Posts Tagged ‘Monica Raymond’

The Curses

December 30, 2009 2 comments

by Monica Raymond

The curses were
pleated, language folded like dense
integuments of muscle, like the heart

to bite through than
any organ. “I like it because
it is bitter,” like a miner, turnip
pressed down

flesh insisting
lively through silt, no one would take that
shape, dwarf’s bulb bullet, unless resisting

nothing, growing
downward what’s possible, travel through
filth, earth, call it what you will, had your fill

dull gravity,
brown and ochre, cursing the mother
for always having to carve into her
to be.

Above ground,
easy leaves find themselves differently,
all furl and crinkle, like fans, flirtation’s
light sound—

banter, repair.
These dare health, but the accordion
expansion of the root, the curses, what do
they dare?

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Monica Raymond won the Castillo Prize in political theater for her play The Owl Girl, which is about two families in an unnamed Middle Eastern country who both have keys to the same house. She was a Jerome Fellow for 2008-09 at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, among many other honors and awards. Her poetry has been published in the Colorado Review, the Iowa Review, and the Village Voice, and her work has been selected for publication by every pair of qarrtsiluni editors for ten issues in a row now (counting the upcoming Health issue).

Categories: Words of Power Tags:


August 29, 2009 4 comments

This must happen
after death: the gold

out of the teeth,
liver broiled instantly,

but the loins smoked and saved
for the long journey.

This must happen:
the heart, wrought solid,

kept for a grinding stone,
crescents of nails

filed clean for amulets.
What falls down

must fall down, but we take
what we need.

We try to use
all that’s left.

Sinew for harp strings,
scrimshaw from the long bones,

retina caged
and set singing.

by Monica Raymond

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Categories: Economy Tags:

The Mystic in the Basement

July 10, 2009 2 comments

for Ronald Rowe

He descends
with me

and carries

lumps of

and splintery
old boards

and sweeps
the broken glass

the heaps,
the hoards

of half-finished,
never-read, never-sent



the torn,


fraying, moth-eaten—

that is done
he goes

for lunch
and writes

a poem
about the sapphire

crystalline sphere,

facings of
the star dome

the infinite
at Hi-Fi

Pizza over a

then goes
to McDonald’s


by Monica Raymond

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Categories: Economy Tags:

Cheap Date

April 2, 2009 Comments off

(Click on image to view at larger size.)

by Dick Freeman and Monica Raymond

Process notes

The drawing proceeds from a new practice I described to Monica, noting, on black paper with white pencil, subjects of interest to me. This becoming an “impromtu,” semiotic document with a supportive, yet fragmented, dialogue leading toward a playful and gratifying result.

We were sitting in the cafe in front of the Harvest Food Coop in Cambridge. Dick told me he had been doing sketches and notes on black paper with a white colored pencil. We were talking about another collaborative project I was involved in, and how that had gotten into a discussion of the relationship between science and poetry. When Dick went to the counter to get us hot chocolate, I wrote E=MC2 on the black page.

He came back and made another move. And so our collaboration continued, taking turns. Dick sometimes erased or blurred his own lines. He told me to feel free to erase his lines as well, but I really didn’t. And I wasn’t so sure I wanted him erasing mine!

The conversation about the relationship between the sciences and the arts and some people’s inferences that these subjects are necessarily in insolvable conflict, impelled me to tell Monica, during pauses from sketching, about my 20-something-year argument with a friend and mentor who had actually passed away quite early in the very respectful discussion. I had imagined most the argument for both of us. My friend’s position had been that “science and technology are destroying the world because, unlike art which puts things together, science takes things apart.” He was in his early 60’s, a highly acclaimed painter and former art reviewer when our discussions began. I was an aesthetically ambitious, 20-something painter with very limited reading experience then. Still, I intuitively inferred that my friend’s belief was inaccurate. After many years of reading and reflection, I concluded that it is neither science nor technology that are destructive, these being only very sophisticated tools. Rather it is arrogance that leads to destruction.

Gradually, we each added words, lines and smudges to the drawings. A happy moment for me was when Dick added little lights to what I thought I had drawn as a claw, turning it into a candelabra. We talked as we drew, about the way the drawing seemed to evoke the feeling of chalk on a blackboard, kids playing around after the professor is gone for the day.

