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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

Mature-Themed Children’s List-Poem...; Jay, did you see the Warbler...?; Dear Tape Recorder...

By: King Tina

Mature-Themed Children’s List-Poem on What Not to Say While Wearing Glasses

Everything is a self portrait. Chuck Palahniuk

I can see why you’re not famous

I can see why you lather sunscreen

I can see why your cable bill is so high

I can see your lost potential

I can see why you’re employed at Taco Bell

I can see why people pray for you

I can see why the wind has your backside

I can see why your yacht has a mortgage

I can see why dinosaurs stopped talking to you

I can see why Time hasn't named you Person of the Year

I can see why photos of you need bombed

I can see why the Bible hasn't named a chapter after you

I can see why you're not on the LPGA

I can see why your makeup has a back-up plan

I can see why the pilot announced don’t make me pull this plane over

and come back and have a talk with you

I can see why dad calls you Jay after Jay died

Jay, did you see the Warbler perched on the rim of the quarter-full golf ball basket?

A moment ago, I thought of you.

Another 6-pack of poetry rejections.

A heart’s rhythm takes an aberrant

path in the direction of heaven.

This week my tee shots gained

greater and greater yardage—

as if I’m trying to reach you.

This morning, the sparrow’s throaty song

acted as an alarm clock. Just another

predawn seeking its dim shade of sun.

Tomorrow, I’m playing our Winter Park 9.

Rain brings its fairway green to April.

We think of you even when we aren’t thinking of you.

Dear Tape Recorder & the Animals


A patch of moon against a high noon sky; a jet’s exhaust cruises into it.

Rain-faded gashes in the flank of snow-peaked sandstone. The crag of redrock form high-end condos

to diamondback & fox.

Hissing sidewinders teach me this

— humans are not the center of everything.


Sister’s “stage name” is Tape Recorder; we are front row/center stage live at the Luxor (a day before the rape).

Carrot Top asks, are there any sex workers in the audience?

Tape raises her hand, laughter fumbles around the room like a drunk butterfly.

A dividing zygote multiplies inside. Scott Thompson has the Vegas verve within.

Raptors everywhere.


Two prayers I assign to each dawn:

Dear Tape Recorder

Dear Animals, You Were Here First


King Tina is a poet living and teaching in the South. Her poems have appeared in Tin House, Rattle, Pleiades, Court Green, Hobart, Juked, Rhino, and elsewhere.

Interview with the Poet:

Cathexis Northwest Press:

How long have you been writing poetry?

King Tina:

I wish I could say I have been writing poems since I was two, but I am a late bloomer and started writing about 14 years ago.


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


Matthew Dickman’s poem “Trouble” in the New Yorker, 2008. I fell in love with the concrete imagery and sorrow in that poem. I still think about its theme fourteen years later.


Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems?


Jack Underwood and his poem “An Avoidance”, Every poem in Michael Burkard’s book Lucky Coat Anywhere, Michael Earl Craig and his long-titled, brief poem “The Cinematographer, a 42 year old man named Miyagawa, aimed his camera directly at the sun, which at first seemed like a bad idea”, and poet, Chessy Normile and her poem “Hi Nora”.


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

the zone?


My process used to be free-write stream of conscious for 30-60 minutes and see what bubbles up and take the “good stuff” out of it. Now the stream happens in my head over the course of a week or month, and then when it is ready, I sit down and type it into the “notes” section of my phone. Something about my phone and poems is working for me right now.


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?


The form is weird, it dictates itself for me, and I just go with it. If the poem needs white space, the white space makes me click on the tab button. If it needs long, end stopped lines the poem knows it. It’s like the poem’s intuition often aids me.


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


I think time and allowing yourself to be creative and authentic is the most important thing for your voice. It just happens organically.


What is your editing process like?


Immediately after I write a poem, I tinker with it for a few days. Then I leave it alone for weeks or months. This distance allows me to see it fresh and objectively. Then if it needs more interesting diction or imagery at that time, I can revise it.


When do you know that a poem is finished?


When I have nothing left to say, the poem is done


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