Poem Swap

Like Wife Swap but without the fighting

Posts tagged ginna

8 notes &

House of Selected Flames

The darkness peals
as each star is inserted. Truly
stars are harmless—I mean
they only hurt themselves. Did I
mention how hot it is?

Wind dips in like a hand, places
water on the nightstand
and then runs
the length of my right leg. I follow
my thoughts at a certain distance.

If you’re awake
and thinking what I am thinking,
you are dead wrong—

I will not disintegrate
amidst the siren’s multiple choice:
the flames doused, a light saved, possibly
locked away forever. Or, d)

all of the above. Fear is
such a dirty dress to wear,
wet across the abdomen
like a faded label that might have read
Fragile, way back when.

—Brett Eugene Ralph

Read this poem and others by Brett Eugene Ralph in Black Sabbatical.

Filed under poetry favorite poems ginna brett eugene ralph

225 notes &

megan falley: A Triptych for Weight, Body, and Lost Girls


A Triptych for Weight, Body, and Lost Girls


Jenny wasn’t back in time for lights out.
Our counselors went searching for her, assuming 
she left her lips inside a boy’s bunk. 
Instead, they found her running
around the track, sharpening
her hip bones. Us girls all angry
for not thinking of it first.

Every week after weigh-ins,
I would console my best friend,
an 86-pound teenager, Mallory,
by holding up a slab of meat, swearing
This is what a pound looks like. If you only
lost .8 of that this week, it’s still a lot
off your body.

 No one sent me here. I chose
to spend five summer birthdays making myself
smaller. Every August, instead of a cake,
the dining hall sang to me
as I wished on an apple
with a candle in it.


Hi my name is Alice, and I am an overeater. All food says, “Eat Me.” Sometimes I am so big that my arms and legs shoot out the windows, I ruin the house. I want to eat the thing that makes me small enough to slip through the keyhole. I want the flowers, for a moment, to mistake me for one of them.


I got straight A’s. It was the first year
they recorded our height and weight
next to our grades. I knew what
mattered then. Knew I was failing.

In the class photo,
I stuck a pushpin
through my own face.


-Megan Falley
published in An Uncommon Core
and forthcoming in Redhead and the Slaughter King (Write Bloody)
Buy her first book, After the Witch Hunthere

I thank all good things that Megan Falley is in this world and has this voice and shares it with us all.

Filed under favorite poems ginna poetry megan falley write bloody Write Bloody Megan Falley slam poetry triptych

26 notes &

What Lot’s Wife Would Have Said if She Weren’t a Pillar of Salt, by Karen Finneyfrock

Do you remember when we met
in Gomorrah? When you were still beardless,
and I would oil my hair in the lamp light before seeing
you, when we were young, and blushed with youth
like bruised fruit. Did we care then
what our neighbors did
in the dark?

When our first daughter was born
on the River Jordan, when our second
cracked her pink head from my body
like a promise, did we worry
what our friends might be
doing with their tongues?

What new crevices they found
to lick love into or strange flesh
to push pleasure from, when we
called them Sodomites then,
all we meant by it
was neighbor.

When the angels told us to run
from the city, I went with you,
but even the angels knew
that women always look back.
Let me describe for you, Lot,
what your city looked like burning
since you never turned around to see it.

Sulfur ran its sticky fingers over the skin
of our countrymen. It smelled like burning hair
and rancid eggs. I watched as our friends pulled
chunks of brimstone from their faces. Is any form
of loving this indecent?

Cover your eyes tight,
husband, until you see stars, convince
yourself you are looking at Heaven.

Because any man weak enough to hide his eyes while his neighbors
are punished for the way they love deserves a vengeful god.

I would say these things to you now, Lot,
but an ocean has dried itself on my tongue.
So instead I will stand here, while my body blows itself
grain by grain back over the Land of Canaan.
I will stand here
and I will watch you

Filed under favorite poems ginna karen finneyfrock lot sodom and gomorrah historical fiction

4 notes &

Your heart is a sweet volcano, Charlie Wortham.: Untitled I. 09/20/2013.

