My poem, “The Cup”

My poem “The Cup” is in the Secrets issue of Negative Capability. Since it’s a print publication with no online samples, I’m reproducing it here.

 

The Cup

Roy White

I dip it in the stream
and feel as I drink
smooth enamel, soft gold,
the bumps of deep-red gems.
I think of its ancient maker, maybe
a captive like me, taken
and bound to his arcane craft.

In each night’s pigsty
or wasted fen-fastness
I hug it for warmth, I
a wolf-head, fair game for any man,
but not without treasure.

I saw the worm last night,
no moon, just a dragon-
shaped hole in the stars,
and later the angry glow
of distant flames. My own fire
I built without fear.

When I took it from the old hoard,
I thought, “Here is a token
to soothe the Master’s rage, but knew
he’d only snatch it up
and shackle me for a thief.
No, it is my secret now,
as it was the dragon’s.

The Master will not understand
what has angered the worm; well,
fuck him! And fuck you all, noble
loaf-guards with your stupid
mead-halls and your stupid names,
Prosperity Friend and He Who Takes
Advice From Elves.

If I manage to live a while
taking a lamb or chicken now
and then, you’ll start calling me
the Aglaeca; some nights
a frightened child will see a dark
shape drawn to the edge of the clearing
by the red gold of the bonfire.

 

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My poems “Written in Breath” and “Spectral Lines”

I am very pleased to have two poems, “Written in Breath” and “Spectral Lines,” in the latest Ghost Town—I hope you like them.

http://ghosttownlitmag.com/roywhite

 

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Poem, Guidelines for Submission

Anybody who sends out poems to journals will end up reading a lot of submission guidelines. Sometimes I have the impression that magazines take the idea of ‘submission’ a bit too literally; this poem consists largely of phrases I’ve run across in the guildelines of various publications, together with some images inspired by Jill LePore’s wonderful book about Wonder Woman and her secret history.

 

Guidelines for Submission

Roy White

[Italicized lines are taken from the submission guidelines of various literary journals.]

 

They strap the subject to the truth machine:
Constrict the body to force out the words.
compelled, compulsed, moved to write—
Great poetry makes everyone sick,

 

Constricts the body. To force out the words,
expose mental arteries, bathe in…the sanguinary
Great poetry makes everyone sick.
Crack open the word-hoard,

 

Expose mental arteries, bathe in…the sanguinary
theater of bondage and confession;
Crack open the word-hoard:
we value poetry that is stripped,

 

a theater of bondage and confession:
“By day she’s a kindergarten teacher and by night dances go-go–
We value poetry that is stripped,
we want you quick and dirty.

 

“By day she’s a kindergarten teacher and by night dances go-go–
The bracelet tells all, her movement and her rest.
We want you quick and dirty
when we strap you to the truth machine.

 

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My Poem “Domesticated”

My poem “Domesticated” is in the new American Journal of Poetry, along with lots of good stuff by good poets. Enjoy!
http://theamericanjournalofpoetry.com/v5-white.html

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My poem “What We Have Here Is a Failure”

My poem “What We Have Here Is a Failure” is is up at Atticus Review. Enjoy!

https://atticusreview.org/what-we-have-here-is-a-failure/

 

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My poem “A Safe Trip to Your Final Destination

My poem “A Safe Trip to Your Final Destination” is up at Scoundrel Time, a magazine of resistance in a broad sense. Thanks to editopoetry editor Daisy Fried for giving my little nightmare a happy home:

http://scoundreltime.com/a-safe-trip-to-your-final-destination/

 

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Finally, someone is standing up for the English upper class.

In the first scene of the first volume of Anthony Powell’s monumental A Dance to the Music of Time, the narrator watches a party of workmen repairing a street on a winter day. They take turns warming themselves at an open coal fire, clapping their hands and shaking their arms like actors enacting ‘cold.’

This seems to be a good start, but then the brazier makes our narrator think of ancient Greece, which takes him back to his school days at Eton and the boy everybody despised because he wore a slightly different coat once, though nobody could remember how his coat was different. The workmen are never seen again, nor anyone else who doesn’t have at least a modest trust fund and a good-sized rod up his ass.

I got through three volumes of the series, but if you want to save time and see a capsule summary of the thing, you couldn’t do better than look up an old Monty Python skit that captures the spirit, and some of the action. I think it’s called The Upper-Class Twit of the Year Contest.

The writing isn’t too bad, and I might have kept at it if it weren’t for the women. They are uniformly stupid, vain, unappealing, flighty, calculating, and stupid (I know I said that, but it bears repeating). Even the bohemian Gypsy Jones, who has at least a bit of flapper style, turns out to be as stupid as the otherss. The narrator calls her ‘sluttish,’ on account of her shortish skirts, I think, rather than the fact that she lets him screw her.

I was putting up even with this until the guys started theorizing about Woman, her innate capriciousness, the best methods of wrangling her, etc., and especially why there is no treatment of women as they are in English literature. One wise fellow suggests that this is because English novelists of “the first rank” are not physically interested in women. He has apparently not heard of Virginia Woolff.

So I gave up. I’ll have to rely on Monty Python for the rest.

Oh, I almost forgot…I looked up Powell on Wikipedia, and it said that he had been highly praised by A. N. Wilson, Evelyn Waugh, and Kingsley Amis, three of the most impressive coproliths on the English literary landscape.

 

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