Philadelphia Poets: Emily Abendroth

Emily Abendroth’s first full length book of poetry, ]Exclosures[, is forthcoming from Ahsahta Press in May. In 2012, she was named a Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Creative Fellow and in 2013, a Pew Fellow in Poetry. Her works are often published in limited edition, handcrafted chapbooks by small and micropresses such as Belladonna (New York), Little Red Leaves (Texas), Albion Press (Philadelphia) and Zumbar Press (San Francisco).

from whereupon, the henchpeople’s ZEAL did SPUTTER


It could be an unduly hard move sometimes to assign
which were the zones of inhibition or auto-impingement
versus which were those of open growth or co-exfoliation.
What was an area encysted in muscle and what was an area insistent upon it.
A hard move sometimes to separate that which soothed from the ruthless –
gelatinous sheath, contractile vacuole, oral groove.

We had been asked once again, and politely, to please believe
in the benevolent hegemon only to find, rather violently, that we could not.
We might as well have refused water, the clutter of slaughterhouses,
beguiling bile ducts, unctuous rivalries, or our very own trial dates
with all their accompanying and premeditated punishments.

Sleep deprived, we waggle danced continuously, but often less than accurately.
We – the discalced, the baretushed, the squishy.
We learned that as a public act the inside of your body often wants to stay inside.

                                          By “inside” I mean, of course, “velvitized”
                                                                I mean “ideological leniency”
                                                                I mean “fruiting”
                                                                I mean “longer than was strictly necessary”
                                                                I mean “hairy and emboldened (be it with or without cause)”


For this audience, it is the stain that most gainfully demonstrates
the fundamental features of being. We notice the pattern of greening
and of blanks. We notice the soft patter at girdle view
wherein the renewed application of resin is a true necessity
if we are to make out anything at all. We notice the fall of tissue
which gives rise to a new and oozing issuance which gives rise to prancing
                                                                                                      followed by flight.

Her finances in complete arrears, she reared up at first, but then was flattened.
She shoved a quick fatty in her back pocket and ran. Such unplanned desertions
do occur. They are the tradition-shattering components to tradition-bound activities.
They release their infeasible call for more insubordination of the materials,
of our arterials even. And such desertions do occur. They unfurl.
Hurling themselves forward at midvein, midtangle, midtemper, midepidermis…

                                                                        per surface area of ocean
                                                                        per surplus tanker of gas
                                                                        per pine-edged casket of talismans
                                                                        per samsonite duffle
                                                                        per cufflink
                                                                        per quagmire
                                                                        per person cuffed or bound or gagged

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