Posts Tagged ‘Iowa’

THERMOS 9: Lauren Haldeman

Continuing with work from THERMOS #9, our newest issue, here are 8 new poems by the amazing Lauren Haldeman. Lauren lives in Iowa City, where she works for The Writing University. You can read her poems from THERMOS #2 right here.


Making a baby
is strange: how a golden fish
dies in a cave full of
plasma–& pretty soon there’s this
huge crying computer.

Mortal Friends

I fell in love with Ellie & she became my friend.
She touched the face of the state of Iowa.

Inga drew a picture on Vera’s back. Vera drew
a picture on the earth’s back. A stack of waffles

and a radio became friends. It was early March and
they were making burritos in the kitchen. You could see

the rice stick to the air. Clouds & a croquet match:
they made a baby. The baby was named A Perfect

Afternoon. Inga drew an elephant on the
back of the antique store. The drawing was so

intricate–a mix between petals & snow. She said
“This is a portrait of my mortal friend.”


As Cynthia eats the sweet potato, a rainbow grows
from her brain. That tiny door opens

for a split second which allows her to notice all her many names through time
which were also many other people’s names…

Inside two capsules
are two tiny boats

catching two fish. When Cynthia takes these capsules she realizes she

shouldn’t have

yelled at the Information Technology guy
about the scanner. She was not in danger. It was not personal.

And now, ladies and gentlemen,

a short film of squirrels
premiering outside
the window. O!


I cried because your head came out of my body. Your whole body came out of my body & it was nuts. It was absolutely insane. Then your hands kept hitting your face. Over & over, you didn’t even know what your face was, but it still kept getting hit.

Everything we did was wrong. The cat put his butt in your face. My milk got in your nose.

At night,

I pulled you




on the bed

where we slept




The baby carries her fever in a basket, stopping at a squirrel. Look at this fever she says. Her hand reaches out in the way that someone not yet hurt by giving reaches out a hand & it is good. Exam books fall from the sycamore. In the baby’s mind, the sycamore’s bark is a magnetic talisman. A gift. It is the reason she came from outer-space.


We are in a forest
we find a deep spring

a metamorphic rock face
& carved symbols:

*next to the banded-face god
a plume of feathers

*an alligator looking to the sky

We hear a sound it is
the story of giving birth

coming from the rock face
no, we mean

actually being said out loud
by the rocks

behind the hidden pool

saying to us: see those
glowing dots in the small cavern
like bits of prisms

those are souls

They look white
yet as they flicker you will notice

it is every color

See now
one of those lights
is passing into your belly

you will have to push
Somehow this is not a surprise

We look at the water
out of which a face now rises:

ambient layers of rich
minerals and sediment

maybe the chest of a jaguar
or a bird with a toothache, no

it is a woman, the face
of a woman we know


My human, I held your head against my breastbone. I called a seagull and asked for more taffy to be flown in. I wrote the boardwalk committee and ordered up surreys, ferris wheels, kites in the shape of seagulls. To the mirror-house, I said “no.” To the seagull, I said “seagull.” On the beach we applied meat tenderizer to a friend’s jellyfish sting. My human, it helped. My human, there were sentences in the sky. My human, there were popcorn-tins flying through the air. Glow necklaces. Grandmothers. Slideshows. Matterhorns. If I were told to start a collection, and it seemed wise to start a collection, and everyone else was starting a collection, I would start a collection of you.


I wore my Orioles shirt today & tried to “be
in the now.” Met up with my friends like carrying

a beach. Last night, I thought a different baby
was in the bed with me. Lonely lonely lonely.

No one writes me back
on the Font Face forum.

The clock says 11:42 pm. All the
different times are one time.

If a baby turns a year, what does the parent turn?
Someone sleeps

& it is quiet. We sleep & it is magic.