Posts Tagged ‘Thermos 5’

THERMOS 5: Carrie Olivia Adams

Four years ago, I wrote a review of Carrie Olivia Adams’ first full-length collection of poetry, Intervening Absence (Ahsahta, 2009) for Denver Quarterly. “Through prodding lines that make moments of ‘nothing’ pulse,” I concluded, “Adams proves that an ‘intervening absence’ is not an oxymoronic convolution but a unique phenomenon of presence.” Convolution?!? Oh, Savich. I should’ve said I read the book on a porch swing and immediately invited her to send poems for the 5th print issue of THERMOS. Since then, Carrie has hosted me at a poetry reading in her home (biscuits) and become my editor at Black Ocean; it’s rare to have an editor whose poetry you admire so much. She’s also published a terrific new collection, Forty-One Jane Does, with Ahsahta. “Dear Astronomer, / What do you do during the daylight?” one poems begins. “She had tried to leave her body behind. / But it would not stay,” says another, lines I think of on many walks. You can read more about her new book and order it directly from Ahsahta’s site. — ZS

from Operating Theater


When? When will I remember? Not how. But when.

At first, I will remember every day. Maybe several times a day. Tomorrow, I will say it happened yesterday. I will remember yesterday. And then the day after tomorrow and after and after. For many days, I will remember. And then there will come a time when I won’t recall immediately how long it has been. I will count in my mind and on my fingers and only then will I know. Eventually, I will forget. I will forget for a very long time. It will lie dormant. And then one day the bus will be late, I’ll catch someone’s eye, I’ll hear someone catch their breath. And I won’t know whether it really happened—that moment—or whether I had been waiting for an excuse to make it happen. But then it won’t matter. I will remember this.

I want to know how long I have to wait until I remember again.


I spend a lot of time thinking about the ocean. It began with gathering.

I gather you might want to shut the door. I gather this day is a marker.

I gather days. I gather light, lost in frames and thresholds. I gather the ocean.

I gather the ocean opens and closes like lips or fingers speaking.

It’s true, most stories like this begin in the forest. But ours might be a boat overturned. Our luggage bobbing and sinking.

I gather splintered wood. I gather splashing arms and feet. I gather I am not sure whether to struggle.

Or how hard to struggle. To slow and gather strength…the strength to stop swimming

[ Other]
I’ve made a machine. It makes memories.
No. No that’s not quite right.
It makes remembering possible. No.
It remembers for me? Perhaps.
Yet, sometimes I remember things the machine doesn’t make.

{A list of some things that remember what’s there, even when we can’t see it:

A globe
An astrolabe
A lighthouse
A recipe
A dress}

The precise memory span of a Betta fish is exactly 16.4 seconds.
This is a lie.
Elephants never forget.

THERMOS 5: Caryl Pagel

Today’s second of three Caryl Pagel poems we’ll re-publish from our print issues this week remains one of my personal favorites — not just of poems we’ve published in THERMOS, but of poems I’ve read in first books, current books, all books these past few years. Happy to have the chance — again — to place it in your attention. — AS

The Sick Bed

When last to mutter
may your head fall empty
illness find
approaching graveness

May your light strum from
a dust torn window
to where you watch
still body part

We none do see each I fall out

For example: I held his hand
I did not
know when it was over

What made me mean body

Gone uncaught
un-lit or flown
it’s strange

of that mine
I can tell you nothing left

but what formed

Now–to hold on
to new space
Frame tremor can you
frame heady loss

with a morning canceled
I think no

morning can go canceled

That day became

a broken ear

a constant ringing

take care of this
beware of

Not any inner thought

Straight became
a monster

I mean master
of my own clean loss

See this version
this image

waits not to grow cold if you ask
I will go by
my second self’s hand

no sneak up from behind
bright shade
tranquil dose
to catch me ill
staring at far off clouds unraveled thin

My lord
the closest killer

hides my enemies too

Open only
unhinged in plea

hands hollowed

Prayer shuts one from page

Like dim reflections
each end sigh
goes fiddle out the window
to play for ghosts

Don’t worry you don’t know them

When it comes
I’ll tell

it sounds like
deathswish or hushwish

Never bell

When last to muster
some tune through
loud gales

You keep it short as I will
ask no more
this way

Exception: unseen

Please let me leave unseen

THERMOS 5: Lauren Shapiro

These three poems were originally printed in our fifth issue, released in the spring of 2010. Easy Math, Lauren’s first book of poems, won the 2011 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and was released by Sarabande Books earlier this month. We’re excited about the book, which is here, and happy to share these poems once again as we move our first five issues from one website to another. Thanks Lauren! — AS

I’ve Always Wanted to Say This

There was a time when mansions had so many rooms
they had one just for fainting. If you had to faint,
this was the best room for it—chairs the size of beds,
shag carpet, cloud-sent, the whisperings of Enya.
But when you woke up it was the worst room in the world,
and such are the machinations of life. When I was little
I wanted to be a truck driver and now, essentially,
I’m a truck driver. I watch that show—what’s it called?
I forget—for eight hours straight. Then once in a while
as I’m walking down the street a man’s eyeball pops out,
and we’re both a bit surprised, and he cups it in his hands
and blows the dust off, and puts it back in.
At the dinner party I tell the story of the eye popping out,
and then someone else tells about finding an ear in the gutter
and everyone drinks more wine and Marty finally opens up
about his little brother losing a hand in a table saw
and Sarah admits that she once lost a nipple to a feral dog
and Tim, after some prodding, shows the empty area
where his testicles once hung. And then we walk home and
Jesus Christ it’s cold outside! says my husband, and
it’s so cold it does feel like something huge is about to happen
and that’s when I see both of our features slipping off
our faces and we go home anyway and make love
and rub our blank faces together and I feel a deep
and exciting newness welling up in my stomach
and I think that I will bake muffins tomorrow morning after all.

According to the Magazines, Lindsey Lohan Is Very Lonely These Days

After a meal of General Tso’s, we learn
that an exciting opportunity will soon present itself.
I get up to give a toast at the wedding
but all that comes out is a gasp.
What I’ve learned from Hans Christian Andersen
is that there is a tiny world in each pore of the universe
populated by tiny people who also dream
of larger realities. In the space between coffee
and lunch lies an expanse as unforgiving
as a cross-country bus ride. Not knowing
where to sit or who to talk to at the barbecue,
I choose the roof. But hey, the Rubix cube
is only as hard as the guy pasting on
the colored squares wants it to be, right?
The girl who wants to be married with kids by 30
misses the point of both, no? And so the algorithm
of finding solace is the algorithm of rejecting
such algorithms in the first place.
Pirates emerge from myth. A scientist claims
to have taught a rhesus monkey to hum
the alphabet in six languages. The last baby
born in 2009 beats up the first baby born in 2010
while mothers stand by in disbelief.
Fortune teller says grandma will trace our family
back to a happy-go-lucky seafarer from 1830s Australia.
Weatherman says life is a constant search punctuated
by tornadoes and moments of regret. I close my eyes.
It is almost my birthday. Deep in the cake
hides a plastic doll. Who put it there,
and who on earth wants to find it?

Photo Op

The lights are flashing.
People throw flowers at my feet.
It’s you! they shout.
Listen, I say. I’m here
to talk about Darfur.
Oh my God, it’s you! they shout.
A girl breaks through security and faints.
All around the room people are waving
cameras and pens for autographs.
Please, please, they say. It’s really you!
Just then a pigeon flies into the studio.
No one cares. A cameraman kills it with a brick.
The lights flash red, red, red.
Yay! they yell. It’s you! It’s you! It’s really you!