My books are edged violet, wine baptized them beautiful
Pages stuck together, tongue to my frozen spine mid-winter
And I am not angry,
I am lonely, quiet
Yesterday we laughed so hard the aisle shook in the Dollar Store,
We felt so light for a moment,
Free of our own unraveling,
I tossed and turned last night dreaming of you,
Of death,
Of the way things splay me open for auction, 
Revealing everything I have done damn well hiding,
I shivered without you, 
Wearing my white Rebels t-shirt, brand new pair of white cotton panties
You would have said I looked sexy this morning,
Spent my half-asleep in between alarm bells turning fingers into Algebra,
All I could think about was your laugh, that smile
The way your skin felt so warm against me,
I dreamt of you,
Of death,
When I woke up this morning without you,
I hoped so hard that I had finally become a ghost.


by Jennifer E. Hudgens

Filed under poetry favorite poems ginna love poems break up jennifer e. hudgens

8 notes &

Juniper, love. by Russ Woods

This morning I am watching you sleep with your arm curled 
around your mouth. You open
your eyes, squinty, & then close them. But not before I 
sneak inside & live there. I build a city
inside the look you gave me & live there alone with my 
lover & thousands of trees, all of whom
we elect mayor. We are loyal assistants to this 
administration of this city of your gaze & trees &
we are making such great strides in municipal policy. The 
trees-mayor passes a law to move all
the lawns together & strip all the buildings down to just 
roofs for watching the sky.
I keep opening books, hoping they’ll be about you.
& sometimes they almost are, just like this early time of 
day before everybody wakes up & I’m
wandering the house like a cat in a room.


As published in plain wrap press.

Filed under favorite poems ginna poetry russ woods plain wrap press

61 notes &

Married Men by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz


are married. You know this. You were at their wedding. What they say
should land as if your dad said it, or your brother. None of it means harm:
the way you look in a pair of jeans, how long your lipstick lasts, how good
the oysters are, how fresh. Married men are the lead characters in the movie
of their marriage. They share top billing, but have earned their solo screen time.
I mean how else do you really get to know them, they say, if you don’t see
how they are without their wives? The long curve of their arms, or calves,
where their hands rest: on hips, or elbows, on waists. Married men lean forward
when they smile, and lean back when they laugh. After the party, they roam
the kitchen, offer to share with you a plate of re-heated hors d’oevres. You see it:
the still life of some other woman’s man, barefoot and drunk, hungry and alone.
The cat hisses at him. It’s his wife’s cat. It hates him, and for the life of him,
he can’t figure out why.

As published in iO

Filed under favorite poems ginna cristin o'keefe aptowicz poetry iO

258 notes &


Too much to drink last night and nowthe symbol claps of shame in August.Had I been wine-wise, I’dhave been at work for hours by now,but no. Television is more relievingthan I’d guessed, I watched a showI’d never seen before because I tendfrom terrors on the molestation line.It was easier to take than TV newswhose theme today is also how someonewho had once been a girl had beenabused. Outside the sky is blueand bright white clouds remind methat the other news has been wildfiresin California, with pyrocumulussoot clouds rising white in the blue sky.This shame of too much drink isshockingly tenacious. I tell myselfit is no crime to be seen in cups nowand again, but find I can’tbe disabused. I hold it all against me.
There must be water in these cloudsthough, and freedom here, and nothingthat ever happened will happen again.
—Jennifer Michael Hecht, “Episode”


Too much to drink last night and now
the symbol claps of shame in August.
Had I been wine-wise, I’d
have been at work for hours by now,
but no. Television is more relieving
than I’d guessed, I watched a show
I’d never seen before because I tend
from terrors on the molestation line.
It was easier to take than TV news
whose theme today is also how someone
who had once been a girl had been
abused. Outside the sky is blue
and bright white clouds remind me
that the other news has been wildfires
in California, with pyrocumulus
soot clouds rising white in the blue sky.
This shame of too much drink is
shockingly tenacious. I tell myself
it is no crime to be seen in cups now
and again, but find I can’t
be disabused. I hold it all against me.

There must be water in these clouds
though, and freedom here, and nothing
that ever happened will happen again.

Jennifer Michael Hecht, “Episode”

Filed under favorite poems ginna poetry jennifer michael hecht images portrait

77 notes &

Punch in the Face Poetry: "Things," Lisel Mueller

What happened is, we grew lonely
living among the things,
so we gave the clock a face,
the chair a back,
the table four stout legs
which will never suffer fatigue.

We fitted our shoes with tongues
as smooth as our own
and hung tongues inside bells
so we could listen
to their emotional language,

and because we loved graceful profiles
the pitcher received a lip,
the bottle a long, slender neck.

Even what was beyond us
was recast in our image;
we gave the country a heart,
the storm an eye,
the cave a mouth
so we could pass into safety.

Filed under favorite poems ginna poetry lisel mueller anthropomorphization

1 note &

Elegy for the Kudzu Vine by Kerry James Evans

It’s time somebody did it right, unwound you from your immortal trees,
from crucifix-style power lines
and pulled you from the roots, doused you
in diesel fuel and burned you in the ditch where you rest.

Effigy of myself. Effigy of anything but Alabama
and Alabama all the same, boiled peanuts
rotting green on a gas station counter
outside Montgomery, reminding me of you, and how you cling

to life: one tendril coiling a pair of posthole diggers.
Maybe I should take the vine
that you are and wrap you around my hand.
Call it bareback brass knuckles on a Saturday night,

talking to a man who goes by King Snake, another Catfish,
in a bar where they name me Cotton,
my skin shining through a pitcher of Miller Lite.
We talk pussy. We talk railroading.

