THERMOS 3: Sierra Nelson

Co-founder of Typing Explosion and the Vis-a-Vis Society, long-term admirer of cephalopods, co-author (with Loren Erdrich) of the lyrical choose your own adventure chapbook I Take Back the Sponge Cake (available from Rose Metal Press), Roman wanderer, whimsically wonderful and seriously delightful Seattle-based poet Sierra Nelson offered these poems to us back in 2009. Please enjoy them again with us today. — AS



On the Difficulty of Conveying One’s Feelings in Words

Do you ever feel, my love, as though
you’ve alighted in a many-branched tree
in the early morning light, and slowly all
around you there come creeping
many small but intent alien creatures
who even now are surrounding you and
your tree, closer, ever closer, closer still, and you
stay still in their silence – while not too far
away there is a house, a house filled
with sleeping robots, surely as many robots
as there are aliens around you – and in your
quietest, most hopeful, and needing-of-help voice
you call to them, over and over:
Wake up, robots. Wake up, robots.
And the light grows brighter. And still the aliens.
And still the robots sleeping. And something like
beauty fills you as you sing: Wake up.



Eating Lightbulbs For a Living

Even the sun’s got a parasol
These hungover days. On the streets, roaming,
Too bright, too parched, too many problems to solve.

In this town I’m unknown
As the new moon, regardless
Of previous history, how many hearts overthrown –

And who calls Venus heartless?
Every planet’s got its problems: we’re all just trying
To get a little more for less.

Look, I like my stars like I like my rye –
Neat, with just a splash of candelabra.
There, there, it’s no use crying,

I say to my friend, the empty bar stool. Abracadabra!
Make this life disappear faster than a brassiere!




Night Air

Sticky pearls, come here,
Gleam like sticky pearls –

Let me brush you sweet and warm.
Regrets shoved under the pillow

Slide through the window.
Night comes nearer

The air, Madame,
And your sigh glides through.

Recite this at the top of your lungs:
Talk is different than song.

Although it’s feeling glum,
Night takes up its stitching.

While rocking the cradle

Curse the river,
But soon curse

The wind saying Yes
Like a dam.

Down the door, breaking it.
Spring, my dear, is breaking.

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