From Kelly: I liked this book. Stumbled across it after sitting next to the poetry section to hang out with friend in the Porter Square Bookstore. They went to get snacks and tea as I watched their stuff (after they'd done the same for me). While waiting, I looked at the books beside me.
Response to Work & Days by Tess Taylor
Kelly J. Cooper
Gardeners have the best metaphors
where else will you find
seeds, tender sprouts, seasonal changes,
life and death, plus the heartbreak
of fungal infections?
Green, growing, turning sunlight into sugar,
changing colors, nestled in mud,
life cycles are traps,
then guides, then traps again
but the structure helps.
Facing tragedy is easier
when you have something to root for
cheer on the good plants
rip out the bad plants
eat the results
Kelly Cooper's second interaction is with Leigh Stein's Dispatch From The Future examines identity and trauma.
Interaction with Leigh Stein's Dispatch From The Future
I am a cave
a closet, the space
underneath a coffee table
I am a mirror and a window
a panic attack
hidden between logorhythmia and logorrhea
a theory of dementia involving helmets
a knife threatening the ending
of the story for the crime of completion
I am allorhythmia and pain
cushioned by displacement
or a layer of blood
it’s unclear, opaque even
there are too many birds
and invasive medical procedures
but not enough time.
Kelly Cooper responds to phrases and images from James Gendron's Sexual Boats (Sex Boats).
A Response To Sexual Boats (Sex Boats) by James Gendron
I am not knowledgeable or in-tune
or out-of-tune enough to understand.
I came to poetry through metaphor
simile, word play, and white men
stayed for the women and the
revelation of blank verse and
the rawness of the other voice
the not-heard voice
not heard in my suburban town
suspended between the polo club
and poverty’s friends: the Red Cross,
the Salvation Army, the food stamps.
I grasp and turn and read, reread
Rereading I tease out fragments
You can forgive the one
who makes your life amazing
Pulling out words that glitter
Pulling the wire
Laughing at the unknowable
The smell of the jagged mint leaf and the smell
of one trillion farts pervade the atmosphere
I shake my head I
skipped a line or three
lost my place.
On my side of the bed, I made a sweat angel
Truth or what passes
for memory flickers
In fat I see myself distilled
more honestly than in my face.
My childhood was all ragged knees
and pockets full
All I ever had in my pockets is still there:
hundreds of pounds of it.
My eyes burn with
anger exhaustion tears
You can improve a star
simply by turning it. The other side is fresher.
It hasn’t been looked at as much.
My thoughts can’t track
the random elements
I get lost.
Ideas and I are at cross-purposes, like the wings of Christ.
Shake my head again
resetting my eyes
I don’t know what an entity is, so I don’t trust entities. Entities are assholes.
And look again.
Can the judge fulfill her duty
and arrest the wicked sun, serial murderer?
Or is she more of a pragmatist?
Have I chosen only
what I recognize?
The Louvre is too big. Everyone knows & denies it.
Like a hurricane: so big, it competes with the soul.
Only what speaks to me.
I’m just a haunted question mark.
Only what I’m able to hear.
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.