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TWO POEMS by Rochelle Hurt

     I admire its belligerent uncertainty, like: I’ll know if I know when I please. Pointed indecision as auto-prick that sticks my sentence-tip.

ODE ON MY UPSPEAK

“A lot of these really flamboyant things you hear are cute, and girls are supposed to be cute, but they’re not just using them because they’re girls. They’re using them to achieve some kind of interactional and stylistic end.” – Penny Eckert, New York Times

 

I admire its belligerent uncertainty, like:
I’ll know if I know when I please. Pointed
indecision as auto-prick that sticks my sentence-tip.
When my tongue spring-toes into a run, I vault
across silences sucking this tick like perpetual mint—
surprised but satisfied. I want all my action
rising, okay? While we’re at it, I dig my umms,
impervious little monks who squat
in well-spaced rows, their insistent vibrato
a hypno-chant that spins my speech to incantation.
I love how they punctuate, bead-like,
my vocal fry, that holey string to which I cling.
Its creak makes me speak like a crumb-scraper
savoring the linen tablecloth. I lick
the conversation down and shake
each glottal rattle at the sky, my diphthong
kernels popping in a thrum that sets me singing
like an optimist—I’ve got nowhere to go but up
to the roof of a high rising terminal.
Oh my voice, you are a wing tethered to a gender
like a brick—or a period—and you jump regardless.

 

 

I Want to Walk to McDonald’s Forever, Friend

 

I want to wade there with you on a snow day,
                           wheeze-winded & teary. I want to smash the ice
in your lashes, then let the oily steam breathe us
                           back to running blood. Or I want to walk there
in crop tops we’ll swap in the lime fluorescent
                           of the slime-tiled john so we can walk home as one
another. I want to wooze in your menthol-cherry
                           aura as we find every flickering arch in the city.
Delicate licker of grease-dipped French tips,
                           send me a Rite-Aid valentine that says be my bitch
& I’ll be yours. No take-backs, no joke, no jinx
                           when I answered that trick crush question with you,
you who then flipped & tramped the whole year solo.
                           But I swear on my mamaw’s spine we can walk
it all back with Big Macs & a thousand half-hug pats.
                           Please let’s just meet on the mouth of straw,
suck it up, crush only our cups, & let the year drip down
                           the sewer slats as we walk back & back & back.

 

 

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About Rochelle Hurt

Rochelle Hurt
Rochelle Hurt is the author of two collections of poetry: In Which I Play the Runaway (Barrow Street, 2016), which won the Barrow Street Book Prize, and The Rusted City (White Pine, 2014). Her work has been included in the Best New Poets anthology series and she's been awarded prizes and fellowships from Crab Orchard Review, Arts & Letters, Hunger Mountain, Phoebe, Poetry International, Vermont Studio Center, Jentel, and Yaddo. She is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at Slippery Rock University. She also runs the review site The Bind.