sporklet 3
Amy King

(Three Poems)


Death By Person

There are bodies.

There are figurations.  

There are people who figure themselves dismantling bodies. 

There are people who put people on stages. 

There are people who turn people into bodies in public.

There are people who say no to feeling. 

There are people who see bodies in public.

There are people with bodies and lives. 

There are people with bullets.  

There are people with words. 

There are people who swell with certainty.

There are people who know bodies can be things. 

There are boots on people speaking words about lives.

There are boots pounding sounds to words about bodies. 

There are people in bodies erasing people with words. 

There are bodies of people without lives. 

There are bodies aloud. 

There are people listening. 

There are people still. 

In the Hunting Blind

This is a swan palace.

This is the place a man hasn’t grown fully into personhood.

Adam & Eve were not a success story.

No marriage prepares for full knowledge. 

But the fear of the cord snapping slips 

below the eyelids, 

night warms into your eye-skin & the swans collect their children

for a campfire round of death’s magnum opus.

Eat me alive, come dine on my salty nexus.

Let us carry on looking for more than. 

I am the beast you heard unburdens your life, 

a love dismembered singing on a sidesaddle you ride. 

Come to my salt lick; I am in the hide tonight. 

Your Mouth is a Door

That sugar blue morning anyone 

who has lain on a dirt-caked road knows 

is just an island away from some dead guy’s sleep. 

We wake, we wake 

alone & there goes the expression of desire’s dust

into a halo of things to come, of companionship. 

The cloud of it becomes a record, 

a vinyl volcano of audio portraits 

the way Picasso did every facet of experiments poets

were prowling into words.  

Why cube paint if you think light 

is a figment of Einstein’s equation in parts? 

If you think light, if you don’t, 

let jealousy sparkle in it, 

let the alleyway be inlaid by a skin graft

from your mouth’s insides. People will hear you there.

The way you let the sun hit dawn with horizon,

turns your mood sugar blue, the way you paint it.  

You paint the elders made of diamonds

with the insides of words, 

your mouth in tuxedo song goes along

feeling most at home in the alley full

of faces. The way you face yourself

in the lips-lining walls, your light 

reflecting everything that comes. 

And you hope they come, you painted the invite

with your own tongue, you sewed the skin

and backdrop, the doorway ajar, for their appearance.

Of I Want to Make You Safe (Litmus Press), John Ashbery describes Amy King’s poems as bringing “abstractions to brilliant, jagged life, emerging into rather than out of the busyness of living.” Safe was one of Boston Globe’s Best Poetry Books of 2011. King teaches Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College and serves on the Executive Board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.


King joins the ranks of Ann Patchett, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rachel Carson and Pearl Buck as the recipient of the 2015 Winner of the WNBA Award (Women’s National Book Association).  She was also honored by The Feminist Press as one of the “40 Under 40: The Future of Feminism” awardees, and she received the 2012 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.