Four Poems|Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

The Same Dark

 

 

from one end

 

of the world

to the other

 

the same story

told at midnight

 

fists on cheeks

 

It’s hard on soft

 

Hey baby

twelve hours until blue eyes

 

 

 

This is a found poem. Text from Rice, Anne. Exit to Eden. New York: Harper Collins, 1985. Print. Page 139.

 

 

 

 

A String that Pulled Me

 

 

lower into the depths

 

of a labyrinth

bits and pieces

 

what was hell really?

other than scrubbing

 

away at people’s center

an expert massages

 

my panic away

consumes all that is pretty and Victorian

 

wears white lace

says good luck

 

there isn’t any “girl” in it

 

I felt caged by Renoir

just a giant open-faced palm

 

it’s not pretty

to be

on the verge of bolting

 

I can’t bear this

ripped animal that I’ve become

 

a deceptive rag doll

flung wide into a phantom life

 

This is a found poem. Text from Rice, Anne. Exit to Eden. New York: Harper Collins, 1985. Print. Pages 140-153.

 

 

 

Back and Forth

 

a race directs us to

an hourglass game

 

the second ball retrieves

an elegant heaven

 

wet applause

around the fence enclosure

 

the fifth ball

is all want for each other

 

push it, pull it out of shape

this little struggle

 

clears the finish line

on hands and knees

 

you say nasty things to me

I melt luscious

 

flustered and pink

and polished muscle

 

lap up the attention left and right: a lighted stage

never disappears

 

a gladiator positions a final blow

the New York Times

over my head

 

I think I’ll go home

win, alone

 

half hating my eyebrows coming together

right off the bus

 

 

 

 

This is a found poem. Text from Rice, Anne. Exit to Eden. New York: Harper Collins, 1985. Print. Pages165-171.

 

 

He takes the shape

of his hands for granted

 

reads Russian novels

a square jawed Marlboro man

 

burns a tolerable judge

by French torch

 

you know damned well

he makes smart cracks

 

said he was scared of me

I never believe in better

 

than the others

in love

 

and a flood of white energy

kissing in the back of a Chevy

 

is a three-round stage,

tie on a blindfold

 

drink in hand

wearing white mink

 

fifty percent show

turning his head to “get it”

 

nine o clock or five o clock

it doesn’t matter

 

in a dark red flush

burn out the circuits

 

a triple crawl back

that’s dream stuff

 

Girls, patch up your

enemy

This is a found poem. Text from Rice, Anne. Exit to Eden. New York: Harper Collins, 1985. Print. Pages 172-182.

 

Photo by John Silliman on Unsplash

Bio

Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in Iowa where she likes to rock climb. She is the author of four full length poetry collections and twelve chapbooks. Her chapbook “Teeth Have a Hardness Scale of 5,” is forthcoming from Sputnik and Fizzle Press. Recent work can be seen at or is forthcoming from The Pinch, Cleaver, Yalobusha Review, Zone 3, and Grist. She also hosts an indie reading series sponsored by the non-profit organization Iowa City Poetry called Today You Are Perfect. Find her online at http://jennifermacbainstephens.com/.

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