Poem Up at Formidable Woman

The fantabulous Robert Okaji and I have collaborated on this “found-prompt” poem, inspired by and ultimately published by editor D. Ellis Phelps! What a wonderfully rewarding poetic experience! ūüíĖūüíĖūüíĖ

O at the Edges

‚ÄúDead Rose at 5 Points Local,‚ÄĚ a collaborative poem with Stephanie L. Harper, is live at¬†Formidable Woman. Many thanks to d. ellis phelps for taking this piece, and for offering the prompt which set it in motion.

View original post

The Death’s-Head’s Testament

Announcing my newest poetry chapbook:

Cvr_Death'sHead_Ad (1)

Hello My Poetry-Loving WordPress Friends!

Here’s the scoop: Main Street Rag has opened advanced sales at $6.50 per copy for my newest poetry chapbook, The Death’s-Head’s Testament, scheduled for release in March 2019! This generous discount off of the $12.00 cover price will be offered for a limited time, so be sure to take advantage of it soon!

ORDER HERE!

Thank you so much,¬†everyone,¬†for your¬†engagement with¬†and support of my work! I couldn’t have come this far without you!

Once, again, credit for this breathtaking cover photo goes to my son, Matthew Harper.

Thank you, also, to editor M. Scott Douglas at Main Street Rag for a terrific design!

 

An Elegy for Birds & Bees

Lavender Kiss_Matthew Harper

“Lavender Kiss,” by Matthew Harper

An Elegy for Birds & Bees

‚ÄúWhen a woman pretends to press her life down into a nice, tidy little package, all she accomplishes is spring-loading all her vital energy down into shadow. ‚ÄėFine. I‚Äôm fine,‚Äô such a woman says‚Ķ Then one day, we hear she has taken up with a piccolo player and has run off to Tippicanoe (sic) to be a pool hall queen‚Ķ‚ÄĚ ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Clarissa Pinkola Est√©s

over & over in habitual drone
i repeat a phrase in my mind that no one knows i say
because i have not told
i am saying i’m done
but this being done
is how i know i will never be done
though my climbing son
a speck eighty feet high in a skyline of swaying cedars
can heft the storm clouds away
from his own silvery horizon
& my seeking daughter
has tenacity enough     without me
to prize out four leaf clovers
from speciously green reaches
_____but i will never release
this breath of finality that i keep
choked in my throat behind earnest songs for my children
no     & i will swallow the rising bile
when the Northern Flicker perches
on our aluminum chimney top     puffed-up
so proud in those marrow-less bones
of his impervious skull’s clever     territorial ricocheting

being done happened
within my own sinew-lined pelvis
the cracked bowl
filled     drained     & refilled
with meticulously rich essences
long after anything living had been fed
the relentlessly heavy     gnawing
red slough of losing myself
to nothing     for nothing
frightened me
_____& so     i had the offending flesh cut out
the fossilized rind that was left is now locked
with its un-told stories
beneath eons of hardened sediments

this being done happens in spring
while i am driving alone
it happens quickly
in instants of lapsed attention
in overzealous moments of stony apathy
when windshield wipers stick unexpectedly
or when sudden     pink shafts of evening sun
transmute newborn lambs bucking
for tender grass & mother’s milk
into silhouettes haunting the roadside
_____the being done
is all these countless     fleeting deaths
i tear into strips     soak in chewed glue
& fashion together to house myself
in a prodigal    crinkled    purgatorial prune

these tiny     stinging      imprudent suicides
should all be spirited away from their haughty blooms
& borne into the ancient hive
clutched industriously
to the undersides of fuzzy exoskeletons
_____there     my secret     greedy orchestrations
would become coded in sacred routines
my life programmed in dance
& propagated by ecstatic waggles & fastidious figure eights
to a crescendo of communal comprehension
of the one     seminal purpose
of the being done that shall be

done at all costs
the Queen’s Royal Jelly must be
sealed with wax in her hexagonal vaults

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

“An Elegy for Birds & Bees” first appeared in the 2015 edition of Slippery Elm Literary Journal¬†— thank you editor Dave Essinger for your gracious and validating support of my work! — and is¬†the title poem of¬†my new chapbook, This Being Done, available NOW for order at Finishing Line Press, and scheduled for release¬†in June 2018.¬† For¬†more insight into¬†this piece’s inception and the role it played in informing the collection as a whole, check out my recent Q&A with Robert Okaji.

