Poetry by Amy King

Image by Santiago Sepúlveda / Cargocollective.com/santiagosepulveda


When I see a face,
I look for yours inside it.
To sit for one hour as silence
is desire for memory’s milk,
a mammary gland
of fantasies that fuel
the get to work,
go to bed,
be someone.
Do not breastfeed.
Do not mistake the past for we.
Breathe lilacs all night,
hold an iron lung
to speak the light
into existence.
We weighted by bath water
play sister & brother.
This is the angle of speech.
Life grows a synchronicity
of echo chambers,
of echo chambers,
live grows a synchronicity.
Where no map is a map
without a window in it.
Put your head through.
A grain of sugar
sounds out names
written down.
Cubed humans,
don’t live alone in the woods,
A donkey-cock requires
a hyphen for love’s strap-on.
I am saddled by strychnine.
I ride into town on that
which came before us,
that which came as us.
Go forth: be someone.



Zero Media

What does it really mean to
want money like the heart
is up close green?
Earth is an element
of overtones harmed.
We smell like celery and curved minerals
and mushrooms the dog gets high on.
Earth nibbles space;
we smoke harder,
we cannibals
of pop cultures, cock-and-ball wars.
If I talk about white people,
do you think of me only?
Do brains shine like sex,
do bruises vein brightly?
Too few women behind
the scenes, people of color:
missing. Hollywood’s jealousy
and the ease with which
we punch ourselves sorry.
The scene’s disproportionate
to the present.
When it glows dark out,
our bodies turn to motion—
trees burst from our eye sockets,
fine birds make headwinds
in the minds of white men.
TV says seagulls choke
plastic dolls & pills
that make us swim naturally.
Even as I steal this speech,
women of leisure
beach the histories turning green too.
Too much with mold and troops killing,
too many hours waking, sans
success and kudos
to walk the footsteps of,
to walk the audience in
for who does not spotlight,
who does almost never?



Time Is a Dare

And so are we.
Are you bandages on love?
The earthquake was sonic booms
from fighter jets off the shores of New York.
We never saw the sounds.
More than a decade later,
the sun restores,
the smoke flows,
the island recreates itself.
Practice burn out.
Release what comes
before the zeitgeist,
chalked out fin de siè·cle.
In these lines, your eyes speak.
Be incomplete, be the visual,
be what turns the moon
into sunlight in a dress.
Twirl your way into existence.
Be the outline for us.
Give for the air only
because time is an ally
we forgive, because we forget
each minute. False prophet,
everything is only heaven,
is a series of prayers
we keep winning like words,
paying life off as we go.



Amy King is the recipient of the 2015 WNBA Award (Women’s National Book Association). The Missing Museum is a winner of the 2015 Tarpaulin Sky Book Prize. She serves on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is currently co-editing, with Heidi Lynn Staples, the anthology Big Energy Poets of the Anthropocene: When Ecopoets Think Climate Change. She is also co-editing the anthology Bettering American Poetry 2015 and is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at SUNY Nassau Community College.