What’s your background, Slushies? Sounds like a loaded question, right? But it’s really a reference to your choice of green-screen background Zoomery. This episode opens with a larking conversation about our current delight in Zoom’s capacity to allow us to upload virtual backgrounds for our physical spaces. (The discussion of poems starts at 8:01 if you want to skip the banter). Kathleen’s surrounded by tulips (while she’s actually holed up in her 3rd floor garret, with a dormer ceiling making her look like Alice in Wonderland). Jason is perched in front of IRL bookcases. Samantha is podcasting with her kitchen over her shoulder. Opting for a plain white wall, Marion nonetheless dons a seriously fringed top in honor of Jason’s signature leather jacket. And Alex J. Tunney, long-time PBQ editor inducted by our dear pal Daniel Nester a million years ago, joins the podcast for the first time and rocks a Piet Mondrian background. (Nicely done!). All of which serves as a perfect set up for an episode dedicated to poems submitted by Kailey Tedesco. Tedesco’s poems are full of magic and mysticism, shadows and spells. Her work moves across a range of styles—from an ekphrastic poem inspired by Hilma af Klint’s magnificent paintings to a reconfiguration of creepy childhood legends (like Bloody Mary) while playing with forms. We were drawn to the process-based mysticism, speculative feminism, and feminist horror coming through these poems. And Kathleen jumped in and read #7, because…#7.
Marion’s raving about Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other
Samantha’s loving Carmen Maria Machado’s memoir, In the Dream House
Jason’s devouring Brenda Shaughnessy’s So Much Synth
And we are supremely grateful for the poetry of Eavan Boland, who passed the day before we recorded this episode. Here is her masterful poem, “Quarantine.”
This episode is brought to you by one of our sponsors, Wilbur Records, who kindly introduced us to the artist is A.M. Mills whose song “Spaghetti with Loretta” now opens our show.
POETRY DISCUSSION BEGINS AT 8:49
Kailey Tedesco is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing), Lizzie, Speak, and the forthcoming collection, FOREVERHAUS (White Stag Publishing). She is a senior editor for Luna Luna Magazine. You can find her work in Electric Literature, Fairy Tale Review, Gigantic Sequins, and more.
Instagram | Twitter: @kaileytedesco
no. 7 adulthood
after Hilma af Klint
you’ll remember me
as a zygote
on its haunches; i grow
bloomwards. my teeth
on the front lawn
during the violet
hermit to hermit;
a single nautilus,
divinity. tell me
when was it
from the tulips
i’ve found myself
it is all but
true; my eggs
in my womb
is not to create
though, i misspoke —
my true intention is
life out of death.
find me in the portal
on the left, right next
to the electric
fences of my
inside the beheaded apartment
the sky whispers something eggsome then breaks its rain, thick & frozen. i crave the cigarettes
i’ve never smoked; not marlboro. i picture you before the time everything could kill you, glamour
in your beehive & twiggy dress, smoke haloing the mini-chandeliers. i beckon for you
to gemstone through me, egyptology — my lipstick glyphs on the edges of your sink. there are
teeth in the walls, did you know that? whole fangs, pulled clean at the root, & toenails, too,
flaking from the ceiling. i lived with estate sale busts of nefertiti, estate sale victorian lace,
bagged & labeled with the year, estate sale chaises of green velvet. green because it reminds
me of france, where i have never been, but where the sun is a vintage wallpaper. in the window
across the way, women in mourning bonnets have st. columba hands holding tight
to the dogs in their rosary chains. the plexi glass cracks in the shape of a crown or witch hat. there
is no bathroom but the one with the freckled clawfoot. the cats have become anxious with the
roach-scroll of the floorboards. we say they perform theatrical productions — one ophelia,
lounging in wet lavender sogging the carpet-shag, one desdemona, clawing at tissue for
handkerchiefs. something is crawling in me, teeth in the walls of boning. i wear the whole house
that used to be yours like a corset. this place is no good for us, i tell your lack of existence. all
the bodily fluids of every other tenant filth me — all the living hosts whispering in tune with the
mold water-logging my pillows. bring me my peacock & she-bear, my estate sale saints. it is time i sic them on my landlords, bring back your sight & my seeing. i shall go ahead
and make my own kingdom out of deadbolts.
bloody mary x 3
there goes my top skull jack-in-the-boxing from your suzy-talks-a-lot eyelids. maybe i’ve been dead a long time. maybe i’ve been dead never ever. live with me forever in the medicine cabinet
where my limbs smoke ring doll-wards through your own reflection. spinning my head
all the way around is what i do for a pageant talent. every time you call my name,
you put a knife in it—my face wounds towards yours. i become nothing but a blood-aura
on your tooth fairy bedding. unlike yours, my wedding gown will lack knuckle-buttons & i envy.
you should have made me more opulent in the story where i’m saint-corpsed with gumball rings on every finger. let me live display-cased at the dead mall, cradling the body you’ve made us.
i’ll hold you too, if you’d like. we can lace together, spine glued to spine, a jar of our parts
now puzzled. then my head, free by comparison, can decapitate & become a locket
facing the wrong way. the backstage of night is what i’d like to see most—everything zombifying from the dirt of sky. i see the same stars as you.
there goes my head. i’m coming back to life.
An array of relevant links:
Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim
And here is the Guggenheim on No. 7 Adulthood:
(Or this link, too, for more images)
The legend of Bloody Mary
And scienced up:
Leave a Reply