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Annabelle Clippinger has had two books of poetry published with experimental press, Potes and Poets: Sky Frame and Cloud Banner. She is compiling a new manuscript, and the poems included here represent the direction of this work. Annabelle was one of the founding editors of the on-line avant-garde poetry journal, Poethia, and has had her work appear in many literary magazines including LVNG, Five Fingers Review, 6ix, Poetry New York, and Aught, among others. She lives and works in Pittsburgh, PA with her family.



 tiny beauties, like a secret

uttered in whispers, plunged up from

a carapace of anger, little girls walk


                                a blush of neurons

                                                jangles round the head

                                delicate webbing, mouse-clicked. . .conduits slide

                                                toward a trashcan


villagers slogged grenades at the children

aiming for the polis, wreaking “collateral damage”


                                tapping the keyboard,  electronic interface

                                                sparkling, joining with coffee in quiet


                                she, virtual

the girls, gauntlet-walked in red coats



the tremor of not knowing breaks around the window shade

                in the form of light


one’s name is carved again and again on stone

blanched by the elements


                I call my mother forth from the chasm

                                where she is burned to cinder

                and gain no touch


yet words in my mouth not my own, but hers

words collect a being transposed

                with blaze


proffered now in my mouth for a talk

                small for my children, given

                to laughter, as she was


she sang to me, hemmed me in, draped in such

touch as now cannot be gotten

given all this look to stars as I am wont to have


spent my looking at her prompt, not in words

but in a free space where words might gain

                form, collect


sometime to be writ down,  proffered to the elements,

men as they are, to be named “poem” or not.    



caught in muscle a mood


in a body’s moves a tablet of memory


so what is slid into a bin is the body’s candle of deemed refuse


where nebulae is the marbling of meat hung along a lacework of muscle, stars


gaseous clouds an animal’s membranes on a celestial hook,


dignified by roses as set upon a grave, in this bin


discards loosened from the skin now mean the past is a set of dreams


swirling in the path of  a diamond,  heedless


emboldened by what is past the path of reason


or known to be exact, like the contours of a body, defined as “maternal structures”


on the hoof, the lam, what is passing


a lament is laid upon the landscape in the shadows of a landfill


bright regardless of what is projected by the poet


all the rain washes this trash


sacrifices offered at the abattoir, incense burned


an appetite for the sacred



Walking in a bright chill, head

sunk down for brace.  The player

stages his moves and courts blood.


Speaking in words of sleet

and glacial guttings of the land


A vapor rises, fog from dreams

that turn sour before dawn


rises from sidewalks, intensity

driven back by rain


A leaf buoys itself from nowhere,

sodden.  Others blow.


Dressed in the skin of gnawed

bark and ice-struck puddles

the mist coils and strikes.


There are words like this.  Wounding.





This condition is not elect

                swirled as moon clouds

                exploding against machinery

                my organic claim

pearled as of deep sea

 many-legged being, its ink a given


                a pause, a breath, caesura


and begin again.  This time oceanic on the page

words blasted from the mouth of a seabird


                spelling danger, infinitude                



a breath before entering


clumps of roe, a dreadful meetinghouse,  this so fecund

the act

                of words


from beauty and given back to beauty


                so closure a loop for you


This time briny 

                and spit and tidepool squeamish

                a slide of blood, a birth

                                at last emerging


Here you have it.  





A very still ocean of morning, beach walkers speed and fail

two gulls alert in a stretch of sun, cheating through rain, a woman’s voice amazed,

mitigated by a veil.  Listening, a veil of voices with no sure shape, trailing on wind

as a snap of cloth does.  At last an avian statement.  Very bold.


Language has it edges in nonsense and emphasis.  It did rain? Skipping pages;

thought skip.  Sand in the crotch? 

Re-emerge:  the heat of the day’s benediction is the smell of salt.


Language is a constellation of related tones.  Desire surprises one, so that as the sea

Unveils its tides, its cycles bring our own failures into relief.

A pity the landscape is used like this in my own poem.

Confines of this room offer no respite from the ocean; it now

is an expanse of my mind.


Warnings of rain up and down the coast.  For winds dashing at oleanders in red brilliance.


Drifted, washed and buoyed. 

                Expanse of seawater to horizon.

Children, their voices. 

The shorebirds, elegant, white.

                In the storms’s eye

                                Blue herons.


Some poor lens: taking in what it can not, being in time lost.


Tasting its brine, spitting it.  Ida, Annabelle, Annabelle, Tess.

A symmetry.   It is the blood of tides and generations plunged

into surf.


Names, shouted into waves.







copyright  © Annabelle Clippinger