The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: G.L. Morrison’s “Chiaroscuro Kisses”


Relentless Blue

I look for you in this poem with both hands
every word like the fingers of a blind sculptor
searching for your familiar face in the sightless clay.

If I were a painter, what I want to say
to you would be a shade of blue that couldn’t be bought
only blended by loving curiosity and relentless patience
blue as sun rising on the ocean after a storm

blue as dawn, obsidian about to shatter
in a wet cacophony of color.
Azure love. Sapphire uncertainty.
Hungers marbled turquoise and lapis lazuli.

If I were a sailor, this poem would be
a hundred days at sea.
Lips cracked with salt and silence.

Above me, in the wet, endless sky clouds row by
with a cargohold of storms and birds for barnacles.
Gulls shriek like lonely women.
Every star is an omen, I navigate by touch.

Below me, in the wet and endless sea
is everything I dare imagine, everything
that will ever and will never be
wide and spiny as puffer fish.

Infinitely blue and filled with stones, fish, and sunken
treasure; skeletons of clouds, birds, and stars;
sharks, mermaids, and the myriad of scuttling mysteries.
This poem is adrift in tomorrow’s current
somewhere off the coast of yesterday.

Your hand on this page is bone china,
the pottery buried with Pharaohs, Klimt’s
yellow kiss, swollen-mouthed as O’Keefe flowers.
Your hand on this page is the woman who waits
in a cottage overlooking the sea
where every hundred-day journey hopes to end.

This selection comes from G.L. Morrison’s collection Chiaroscuro Kisses, available from Headmistress Press. Purchase your copy here!

Born in Utah in 1966, G.L. Morrison was wet-nursed by Poetry whose savage, urgent milk has sustained her all these years. An oracle of knives and wings; an acolyte of reckless gods; channeled by a disabled poet in the Northwest: she is an intersectional feminist who moonlights as a sporadic blogger/writing teacher/freelancer, Oregon Chair of the Communist Party USA, and overzealous grandmother. Over the last 30 years, she has feathered her nest with the contributor copies of hundreds of magazines, a dozen anthologies, and a fistful of writing awards. She has been noted in Ms. and twice interviewed in Mother Jones. Her nonfiction writing stands at the crossroads of racial/economic justice, LGBT issues, and body-politics/fat-activism. Regie Cabico pronounced Chiaroscuro Kisses (Headmistress Press, 2013) “one of the most inspiring collections of poetry I’ve seen in the last decade.”

Mari Hailu is a recent graduate of Southern Methodist University where she simultaneously received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. As a Managing Editor of The Wardrobe, a blog series affiliated with Sundress Publications, she finds fellow poets to read and learn from. She hopes to have the opportunity to share her writing with the world very soon.


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