Dear Shipmates


Not lost, I’m only temporarily at sea. I hope you will come back to visit me. Soon, soon, I will post something noteworthy.

In the meantime, visit Currajah for a little note I wrote this weekend. And take a peek at these two poems re-typed to tide you over:



Let this one clear square of thought be just
like a room you could come to in. An attic room,
after you’ve swiveled over to the wrecked
corner of the champagne. After you

hand-rolled cigarettes and ass and sold
your best midnight speech to a slick jack
of clubs. For a stingy cut: a wet, bony
kiss. You have nothing left to say

and nothing to say it with. Mouths,
whole faces even, have been pilfered
in prettier ways. For everyone who ever
looked at you and thought that one thinks

it’s so damn easy, you don’t have to look
back at them. Ha! It is easy. This room
has no mirror, no leap-leer to strain
or stylize the fuzz of your body through

the razor of your eye. This room is dark,
and high. If you spit out the window
you could kill a bug. There’s the document.
There’s always the window, your signature.

–Brenda Shaughnessy



The religious cry in their patois of sand and dusk.
If I could find the portico I would repaint the columns.
No one has left the key with me
so I sketch one on scratch paper.
I am a handy artist, so this is easy:
the notches are precise, there is a sense
of perspective in the hatching of the brass,
as from a light source.
Through the corridors I walk
with my paper key held before me.
Night is always the same here. Outside
the religious fragment slowly into the tall grasses.
My paper key is a fine instrument
and yet they are afraid of it.
All night, from their crusts of earth,
the religious mutter curses: They hope I will lose the key,
that I will crumple or erase it, at least
that I will never use it.
Listen, I call to them through the grille,
Everything in the world is a knife,
everything in the world cuts a little from you.
But they do not listen. I do not speak their language.
Through the night as through the day
I walk, perform small tasks.
Some days I think about drawing a new key.
Some days I do.
Light is untidy, my mother used to say, clucking gently.
You must collect the rays scattered about you.

–G. C. Waldrep


Both poems from LEGITIMATE DANGERS: AMERICAN POETS OF THE NEW CENTURY, edited by Michael Dumanis and Cate Marvin


2 Responses to “Dear Shipmates”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    April 17th, 2007 at 1:31 am eInteresting times theses are.
    The future sometimes seems to be the past.
    Good comments and poems…the lantern held.
  2. Amy King Says:
    April 17th, 2007 at 3:18 am eGlad you found them worthwhile, Jim! You are a much appreciated faithful correspondent! Thank you!


AMY KING View All →

Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA) Award. Her latest collection, The Missing Museum, is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She co-edited with Heidi Lynn Staples the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She also co-edits the anthology series, Bettering American Poetry, and is a professor of creative writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.

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