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