Chaos, Control: Four Poems for Uncertain Times

It’s been a difficult, tense few days for many in the US and around the world. But even — if not especially — when words fail us in our everyday lives, there’s still poetry. Here are four powerful voices on the uncertainty of freedom, the complicated process of healing, and more.

Ra, “Chaos

These are the first tacos
after 438 days in jail.
She’s smiling,
focusing on food,
and freedom.
She’s ignoring the noise,
the flickering lights,
the customers in mismatched clothes,
the music,
the people on phones,
the cleaning supplies,
the smells,
the traffic outside,
the door without locks.

She’s smiling,
but every time she sees this picture,
she tries to see
the freedom.
but can only see
the chaos.

Visit Ra’s post to see the photo that inspired this poem.


Photo by Making and Marking, shared in response to the recent Daily Post challenge, “Chaos.”

Leeza Marie Petrov, “Movement

V. One Hundred and Eighty Main Street

oh! i am sixteen and three quarters years old, the sky is grey and muddy and the air tastes like electricity all of a sudden.

the window on my side of the mini van is cracked the slightest bit open so i can feel the raindrops catch in my hair: i am coming i am coming i am coming and and i am also going

the exit on the four ninety five tells me Andover is just Two Whole Miles away, and it feels as if holy hell is breaking out in my head.

lightning wrapped up in my left pocket, cell phone in my right, and i realize that finally i am the big kid Katie told me about –

and all i want is a plastic shock blanket

Read the rest of this six-part memoir-poem over at Leeza Marie's blog.

Emily Anne Hopkins, “The Monster Is Familiar

The page: a body
is this, a body is that.
The threat: internal

and opaque. This might mean
the girl is external to everything.
Mirrors double the quick

movement. Impossible pleasure—
to picture her own closed eyes.
A mask of lack: the nose missing

and sharp contours. What double
skin is this? The monster
hands her a daisy,

and she takes it into
her mouth. The monster likes
to see her well-fed.

Head to THE FEM, a literary magazine of diverse, inclusive, feminist writing, to read Emily’s poem in its entirety.


Photo by ARTKORPII II, shared in response to the recent Daily Post challenge, “Chaos.”

Rachel Dacus, “Wings Clipped

Reaching too far in arabesque
I may have cracked the two bony flaps
on my vertebra through. The seam
is clear in the x-ray, an injury
that self-soldered. I can’t recall,
nor can my parents, when their child broke
her back in such a crash. I only have the mirror
image: straining to hold my upraised leg high,
a pointed wing behind my head.

The surgeon diagrams how this inner butterfly
tied to my spine must be sheared off,
crushed and repacked with materials
between vertebra that will be fused
and bolted with titanium. The fluid joint
that hinged my backbends and arched
like a suspension bridge
will merge into a solid trunk.
I will stilt my way through the day.

Read the rest of Rachel’s poem at Panoply, a literary zine.

Browse our poetry archives for more poems and experimental writing, or check out other literary journals publishing with WordPress.

November 10, 2016Poetry, ,