Sunday, June 17, 2012

Joanna Penn Cooper


I wrote a poem to tell you expressly that I’ve always been alone
in here one vertebra cocked to the side to listen to the painful singing
especially when I’ve slept on my stomach, a pillow on my head, my
preferred posture.  How is this helpful?  How is this new?  How
is being trapped in my own ever-evolving mental healthfulness bound
to assist anyone else on their journey?  Well, a journey of a thousand
miles,  I always say.  Anyway, axis mundi, I always say.  This is how
it begins: I call goodbye to someone in the hallway who doesn’t know
what I’m saying because all my words before noon are plaintive music
and he says something normal that I can’t hear without my glasses on
and leaves.  I continue my day from in bed by bandying about some
regrets about an essay on The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym
I didn’t write.  When I’m finished doing that, I hear a door squeaking
so I put on pants to better fight.  I scrabble about under the bed with
my pointy fingers to find my glasses.  Suddenly I am vertical
in the hallway. I have quite literally put up my dukes.  I offer you
this advice free of charge.  You’re welcome.  

Joanna Penn Cooper is the author of the chapbook Mesmer (dancing girl press).  Her full-length poetry collection, How We Were Strangers, was a finalist for the Kinereth Gensler Award from Alice James Books.  Joanna co-curates the Stain of Poetry reading series in Brooklyn, where she lives, and keeps a blog at