National Poetry Month

Posted by Caitlin Joyce, '11, '18 on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 3:19 PM PDT

In honor of National Poetry month, we are featuring poetry from Seattle U professors, alumni and students.  Featured poets include: Karyna McGlynn,’05, Abby Murray, ‘05, Dylan Gnatz, ’17, Sharon Cumberland and Sean McDowell. Read the work of our talented poets below.

THE AFTERLIFE OF MY LOST BLAZERS

Karyna McGlynn, '05

And then the Devil will bring me to a basement
where we will be reunited: me and my blazers.
Hundreds upon hundreds of them, on hangers,
or hillocks I must eternally rifle through:
the blind worms inching down the wales
of the corduroy, my soul turning out
all the pockets. I must piece this together:
this project the worms must undo, pressing
their wet mouths into elbow patches, under-
mining the plaid and mothing the wool.
My soul tries to try on the jean jackets.
The shoulders don’t fit because I have
no shoulders. Is this the Hell of being
immaterial on a mountain of material?
In life I mourned the loss of my blazers,
left on the backs of chairs, in the backs of taxis.
In the afterlife they fall right through me.
Sometimes little things fall out: knotted
cherry stems, cough-drop wrappers, eighty-three
cents, a gas receipt, and once, a matchbook
with something scribbled inside: “Karyna,
you wasted so much of my time. Burn this.”

From her upcoming book, Hothouse.

 

Poem for My Daughter before the March

Abby E. Murray, '05

When your father says
he doesn’t want me to march
what he really means is
he doesn’t want you to march.
He doesn’t want me to march
because you will follow.
He doesn’t want you to march
by default, on my shoulders,
because you might follow
the songs of women
by default, on my shoulders,
raised on bread and justice.
Daughter, the songs of women
are the first words of children
raised on bread and justice.
Blessed are the ones who sing
the first words of children:
this is how I love you.
Blessed are the ones who say
they follow songs into the street.

Published by Rattle, 19 January 2017

 

Consumer Reports

Dylan Gnatz, '17

I hear quite often
That God is dead
And perhaps they’re right
That we’ve been abandoned
But if I were to venture to guess
Where I came from
I might picture a factory
Somewhere amongst the cornfields
Of the Midwest
Long gone now
That once pumped toxins out
Across the horizon
To the affirming sighs
Of the townsfolk
Humor my delusions
That I was tossed together
A leg, a ring finger
An arm, a torso, an abdomen
Kidneys and intestines
Stuffed in haphazardly
Liver and esophagus
Lungs and Thyroid
And weblike capillaries
With clockwork efficiency
And then a head
Threaded on tight
Due to previous recalls
And class action lawsuits
No way in hell
It’ll pop off this time
And to this day
It remains locked on tight
Suffocatingly at times
It’s out of our hands
(my hands) now
Let Taiwan handle it

Published by Seattle University’s Fragments

 

Sea of Lilacs

Sharon Cumberland

I saw a sea of lilacs
with a school of black bees
swimming from bloom to bloom
black with yellow noses
like clownfish
humming through purple waves
a forest of thin stalks
waved beneath them
in breezy currents.
What kind of creature
would I have to be
to glide into those green stems
with a flick?
Something clothed
in its own form
as are lilacs,
like a bee.

From her upcoming book, “Strange with Age

 

Look Towards the Mountain
after Du Fu

Sean H. McDowell

T’ai-shan, what is it like?
From all directions, green without end.
The cosmos distilled its spirit here.
Dark slope and light cleave night and dawn.
My heaving chest spouts layered clouds,
My straining eyes fill with returning birds.
I must reach this summit to see
At once all mountains made small.