SWWIM publishes, celebrates, & promotes women, women-identifying & Femme-presenting writers through a Miami-based reading series & the online poetry journal SWWIM Every Day.

Down And Out by E. Kristin Anderson

I:

 

When I’m Empty

 

This is where I go nowhere, live in the home I have—

I see time as a tired burn and surrender these embers

to you. I’m calling inside the black and blue to give

it a twist. Here I’ll take a halo from that delicate wire

 

let it taste my hands. Disenchanted, I ghost the dance

try it on and lose my grip; here I find a life as passerby.

Pleasure is in these prayers. The same old heart, the rust

and again I’m waking up. Mend it: Give me loud tonight.

 

A ring of fire outside is my overdrive, my ghost

is one to pass through. My head is worth keeping

and two strangers turn to song and turn the screws.

And friend, I swear, I swear, the years fucking burn.

 

It’s a life of rope and wrist and here I open wide;

stuck spilling night, we know a lullaby understands.

 

 

II:

 

Two Strangers

 

Stuck spilling night, we know a lullaby understands

halo by halo into the years. Home is in your fire,

a whisper for yesterday—here I’m waking up loud

and sick with overdrive. I let my rage have the stars.

 

Blame it on confession, damned and disenchanted,

the bearer of bad news waiting on the motorway

The ruse starts breaking up, dreaming just to hide

I let down my sleeve. I’m part death and part sky

 

waiting for the chance to burn through grace.

We breathe, we breathe low and long, feel the rope

of a delicate world, give it a twist, pray in the rust.

I turn over the years, they keep coming back up.

 

Wheel out the sun, chase it deep in the heart of a friend

I twist and disappear in the dance, breaking the road.

 

 

III:

 

Let It Turn

 

I twist and disappear in the dance, breaking the road

keeping back the strangers in their masks, the embers.

You’re spilling over me, a ring of sky for growing old

and I can choose to taste the ghost; we breathe in years.

 

My ruse is a reason to bleed, my heart and wings apart,

everything I’m not spilling, spilling—a one-way flame.

Love is shame. And in my hand there’s a burn bright

enough for ignition—a new day rising down for one.

 

And I hate waking—a lullaby breaking at the wrist,

a vacant town for rust and song. I’m a little empty,

blues and stars the same, a taste around my screws.

I’m a motorway for the down and out—come play,

 

hold the rope one more time. We stand in the leaves—

this is where I go nowhere, live in the home I have.

 

 

Note: This is a found poem. Source material: Foo Fighters. One By One Roswell/RCA, 2002.


Based in Austin, TX, E. Kristin Anderson has been published widely in magazines. She’s also the author of eight chapbooks, including A Guide for the Practical Abductee, Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night, We’re Doing Witchcraft, and 17 seventeen XVII. Kristin is an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and a slush reader at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked at The New Yorker.

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