Poetry — April 19, 2012 13:12 — 0 Comments

Ode To Flotation Device – Rachel Kessler

You forced my head down.

I force the head down.

I describe thou as torture.

I am wetly discarded.

you caused me to struggle.

Held tightly, not looked at.

Make broad mine shoulders.

I am the truth of weak shoulders.

Thou didst strengthen my stroke.

Reviled for your weakness.

Grasped between thighs.

My reliance on legs.

I cradle your legs.

Thou revealed my dependence.

I bind and I strap.

I didst look for thou.

I force the head down.


The seeds for AFTER THE PARTY PANTOUM were planted in Seattle in Rachel’s writing group, which consists of her, Rebecca Hoogs, Jason Whitmarsh and Kevin Craft. She co-founded Typing Explosion with Sierra Nelson, and the Vis-a-Vis Society with Nelson and Sara-Paul Ocampo. Both groups are literary performance art collaborations in Seattle. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, TATE magazine, and USA Today.

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What am I?

Bioluminescent eye
That sees by the shine
Of its own light. Lies

Blind me. I am the seventh human sense
And my stepchild,

Scientists can't find me.

Januswise I make us men;
Was my image then—

Remind me:

The awful fall up off all fours
From the forest
To the hours…

Tick, Tock: Divine me.

-- Richard Kenney