Lauren Turner: Two Poems

Modern Diction

Task the poets with rebreeding the expressions
 our tongues have civilized.

 Whisper networks are three red billboards.

 Ladies’ man is Lord Byron’s bust in white marble,
bloodied by tampons.

 When I say bedroom community, I don’t want you

 to see a sleepy suburb with SUVs in a battle line,
the looping VHS lives of its
wax figurine people.

           : :

 Bedroom community, n[bɛdruːm kəˈmjuːnᵻti]

 1. Exhibit Tracey Emin’s My Bed enough times
   to break bread with every artist assaulted in bed

   by sickness, their own hand, or an other’s heft(s).

2. Snow cascades opaque down our city’s bedroom
   windows. It masks a girl who dons the matted furs

    of Anne Sexton’s mama, and vanishes. Recover her
   rings glittering like El Dorado on his duvet.

            : :

There’s a term for vanishing. Occupational hazard.

Or womanhood.

Or wrong place, wrong time. Or there’s no place for
the state in the bedrooms of the nation

Something like that. Let me write back to you.
Let me look in its eyes.


Wear those brown mules and I’ll climb
into your lap like the eldest child to ever grow
wings without Ra grooming my feathers off.

Gods made personal ads after healthcare
put a famine on angels. IVs of gold ore in place
to nurse paupers back to life’s wealth

of pissbombed metros, benches too shallow
for sleeping. Public commentary is graffiti
we spent longer cleaning than reading.

I paid my rent in third wave coffees.
You were there on the cusp of crystalline
tears and the day was too bright to witness

your smoked ashes glowing, heavenward.
Epigraphs were better than their novellas.
Friends couldn’t create what lived

up to its rumble. Good names taking dirt
baths like sparrows in a drought. Bon, c’est ça.
We’re pristine in spite of our best selves.

As empathy shot up the stocks, I went wanton
for your arms to tip my odds. Got lucky
with men who didn’t see knife drawers

for their opened potential. A quick snap
makes magic. Disappear me into thin
air without a silhouette for tickling

 suspicion. We eat beetroot to mask split lips,
tongues learning monolingualism as atoms
parse a nation apart into hereafter.


Lauren Turner wrote the poetry chapbook, We’re Not Going to Do Better Next Time (Knife Fork Book, 2018). Her poems and essays have appeared in GrainArc MagazinePoetry is DeadMinola ReviewCosmonauts AvenueThe Puritan, and elsewhere. She won the 2018 Short Grain Contest and was a finalist for carte blanche’s 2017 3Macs Prize. She lives in Tiohtiá:ke/Montréal on the unceded land of the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation.