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


Just Stop

Stop in the middle
of what you were saying.
In the middle of what you were
doing, of what you were about to
do—just stop. Say, do, nothing.

For once let everyone everywhere stop.
Let there be just silence and intention.
Stop birds, band-leaders, lovers
and politicians. Undam the rivers
and let everyone be quiet enough
to hear what the deluge has to say.

Allow yourself to be quiet,
not misunderstood, for this is
an unmistakable silence,
a legendary pause.

Drop whatever you are holding,
whatever flag or grudge you hold dearest.
Unclench your fists. You will need
both hands empty to lift the silence.

Stop your watch, phone, clock, war,
ads and promising. Stop waiting.
Stop time. Stop being afraid of death.

Stop mirrors. You don’t need them.
You can’t recognize yourself.
You only know you
for where you have to be next
and how late you may arrive.
Who knows how often
you’ve already passed yourself
in the street unrecognized?

Stop lying. Stop for one second.
Don’t move your arms so much.
Let’s meet in the sudden strangeness
of doing, saying, expecting nothing.

Put down your guns, maps, spreadsheets,
ghosts and indifference. Forget yourself.
You never knew her. In that second
of silence, with the whole world stopped
and empty, try and remember
—before it all starts again
before the noise of sheep, soldiers, police
sirens, athletes, mothers, trends and traditions
rips the green air—
if anything you dropped was worth
the weight of picking it up again.

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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