The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: READY FOR THE WORLD by Becca Klaver

Kitty’s First Lunar Eclipse

Jumps as if chased
or wounded

batting jacks
in the dark

The moon went out
rotting, rotating

marble-hard
between the molars

We were sooted with sleep
We were dead-black with Christmas

We saw no stars but those cracking
against our chests

diving bells
ringing


This selection comes from the book, READY FOR THE WORLD, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Becca Klaver is a writer, teacher, editor, scholar, and literary collaboration conjurer. She is the author of the poetry collections LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010), Empire Wasted (Bloof Books, 2016), and Ready for the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), as well as several chapbooks. A founding editor of Switchback Books, she is currently co-editing, with Arielle Greenberg, the digital poetry anthology Electric Gurlesque. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, she is the Robert P. Dana Director of the Center for the Literary Arts at Cornell College and lives in Iowa City.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: READY FOR THE WORLD by Becca Klaver

Spell for Protection

I walk alone on dark streets

I walk alone on dark streets all the time

am I not supposed to do that

anymore yet again still

.
.
.

feels like winter tonight

from my corner window I can see the armory turrets

it’s a men’s shelter

my sister says

for murderers and rapists without families
who got out

but they’re still in

she runs a clinic on the other side of town

.
.
.

what are you afraid of and

what does that say about you

say about yourself:

I’m not afraid

I’m not afraid

I’m not afraid


.
.
.


all the men surprised to learn

how it is

what street do they live on

not ours

the night cracks in half

you float on your piece

I on mine

to take whichever way home


.
.
.

for protection I was given

many varieties of stone

so far I have not gotten

much more hurt


This selection comes from the book, READY FOR THE WORLD, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Becca Klaver is a writer, teacher, editor, scholar, and literary collaboration conjurer. She is the author of the poetry collections LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010), Empire Wasted (Bloof Books, 2016), and Ready for the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), as well as several chapbooks. A founding editor of Switchback Books, she is currently co-editing, with Arielle Greenberg, the digital poetry anthology Electric Gurlesque. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, she is the Robert P. Dana Director of the Center for the Literary Arts at Cornell College and lives in Iowa City.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: READY FOR THE WORLD by Becca Klaver

Hooliganism Was the Charge

In a 1993 study published in Ethology journal, “Laughter Punctuates
Speech: Linguistic, Social, and Gender Contexts of Laughter,” Robert
R. Provine finds that

females are the leading laughers. Future research should
evaluate the extent to which the pattern of laughter
described here is the consequence of a vocal display
performed by subservient individuals in response to
dominant group members. For example, do subservient
males show a female-like laugh pattern in the presence of
a domineering male or female boss?


On a Social Anxiety Support message board, a user named WintersTale
writes:

I went out to eat for dinner with my grandma and my
mom, and of course the waiter sat us down right next
to a table full of high school girls. Who were giggling.
When I sat down, I heard “eww, that’s disgusting”,
which I attributed to me (maybe it wasn’t, but it seemed
too coincidental), followed by tons of giggling. I switched
seats, so at least I wasn’t sitting directly in front of them,
but I still felt them looking at me and giggling.

person86 replies:

I always assume that groups of teenage girls who are
looking in my direction and giggling are checkin’ me out.
Maybe I’m just a conceited b*stard, but it makes a tad
more sense.

Zephyr replies:

Yeah I wouldn’t really take it personally. Ducks go
quack. Cows go mooooo. Dogs go woof. Teenage girls
giggle. Sheep go baaa. Pigs go oink. I think they teach
these concepts in kindergarten. It’s hard to get mad at
things that can only do what they’re built for. *shrug*

In “Some Observations on Humor and Laughter in Young Adolescent
Girls,” published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence in 1974, Rita
Ransohoff writes:

The contagion effect of hysterical laughter was observed
among the girls. Hysterical laughter itself seemed to serve
a group function. It offered reassurance which said “You
are not alone; I can hear you.”

She offers an example:

Connie and Sally faced each other. They laughed in
paroxysms. They maintained eye contact and when one
would stop the other would start, and then they would
laugh again together.

In “The Laugh of the Medusa,” Hélène Cixous writes:

If she’s a her-she, it’s in order to smash everything, to
shatter the framework of institutions, to blow up the law,
to break up the ‘truth’ with laughter.

I wrote:

But laughter in the face of the law is infuriating,
unjustifiable, anarchic.

Pussy Riot smirking and cackling in their wood-and-glass cage, blowing
up the law.

Hooliganism was the charge. Laughing inside the wrong doors.

To blow off and up a world that was not made for them.

