Last week on the Seattle Poetry Chain, Sierra Nelson wrote a prose poem about sandwiches. The comments were roundly positive (except for Fnarf, who was upset by a spacing error that turned out to be my fault—many apologies to Ms. Nelson that I messed up the spacing on her poem, and apologies to Fnarf for confusing him. The poem was fixed two hours after it went live, so if you haven't looked at it since it went up, you should go back and take another look.)
This week, for Lucky Number 13 on the Poetry Chain, Ms. Nelson picks someone very near and dear to her heart: her frequent collaborator Rachel Kessler. Here's what she says about Ms. Kessler:
I want to bring the poetry chain fully back to Seattle and select Rachel LaRue Kessler as the next poet in the sequence. I've collaborated with Rachel in writing and performing for over 10 years (both as the Vis-à-Vis Society and with Sarah Paul Ocampo in The Typing Explosion) —but her own work has a distinct style and sensibility that I admire. Even when they're sad, her poems often make me laugh, or blush, or feel really really uncomfortable—but in a great, nervous energy, need to shout or go running down the hall looking for the nearest Ladies Room kind of way. I wish more poems made me feel like that.
And if I may interject, I'm especially elated by Nelson's choice of Kessler because Kessler has produced one of my favorite types of poems, a pantoum. To my knowledge, this is the first pantoum ever published on Slog. Hopefully, it will not be the last. Here is Rachel Kessler's poem:
After the Party Pantoum
Working that walk so hard it hurts,
it hurts, walking home in someone else’s high heels.
You were who you were before you came here —
a small animal, wandering, a drink in your hand.
It hurts, walking home in someone else’s high heels
so leave them by the road, a small monument to failure, leave them
to the curious small animal. Wonder — what was in that drink?
Work that barefoot walk in the rain.
Left the road for a small moment. Failed to leave
when, clearly, you’d had enough.
Work that barefoot walk in the rain
while you run through every stupid thing you said and did.
Clearly, you’d had enough —
enough to walk right up to him and
run through every stupid thing you said and did
and then apologize.
Enough! Walk right up to him and
give him a great big kiss
and then apologize
for bringing the party.
So you kissed him. Great.
You were who you were before you came here.
You brought the party and now you’re
working that walk so hard it hurts.
Many thanks to Sierra Nelson and to Rachel Kessler. Tune in next week to see who Ms. Kessler has chosen for the next link in the Seattle Poetry Chain.