Claire Smith Hunts a Poem

Claire finds a wild eyed poem hidden deep

in winter undergrowth; lost in snow

and slush. Its form, its meaning, even

its subject obscured in shaggy paths

and metaphor

(old secrets sever ink from lines)

It is a fleeting thing that breaks

cover in a flurry of entrainment and rhyme.

She catches the word, the weft, the yarn;


She traps it in her fingers and parses…

pulls at the rotten threads and leaves it for dead.

Later, in the kitchen, she picks the ripened poem:

the black guts of it stuffed with wordy-meat,

(with outrage at the dying stars decline)

with gamey simile and crumb;

she licks her lips as it sizzles in the pan.

(dividing the warp separating sight and strand)


Claire Smith wakes in the night having eaten

(serpents’ forked and poisoned tongues!)

Too much poem?

She has an indigestible

glut. Language slips from all those

promised poetry-feasts with a snaky hiss;

poesy turned to scraps of soggy paper,

and bitter ink-gall. They fill her throat;

a grainy mass of half-digested phonemes.


It bursts from Claire’s mouth; redrawn on tatters,

shards, and shreds; she clutches her belly

swollen by a painful inflorescence

of the Baudelairean spleen. From her lips

an involuntary dot of Parkeresque bile drips,

then a glorious gush of broken syntax

and spectacular obscenity paints the wall

in an phantasmagorical William Burroughs




What are you looking for?