Last week on the Poetry Chain, Kim-An Lieberman shared a great poem about Marmaduke and the Seattle P-I.

This week, Lieberman has chosen Kathleen Flenniken to pick up the next link in the chain. Here's what she has to say about her choice:

Famous.jpgAs president and co-editor of Floating Bridge Press, Kathleen Flenniken is one of the kind souls behind the annual Pontoon anthologies and the Floating Bridge chapbook awards, both dedicated to promoting Washington State poetry. She volunteers as writer-in-residence at View Ridge Elementary. She had an earlier life as an engineer and hydrologist. And somehow, she still finds time to be a fantastic poet. Kathleen's first collection, Famous, delightfully brings together IHOP, Wang Chung, Mary Todd Lincoln, a 3rd-grade recorder recital, and Colonel Mustard in the conservatory with the revolver. Her recent work interrogates the tangled history and legacy of Hanford Nuclear Reservation, next door to the town where she grew up. All literate, insightful, witty, surprising, genuinely inspired and inspiring stuff.

Here, then, is Kathleen Flenniken's poem* for everyone to enjoy on this Friday afternoon:


Your I’s lie on their backs. They look like 2’s.
You lead a double life. Your V’s are spread,
about to fly away. Your O’s threaten to tell on you.

Your Y is very large. Y is ruining your life.
I advise a smaller Y. Likewise your C is wide open
and your G’s tongue is thrusted, cupped

as though to taste something it’s long resisted.
Everywhere too much mouth. Capitalize your A’s
to look like praying hands, soon.

Trim your tails, space your words
a safer distance apart. Some are mingled,
confused where they stop and start.

Keep m’s small and low like fists.
Slope your R’s like a crone hoeing the ground.
You leave footprints on the snowy page.

I can see where you’re going. Turn around.

Many thanks to Kim-An Lieberman for introducing us to this week's poet and many thanks to Kathleen Flenniken for being this week's link on the Seattle Poetry Chain. Tune in next week at noon to see who she picks for the next link. (It could be explosive.)

*Flenniken's publisher asked that we run the following credit line for the poem:

From Famous by Kathleen Flenniken by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. © 2006 by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska Press. Available wherever books are sold or from the University of Nebraska Press 800.755.1105 and on the web at All rights reserved