April Poetry Month (Day 17): C. Kubasta #npm16 #wppoets

[April Poetry Month 2016 Table of Contents]

Kubasta author soft.jpgC. Kubasta experiments with hybrid forms, excerpted text, and shifting voices –her work has been called claustrophobic and unflinching. Her favorite rejection (so far) noted that one editor loved her work, and the other hated it.  Her poetry has appeared in So To SpeakStandThe Notre Dame Review, Tinderbox Poetry Review and Lemon Hound, among other places, and she writes an occasional column for The Rain, Party & Disaster Society on teaching, writing and reading. A Lovely Box (Finishing Line Press) won the 2014 Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets Chapbook Prize. A second chapbook, &s, is forthcoming in summer 2016. All Beautiful & Useless (BlazeVOX, 2015) is her most recent book. Check out her website.



Driving north / on highway 41, a thousands / flock of starlings, common / grackles, blackbirds and brown-headed / cowbirds land and take / off from power lines, the detritus / of round-a-bout construction and passing / lanes; this motley flock, bedfellows / only in winter / makes black holes in the sky. Farther / north, SCA TISSUE begs / me to reinsert the “R.” // At the Prospect exit, I glance / into the backseat. / That was where / we took you / to die. Wislawa / Szymborska died, she who / once wrote of sea / cucumbers halving themselves, surrendering / one half to predator: that impetus / to immortality.


            *reprinted from All Beautiful & Useless, BlazeVOX [books], 2015


Trafficking in Books 

I had an Aunt who gave me books –the B-reads. We didn’t get along, this Aunt and me. But every Christmas and birthday, a new book, “with love, Aunt _____ and Uncle _______” in twitchy scrawl. Uncle _____ is gone, and I find myself finding more affinities with Aunt _____ after years of not. Maybe that’s what the books were for: Here’s Caddie, red-haired, only-girl, difficult-child, two-brothered. Traipsing woods, brambled, refusing to be the good girl –the good girl my aunt wanted me to be. Maybe she was saying, I see you.

My sensitive student tells me she handled the movie just fine so she’s ready for the book. Oh, I say, Oh. I reread that book many times, trying to find the bright line where graphic became gratuitous. That book is always with me –at the grocery store, through the revolving doors, ordering dinner, in the mirror in the morning when I spread serum and anti-aging lotion on my face. This is how we become hamburger.

I give this one to friends. Its beauty eviscerating. They wonder if the gift is pointed – is this how she sees me? – letch, empathy-less, cruel to beasts, imperialist, racist, rapist, doer-of-everyday-unkindness, incapable-of-ordinary-love, opaque-as-silvered-mirror. But no, it’s just a stunningly beautiful book. Message-less. No redemption, no silver lining, no rainbow after the flood.

I see you – afterimage, echo, transcription error.


                  *forthcoming in Of Covenants, Whitepoint Press, 2017


Assorted Dedications

A clutter of found material:
my father’s Depreciation forms, this
involved email, the images seen
from my stoop: a rabbit running
into a front car wheel, instantly still;
shift-change at the plant across the street, lanes
of traffic, a light rain begins, then comes
a man on a big-wheel unicycle.

Deer, like us, may associate sex
with death: first the rut,
rubbing trees blind, a scent,
a loud that splits
a hoar-frosted morning, bright
lights, and fall. Like love.

For Little Girls. For My Father (who
is not adept at irony) says, “I seem to show up

[Let me interrupt: the student who sent me the email studies
accounting and hates it. He takes the language
of tax forms, fashions them into poems.]

in a lot of your poems.”

[Let me interrupt: Desire
is both a moving toward, and a hiding
from. “I tend to define metaphor as a figure
of desire rather than a figure of knowledge.”[1]]

Rabbits die, unsettle. From my father’s forms:
columns of numbers, everything worth less.

[Let me interrupt: “belief is a complex mixture of suggestion,
mimicry, desire and projection.”[2]]

“The point of words is that they have
to have already been used, they have not
to be new, they have to be
only re-arrangements, in order to have meaning.”[3]


                  *forthcoming in &s, Finishing Line Press, July 2016


[1] Harold Bloom
[2] Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World
[3] A.S. Byatt, Babel Tower


[April Poetry Month 2016 Table of Contents]

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