Another for Jim

December 29, 2008 Comments off

Harshly. Harshness that subsides to beauty
but not yet. Landscape
softened to torrent, wash of windshield wipers, wish
wash, blurring the bumpers and the bumper
stickers, bare trees spilling to action.
What it is to imagine atrocity. With clarity.
Shudders and stutters,
glazed eyes, loginess derived from antipsychotics.
What we think of
as madness actually side-effects of drugs
used to forestall it. Think

of this. Information, imagination, the relation
Your taxes pay for war and torture in
El Salvador.

Here it gets thin, not what happens
horribly, but before
and after, how image soothes the gap,
maybe a rooster, shrieking berserk,
becomes a hand tearing the landscape, its
photo, torn paper. You went into this
further. Behind the techno-scrim, bright pilots

expose their weapons, you felt for what went on.
Under cloud cover. Then mad for good,
not numb in the gameshow eye. But nonstop
talk, breakneck drive.

by Monica Raymond

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What the Echo Knows

September 23, 2008 3 comments

as oratory—
why shouldn’t repetition

be the story
we learn most

She was some
girl, always

saying what she
had heard
him say

but by going
on, made it
her own

and her yes

to a


were her lovers

by Monica Raymond

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Categories: Transformation Tags:

Inside Leviathan

July 3, 2008 1 comment

But actually I didn’t take you far,
not far enough. I started to dream
we were clothed,
trying to make love. That time we crossed
the bridge at night, the lights white moths
to my myopic eyes, shimmering in aureoles
of blurred flutter,
I saw me push you off. I should
have pushed you

into something wetter, to that archaic
where knife-edge reds form, gleam
and tune the keyboards
of apartments to cathedrals, where globes
quicken to probes,
poignards that seem to pierce
the dark surface they ride on, that black
latitude of luminescent jellyfish, where

sardine, small fry, those turned to dragons
by the press
of reflective scales, the dugong mermaids swim, all
plankton inside leviathan.

by Monica Raymond

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Categories: Water Tags:

Pathetic Fallacy

May 5, 2008 2 comments

We’d like to remind you
how built things arrive at collapse,
says the shed. The rust streaks
on my corrugated lid are not
for beauty, though they are beautiful.
We’d like to remind you
how things close in, says the boxwood.
Behind the gate
almost we meet. We could close the man
and woman

and child in the house. In the station
wagon, vines
cry up through the rusted bottom
panel. A sedan
is best as a planter, says what’s
green. Say the sprouts
in the taupe-orange soil of the garden,
we are trim. We spill
over our tops like a fountain. It is
rare to live
among plants and stones, gray weathered
boards that gab.

Concrete has no words, that’s why
we adlib for it—
hearts and our names.

by Monica Raymond

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February 16, 2008 Comments off

Compassion cannot count, it has a way
of loosely dropping petals, asking
“loves me or loves me not…” It cannot
……. scent
a trail, find remedy, can’t trot, bring home
message or method, rub the turrets out.
It’s helpless as the dolphin boy
……. with nubs for hands for flippers.

Live among those who help themselves
……. and you
will be surprised by what that help
……. can do. Enthralled.
Appalled. Aghast. Your mouth an o.
……. The fool’s wide kiss
puckered to emptiness. Walking around
……. in circles. A zero
holds you. Or hold something. Move
……. inside
circumference a ghost. You can’t please
……. both

center, periphery. You jump between
……. them
Mexican bean, hiding from a quantum.

by Monica Raymond

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Categories: Hidden Messages Tags:

Moth and Rat

January 5, 2008 4 comments

Moth and rat
both gnawed holes in what was,
desperate appetite

that left
all garments holey. Moth and rat
knew no limit, would not

make a split
the dainty and the container

meant to contain it.
Sweat, blood,
cashmere, vicuña, alpaca,

fine Italian wool —
omnivorous and multicultural
were moth and rat.

If you would steel
yourself against incursion
tooth and claw, bore and bezel —

if you would live
as metal, robot skin
impervious to dust or fission,

well, you must find
that route alone.
Even bone’s permeable

and my skin
pitted with beings
trying to get out or in,

leaving their stingers, cursed,
blessed, in my flesh
till I am dressed

in the milkweed cloth
they have left me,
tit for tat:

sucking my sweetness
as I sucked the fat
dew and honey, the sap,

grass blades
where the sky showed through.
Filigree’s my map.

And what they did for me
I can do for you —
rat and moth, moth and rat.

by Monica Raymond

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Categories: Insecta Tags: