C.N.P Poetry 

  • Cathexis Northwest Press

Themis, goddess of judgement; The Ascension of Cleopatra Selene; Artemis...

By Mimi Silver


Themis, goddess of judgement


Morality is a thick-skinned snake

she shifts in shedding a wide coat

variably blind or sided, she must weigh cost

play with the order, time filled hours

once fair but now faded with nature,

trial, trial, trial sits above gods,

she decides all


Oracles douse eyes in oil and foresee that

a woman who vomits future is not impartial

Eunomia sees no man more worthy than his past,

Erene will eat her absurdity, consider old wounds history

peace will devour a mother’s love, pray for her son

justice will fall faced with such softness,

who is a woman over a future?


daughters will nod to shake an understanding

that will heave their bones inside out




The Ascension of Cleopatra Selene


Pay no mind, coins stick to shoulder blades


molasses bubbles on caramel leather

her own skin stretched tight on bones

dries in Caesar’s August sun,

a season named for virile heat


her moon curls itself from her mouth

drops deadly on the street

vomited syllables from Greek tongues

flicker with spliced forks

asp drowned again, she does not cower


she will be a daughter of queens and emperors

even cherry pitted and stinging

twin hands release her

webbed, mucus stained, foreign

kohl lined down to waist but blurring

hieroglyph of an answer drawn thick


her mother still yellow and liver swelled

father still bloated in the underworld

Helios breathing heavy in her ear

teeth catching hisses or enamel

chains bury her fingers in metal

wrapped around in a cobra cradle

weighted under flashing eyes

beauty invokes sympathy as corded

as a rope, tied as tightly to waist

cloth, even thrown, will stick crown-like

burying the hordes of fortunes on her spine





Artemis

virgin goddess of childbirth


I come out of the womb wet but forming

pulling myself with thin fingers on moving land

if Hera says I may not be born on earth

perhaps the winds may take my poison


Delos will make me a crib of mosaic

a corpse’s island of my father’s stains

we three women keep moving

beating the ocean in time with my aunt’s heart


Leto the unwilling, Asteria now island

titans who fled a god with quick hands

and a wife with cruel lips, transformed

to deliver each other, the other, and now me


I deliver my own twin and women pray

pray to my child limbs and small fingers

which save and catch infants, though

I see them just as stained as before


they talk about Apollo’s hands, his lyre

things he does to make music

I string my bow wishing the sound louder

melodic, see, an arrow kills with a lovely tune


I am full of choices I’ve made, belly swollen

mother made none and she still caverned

aunt made many and she is now stone

crawling as slowly as continents may

More than my mother, despite my father

I will not be hunted in the woods

neck stretching from branches that won’t bend

my feet will be movement through trees

A silence in the night to hold the hands

of mother and infant as time rolls

under the chariot pulled suns

moon I birth from virgin folds




Mimi Silver is a Canadian poet and lyricist. For the last 5 years, Mimi worked as a spoken word artist in Vancouver, competing in both individual and team national slam poetry championships. Since her recent move to Ireland, Mimi has been committed to completing her MA in Creative Writing, focusing her thesis on feminist revisionist Greek mythological poetry.


Interview with the Poet:


Cathexis Northwest Press:

How long have you been writing poetry?


Mimi Silver:

I honestly can’t remember a time before I wrote poetry (depending on your definition of the term). My first published poem was in a local library anthology where I wrote in full rhyme about wanting to play football in a dress or something. I don’t own a copy of the collection, so if that poem is ever found, I think it would qualify as blackmail-level material.


CNP:

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


MS:

Blue by Carl Phillips. It was the first poem that made showed me it’s better to feel the emotions of poetry than understand exactly what a poet intended to say. I reread that poem at least once a year and always find something new in it.


CNP:

Who are your favorite poets? Any specific poems?


MS:

Oh, like everyone else I am an avid fan of Ocean Vuong. I don’t believe there is currently another poet in the public eye with their finger so firmly on the pulse of what it is to be human. Anne Carson and Moe Clark both changed how I thought of poetry.


CNP:

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

the zone?


MS:

I’ve had various approaches to writing over the years, as I find my motivations and inspirations to write have to evolve, or I stop creating. Currently, the process is to read for a period and sit with the words to see if inspiration comes. A friend recently gifted me a collection of essays by Alexander Chee. The pieces fill you with so much language and emotion it would be hard not to feel responsive.


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?


MS:

Choosing or creating the form of a poem is always a separate, secondary process for me (unless I’m writing a prose poem). Still, I usually make decisions on form in my earliest stages of editing. If I write with a form in mind, the flow of the language is often compromised.


CNP:

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


MS:

If you’re writing, then you have a voice, and that voice will continue to change and settle into what you need it to over time. That said, if you ever become fully satisfied with your work, what will push you to keep writing? If you were to write the perfect poem, what else would be left to say?


CNP:

What is your editing process like?


MS:

Long. I need time to put the poem aside so I can be ruthless in my edits. I have to consider what the poem is actually saying rather than what I thought it would say, which can be hard to let go of.


CNP:

When do you know that a poem is finished?


MS:

It may be a cliché, but is a poem ever finished?

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