Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sinkhole Book Release

The book release for Elyse Brownell's new book, Sinkhole will be held at Buchanan's Coffee Pub in Boulder, CO on Saturday, January 24, 2015 at 6:30PM.  Books will be available for purchase.  Other features include Eric Ranaan Fischman and musician Kevin Ventsias.  See you there!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Beauty of Marriage

The Beauty of Marriage
Elyse Brownell

People often ask if I feel different
I weigh my body on his scale
yes. I say. but only in crowds

Remember when you first turned
the age of your end point?
and someone once asked you
if you felt different?

it’s not like that at all

It's like this:

While standing in Arizona
I loved him in Utah
he loved like the first time in Colorado

There is a shift now
as if my organs lifted up,
traded spots, my heart now my liver
I drink it full

The list of exes doesn’t seem to matter
the skin between the gap
doesn’t seem to matter
I am only his to scale

(Don’t write me into
a feminist snarl)

it’s okay to love
it’s okay to give your body away
it’s okay to forget about the first person
you ever loved

There will always be other pebbles
to collect inside
some heavier than others
some weightless, like driftwood
left on another shore

and you will want to turn them over
find out what the other side was
rotate to see what may be exposed

and you will want to
fall asleep next to them
one more time
touch the fracture you each created
one more time

and you may still want to
skip them across the flattened pond
a rupture of the flat line
he left you on

but all that matters
is the weight of my husband 
on the other side
of the bed

mine to scale.

 *inspired by Anne Carson's "The Beauty of the Husband"

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Pre-Order Elyse Brownell's new book Sinkhole

Elyse Brownell's new book Sinkhole won the 2014 Poetry Chapbook Contest by Monkey Puzzle Press.  The book is now available for pre-order here.


Here's what's being said about Sinkhole:

"Elyse Brownell's Sinkhole is a poem-study of loss and the holes that define it (and us, more than we might like to admit). The poem moves in branching directions simultaneously and feels its way as present becomes past and remains an ache of absence in the next present. As the poem looks further into these holes, time opens, and the assumption that 'there is a bottom to memory' becomes questionable."

— Reed Bye, author of Catching On

"Sinkhole is a brilliant, lyrical, evocative exploration of the pain and loss trapped inside the sinkholes of every relationship. Elyse Brownell fearlessly furrows into those holes in search of a missing friend/partner/lover, the ‘you’ of the poems, but the bottom keeps falling away as one absence leads inevitably to another. Sinkhole is a profoundly ambiguous and lyrically haunting journey into the unknown."

— Bob Mayberry, Associate Professor, English, California State University Channel Islands

"There is a kind of writing or writer that is about living on the edge of what wants to be written: without reserve. Elyse Brownell went to the perimeter or brink of a sinkhole, for example, and lay down. What happens when you touch the inside of something that has no outside? How do you return? Jack Kerouac would have loved this book, I think. I did. It is a book from the heart, for you—and anyone else who wants to live wildly and all at once."

— Bhanu Kapil, author of Ban en Banlieue and Schizophrene

"Sinkhole is a beautifully concise poetic meditation on our modern condition, on news of sinkholes under our houses and on the ‘holes’ between us and through us. Elyse Brownell writes with wit and tenderness, integrating quotes from CNN and ABC News and from science, and finding poignant significance in how we try to connect with each other and make meaning. The opening epigraph, ‘it started in the bedroom, like so many things do,’ shows her underlying humor and psychology. These are imagistic untitled poems that accumulate by the short volume’s end to mean much more than the sum of the parts. We can try to ‘talk louder’ and scare away what frightens us, but Brownell walks to look right at our losses—singing them, mourning them, and celebrating them. I love this poetic debut and recommend it highly."

— Patricia Clark, author of Sunday Rising

Monday, October 20, 2014

Two Crows' Wedding Vows

Chris and Elyse got married on October 11, 2014 in Lyons, CO.  Below are their vows as read and shared with their friends and family at Stone Mountain Lodge & Cabins.  These vows were written separately over the course of their lives.

