Painted Bride Quarterly’s Slush Pile

Episode 89: Bloomwards & Eggsome

April 26, 2021

POEMS BY KAILEY TEDESCO

THREE POEMS ACCEPTED

April 28, 2020

Bloomwards & Eggsome

 

What’s your background, Slushies? Sounds like a loaded question, right? But it’s really a reference to your choice of green-screen background Zoomery. This episode opens with a larking conversation about our current delight in Zoom’s capacity to allow us to upload virtual backgrounds for our physical spaces. (The discussion of poems starts at 8:01 if you want to skip the banter). Kathleen’s surrounded by tulips (while she’s actually holed up in her 3rd floor garret, with a dormer ceiling making her look like Alice in Wonderland). Jason is perched in front of IRL bookcases. Samantha is podcasting with her kitchen over her shoulder. Opting for a plain white wall, Marion nonetheless dons a seriously fringed top in honor of Jason’s signature leather jacket. And Alex Tunney, long-time PBQ editor inducted by our dear pal Daniel Nester a million years ago, joins the podcast for the first time and rocks a Piet Mondrian background. (Nicely done!). All of which serves as a perfect set up for an episode dedicated to poems submitted by Kailey Tedesco. Tedesco’s poems are full of magic and mysticism, shadows and spells. Her work moves across a range of styles—from an ekphrastic poem inspired by Hilma af Klint’s magnificent paintings to a reconfiguration of creepy childhood legends (like Bloody Mary) while playing with forms. We were drawn to the process-based mysticism, speculative feminism, and feminist horror coming through these poems. And Kathleen jumped in and read #7, because…#7.

 

THE DISCUSSION BEGINS AT 8:49

 

Recommended Reading:

Marion’s raving about Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other

https://groveatlantic.com/book/girl-woman-other/

 

Samantha’s loving Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir, In the Dream House

 

Jason’s devouring Brenda Shaughnessy’s So Much Synth

https://www.coppercanyonpress.org/books/so-much-synth-by-brenda-shaughnessy/

 

And we are supremely grateful for the poetry of Eavan Boland, who passed the day before we recorded this episode. Here is her masterful poem, “Quarantine.” 

 

This episode is brought to you by one of our sponsors, Wilbur Records, who kindly introduced us to the artist is A.M.Mills whose song “Spaghetti with Lorraine” now opens our show. 

At the table:

Kathleen Volk Miller, Jason Schneiderman, Marion Wrenn, Samantha Neugebauer, 

and Alex Tunney

Kailey Tedesco is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing), Lizzie, Speak, and the forthcoming collection, FOREVERHAUS (White Stag Publishing). She is a senior editor for Luna Luna Magazine. You can find her work in Electric Literature, Fairy Tale Review, Gigantic Sequins, and more. 

 

Her Instagram & Twitter is @kaileytedesco

 

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  1. 7 adulthood

after Hilma af Klint

 

you’ll remember me 

as a zygote

scrambling towards

cronehood 

on its haunches; i grow

bloomwards. my teeth

outstretched 

on the front lawn 

during the violet

hour, spelling

spells disguised 

as poems.

hermit to hermit;

we kiss 

to form 

a single nautilus,

sistering

divinity. tell me

when was it 

you last 

heard from

your spirit? 

my guides 

have abducted 

me quite 

violently 

from the tulips

i’ve found myself

asleep in. 

it is all but

true; my eggs 

have clasped

in my womb 

like pearls. 

my intention 

is not to create

life,

but death.

though, i misspoke —

my true intention is 

to create

life out of death. 

find me in the portal 

on the left, right next

to the electric 

fences of my 

darknesses, all 

clumped. 

inside the beheaded apartment

 

the sky whispers something eggsome then breaks its rain, thick & frozen. i crave the cigarettes 

i’ve never smoked; not marlboro. i picture you before the time everything could kill you, glamour

 

in your beehive & twiggy dress, smoke haloing the mini-chandeliers. i beckon for you 

to gemstone through me, egyptology — my lipstick glyphs on the edges of your sink. there are 

 

teeth in the walls, did you know that? whole fangs, pulled clean at the root, & toenails, too, 

flaking from the ceiling. i lived with estate sale busts of nefertiti, estate sale victorian lace, 

 

bagged & labeled with the year, estate sale chaises of green velvet. green because it reminds 

me of france, where i have never been, but where the sun is a vintage wallpaper. in the window 

 

across the way, women in mourning bonnets have st. columba hands holding tight 

to the dogs in their rosary chains. the plexi glass cracks in the shape of a crown or witch hat. there 

 

is no bathroom but the one with the freckled clawfoot. the cats have become anxious with the 

roach-scroll of the floorboards. we say they perform theatrical productions  — one ophelia, 

 

lounging in wet lavender sogging the carpet-shag, one desdemona, clawing at tissue for 

handkerchiefs. something is crawling in me, teeth in the walls of boning. i wear the whole house

 

that used to be yours like a corset. this place is no good for us, i tell your lack of existence. all 

the bodily fluids of every other tenant filth me — all the living hosts whispering in tune with the 

 

mold water-logging my pillows. bring me my peacock & she-bear, my estate sale saints. it is time i sic them on my landlords, bring back your sight & my seeing. i shall go ahead 

 

and make my own kingdom out of deadbolts.

bloody mary x 3 

 

there goes my top skull jack-in-the-boxing from your suzy-talks-a-lot eyelids. maybe i’ve been dead a long time. maybe i’ve been dead never ever. live with me forever in the medicine cabinet

 

where my limbs smoke ring doll-wards through your own reflection. spinning my head 

all the way around is what i do for a pageant talent. every time you call my name, 

 

you put a knife in it—my face wounds towards yours. i become nothing but a blood-aura 

on your tooth fairy bedding. unlike yours, my wedding gown will lack knuckle-buttons & i envy. 

 

you should have made me more opulent in the story where i’m saint-corpsed with gumball rings on every finger. let me live display-cased at the dead mall, cradling the body you’ve made us.  

 

i’ll hold you too, if you’d like. we can lace together, spine glued to spine, a jar of our parts 

now puzzled. then my head, free by comparison, can decapitate & become a locket 

 

facing the wrong way. the backstage of night is what i’d like to see most—everything zombifying from the dirt of sky.  i see the same stars as you.

 

there goes my head. i’m coming back to life.  

 

An array of relevant links: 

 

Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim

https://www.guggenheim.org/exhibition/hilma-af-klint

Episode_89_Tedesco.jpg

And here is the Guggenheim on No. 7 Adulthood: 

https://www.guggenheim.org/audio/track/group-iv-the-ten-largest-no-7-adulthood-1907-by-hilma-af-klint

 

(Or this link, too, for more images)

 https://arthistoryproject.com/artists/hilma-af-klint/group-iv-no-7-the-ten-largest-adulthood/

The legend of Bloody Mary

Debunked: 

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/bloody-mary-story/

And scienced up:

https://u.osu.edu/vanzandt/2019/04/17/bloody-mary-from-the-bathroom-to-the-laboratory/

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