ANMLY #27 :: Poetry


“Unname them
call them
watch them grow.”
—Chaun Ballard

Aortic aneurysm runs in my family. Coming home to Delaware, I’m thinking of rupture.

Of coming home queer for the holidays, not knowing who in my tribe I can tell this to: disclosure as rupture. Of the literary world’s “diversity moment” that serves the tastes of those with power. Of how these poems may make those outside of the margins uncomfortable.

Discomfort is a MAGA bumper sticker on the car in front of us. He buys our coffee to “pay it forward for the Christmas.” I don’t know if he knew he was getting breakfast for a queer indigenous Latina and her non-binary indigenous partner.

During another rise of global authoritarianism, there’s so much that presses and tears, that we would like to deny.

These poems are tied by body, blood, border, and the rupture of interiority. What pumps until it cannot pump. What bleeds until there is no blood.

This is not your Norton Anthology of the Other.

This is not your Norton Anthology of Pain.

These poems are an incantation against the erasure of what power has done, against the erasure of a record of how we live. These poems refuse the myths that there’s a binary of identity and craft, of form and lyricism, of value derived from spectacle or else nothing in our bodies. 

“This is excavated memory. The awareness of wrenching aortic patterns—the hot and heavy energy of ancestral unfinished business.” —M. Carmen Lane

“When I desired to become more specifically utterable and less like the sound of tides, a mild whoosh, you were alarmed.”—Kimberly Quiogue Andrews

“but what if your scars originate from even before? before time’s arrow began its run? what if they began before america?”—Michael Pagán

These poems are blood memory, transfusion, tamponade. These poems are a testament to how we heal ourselves.

“I’m sorry it’s cold outside. I wish it didn’t have to be. I really do. I wish it didn’t have to be so fucking cold out here.”—Kyle Liang

Sarah Clark
26 December 2018