2 of my new
#poems are up @ Fogged Clarity magazine. Thank you greatly as always, editor extraordinaire Ben Evans. The poems are titled “Wound Care,” and “Glass Zodiac, 1996.” Please give them a read, or a listen: http://foggedclarity.com/
My poem, “Russian Postcards For Sale, Never Sent” is in the new issue of LA PRESA, alongside many fine poems in English and Spanish. https://issuu.com/embajadoraspress.lapresa/docs/la_presa_issue_5_-_issuu_-_g/18
***Photo of Norilsk, Russia, from http://www.youramazingplaces.com/norilsk/. The image is listed on their site as in the public domain.
What does it mean to be not yet final.
It means afternoon. You’re in your room.
The décor’s a shade grown-up,
only a Raggedy Ann relic of childhood,
X’es for eyes. What does it mean to be final,
is it the same as being first. It means
we know each other, I’m a conspirator,
I’m here and can’t get through to you,
like the grown-ups in the town,
the unpictured ones who trust you, leaving
with you the children for the night.
Why are the trees in the town
like, I don’t know, so… California-green
the last day of October in Ohio.
And the children who have comic books
called Laser, Tarantula, Neutron,
all -Men in the titles.
Afternoons in your world—
no, an hour or two,
blue hour answering a beige phone,
and an orchid’s jaws, and pinned
racist sheets bending in wind,
and Mr. Riddle, 87,
or a bogeyman, age unknown,
spying from a yard.
No posters of Blue Oyster Cult
or Kiss for you, only a straw sunhat on a wall—
relic of childhood, sunhat of dotage.
And the sun not taken (I don’t know
if that’s the word) in the same way
when you’re final, when you’ve taken
that final you haven’t studied for (who could),
where black clothing draws the sun to it
and the mourners’ clammy hands.
You—I’m sorry—yes—we can be grateful
the room isn’t that world, not the earth
in Geography whose plates shift without warning.
There are mourners in sunlight
who talk to themselves, I think
that is what the final ones do,
you will do it too, without warning.
And the underworlds entering objects—
the jangling phone, the bed ghosts
clamped down by wooden pins but twisting back
to the rope between trees…
The one good scare everyone deserves.
It’s not as early now. It’s all in your head
and it’s in the world too.
Friends be mortals. Ambulances be known.
Is it early, is it dusk,
is there a blue hour in Haddonfield?
Sounds like a nuthatch—Linda said once—
Knives only for preparing food.
No running forward or back—for any of us.
No running even for the chummy names—
Linda and Annie and Bob,
Lindsey and Tommy,
the secret crush on Ben Tramer.
Final means not just the virginity.
You who chose the right relics—
the doll and the hat. You who’ll choose,
under the circumstances, cunning weapons.
No running for the math book forgotten
earlier at school—maybe you go back,
back for it yet but that part’s cut.
I’ll see the part I know by heart
where you’re alive, a walking heartbeat,
a heart beating in a ghost walking into
into morgues that were once bedrooms.
You have one or two things you need here.
In this room. Smooth the hair. Just calm down,
you tell yourself. Annie will be here.
The future can stay where it is
because it’s hungry, has a mouth I think,
for you, for you and I, for you and you and you—
the leaves in the sun too green for October.
And yes, you see—there’s something missing.
I mean another object. I mean a view.
You think it’s here—in a drawer. In your mind.
Annie will you pick up. Not only the doll
and the hat you’ll take with you.
An heirloom, maybe, in another room,
another October. Months that have a
knack of coming back. Losing everyone
it means. Something dull—no sharps allowed.
Spoon, guardian of a dumb function,
and held by the uniform feeding you,
mornings a cameo of milk
coming toward the mouth, the spoon handle
embossed with its impossible flowers.
Something dull and blue, a pill
borrowed but really not meant to be lent at all.
The children you’ll have and you won’t have.
Take them with you. Annie will be there.
(after Halloween, 1978, dir. John Carpenter)
Iowa City and Twin Cities friends: I’ll be reading from my book “Phantom Laundry” at Prairie Lights in Iowa City on Friday, December 1st and at SubText Books in St. Paul on Saturday, December 2nd. Please join me if you can.
Link to Subtext coming soon. I’m proud to be reading at my alma mater–the Iowa Writers’ Workshop–and at the awesome indie bookstore SubText!
My book of prose poetry, Phantom Laundry, is now available for purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Phantom-Laundry-Michael-Tyrell/dp/152720426X OR directly from the publisher: http://www.backlashpress.com/product/phantom-laundry/
“One of the most important roles that poetry serves in any culture is the reinvigoration of language. This is partly why poetry is so vital and why human beings are still reading poems in 2017 when there are so many other forms of entertainment available to us. We need this reinvigoration, we thirst for it. Without it, we are left chewing on the same dull phrases we grew up with, as if they were sticks of gum that long ago lost their insightful zest. In his latest book, Phantom Laundry, Michael Tyrell bravely attempts to reinvent our vernacular in a diverse collection haunted by the absurdity of modern American life. Phantom Laundry is comprised of three sections, all of them written in prose. The first two sections are filled with prose poems and the final section is a work of fiction.”–Benjamin Schmitt, At the Inkwell
Earlier books: The Wanted (a collection of poems) Purchase here:
https://www.amazon.com/Wanted-Michael-Tyrell/dp/1935716174 OR directly from the publisher: http://jp-dancingbear.squarespace.com/tnprp-tw/
“In Michael Tyrell’s The Wanted, the images, techniques, and preoccupations of film noir permeate many of the poems. There are references to crime scenes, acts of real and imagined violence, missing children, lie detectors, forgeries, guns, exit wounds, and much more. In “The Supporting Character,” the poet writes, “The narration’s unreliable./…I’m a subplot about to unfold.” All of this for good reason since Tyrell’s subject is essentially the unfathomability of identity and selfhood-a mystery to be slowly puzzled at, unraveled, exposed. Ultimately, the poet’s evasions are the evasions and uncertainties we experience in our everyday lives, both with ourselves and with other people. The Wanted is a strange, disquieting book that serious readers will keep returning to as they plumb the many levels of these resonant, mysterious poems. –Elizabeth Spires
Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn (anthology co-edited with Julia Spicher Kasdorf) Purchase here: https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Land-Julia-Spicher-Kasdorf/dp/0814748031 OR directly from the publisher: https://nyupress.org/books/9780814748039/
“In the excellent and surprising anthology Broken Land, poets and editors Julia Spicher Kasdorf and Michael Tyrell take a chronological and panoramic look at the New York borough of Brooklyn as portrayed in poems.” —Publishers Weekly
Poems published in anthologies:
Brooklyn Poets Anthology, Edited by Jason Koo and Joe Pan:
The Best American Poetry 2015, Edited by Sherman Alexie and David Lehman:
The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, Edited by Helen Klein Ross: