Call and Response: The Gifts of Women Poets (Part 2) : Amy King : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

I contributed a bit to this piece which begins here:

[Editor’s Note: Part 1 of “Call and Response: The Gifts of Women Poets” can be found here.] On Carolyn Kizer Carolyn Kizer was my poetry mentor, great friend and goddess. Here is an anecdote that says everything about her: an admirer wrote her a letter, but did not have her current address, so simply wrote […]

Source: Call and Response: The Gifts of Women Poets (Part 2) : Amy King : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation


Calculated Risks

in extremes

play is troublesome

whether with fire

or ending in frostbite.

direction has no inborn


about whom to hurt


accidents happens

according to

calculated risks.

Or, maybe it doesn’t sit so well

with what else was


and beyond ozone, ionosphere

to outer reaches becoming penitent

feel revenge     -hereditary-

of temptation

turned sour.

Young Poets Bare All: What Is a Culture? : Amy King : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

Don’t swear so much. Aren’t we decorous? What Is a culture? It’s an enormous detailed lie lived in, wrought beliefs, A loving fabrication. What’s good about it? Nothing. It keeps you going, but institutionalizes inequality, killing, and forced worship of questionable deities … –Alice Notley, Culture of One As an educator, I’d be remiss if […]

Source: Young Poets Bare All: What Is a Culture? : Amy King : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation


What is happening

is the job

of hyper-real



of natural

and experiment(al) following


through idea into its truth

and history

being created

as it breathes

as its fog of being makes misty

eyes and ears


a reality to be beyond

recording but ready for



Olives come in green, black and between

rice has hull removed

and sits in stomach


Beans are a plate of kidneys

in grease and garlic


Chickens walk on dark

cluck comes up

from the light.


Dinner leaves its origins

on stove

before reaching plate


Stains remain

where Clorox and Brillo



Next meal is served,

cooking tasked

to new hands

different tastes.

Lately, It’s Been Nothing New

lately, it’s been nothing new.

been hard trying

to keep this

brittle heart

from falling

too far apart for repairs


where’s freedom when it’s needed?

freedom from

a fate coming



headlines out here getting sequels worse than the original.

scripts calling

for more violence

faster on the trigger

less backstory

new victims same villains


skin is not a uniform

skin is not a weapon

skin is not a target

skin is not a threat

skin is fragile

skin is not a choice

skin is not a liability

skin is not anybody’s fault

skin is not at fault


to be fair,

everybody makes mistakes

to be honest,

why are the same folks on the same side of the errors?


it must be something to solve for

every problem

comes with an answer

once we figure out

the control

and the variables


it must be something in the water

in the stars

in the blood

beneath it

going on and on

and on

but the end has yet to arrive


someday can’t come fast enough.

but patience is gone


anger has its reasons. sadness is the logic inscribed in our genes. sorrow the logo we want changed.

no more


no more

stories questioned

in the name of anything other than justice

no more hashtag proof

that equality

has yet to exist


lately, it’s hard not to feel hunted.

lately, extinction feels like a possibility.

children first

the women

old folks too


it’s been lonely


it’s been lonely


it’s been lonely

in solidarity.

it’s been lonely

for love.


truth is . . .

that’s the joke

been heard before.

punchline’s always same as before



“ . . . irony cannot break the wall

. . . building around . . . poem . . . ”                                                                                                           (Harold Norse)


Fermented phemes have grown culture

through aging

fragrance stronger still and stronger to come

but hasn’t yet.


Treasures of the night

have never been found

on ice.

* * *

To the streets filled up on sour

and acidic

quelled on probiotics


Bacteria grown against

God the virus.

* * *

Sewer grates leave menthol and regular packs

green and red

at the curve

of the corner


Back up Coke and Pepsi cans,

and the logos

all the sigils stamped

in coffee cup,

burger wrappers, empty chips, sweet still sleeping

in candy’s former sleeve.


But water

and what passes for water

where concrete, brick

and asphalt meet

slips through

with even

the most fickle poem.

* * *

“ . . . Does

Maybe not matter when maybe’s a landscape of untethered

starlight?”                                                                                                                           (Rowan Ricardo Phillips)

* * *

It’s all enjambment


All disjoint up up above

as together unbounded


and point




spray paint that won’t come loose

from walls

and monuments


where                   upturns

is a route

able to navigate

for food.

* * *

Words are black

and have running

in their blood

Drapetomania is the suffering

of text enslaved

to the page.

* * *

Captivity lets faith, hope

and charity


with visions of Zion

and all lands promised

to the passed over.

* * *

This world cannot be taken personally

* * *


does not make

digesting come

does not confirm

nutrients extracted

to destinations



Swallowed in sips

language has no

bottom of cup


So bloats

So bursts


So hyponatremia

of thoughts

first attacked, assaulted

then accepted.

* * *

Where can’t walls be built?

Gates, fences,

neighbors cutting off stanza from stanza


lose sight

of one                                   another


Disjoint occurs

nonsense teems

begins plans

against 5 or perhaps 6

senses –

sentimental, sensual,

sensible (?).


Springtime further blossoms

nature’s lines of defense,




Winter drops guard

lets jokes

slip through –

pushes them on blizzard



to bury

and give cabin fever

to homesick

broken lines


* * *

Just and just


not too much

* * *

Having lost vowels

over centuries


in clay and sand


Consciousness lost name

and rose as ash –

ashen rose

burnt out


spoken through brush

and to Jeanne D’Arc


and in caves


In places beyond and between opposite openings

side 1

side 2

left channel right channel


in need of visitors’

whispers / speaks / tolds / talks / yells /screams



How the machina comes

is on ears first

– save for Saul.

* * *

Life was begun by forgetting

this entrance.


Since then,

gifts  -if received-

are misconstrued


And grow into curses


* * *


1) to be easily crestfallen by outside forces upon the ego.



2) to be empathetic to the crestfallen outside of the ego.

* * *

“. . . silence crowns the song.”                                                                                                   (Ursula K. LeGuin)