Empty Clip (Under Consideration)

Shrapnel shells Treatise on Ammunition" 4th Edition 1887Empty Clip, my third manuscript, bores into those acts of violence against the body, identity, self-hood, and privacy faced by American women. I have been working for two years on the manuscript; I started writing the poems during my facial surgeries against melanoma, a time in which I felt fragmented: cut open (or “flayed,” as one of my surgeons said) and divorced from desire, gender, self-image. The poems began with that experience, but I soon reached for other situations in which the wholeness of female bodies is challenged by violence or perception: a memory of possible abuse by the eponymous “Red-Haired Man,” the receipt of lewd cell phone images, a teenage girl’s car crash into the tree outside my childhood bedroom window, the gaze of an aerial drone upon a woman meeting her lover, and so on. These reckonings allowed for a kind of self-portraiture, an autobiography through my imagination of things that unsettled, terrified, and angered me. In this way, the poems continue to urge me to live in my body, even if it is a body that’s rocked by trauma, uneasy in and inflamed by a culture of control. My feminism is bodily, as I hope my poems are, for it seems sometimes that poems have allowed me to live and move more—be—against the turncloak flesh and those who would claim to know it.

I will make links available to the manuscript’s poems published online available below.