Chris' vows to Elyse

Dearest Elyse, I promise to sing you love’s sweet song; promise to honor your spirit, to never take you for granted, so now whisper to me promise of time past eternity, where we can sleep from now until then—head touching head hearts beat as one, holding hands in slumbered sleep still.

Raindrops falling from leaves to forest floor, a river’s flow across rocks, across the leavings of a life lived full—past carried in body becomes present, becomes now; becomes forever: today is the first day of my life, this simple life. So glad I didn't die before I met you.

Sing to me, lover, sing to me love’s sweet song:
Under eternity; under eternity; under e-ter-ni-ty . . .

A freight chain rolls through dark aspen valley, KC whistle moans, counterpoint to the yip of coyotes hidden in trees while you dream. A beer to start, tears in our eyes. Spoon on rock under yawning night sky, your wing in mine, crow, and tootled roses before the reveal. I promise you more mountains to climb, promise to fly with you, crow, to that grove and whisper quaking aspen golden secrets in October twilight, to sing you songs of waters always receding after the deluge:

The tune that is yours and mine to play upon this earth
We’ll play it out the best we know, whatever it is worth
What’s lost is lost, we can’t regain what went down in the flood
But happiness to me is you and I love you more than blood

Sing to me, lover, sing to me love’s sweet song:
As the bear sleeps, and Rumi yawls in the night the poetry of our dreams. You made me promise to not wait another lifetime to find you. That promise kept, I make another: I will never let you go; won’t leave you searching under pale sky, won’t leave you lonely for the rest of our lifetimes together. Divine wisdom decreed of us lovers of each other, just as amber attracts straw. There written in blood: you, born to be my bride.

I promise my love for you is real
Moves like this autumn breeze
I promise my love for you is strong
Lord, it brings me to my knees

Sing to me, Elyse, sing to me love’s sweet song:

Think of birds I kept . . . birds I set free . . . along the winding road of my life and I am struck, because all winding roads led me here. Thought all my wanderings were one barbaric yawp into a silent void, but I was wrong. Along the way I found a life of words, found a daughter calls me daddy; found my wolf watches over me at night. And out there on that old road the void sounded back: Fly home, crow, you whispered, and so I winged, made it back home: to you: the love of my life: my lovely Elyse: my Babi. You are the only one.

I promise to watch over you, to be your sentry when you are most vulnerable, when you bleed over the typewriter and pour phrase upon the page. I promise you words when you need them; I’ll promise silence when you don’t. Above all else, I promise to continue to do those things done since I set eyes upon thee: to make you laugh and sometimes to cry; to hold your hand; to dry your eyes; to be your best friend.

Sing to me, wife, sing to me love’s sweet song:
Under eternity; under eternity; under e-ter-ni-ty . . .

And now we hold the bonds of blessed union before those who would witness, them two crows about to become one. But really two crows have always been three, so take my hand with Delia between, your new family waits. Here I surrender you my heart; now I faithfully place it in your hands under eternity. Feel it beat, lover? It beats now in time with yours; it beats now because I love you.

Under eternity . . .

Elyse's vows to Chris:

I have phrases and whole pages memorized
But nothing can be told of love
You must wait until you and I
Are living together.
In the conversation we’ll have
Then…be patient…then.

It might have been you who brought me to Rumi
But it was Rumi that brought me to you.

Chris, You’re the “you” I've been writing to my whole life.  And now I write with you, next to you, from you.  But you mean more to me than my poems.  More than honey to a buzz, more than sunlit mountain peaks, more than the elks bucking after the drought, more than a night sky flooding over, more than a place where bones of life are piled, more than laughter covering all of life’s terrible little holes. 

And though today is the day I literally have walked toward you, I realize it was you I have been walking toward all along.  And now we will walk together, side by side, until we can no longer walk.  And then we will both listen for the caw of the crow and follow her down. 

