Posts Tagged ‘Kristen McHenry’

The Suffering of Others

October 21, 2010 3 comments

by Kristen McHenry

You can protect yourself from the negative
energy of a crowd by envisioning white
light surrounding
your entire body. Imagine this light
enveloping you.
Imagine this light
filtering out the suffering of others, the pain your body
is prone to absorb as its own.
Imagine this light
as your shield, your womb, your favored skin,
your dearest armor,
your police dog, your invisible
fence, your power word, your safe house.
Imagine this light
filling you, traveling
from the soles of your feet into
your spine, through your core, and when grief

howls in with a vengeance, when you are
bowled over, in fact
bewildered, by the failure of this light,
after the blow
of betrayal, you might well say,
you might well understand,
that it was never Them at all.
It was never feasible: no skin no light
no prayers save us for we have,
all of us, swallowed
ourselves, and contain
only one another.

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Kristen McHenry is a Seattle-based poet. Her manuscript The Goatfish Alphabet, one of two runners-up in qarrtsiluni’s 2009 chapbook contest, was recently published by Naissance Press. She is the creator and facilitator of the Poet’s Cafe, a poetry workshop for homeless teens. She can often be found napping in front of the TV, her poetry journal as a prop. Kristen blogs at The Good Typist.

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Touring the Glaciers

September 11, 2009 2 comments

From the 2009 qarrtsiluni chapbook contest finalist The Goatfish Alphabet (one of the two runners-up), by Kristen McHenry

We’ve boarded the ship, unruly tourists
in jelly sandals, scrambling to witness first
the humming skyward walls, an ocean
stiffened and held in its own sleek corpse, risen high.
We glide beside this aqua screen, in unthawed dreams
on the lam from our flooded lives; squatters
craving the glacier’s bright cooling raiment
as we press our fevered foreheads to its damp skin.

When did this snowy rush begin
to find a place of infinite containment;
to ground itself in the frantic waters
and anchor to the sea with its monstrous beams?
It does nothing but absorb the sky
and hold its place among motion.
Our hands flutter on cameras; we’re the cursed
who can’t stop churning the placid waters.

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Kristen McHenry is a resident of Seattle, Washington and is a poet and freelance writer by night, and health outreach worker by day. Among other publications, her work has been seen in Wanderings, Trellis Magazine, Boston Literary Magazine, Tiferet, Sybil’s Garage, and several anthologies, including Meanderings and Flowers Bloom in the Moonlight. She is currently a finalist in the national competition “Project Verse”. She is the creator and facilitator of the Poet’s Cafe, a weekly poetry workshop for homeless teens at the New Horizons drop-in center in downtown Seattle.

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