Tulips

kiki smith poetry

Jewel by Kiki Smith, Aquatint and etching on paper, 2004

The tulips are too excitable, it is winter here.
Look how white everything is, how quiet, how snowed-in.
I am learning peacefulness, lying by myself quietly
As the light lies on these white walls, this bed, these hands.
I am nobody; I have nothing to do with explosions.
I have given my name and my day-clothes up to the nurses
And my history to the anesthetist and my body to surgeons.

They have propped my head between the pillow and the sheet-cuff
Like an eye between two white lids that will not shut.
Stupid pupil, it has to take everything in.
The nurses pass and pass, they are no trouble,
They pass the way gulls pass inland in their white caps,
Doing things with their hands, one just the same as another,
So it is impossible to tell how many there are.

My body is a pebble to them, they tend it as water
Tends to the pebbles it must run over, smoothing them gently.
They bring me numbness in their bright needles, they bring me sleep.
Now I have lost myself I am sick of baggage——
My patent leather overnight case like a black pillbox,
My husband and child smiling out of the family photo;
Their smiles catch onto my skin, little smiling hooks.

I have let things slip, a thirty-year-old cargo boat
stubbornly hanging on to my name and address.
They have swabbed me clear of my loving associations.
Scared and bare on the green plastic-pillowed trolley
I watched my teaset, my bureaus of linen, my books
Sink out of sight, and the water went over my head.
I am a nun now, I have never been so pure.

I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free——
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.

The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle : they seem to float, though they weigh me down,
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.

Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.

Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.
They concentrate my attention, that was happy
Playing and resting without committing itself.

The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.

SYLVIA PLATH

 

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Back from Brooklyn onto Edmonton

sexThe Sex Witch Talent Show in Brooklyn was a romping stomping success. At one point Jacq encouraged audience members to make it rain on the participants they were enjoying and I made 30USD in like two minutes. Can I do it again please? #TRENDALERT

chris urquhart kit dobson litfest alberta

If you are in the Edmonton area, I am flying out tomorrow for this debate with Kit Dobson on consumerism on Friday.

 

 

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Brooklyn Bound

slut tour 1“Highlighting the provocative intersections between sex, feminism, and witchy women, authors Jacqueline Frances and Kristen J. Sollee are joining forces for the Sex Witch Book Tour this fall. To mark the release of Striptastic! and Witches, Sluts, Feminists: Conjuring the Sex Positive, the Brooklyn-based duo will be hosting Sex Witch Slams and Sex Witch Talent Shows around the country, engaging local artists, witches, and sex workers to join them in celebrating sex positive, femme magic in its many incarnations through intimate readings, rituals, and one-of-a-kind performances.”

Come see some main witches, tomorrow night at BIZARRE Bushwick. Tickets for sale on Eventbrite (snatch these fast; the Toronto event sold out). I will be performing alongside one of my all-time besties (and a main character in my book, Dirty Kids), Jacq the Stripper. She is an enterprising boss and megababe, so don’t miss out, New York! Can’t wait to reunite with ye olde fam. Please enjoy this vintage snap of us witching out in Mass.

jacq the stripper, chris urquhart

Salem, 2012 (?)

 

 

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Hometown Book Launch Tonight in TO

kiki smith

Kiki Smith, Her Bouquet, 2007-2008.

Tonight is the night (Oct 4th)! Come to No One Writes to the Coloniel (460 College Street) from 7PM-10PM for a free reading and Q/A. I will be reading from Dirty Kids and Anna Maxymiw will also be reading from her book, The Lodge, forthcoming with McClelland & Stewart.

anna maxymiw, canadian author, canlit, dirty kids, chris urquhart

Anna Maxymiw, Canlit star extraordinaire.

After attending a particularly inspiring talk from CrippledScholar this week, I have realized how drastically inaccessible my current website is for those who use screen readers. I will be updating/rebuilding this site within the next few months to address this, and will be adding more regular content. Please be patient with my minimal coding + html skills.

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Shelf Awareness Review

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October 3, 2017 · 12:10 pm

Mini tour with maximum benefits

withdates (1)

COME HANG

1. TORONTO: Oct 4, No One Writes to the Colonel (with Anna Maxymiw)
2. NYC: Oct 8, BIZARRE Bushwick (Sex Witch Talent Show Brooklyn)
3. EDMONTON: Oct 13, Theatre Lab, Allard Hall (part of LitFest Alberta)
4. MONTREAL: Nov 3, Le Cagibi
Most excellent mini tour poster by the delicious Aaron Manczyk!

maisy

 

Also, thanks for the tour shout-out Maisy! They have also posted a teaser of my old piece.

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CBC Books

cbc

“Rainbow set a nice scene for interviewing because you’re already feeling open and loved and safe. People were able to talk about some of the darker aspects of their lives. It was super heavy and I didn’t have the best coping strategies at 22, so it was really overwhelming emotionally for me. You have to sit there with the person and feel what they’re feeling to get a good interview.”

“A lot of the people that I interviewed were women and queer folks. Many of them opened up completely to me and that’s not something I take lightly. I wanted to get it right and I wanted to honour the fact that their experiences were oftentimes very difficult and complicated. They required time to listen and re-listen and contemplate upon.”

Nice article on CBC books, interview by Jane van Koeverden.

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