We talk about a giant chicken formed by the welding of mufflers.
We talk about how a milk pail from 1942
rusts behind the smoker.
Hog jaw. Rib cage. Pork butt pulled slowly with a fork.

But never do we talk about the vine that grew between our toes
in the churches where we were baptized,
those county roads the graveyards of our childhoods.
We throw darts. We drink cheap beer from small glasses,

stumbling over the line. We hold God in one hand and swear with the other.
We’d give anything to forget
about the one-stoplight towns, Piggly Wigglys, the BP station
where we bought Mountain Dews after football practice

and a Snickers for the road. We’d give anything to understand
what you have done for our lives, how you hold dead trees
from falling after an ice storm,
how you keep red clay from washing into our veins—

all that iron and blood. There is no forgetting when raised the grandchild
of the Ku Klux Klan. And you, old vine,
tied like a noose as a reminder, blooming your purple flower
so that every hanged soul might find a voice.

But even we know the power of tithes, King Snake
pulling a five-dollar bill from his bifold wallet
and making change, lining stacked quarters
on the pool table like deacons ready to receive an offering.

With a bent cue, he shoots, recalling, with each ball he sinks,
a dead man’s grin, each ball the color of a sin.
I ask Catfish to take over. It is here,
I learn the speech of men. The speechless guilt of every swig.

I’ve never shot pool worth a shit, but I know the crack
of a pool stick when snapped.
I know a splinter in the throat. I know blood
tastes better when it’s dried to a busted lip and why Moses

parted the Red Sea, that the Old Testament is better than the New,
because it is filled with the blood of men
and the wrath of God, that a vine is not the truth,
but a placeholder for a history not worthy of remembrance.

Filed under favorite poems ginna poetry kerry james evans kudzu southern poetry the south

382 notes &



Rachel Wiley & Will Evans - “Leo Alexander Jones”

"There is one dead moth on the windowsill for each day you’ve been gone."

Performing for Columbus Writing Wrongs during prelims at the 2013 National Poetry Slam.

Maybe one day I’ll tell the story of how terrified and honored I was when Will asked me to write the other half of this piece….or I just did. Regardless of remains one of my favorites.

(via sweetwhatsername)

Filed under favorite poems ginna poetry slam poetry videos rachel wiley will evans nps2013 writing wrongs

3 notes &

Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney

Late August, given heavy rain and sun

for a full week, the blackberries would ripen.

At first, just one, a glossy purple clot

among others, red, green, hard as a knot.

You ate that first one and its flesh was sweet

like thickened wine: summer’s blood was in it

leaving stains upon the tongue and lust for

picking. Then red ones inked up and that hunger

sent us out with milk-cans, pea-tins, jam-pots

where briars scratched and wet grass bleached our boots.

Round hayfields, cornfields and potato-drills

we trekked and picked until the cans were full,

until the tinkling bottom had been covered

with green ones, and on top big dark blobs burned

like a plate of eyes. Our hands were peppered

with thorn pricks, our palms sticky as Bluebeard’s.

We hoarded the fresh berries in the byre.

But when the bath was filled we found a fur,

A rat-grey fungus, glutting on our cache.

The juice was stinking too. Once off the bush

the fruit fermented, the sweet flesh would turn sour.

I always felt like crying. It wasn’t fair

that all the lovely canfuls smelt of rot.

Each year I hoped they’d keep, knew they would not.

"Blackberry-Picking," from OPENED GROUND: SELECTED POEMS 1966 -1996 by Seamus Heaney. Copyright © 1998 by Seamus Heaney.

Filed under favorite poems ginna poetry seamus heaney

5 notes &

Descent by Ocean Vuong

Gian Giacomo Caprotti to Leonardo Da Vinci

The money gone, I followed you

to the edge of love—only to find the city

sinking. Streets lit with dawn’s blue

ashes. But it was the flecks of amber

slipping between the chimneys

that had us running. Dim alleys leading

to nowhere—or water. Then

the Piazza San Marco opening

the Mediterranean. That sudden

brightness. Pigeons crumbling

from the angels’ rusted shoulders

in the hour before Venice vanished

beneath the crowd. Hour of birdsong

falling like pebbles on the promenade.

And the year’s first widow chanting a new

god’s name into the sea. Her body a stitch

in the shore. Brief inventor, make me

new again. For the heart fails not in its breaking

but the tightening. For the sun came on.

The plaza erupted in panels of blood.

And you were still my king. And I, still—

your king.

As featured by Drunken Boat

Filed under favorite poems ginna poetry ocean vuong love poem