I told my friend Anne Marie that I could come up with a list of 36 poems everyone should read to rival Buzzfeed’s list, which was great, but I felt was missing a few important names. 36 names to be exact. Here are 36 heart-polishing poems. 36 atmosphere-shattering poems. 36 poems I love by 36 poets I love. This list is not exhaustive, & by no means should these poems be the only one read of each poet.
Enjoy! HAPPY POETRY MONTH Y’ALL
1. Jeremy Radin, “Moon Wasps”
2. Russ Woods, “City Girl”
3. Heather Christle, “Pursuits”
4. Anis Mojgani, “When We Were Geese”
5. Annelyse Gelman, “Heart”
6. Sierra DeMulder, “The Genius Goes to Church”
7. Karen Finneyfrock, “The Owl Cycle”
8. Aracelis Girmay, “Elegy”
9. Danez Smith, “sideshow”
10. Lesley Yalen, “The Problem of People”
11. Jamaal May, “There Are Birds Here”
12. Cassandra de Alba, “The Bears”
13. John Mortara, “Every Night I Call the Cops On Myself”
14. Franny Choi, “Bird Watching”
15. Saeed Jones, “Thallium”
16. Rachel McKibbens, “A Child Without Arms Running Through a Field”
17. Angel Nafis, “Angel’s Heart Clowns the Ocean”
18. Brennan Bestwick, “Surname Nasa”
19. Tracy K. Smith, “Don’t You Wonder, Sometimes?”
20. Rob Sturma, “Christopher Robin’s Breakup Note”
21. Nikki Finney, “Cattails”
22. Caroline Crew, “The Weather Radio”
23. Kevin Young, “from Book of Hours”
24. Rebecca Lindenberg, “Litany”
25. Shanny Jean Maney, “I Love Science”
26. Farrah Field, “Consciousness Enlarges in an Untoward Present”
27. Airea D. Matthews, “Hero(i)in”
28. Fatima Asghar, “He Huffed and He Puffed”
29. Megan Falley, “new york craigslist>personals>missed connections”
30. Kelly Schirmann, “not asia, exactly.”
31. Emily Kendal Frey, “My Definition of Rape”
32. Carrie Lorig, “Scatterstate”
33. Mathias Svalina, “The Future”
34. Richard Siken, “Saying Your Names”
35. Zachary Schomburg, “The One About the Robbers”
36. Ocean Vuong, “Revelation”
Illuminati Girl Gang out now with my poems in
Traducciòn: Caterina Scicchitano.
sentí una gran tristeza hoy luego de mirar
Eterno Resplandor De Una Mente Sin Recuerdos
por primera vez en mucho tiempo.
no podía parar de pensar cosas como
”eso es muy yo” y ”ojala te hubieras quedado” estaba segura de que soy exactamente igual que todo el resto del mundo.
las proporciones de Kristen Dusnt de cabeza a cuerpo y a tetas
me confunden una bocha.
en realidad no soy esclava de nada
excepto a los pelitos del cuerpo, creo.
como que toman sus propias decisiones.
te acordas de ese día que nuestras caras estaban muy cerca
y vos nose que empezaste a decir
y accidentalmente eructaste en mi boca
hoy me mire al espejo y pensé
”no creo que realmente vuelva a ser feliz,
mmh, eso es algo hermoso, no es cierto?.”
”no, no lo es, y no lo olvides,
que vos tampoco lo sos
Luna says that all the sad, lonely girls died from the cancer of being a woman.
Do I have this vulvic sickness too?
What I do know for sure is that I have this thing with addiction:
It started with cigarettes
and number games
and wrapping my hair around my fingers
and playing with my boyfriend’s balls
and two vaginas rubbing against each other
and HBO mini-series
and Netflix original series
and GIFs of baby animals
and ordering pizza
and cleansing myself of pizza
and the routine of quitting
and collecting books that I will never read
and institutional acceptance
and awards for genius
and storing handguns in my cunt
and recognizing TV tropes by name
and feeling wanted
and feeling neglected
and feeling wanted while being neglected
and spit in mouths
and Ben Lerner
and my own name
and specifically cocks in lace underwear
and pictures saturated with light
and making plans to see friends who are in different countries
like South Brooklyn
and feeling in control
and loving myself
and feeling out of control
and hating myself
and the internet.
Yeah, it started with just those things
and it never ended.
I have a friend who keeps telling me that she just wants to be a normal girl but then changes her mind and continues to act strangely, which I like and admire. (Specifically the part about indecision and unwillingness to commit.) I guess it’s true that there are different types of girls that you can be at any given time. At most, I was probably 24 different girls at once. I’m not a callous girl, or an unfeeling one, but I’m certainly not a lonely girl. Or a sad one. In the hotel room, I just wanted to be one of many. I wanted each individual act of living on our bed to be anthologized, highlighted in their glut. There is something in being where so many bodies have been that I can romanticize easily. The sheets were neither mine nor yours but I ate them anyway. We stood the excitement of ruining that which belonged to no one. There was nothing on the walls — just prints of flowers and fruits from some generic retailer. The title of my memoir will be Still Life. You know as well as I do that to entertain a new person is just an exercise in amusement. I could perform all my faces for you and it would be a nu romance. But tru love? I don’t know about that. A forgetful girl, I left comfort on some shore that I sometimes imagined returning to – though it seemed more like a fantasy now. I could never return because, for example, I started dreaming of libraries, consuming bodies and swallowing human hair. I’m ruined and I belong to no one now. There are strangers whose hair I eat on accident. And then there is my own hair that I chew on deliberately. And then there is your hair that I patiently swallow at night. And then there are always other things that can’t be accounted for and unfortunately, there is this new sadness that hangs over us. But I ate the sadness. And when it wouldn’t fall away, I ate your body with the sky still attached to it. And when you called me a curious girl, the whole room took blueish tint. We became so quiet. Our own bodies towered over us in the absence of other images on the wall. To replace genuine feeling, I started performing this person who marveled at small things and I just wanted to touch everything at once. I just wanted. I was a Good Girl. I just wanted. I guess it’s true that I probably pout more now than I did in 2012. I guess it’s just the new thing that I do in the bathtub or at a restaurant when I’m subtly pushing my tits together and you’re not noticing. I just let the juice from the watermelon drip down my fingers and I licked them clean. I threaded my wet fingers through the handle of the mug that said #1 WIFE, though I didn’t deserve it. Oh well. I just hope that when you picture my body, I am two fingernail painting emojis and a knife emoji.
Post-Swallow: Original poem by Gabby Bess for WONDER.
Follow Gabby at seemstween