On this week’s episode of Slush Pile, our editorial table discusses Kayla Carcone’s “Benediction for: the boy who’d know it was his,” and “Foresight.” We began, of course, by letting listeners know that our new co-op Joseph is a Gemini. Tim Fitts reminded us that he’s just published a new book through Xavier Review, titled Go Home and Cry For Yourselves.
Present at the Editorial Table:
Kathleen Volk Miller
On this week’s episode of Slush Pile, our editorial table discusses Kayla Carcone’s “Benediction for: the boy who’d know it was his,” and “Foresight.” We began, of course, by letting listeners know that our new co-op Joseph is a Gemini. Tim Fitts reminded us that he’s just published a new book through Xavier Review, titled Go Home and Cry For Yourselves. Kathy, having just returned from a trip to Abu Dhabi where she met with Samantha and Marion, talked about time as a meaningless idea as she went to teach classes as soon as she got back. The experience made her think of Artemesian fairy dust watches, made with shattered mirrors and vintage frames.
Kayla Carcone is trying to practice humility. She is also trying to rewatch every episode of Dawson’s Creek with a critical eye and eat less cheese. None of these things are panning out. She often thinks about the complexity/simplicity/overall weirdness of gratitude & how she feels it for every poet & essayist who has managed to keep her writing & alive. Sometimes, she tweets.
We started with Carcone’s “Benediction for: the boy who’d know it was his,” and whether you read in, listen in, or both, you’ll know that this is a loaded, arm-hair kind of poem. We had to read it a second time! This brought Kathy and Marion back to their time in Abu Dhabi, reviewing this poem with a class of Marion’s, and even bringing Kathy to tears.
“Foresight,” was a slow-you-down, snap-inducing poem! Another loaded, dense, and intense work, our talks of tempo got us talking about John Bonham’s aesthetic and style as Led Zepplin’s drummer (naturally).
“The world is full of pixie fairy dust, that’s for sure.” -Marion Wrenn
Benediction for: the boy who’d know it was his
Happy birthday to us, from me: this is not a gift
I will remember you every August twenty-first
for every August twenty-first I get to see.
I will remember you every time there is
Providence, every time there is consequence,
every time I am dizzied by a cigarette breeze
blown, a spinning tornado of someone who is not you—
I will hear your tap tap tap knuckle kiss shock
the coffee shop window—watch your metamorphosis
from October boy mystery to November boy slick to
December boy sick every time I choke on
the letters of your name, the letters that string together
November sixteenth: reminders that you were never
here but aren’t gone, hear your tap tap tap knuckle kismet
in my head at night when there are other boys
who like you, won’t remember me, after. But somehow
every time, I will confuse confession for repentance.
I will confuse indifference for misplacement.
I will confuse myself, think I cannot hear you.
I will remember you every time death is a dial tone,
wonder if you made it to twenty or if I’d even find out if you didn’t.
I will blame myself for failing to save
this, the blind sin of unholy devotion,
an Indian summer on Mount Sinai,
every time, there is consequence.
With our names both sewn into the same calendar box,
let there be light for candles and cigarettes—
your smoke, a ghost, something like a Pentecost.
I will remember you every time
I blow out candles, every August twenty-first
for every August twenty-first I get to see, we share,
and I am one trip around the sun behind you, but
I will wonder if you even celebrate your birthday
in the morning, when I am still
pulsing in shades of fever dream,
seeing the day burn to color
by cracked kitchen light—
I will wonder what your face
must look like sleeping, staying.
how quickly you would tire of
the sick girl, spinning plates and
spitting crazy across the coffees.
how quickly the jewelry box
sprung open: you watch the ballerina
bleed out from her knees & you learn
you never really knew her, at all.
how quickly you would slip out
of the theater, gripping the untossed
rose stem, spilling red to your elbow.
how it is not the same. how you’d splash
all over the car seat, scream it her fault for
crying at your absence at curtain call,
for tapping at the window, for smoothing
out the rose petals on the drive home—
tell me again how this was not what you
signed up for. slam the box shut, throw
her into the attic and run for the getaway car.
your hands hide their wispy scars well. I was
never here. I will never come back, will brush my teeth
with honey, call out sick & fade—