i am probably in denial either way i suspect my stubbornness is a type of confusion or vice versa


Sarah Wang

i want to shine the way teeth shone white before that first bite purity of heart got us that far and i am still learning the names of things i've probably forgotten more than half my years but they still show erosion is slow but can't you see them showing?

16


THE HUNT

what lies behind eyes glazed with rain water searching for familiar shadows as honey for hexagonal form Sarah Wang

flows through fingers to what gravity of truth lead the maps in the folds of our palms what do they hold for our intangible understanding a fistful of blessings dying to bloom in ever-shifting season and the winding of tectonic muscles slow and constant stretching under infinitely elastic masks

17


the wet and shining mess below the skin

Sarah Wang

molten and glowing does it look alive? a chasm static as a name i recognize each reflection of its echo

18


Row Bee

your one true love had a broken neck its natural for you to go out like that Cayman Robson

when dropped and swung strung together as one cases open for 500 miles away over double rethought reworked both collect dirt

19


~

Charlotte Acevedo

I’d like to be able to write on the walls The way the house was left after your spirit left the house followed by questions about what we leave from what we do and what that looks like maybe I need to make noise in a different way

20


~

A comet comes around and I don’t believe in coincidences maybe it’ll reveal which way I’m supposed to go

21

Charlotte Acevedo

He sat down everyday and wrote “nothing,” about each day’s happenings of the days he lived. And the fact that he sat down everyday to write “nothing,”meant that he thought something was actually going to happen tomorrow.


22


The Passing

I figured I could always ask you later how to grow winter melons in the summer you offered to show me that morning but I found something else to do instead Rena Rong

23


A Reminder

Rena Rong

File down your serrated edges teeth too eager to sink further into flesh Can you not leave that snag toothed creature on the side of the road where you found it? I leave the strays be. Palms up against calloused wordsÂŹ pointed in mid jab let them haunt others Please no need for surrender surely there must be a better way

24


25


26


Loss is not a List

It is a crumpled verse pressed into my hand— words your dad can’t speak, we stand next to your grave. Cara Lowe

27


Corey Comenitz

Thank you

I don’t remember your voice I’ll always remember what you did for me but I cannot remember your voice You allowed me to see things that the morphine couldn’t dream This pessimistic statistic faceless name bracelet now sees a future because you saw my eyes You called me once but I wasn’t home I have your number and a name but I have not heard your voice and I cannot remember the face of the woman who saved my life

28


Sayings from My Grandmother

come here! where are you going? help me dig a hole here! I want to plant some vegetables Peter Young

your face is so thin... here eat this! I cooked it for you always greet your teachers before and after class it's very important stop washing with so much soap! do you want to eat soapy rice? here, like this, just scrub with hot water I never washed dishes with soap growing up what happened to that girl who came over last time? I thought she was nice

29


what are you studying again? well, make sure you work hard!

Peter Young

ah, you're here, are you on break? I have to see you graduate college We called her ai jie.

30


Dear Regret

Peter Young

You think you mean well, coming in to spell out how I am allowed pictures, memories, pictures of scarred heart. Ancient teachings caution against overreaching flying too close to the sun, seduced by freedom of skimming water Just now, this silk atop sheets ground teeth when I'm working hard starved for connection I've carced myself into your heart.

31


The Pickup Artist

Melanie Patterson

I'm gonna give you some advice: The internet's sucky, Especially if you are famousCover your ass quickly. Don't live a high profile life And brag of it to me, With your man thong model photos Online for me to see.

32


Goya Malta

looking to fathers joining them Knowing one day WE too will inherit their murky bottles Along with their "Barrio" Burnt umber glass holding the burnt umber poison Of this burnt umber life, "nunca los vas a dejar," it cries The weight of history, blood stained upper lips, haunting Breath, and cavity filled adolescents Non alcoholic Non alcoholic Alcoholic Never would have thought it was alcoholic.

33

Dariel Filomeno

Sweet bitter tar in a bottle Reminiscent of childhood disasters And scenes of watching Mighty Morphing Power Rangers In tighty whities, on dirty carpeted floors Surrounded by creaky winter It was cheap, cheap enough to buy with hidden bronze treasures between cushions A dollar a pop,


34


period

Joshua Shiau

My eyes are black to better absorb the lights cross ing the horizon as our own orb unwinds in slow furious circles to remind me that I am my father’s son

35


In my dream, in my garden

I had six chairs of vine and iron

Joshua Shiau

that did not wait for loves I’d never meet to sit and sink four columns deep into soil rusting and rooting drawing water generous and pooling until it fell in sheets back into earth

36


37


weaned from the teat of malice - Emily Law & Cara Lowe (California Divas)


Photographs by:

Rena Rong, viii-x, 22, 25, 26, 38-41. Joshua Shiau, 34, 37. Kathy Wu, inner cover, table of contents.

Colophon

This book was set in Bembo Book Regular, Adobe Caslon Italic, & Akzidenz Grotesk Medium. Printed on Neenah Classic Crest. Conceived during Finals Week.

Designed by Kathy Wu. RISD 2013.


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Fast & Loose: Collected Poems