My heartfelt gratitude goes out to everyone for your investment in (as well as your abiding engagement with and enthusiasm for) my work. It truly means the world to me.

Recording of “Anatomy of a Fustercluck”

Starling_Fustercluck

“Anatomy of a Fustercluck” appears in my new chapbook, This Being Done, and was the “editor’s choice” winner of¬†Rattle magazine’s¬†January 2016 Ekphrastic Challenge. Thank you, Timothy Green, for seeing something of what I hoped would be seeable, and for your validating comment on this piece:

‚ÄúFrom the start, this painting gave me an unsettling feeling, as if I‚Äôd sat down to watch Seinfeld and didn‚Äôt realize this was actually Twin Peaks. I couldn‚Äôt quite explain why, but this cast of characters just seemed so annoying. When I read this poem, I realized, ‚ÄėThat‚Äôs it! They‚Äôre flustering in clumps like maimed birds!‚Äô Harper makes sense of it for me, and with both humor and craft. Even the last line, which seems at first a clich√©, fits perfectly‚ÄĒthis kind of day is long, isn‚Äôt it?‚ÄĚ

THIS IS THE FINAL WEEK OF PREORDER SALES FOR:

This Being Done, available for preorder¬†NOW until April 27, 2018 at Finishing Line Press. The number of copies sold during the preorder sale will determine my print-run, so every single order makes a huge difference for my book’s release (scheduled to ship on June 22, 2018)! To order, click: HERE!¬†I’m grateful for your support!

Q&A with Poet Stephanie L. Harper (Part 1)

Thanks for this terrific honor, Bob!

O at the Edges

I’m pleased to offer this Q&A with poet Stephanie L. Harper:

You have a chapbook, This Being Done, coming out soon. Can you tell us something about it? From where did the title come?

¬†Yes, I‚Äôm thrilled that this debut of my work in book form is making its way into the world. The title, This Being Done, is an excerpt from my poem, ‚ÄúAn Elegy for Birds & Bees,‚ÄĚ which, the more I think about it, the more I believe is the crux of the collection. The poem came to me when I was profoundly depressed and drifting‚ÄĒfeeling as if my childbearing days being behind me was somehow synonymous with not having (and not deserving to have) an identity or purpose for my own sake. The poem‚Äôs opening lines, ‚Äúover & over in habitual drone /i repeat a phrase in my mind that no one knows i say‚Ķ

View original post 1,273 more words

Alabaster

alabaster
Alabaster

I am a pink rose petal’s pale glow

black ash tamped in furrows
between the breaths of the living
& the droning of the dead

the dawn’s blush unfurling over sand dunes

& seagulls soaring on thermal spirits
of iodine     salt     & shellfish

& sometimes     scattering in the wind
I can’t find where everything else ends     & I begin

Now rising from the morning hush     this cloud of me
speaks to the red tail hawk perched on a streetlamp
& tells her I’m fine     because I’m still not sure
how to talk about not being fine

I am an instar     trying to be
the clearest version of myself     to sculpt
a final skin of lucent crystal

so that when you come to see my cinder eyes
glinting diamond dust     I will be
the embered dusk bleeding into the sea

& you will know the truth of me

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

“Alabaster,”¬†having first appeared in print¬†in Sixfold magazine, winter 2014, is included in my new chapbook, This Being Done,

Harper_Stephanie_COV

available now at Finishing Line Press until April 27, 2018, for pre-publication order. The number of orders received during this period will determine the print-run scheduled for release on June 22, 2018. I’m grateful for your timely orders to help my work take flight! RESERVE YOUR COPY HERE TODAY!