Hip hip! A recording of me reading a poem into a phone. I still cringe at my “transatlantic accent” (as a dear friend once described it) but maybe you’ll be into it. (Thanks to John for all his tireless work on Voicemail Poems.)


Caroline Kessler

A woman / loose-hipped in a floor-length
dress sewn entirely from gold-
en poppies / sings an answer-less song / what good
is a heart with no one
to love. Her guitar gets lost

in her hands. You’re too small
to see properly / your lover
offers to hoist you up, hold you
on his shoulders like your father did
when you were tiny and even when you weren’t /
but you like being this close to the ground, anchored

in the sand-silt of the Sutro Caves. There is
a projector aimed at the furrowed cave walls,
a whirligig of all the colors / the ceiling starts to mirror
the people below, but you know that’s not right.

Your friend Simon says we will all turn into mushrooms in boxes,
and be buried in boxes made of mushrooms / and then
we will all finally be the same.

Behind you, your lover bobs to the music / to a beat
that doesn’t match up with the one you’re hearing.
You wonder which one of you is out of tune.

You wonder how to escape his hold on your hips.
You want to throw yourself into the tiny crowd, bouncing
near the stage like confetti. You want to stay
exactly where you are / how you are.
You want your chest to be filled with air and light, the easier
for you to dance. You want to leave, now. You wonder
how to do that. You want someone
to lay directly on top of you, pressing down. You wonder
how you can feel unbreakable.


Caroline Kessler called us from San Francisco, CA.