Some may say we might have met too late in our lives.  Perhaps we’re too far gone, far too tired or hurt to see what we have, to fully appreciate it.  But I say we met at the right time, when we were ready for each other, when I was ready to love this deeply.  Although I can’t deny that sometimes I wish to push time backwards, to have met you sooner, to then be able to love you longer.

I promise to stand by you, laugh with you, cry with you, fight with you, make love truer than poetry with you, never leave you or deceive you and never stop the conversation of us.

You often remind me of a brief moment in time, when we couldn't be together and I told you not to wait another lifetime to find me.  I meant what I said, but with no agenda, no intention, just to let you know that it only took me seconds to realize what a good man you are.  And how I knew, we were meant to find each other in this lifetime.  And we have.  

When I am with you, I am a better person, a better lover, writer, friend, mother, daughter, sister, auntie, I am the best version of myself.  And your daughter – our doodle, Delia –though not mine, I know a part of her comes from me, and a part of me comes from her.  I am forever changed and always changing and growing because of her.  My love sprouted roots deeper than I could have ever planted alone allowing us to become partners, to become a family, to become us.

Today I choose you, and tomorrow I will choose you again, and every day thereafter.  Chris, I will love you forever.  And if there is eternity, I’ll love you there again.  You are my best friend, the love of my life, my collaborator, my other half. 

I promise to hold onto you for as long as my body will let me, for as long as time ends and starts again, until my fingers are dust and my soul turns to water.  

Monday, August 4, 2014

Elyse Brownell Wins Poetry Chapbook Contest

We Two Crows are happy to announce that Elyse Brownell has won the 2014 Monkey Puzzle Press Poetry Chapbook contest for her collection, Sinkhole.  In addition to her first place winnings, Brownell's book is now forthcoming from the amazing editors at Monkey Puzzle.  Be on the lookout for this amazing new work.
Check out the Monkey Puzzle Press website for the exciting details!

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Love Letter

A Love Letter
Christopher Shugrue

February 1, 2014
Boulder, CO
I think of Neal Cassady.  What if Jack had never met you?  Would he have written On the Road?  Would Jack have taken to that ol’ road at all without your letters to spur him on?  What if you had not been there to be his muse?  Would Visions of Cody still be dangling in the firmament, waiting on another time, another space to be born?  What of Allen—who he without his cocksman of Denver?  Would his howl still shake city walls?  And if no Jack on the road, would there be a school named after the man whose words you so inspired?  Probably not and maybe good for them there on the Arapahoe:  then they wouldn’t have to hide from the lineage made them famous.   Hello Jack Kerouac School:  why do you deny your lineage? Embrace your story and remember:  it’s all about the writing.  Oh Naropa:  Now that I am gone, will you deny my name when my words get out?  Will you deny me because I am not “other” and not worthy of a voice?  Oh JKS:  there is more to this world than feminism and queer theory.  Such worthy voices, yes, so please let them sing, but why limit yourself to just those sweet tunes?  Embrace Jack and Neal and Allen and for fucks sake:  teach a class on Anne Waldman’s poetry:  in this great future, you can’t forget your past; you can’t deny your present.  And when you’re done reconciling your demons, let’s hit that mad road together . . .

Friday, May 16, 2014

Bouldering Poets: Tomorrow!

Two Crows is happy to announce:  Tomorrow! Bouldering Poets celebrates its Two Year Anniversary. Come show your support at Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boulder. The event is FREE and welcomes ALL AGES.  The event features Alan Mudd, Teacup Gorilla, and Two Crows' own Christopher Shugrue. Bring CA$H as books from the features will be available.  And after the features hit the stage, don't forget about the world famous Open Mic.  Bring your poems, bring your barbaric yawps, bring your selves!

Two Crows is also excited that this event will double as the release party for Christopher Shugrue's new book, Straw Writes (Monkey Puzzle Press, 2014).

Come on out and support local writers, performers, and musicians!  See you there!