I have invited a friend and fellow poet to join me as my first GUEST POET for my newest feature, IN A GUEST POET’S EYES. Khara House has brought a fresh voice to the poetic world and has been a favorite of mine since our paths crossed during the 2009 Poem-a-Day challenge at Poetic Asides. She had graciously asked me to serve the same function when her blog “OUR LOST JUNGLE” hit the web, so I guess this is “Payback”! Welcome Khara House!
KHARA HOUSE: I’ve been writing poetry since I was in Elementary school; frankly, if I could hide all the stuff I wrote back then and pretend it never happened, I probably would, because it was simply awful. Then again, without it I wouldn’t be where I am now … which is really just in a place of continued experimentation with form, personal style, and discovering where my own poetry can take both others and myself.
I just recently (in May) graduated from the Graduate program at Northern Arizona University with a Master’s degree in English Creative Writing. It also meant graduating from my work as the Poetry Editor of Thin Air magazine, the graduate literary journal at NAU, which was such a wonderful experience; I had the opportunity to work with wonderful writers and amazing poets whose work I absolutely adored.
Right now I’m working on a new collection of poetry focusing on some more personal themes than I’ve addressed in my work before, which is pretty exciting and frightening for me. My poetry has usually dealt with more abstract themes, working to liberate readers to focus more on the sound and “feel” of a poem than the “sense”—meaning and set interpretations—of it. Now, the poems I’m working on definitely have more “purpose,” though I hope readers can still find room for what one of my poetic colleagues once termed the “serendipity” of my work. I have several pieces out in the world hoping to be picked up by some unsuspecting adoptive mother or father who will put them on display for a wider audience, as well … Fingers crossed!
The poems I’m sharing are ones that fall into the transition-stage between where I was just a few months ago and the direction I’m heading in now, which is, again, a really exciting stage for me.
the milkweed layer
of mind peeling back.
Flesh memory of mother’s skin
soft thighs pressed to my shoulders
scalp like fresh dough.
I can feel your touch embedded in my skin.
This is barely brushing
the surface—her fingers
smoothing back the surface of my head
and fireflies. Her shadow.
You were the half of me always spilling over.
over night, and now, the hum
of her hovering over my bed.
Etched on aspen leaves
The breeze lisping through ponderosa pine whispers
this is home.
No reckoning the distance between
where I started and where I have come—
the territory is a region of stars and shadows,
too vast for hands to hold and feet to fathom.
All soft bends and arching towers,
deep in red clay,
earth where soul meets soil and roots,
aching to rise and meet the sun.
How Icarus must have felt,
reaching halfway home,
only to fall back into the womb.
I do not trust my eyes—so I try hard not to see you
even as I look into yours—or my lips—
so I try not to touch you even as I press them
to your cheek. So much vagrant feeling in one brown hand—
how can the world sustain this bridge between us?
Because I know so many things—that I can puncture the air
with one breath and fracture a face with one breath
and bridge a gap with one breath—I do not know you.
I cannot touch you so I cannot hold you even as you wrap
your arms around me and I feel your warmth and want you—
because there is salt on your neck I could lap like cat milk,
because there is music between us, because you are being
and being and I cannot keep you from being—a you
I can smile but do not trust myself to have.
Memento mica crustum
The birds will come and eat your breadcrumbs, children,
so scatter your pebbles well.
Taste the bread wall but be wary of bread ovens,
hold your hands over your hearts, never your mouths—
keep your eyes peeled for pearls. Glide on
swan backs to your docile father, and hunt
your own daily bread. Remember some songbirds are worse than witches.
Judge for yourselves
if these starlings are sinners or saints—
hold them in reverence. Cry and chant and thirst for blood.
Taste the freedom wall. Devour your pastries
with traces of ash and remember
every Judas plays his part in salvation. Under moonlight
white pebbles shimmer like lost teeth—
the winged ones will let them be.
And remember all things burn under the sun.
Thank you Khara for your vision and your work. Again, check out Khara’s blog, “OUR LOST JUNGLE”