Though it is Written

Munch's Scream journal

THOUGH IT IS WRITTEN

that grace comes only by way
of a primordial breath,
you know it to be no less
manifest for its taking of alternate routes,
as surely it finds you by the grasping-
of-a-Bic no. 2-mechanical-pencil way;

by the miraculous-
proximity-of-your-notebook-
with-Munch’s-iconic-Scream-
embossed-in-gold-on-the-cover-
to-your-waiting-for-this-morning’s-
nine-grained-slice-to-toast way;

as well as the letting-
your-hand-drag-a-wake-
of-coffee-stains-across the pages-
because-you-opt-today-
to-imbibe-your-reflux-inducing-libation-
over-not-doing-so’s-throbbing-promise-
of-a-4:00-pm-migraine way;

not to mention the way
you habitually open
the blinds to another barely-lit dawn
that grants you a glimpse of a northern flicker
scrabbling for purchase on the finch feeder
in a flapping blaze of belly, feathers
& beaked seeds flung in ceremonious
presumption of some nearby female’s interest;

or the way you finally take a breath—

which you need to take
before your face re-stones itself
in the memory of those children
who were murdered
in yesterday’s mass shooting
in a Texas elementary school*,

for how else can you still hope?—

which delivers you to the way
your twelve-year-old red heeler
recruits what measure of her brown-eyed vigilance
she can still muster to shepherd
this whole bed-headed-faux-cheetah-printed-
heartsick-kitchen-calamity of you
past the counter-top-mounds of clutter,
through a shadowed valley’s ice age
& back to the light
of a green pasture beside still water

in the beginning

when the Word was God

& the light in you was the way.

STEPHANIE L. HARPER
*Updated from the 2017 version: “yesterday’s mass shooting / in a Texas church”
“Though it is Written” first appeared in The Winnow Magazine in November 2019.

Crown of Sonnets Featured at Vox Populi

My new crown of Covid-19 sonnets, A Crown Most Unroyal, is today’s poetry feature at Vox Populi. I’m deeply grateful to Editor Michael Simms for his enthusiasm, support, and vision in brilliantly pairing my poems with Thom Hartmann’s essay on the “GOP death cult” and enhancing the “legitimacy” of our contributions to the “political discourse.” 

I wish you all safety, sanity, and every possibility for joy as we continue to plod through… 

What Autistic Advocacy Really Means

I’m veering from the beaten path of poetry today to share Ira’s phenomenally informative and vital post about autism advocacy.

Autistic Science Person

TW – ableism, eugenics, “treatments”, torture, Judge Rotenberg Center, Spectrum 10K

You may have recently heard about the Spectrum 10K study and have seen autistic people’s, and non-autistic people’s, concerns about the study.Though I have plenty to say regarding this study, that’s not what I want to talk about right now.

What I want to talk about is the lasting effects that occur when autistic people are used as a commodity, a political football, a theoretical argument, as exploitation, when autistic people have to witness the dehumanization and legal torture of autistic people.

A study like Spectrum 10K brings out non-autistic people – parents of autistic people, teachers of autistic students, and many disability-adjacent “professionals” – who genuinely think it would be better if they aborted autistic fetuses in the future so that they didn’t “suffer.”

Although these interactions are upsetting, the worst part is when being autistic is used…

View original post 1,624 more words

Two Poems up at Cathexis Northwest Press

citizen-tree

My poems, “Missive (to the White Oak’s Depths)” and “Elegy for My Former Self,” are live in the July 2021 issue of Cathexis Northwest Press. Heartfelt thanks to editor C. M. Tollefson for selecting these pieces. 

Please also enjoy the audio renditions of these poems, courtesy of—your favorite poet and mine—the one and only Robert Okaji!

Elegy for My Former Self.jpg!d

Hope Springs Eternal & So Does Willie Nelson

Image

Hope Springs Eternal & So Does Willie Nelson

Posted in honor of his 88th birthday!

Another death hoax? Gee, how original…
You folks ain’t fickle—guess I’ll give ya points
fer grit if not fer gumption. I’ve rolled joints
my friends, far stiffer than my tricky ankle,
imbibed red wine that’s older than yer gran’;
this here bandana holds more DNA
than most small countries on a holiday,
so keep your Internet! Just leave the bedpan
close, gas up the bus, & brace for twenty
more long years—well, give or take a decade.
The road’s a callin’, songs are in my head,
& my ol’ guitar plays as good as any;
there’s plenty weed to smoke & hair to braid:
So’s far as I can tell, I’m still not dead.

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

Of These and All

In celebration of World Poetry Day, I offer the following “syntactic echo” of the ineffably ingenious innovator of American Poetry, Walt Whitman. This poetic exercise was the brainchild of one Alessandra Lynch (i.e., I’m not entirely to blame…), instructor/facilitator of my spring 2021 Poetry Workshop in the Butler University MFA Program. 

Of These and All

  “And of these one and all I weave the song of myself”     ~ Walt Whitman, Song of myself 15

The left flesh-melon harbors a pool of sweat, the right flesh-melon harbors a
             pool of sweat,
The perimenopausal woman hot-flashes in the kitchen, the bemused son dons 
            wool slippers in the kitchen,
The second husband purchases electric socks for his perimenopausal wife and

             the ex-husband dissociates further from his ex-wife;
And these stoke my hankerings for donuts, and I make do with home-baked
             banana-nut muffins, 
And such as it is to amass five decades of knowledge, minus where I last left my phone,
             more or less I am in fact speaking on it,
And of these hot flashes, cantankerous joints, suddenly-uncloseable pants and all I 
             justify the lament of my middle-age…

STEPHANIE L. HARPER