Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Unnameable Voices


I spent entire dinners imagining worn souls crawl up thunderstorms,
imagining our house inhale broken glass and exhale candy wrappers, feathers.
A shiver would pass through me, into the hallway and out the house,
a worn chorus breathing a current of forgotten songs,
ruffling the swallows, breathing glorious under the eaves.






This poem is a type of found poem, called a redaction, of the following source:
Harding, Paul. Tinkers. New York: Bellevue Literary Press, 2010. p. 127-129. Print.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Scent of a Man


The first man took the vanilla balm
I'd dotted behind my right ear.
I misplaced it on his collar
when he gave me the spicy smell of his shampoo.
Our heads had leaned into one another,
a bead of his sweat kissing my temple.

Unbeknown to me, the second man
took the cocoa butter off my arm during a quick boleo,
the faster milonga music hurrying our steps.

In the third man's close embrace,
sweat grabbed my dress fabric
and cucumber fresh deodorant seeped out.
I never smelled it again.

Somewhere in the fourth, fifth, sixth man,
I lost the Rainforest scent of my shampoo,
and late in the evening
even the smell of my strawberry lipgloss disappeared.

I gained musky deodorants,
clean aftershaves, fresh colognes.
They masked the odor of my sweat
as my own perfumes had intended.

After the tenth man placed
the last corsage of scent upon me,
the parade came to an end.

As I twirled for the final time into my car,
the flip of my dress sent a myriad
of lingering exchanges about me.
(Four hours, ten dancing partners later,
I was a stranger to myself.)

The evening’s first-donned scents 
tarried elsewhere, in others’ cars
separated from me and one another
going to their new homes.



first published in Third Wednesday. Summer 2014, Vol. 6, Issue 3. Print.
(nominated for The Pushcart Prize)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Black Tea with Milk and Sugar

Without milk,
the black will bite the back of my throat
in the spot which holds the beginnings
of the universal sob.

But with milk
swirling upon entry, the blackness fades
one tint at a time to a taupe
that coddles like her milk,
cauterizing the soar sad throat
carrying comfort time and time again
to that deep darkness within.

The sugar tastes of breakfast cookies shaped like an “S,”
feasted upon in my grandmother’s nest,
now tasting even sweeter
in this moment between earth and ether:

the kettle whistle blowing,
the sound of three mugs’ emptiness disappearing,
and with milk and sugar, all vacuums dissolving,

my lips slowly sipping the steeping sap,
suckling at the teat of warmth and comfort and love.

Every cup of tea I drink is my mother and my grandmother.

June, 2010
Ankara, Turkey

"Black Tea with Milk and Sugar" was first published in Miller's Pond Poetry Magazine. Fall 2014. Online. http://www.millerspondpoetry.com/index.php/issues/web_editions1

I wish the shape of my face not too narrow

And don’t exaggerate how my head’s on crooked-
I don’t want to look like a Modigliani

But draw my cheekbones a bit pointed 
Like Malificent in Sleeping Beauty.

Upon my face paint the expression of Icarus-
The moment before he smelled hot wax
Full of sacred awe at the ploughmen below
So the eyes forget themselves.

To suggest I’ve been living
On the Mediterranean-
Choose a tan color for my skin 
And the blue of a Turkish sky for my eyes.

The background- all poppies and butterflies-
In flight, the brighter the colors the better
So the viewer feels he is looking 
Through a kaleidoscope.

On my lap should be resting-
Like the dichotomous Greek masks
Scuffed up rock climbing shoes
And shiny red tango heels.

Some final recommendations-
Draw a hat atop my head
One that borders on ugly
And have me just barely pull it off.

March 17, 2014
Seattle, WA



"I wish the shape of my face not too narrow" was first published in Miller's Pond Poetry Magazine. Fall 2014. Online. http://www.millerspondpoetry.com/index.php/issues/web_editions1

A Snail’s Life

As I wait for the traffic light to change
I think of you and the weight of this shell 
digs into my back. I make up my mind
to hit the gas through this intersection 

but when the light turns green my exhaust  
turns to slime and my tires slip and slide;
a silver trail desiccates behind me.
Riding my back always, this heavy house

of brittle walls brims over with tender looks
and touch, the color nude. I wish I could 
smash this carpet bag of residual flesh, 
expose the soft and supple to the sun, 

pour salt on promises hanging so thick 
the air turns to slime and I can’t breathe
or keep up with this life I’ve built without you 
so I’m always slipping, catching myself.  


Seattle, WA
April 10, 2014


"A Snail's Life" was first published in Miller's Pond Poetry Magazine. Fall 2014. Online. http://www.millerspondpoetry.com/index.php/issues/web_editions1

Monday, July 28, 2014

"Reading in the Red" video

video

Here's (most of) my portion of the poetry reading that my writing group put on at "In the Red Wine Bar" in Phinney Ridge (Seattle, WA) on July 20th, 2014. If you couldn't make it, give this seven-minute video a listen!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Upcoming Poetry Reading in Seattle

The poets, including myself, who were involved in last year's National Poetry Month Initiative, "Pulitzer Remixer," will be reading from their collections in Seattle on February 28th, 2014, in conjunction with the AWP Conference. This will be my first poetry reading in Seattle!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Crashing Alone




Lightning struck like severed veins
and threw him crashing alone.

He lay on a funeral mound 
of pictures, forgotten board games.

Men murmured in the oak floor, 
women through pipes around the room.

Voices widened cracks into gaps.

A breeze blew through; the plaster sank
exhausted, crushing his ghost house.







Note: A found poem. Source: Harding, Paul. Tinkers. New York: Bellevue Literary Press, 2010. Print.


"Crashing Alone" was first published in Luciferous.  Jan. 2014. Online.
http://luciferouszine.blogspot.com/2014/01/crashing-alone-by-caroline-n-simpson.html?zx=91bfac66f08d2f36