11:4: “After Songs”, by Lisa M. Cole

11:4: “After Songs”, by Lisa M. Cole


There is no safety in numbers
& every space she enters — it is the first time.


I am the heavy daughter; *
no pedestal, no shrine. The knowings,
the rememberings: loving
only two parts of a man: his songs,
his crown of idols. Look, passenger:
the mutiny of a poem dressed in skin —


My socket mouth abides. My life
unbidden, unbound —
See the seedless road.
Radio love & ransom notes
written on my arm — mime
& mage my way. My abacus hand
beclouds my protection.


Tumult, tumult. Making, make. So:
I want to be on the page all of the time.

*The phrase heavy daughter is from the last line of John Berryman’s last dream song, #385.

Lisa M. Cole is a full time writer who holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing program. She is the author of two chapbooks, “Tinder// Heart” and “The Bodyscape” both from Dancing Girl Press, and “Renegade//Heart” forthcoming from Blood Pudding Press. She says:

“After Songs” was written for my friend D. He is a musician who often plays his songs for me on his guitar. When I have writer’s block, I ask him to play for me, and 9 times out of 10, I write something as he is singing to me.

Illustration is an engraving from The Seven Liberal Arts by Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550) and is in the public domain.

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