​​H E R M E N E U T I C   C H A O S   J O U R N A L

​E. Kristin anderson

Hiding is the only thing that matters this summer

                     (after Prince)

Tell me about this gift – the heart that burns
like a song in the lungs.  Tell me about
how twenty years ago I was eleven
and you were lost. Tell me – what ghosts
am I waiting for in the dark? 

                            It rains on the stereo
and in the parking lot.  Tell me why my feet
will feel the ground           when I wake up,
that standing in the sun will hollow out the saints
and the chill on my arms is a secret. 

Do you remember quiet, the anonymous white
of blanket forts and midnight phone calls?
This is the one that stops me, that lays me out.
And if I close my eyes you’ll tell me – tell me
when to lift the shades and look.

How we die and never die and grow heavy with rain

Let’s look at how we cleanse our bodies –I sleep for days
and listen for the rain on the recording. Love enters my mouth 
and lays in my gut like seven years of chewing gum.

Remember when you sang about the cold war?
It’s too late now to throw that from our skin. 
The little hairs on my arms stand up, soft.

Darling, how I wish I could wear your shoes, squeeze 
my feet into precise, pointed toes. How my muscles 
ache at the thought of that new position.

New moons come and go and my bones remain. I imagine them 
dirty, needing beetles and bleach. I write emails on my bones – 
it’s the only way to show them. Like birds in the rain.

Nothing greater flies soaking wet and downtrodden, 
out to the ocean, carrying a tune and a drum machine.  
I have always known that poems do not lie.

Tonight, lit by some halogen miracle, I wonder what a song carries – 
your voice is sharp. Your guitar builds, destructs. And I cannot help 
but believe that weapons are likely to lean on untruths.

My cheek touches this page, left to its own devices.
Can I make it hail? I need dirty stones rattling windows,
setting off that bizarro symphony of shitty car alarms.

Friend, let’s write a song. Like those birds 
who learn to sing like sirens – a mockingbird is a fire engine. 
I am a police cruiser. A whole dynasty of urban sound. 

The love that slips between the outbursts – that’s where I live.
I do not wait. I lay on the pavement between an El Camino
and a busted mustang and hear the thunderclap of hooves.

Smell the cinnamon of the whole damn world.
Taste the sugar sprinkled in the god-forsaken sky.
I lay here in bright white like some idiot ghost.

No other. No other. Watch this hole in the pavement
swallow me head-first. Listen to the song we make
while we wait for the snow.

E. Kristin Anderson is the author of chapbooks A Guide for the Practical Abductee (Red Bird Chapbooks) and A Jab of Deep Urgency (Finishing Line Press). She has two chapbooks forthcoming: Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015) and Acoustic Battery Life (ELJ Publications, 2016). Her nonfiction anthology, Dear Teen Me, based on the popular website of the same name, was published in October of 2012 by Zest Books (distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and her memoir in verse, The Summer of Unraveling, is forthcoming from ELJ Publications. She has worked at The New Yorker magazine, has a B.A. in Classics from Connecticut College and is currently an online editor for the YA & Children's section of Hunger Mountain and a contributing editor at Found Poetry Review. She has published poetry in many magazines worldwide, including Juked, Hotel Amerika, [PANK], Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Cicada, and her work is forthcoming in Room and Noble/Gas Quarterly. She blogs at EKristinAnderson.com.