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« Vintage Noir ("Le Jour se leve") and the exquisite ecstasy of paranoia ("Vertigo") at the Film Forum [Nov. 2014] | Main | Liberties of the Imagination: 5 poems by Joseph Harrison, with commentary by Mary Jo Salter »

January 14, 2024


"The earth holds me like a dead snake in the grass

Each of my days is a failed manifesto

I clench my jaw as to hold myself"


Gorgeous poem! Beautifully straddles the line between the public and the private. Just stunning!

I have read this poem over and over again. Each time I read, “ Animal control comes to put her down” I am struck by the pain of those words. What an excellent poem!

Yes, this is definitely a keeper!

tough as bitten nails, terrific poem and post

Outstanding and heart-breaking.

My sister steals a graham cracker

Animal control comes to put her down

I have no idea if those two lines are meant to be read in tandem but they are an absolute joy.

Great poem.

Disturbing quotient:10
Beauty quotient:10
Lasting power quotient: 10

A kind of "list poem" -- but seemingly random. Love it. thank u.

And to write this is a beautiful vindication.

Tough andcool.

What a fabulous poem, a glorious mountain of shorter poems, which I’ll reread dozens of times, I’m certain. Great pick Mister Winch, what singing from you Karisma!

Don:  Thanks for the comment.


Wonderful poem. Mourn for America they say….

Wow! Love it!!

Let me single out: "The silence hangs over us / like a guillotine’s blade."

I love the way each line seems to suggest a follow-up line, which doesn't come, replaced by another line that suggests a new direction, which is discarded for a new path.

Karisma Price’s poem is a skewering but never shrill song of lamentation from “the good girl” a/k/a “the lonely.” It’s a far deeper plumbing of the ague sometimes associated with the adage “let no good deed go unpunished.” Her poem brilliantly delivers a series of binaries, often starting in malaise or mischief and just as often ending in the macabre: “My sister steals a graham cracker / Animal control comes to put her down” and, more compactly, “I dream of fish and close my legs.” Even the binary of “I clench my jaw as to hold myself / Who will Jodeci cry for me as I undo my twist out” tucks a reference to R&B group Jodeci, who had a huge hit single in 1993 with “Cry for You.” The last four lines of the poem deliver the denouement: “What is a man but a pocket / full of rose thorns / They are always so afraid to bleed / I do it without being asked.” She’ll have none of that endless male “beggin’ ” found at the end of Jodeci’s song “Cry for You.” This is the Price poem men have to pay. Even her first name, Karisma, summons up “charisma,” which in Christian theology denotes a divinely inspired gift, grace, or talent especially for prophesying or healing. The name fits.

Thanks, Earle. Wonderful comment.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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