Summer Reads 2018

Summer Reads 2018: Fresh Verse from 3 Portland Poets

We've got brand-new poetry from Stephanie Adams-Santos, Shayla Lawson, and Zachary Schomburg.

By Stephanie Adams-Santos, Shayla Lawson, and Zachary Schomburg July 17, 2018 Published in the August 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

Image: Amrita Marino

The Migrants’ Daughter

Their source is occluded—
they who come from the other side

But the sound of each voice recycles

turned over from a buried box of
music I can only barely hear
yet I hear it always

When all else is silent

when nothing else remains
it is there:

I think: I am the color of the wall

The blood in my body has lost
and turned to water

I pertain to my sorrow

I am invented by its blows

Stephanie Adams-Santos is a Guatemalan-American writer and mystic. Her full-length poetry collection Swarm Queen's Crown was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award.

Image: Amrita Marino

Palazzo Grassi—In the Palace of the Corpulent

: I think of Selma Hayek
as the “The Illusion of Light”
spans the fat Rococo atrium                       Madonna
e Paloma :: Mother & Bird     I envision her held
babe in the presence
of all these offerings                 In the presence of white

: I always think of birth :: her dove : her
waist in perfect curve (/ \)                 I wish I were a bird-
loving woman              But all that I find tender battles
on the wing of light : I wrestle
to hold a dove’s perfect
neck without breaking            But I can’t

protect both with & from
my hands         Open
prayer : open book     Maybe death
is : after all : a palm-reader : Maybe
there are palm fronds at the end : a white
no one can touch       I escape

this Illusion of life     I let the dove/
its feathers thin
and wrinkle in my fingers\  go         When I try
to follow brightness : I cannot tell
if something is holding me back ://(
or just holding on to me :// ( n )\\

Shayla Lawson is the author of I Think I'm Ready to See Frank Ocean (Saturnalia Books, 2018). Her work is supported by fellowships from Yaddo, MacDowell, and the Oregon Literary Award.

Image: Amrita Marino

Congrats on Your New Job

Your new job is to sit
behind a desk and click
the metal clicker every
time a new person walks
in. In your excitement,
you click the clicker
on accident. But it’s ok,
you think. You just tell
yourself to not click
the clicker when the next
person walks in. But
no one else walks in.
Hours go by. You think
maybe someone is about
to come in, so you click,
forgetting that you weren’t
supposed to click for
the next person. Now
you’re two clicks ahead.
It’s the end of the day.
You go home, but you
never go back. It’s just
not the job for you.
You spend the rest of
your life like that,
two clicks ahead,
like a fly pinned
to the meridian.

Zachary Schomburg is the author of a novel, Mammother (Featherproof, 2017), and four books of poems. He is also an illustrator, teacher, and publisher of a small poetry press, Octopus Books.
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