Poem by Elena Karina Byrne
AFTER ELECTION DISPLAY CASE: I AM THE WALRUS
Treat ourselves to grief ––Camille Rankine
and what it was like to be this that boy blue girl, an event child of the past
“tomboy skinny bones jones” running naughty dirty with all
the neighborhood kids over stone walls of every gone gooseflesh
backyard till dusk, till today-day America died in the inner ear, its death
rattle like fireflies trapped
inside a bottle forgotten under the bed facing the cabinet all year,
taxidermy’s world on a leash, against inaction? What downpour
brawl of business into the city’s watched pot crock can we find ourselves
singing? We people, we brick, foliage and insect, who no one, the elect,
and him, him leering, bleached as from pig skin and wheeled-
in a glow-gold, for who knows how long hate had it
coming, his cinder block dust on the lips, piss-smelling turpentine in
the hair on fire–– ?
We lose our own skin in the game, end of road’s end
rope, round tied the moon’s lime face,
so broad it will drag up the drowned boat of us, umbilical-choke
us in our chain link sleep,
its liar bone stuck in the throat so we can’t sing anymore, its white
face broken china on the coin
placed over heart, each eye, over nipple, orifice, –– forget your childhood ––
goo goo g’ joob, ––serviceable villain in office––
in and in he comes…
Elena Karina Byrne, author of Squander (Omnidawn 2016), MASQUE (Tupelo Press, 2008), and The Flammable Bird , (Zoo Press 2002), has been a freelance teacher since 1982, a visual artist, book reviewer, editor, lecturer, Poetry Consultant and Moderator for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, former 12 year Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America and Executive Director for the AVK Arts Foundation. She is currently one of the final judges for the Kate/Kingsley Tufts Awards in Poetry, and Literary Programs Director for The Ruskin Art Club and sits on the advisory board for What Books Press.
Elena received the 2015 Distinguished Service Award from Beyond Baroque’s Literary Arts Center. She was part of the West Hollywood Book Fair’s Planning Committee and worked with Red Car studios editing several documentary film projects including, The Big Read, Muse of Fire and Why Shakespeare? Since 1991 Elena has organized or funded programs for the Museum of Contemporary Art, the University of Southern California’s Doheny Memorial Library, the Getty Research Institute at the J. Paul Getty Center, UCLA's CAP/Center for the Art of Performance,Columbia University's School of the Arts International Translation Project, The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles, CAFAM's Poetry and Art Collaboration Series, The Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Metro Art live Poetry in Motion annual readings, and the renowned Chateau Marmont “Act of the Poet” series. She was the 2005 Poetry Co-Editor for The Los Angeles Review and one of three judges for the 2006 PEN USA Literary Award in Poetry.
Her book reviews and poetry publications, among others, include the Pushcart Prize XXXIII, Best American Poetry, Poetry, Yale Review, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, TriQuarterly, Denver Quarterly, Colorado Review, Slate, Painted Bride Quarterly, Ploughshares, Agni, The Dublin Review, OmniVerse, Diode, Verse, Black Renaissance Noire, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry and is forthcoming in BOMB and in Knopf's Every Man's Pocket Poets Anthology Reel Verse: Poems About the Movies. Elena just completed a collection of essays entitled, VOYEUR HOUR: Meditations on Poetry, Art & Desire.