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

You Are So Confucius Eastern Alternatives to AA by Karen Morris


                                    On the mild autumn night you were conceived

            strong spirits flowed through both your parents.


                                    Your people are all slurpers of dregs.

            The map of their ruin is on your face.


                                    Do not be harsh with your elders.

            Do not think of kerosene being poured onto ants—


                                    Keep it simple. When you drink

            drink only enough to unfurl—


                                    curling upward the lotus petals of your lips.

            Ease does this. Make time for continuous practice.


                                    Think of your palate formed amid the cleft sweetness

            of summer grasses and bog-ripened juniper berries


                                    under the aroused sun of the Motherland.

            The rye wind that haunts the lochs and moors


                                    flows in your veins through mixed blood—

            you are the agave cocktail who bloomed in Curaçao


                                    just once in every century. Green lime,

            bitter-sweet, salt and sour entwine your DNA


                                    even though your mother did not sample the worm.

            Recall Yang. To your guests offer only your finest,


                                    then seat yourself quietly down the hallway.

            When Yang drinks, Li gets drunk.


                                    The effort you are making is the asteroid shower

            that makes for fine weather on other planets—

                        —the onion you are eating is someone else's water lily.




Karen Morris is a poet and psychoanalyst in private practice in Narrowsburg, NY, with specialization in creativity and addictions. Her first book of poems, CATACLYSM and Other Arrangements (2014, Three Stones Press) received The Gradiva Award for Poetry (2015, NAAP). Her poems have appeared in The Stillwater Review, Paterson Literary Review, Tanka Society of America, About Place Journal and others. She is the co-founder of Two Rivers Zen Community in Narrowsburg, NY.


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