Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

A repair man came; Wandering; Sisters
A repair man came

 

and he lit the fire

and turned on my lights

while I sat and studied 

his hands

his hip bones

the back of his head

he didn’t seem to want to leave

kept finding new things to fix

asking me

what 

else 

is 

broken?

I pointed 

here and there

the sink has 

old plumbing 

I think

he’d nod and 

get to work

while

I’d pretend 

to scrutinize

be familiar

with procedure

informed

like

the magazine 

subscriptions

piled by the door

with names of people

who lived there

before me

I never put

return to sender

or told the company

that dispatched him

they had the 

wrong address

who am I 

to tell the world

their business?

he’d just

finish up

and smile at me

before asking

“what next?”

Wandering 

 

there is a past inside us 

where 

we once explored 

our higher selves

 

a place we traveled to 

in distance 

(and in theory)

drinking foreign beer

and

tasting tourist tongues

 

our shallow kisses 

carrying us

through moments 

of being lost

 

a time where we

(together in our primal need)

discovered the confines 

of our humanity

 

saw our spirit 

flash 

before us

like northern lights

Sisters

 

you and I conspired 

against them for once,

instead of one another, 

like always

 

you took one turn 

peeing into the jar,

then it was mine

laughing 

under the avocado tree

 

Maybe someone will think its apple juice!

And drink it! Ha ha ha! 

 

at the dinner table, 

we licked empty bowls,

the phone 

never

stopped 

ringing

 

we pretended

grocery store

and bank

blue and green cash

rich as peacock feathers

between chubby fingers

 

while flesh pink fiberglass 

hemorrhaged

through punched holes in 

the yellow hallway wallpaper

his hands around her neck

 

you got tired of pretend

and said they’d be sorry

 

then wished me luck 

as you put the bread 

I stole for you

into a runaway backpack

 

go fish

wouldn’t fit

so you dealt 

our cards

one more time

for you,

I learned not 

to tell the truth

mouth sewn shut 

like a rag doll

 

you said that’s what love is:

never saying

all the things

we know

about each other

00:00 / 00:41

Candace Angelica completed a Creative Writing program at Cal Arts Institute in Valencia, and has poetry published by Ming Chuan University Press in Taiwan. She holds degrees in Mandarin, Political Science, and International Studies from California State University, Long Beach. She is currently working on a book length memoir of her time in Havana, Cuba.

About Wandering: Simone De Beavoir wrote in The Ethics of Ambiguity: "having been is also a kind of being, and perhaps the surest kind." Wandering is a poem that ponders the culmination of our individual and collective human experience and how that relates to our natural essence of spirit and form. I think most of us have a tendency to either highlight or diminish the things that we have done or have happened to us based on our desire to project an image of something else; but there is nothing more certain (and by no means stagnant) about what we are than the experiences and the people that have shaped us. We look forward towards the light, and the spark of past embers tremble inside of us, remembering what it was to be aflame.

Interview with the Poet:

CNP:
How long have you been writing poetry?

 

Candace Angelica:
When I was in third grade I won a poetry contest with something I’d written about my Grandma’s cat. I was about 8 or 9. I was always making up songs and stuff before that, but I think that was the first time I realized what words could do; how writing the truth creatively could reach others somehow. 

CNP:
Can you remember the first poem you read that made you fall in love with poetry?

 

CA:
I remember reading "Phenomenal Woman" when I was in middle school and just having my mind absolutely busted right open about what poetry could be, the power of words and reflection. 

CNP:
Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems?

CA:
Maya Angelou, Pablo Neruda, Cynthia Schwartzberg Edlow, Ron Koertge. A poem called "Signal Hill" by Sharon Duobiago is my favorite poem. The last lines never fail to both devastate and resuscitate me.

CNP:
Can you share for us a little bit about your writing process? Any specific rituals that get you in 
the zone?

 

CA:
It usually starts with a melody in my head, like remembering the lyrics to a song I’ve never heard before. I like to viscerally write everything down with pen and paper first. There’s still something magical about that; scribbling them out and seeing all your crazed rantings and corrections illustrated before you. 

CNP:
How do you decide the form for your poems? Do you start writing with a form in mind, or do you let the poem tell you what it will look like as you go? 

 

CA:
I listen for the ends of thoughts and images and they decide where to punctuate themselves.

CNP:
Any advice for poets who have yet to find their voice?

 

CA:
Comparison is the thief of joy; no one can be better than you at being you. Lean into all your creaky, leaky spaces and embrace your unique experience.

CNP:
What is your editing process like? 

 

CA:
I try not to be too critical of the work as it’s coming along so I can resist that adolescent tendency to rip out pages in my diary. I think this is true with a lot of poets, but there are poems I’ve walked away from for years, only to revisit and see what we still have in common, how we’ve both changed, and then when I’ve absolutely smothered all of my original little darlings, it actually becomes something I'm good with. 

CNP:
When do you know that a poem is finished?

 

CA:
Just like any relationship: when I feel good about walking away.