It goes loud and long. Starts in the belly and you cannot stop it.

I leave the room where the girls sit in a circle and I can’t hear words, only
giggling.

I think to myself: Liberation of subjugated energies.

I think: Intimacy of intimacies.

Spell we put each other under.

I return to the room and say: This is my favorite place in the world.

Jenny and me in the cafeteria. They’d ask, Are you mocking me? They’d
say laughing at. We were.

We were finding out that the world was not for us. We couldn’t laugh
with
. We were taking what we could.

I laugh and laugh and laugh and keep laughing and I know it’s magic
because it gets the right people mad, the ones who want me to shut up,
the ones who say silly girl, valley girl, too-much spilling-over seeping-out
girl.

Me and my sisters grabbing each other’s forearms in paroxysms, crying-laughing, knowing-we-were-interrupting-Mass-laughing, wanting
to, wanting to see what would happen: to shatter the framework of
institutions…

I googled “giggling girls,” and the top two results were both titled
“Giggling Girls and Bloody Violence.”

Riotous release of the rrrrrrrrrrrepressed

—Oh my god I’m dying
—Oh my god please stop

Laughter as the last power
once you’ve traded in the rest.

The world had no use for them.
You just kept laughing it off.
No big deal.

The charge was hooliganism.
A refusal punishable by law.
The patriarch was offended personally.
Big guy in the sky can tell it’s laugh at.

Look repentant or laugh
in the face of the law.

Can you hear my voice?

Valley-plaintive.

Totally.


It was a tear in
it was a ripple in
it was a giggle in space-time

the way we stayed girls
all those years

a style of being
that said

don’t die too soon

just try to stay amused

—Oh my god I’m dying, oh my god please stop


I stopped practicing magic

except on the internet except in poems

except when I laughed in your face at the very wrongest moment

We hold each other’s gazes and the first one to laugh wins

Like all rituals it gets you ready for the world


This selection comes from the book, READY FOR THE WORLD, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Becca Klaver is a writer, teacher, editor, scholar, and literary collaboration conjurer. She is the author of the poetry collections LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010), Empire Wasted (Bloof Books, 2016), and Ready for the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), as well as several chapbooks. A founding editor of Switchback Books, she is currently co-editing, with Arielle Greenberg, the digital poetry anthology Electric Gurlesque. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, she is the Robert P. Dana Director of the Center for the Literary Arts at Cornell College and lives in Iowa City.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: READY FOR THE WORLD by Becca Klaver

Sharing Settings

I began to worry that everything I wrote, I wrote because someone was
listening. Poetry is overheard. Eloquence supposes an audience. The feed
demands one. I tried to keep a diary again, to get that teenage feeling
back, but I could only write about how the internet was the best and worst
thing that ever happened to me. The internet stole my brain. Told me to
share share share. But what if the only things worth sharing were the ones
that languished for months, even years? I thought about Robert Duncan
and shuddered. What about the need for feed my need to feed my need
for feedback? I pressed the fucking lever. Over and over. Give me the pellet! Like like love! I tried to write into my dreams, to tell a truth I wouldn’t
dare post to the feed, but everyone was there, too—the ones from high
school and from right across the street, faces in a book I turned in my
sleep. If I didn’t tag anyone, could I get away with it?


This selection comes from the book, READY FOR THE WORLD, available from Black Lawrence Press.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Becca Klaver is a writer, teacher, editor, scholar, and literary collaboration conjurer. She is the author of the poetry collections LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010), Empire Wasted (Bloof Books, 2016), and Ready for the World (Black Lawrence Press, 2020), as well as several chapbooks. A founding editor of Switchback Books, she is currently co-editing, with Arielle Greenberg, the digital poetry anthology Electric Gurlesque. Born and raised in Milwaukee, WI, she is the Robert P. Dana Director of the Center for the Literary Arts at Cornell College and lives in Iowa City.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

ammonite sonnet

the ammonite an index of sutures
i got tired of cataloging them
hermetically sealing little traumas
afraid they’d get to know one another go boom
little mother catastrophes instead
i smashed little rocks to bits in a ditch
each shard a memory released pressure
from stomach the common burial ground
the cavity of accumulation
each little box coated in dust and feelings
each glass stone chamber not really secret
i get ready to shatter the discretions
i open my palms no explosions no pain
coalesce little traumas wrap your wounds
around each other a chrysalis blood
a becoming of feathers of air a fire


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

little ditch

ittle ditch was a century a calling
can you hear them saying
don’t startle the ash


please startle all the ashes ancestors of stitches

i took up my silence in your mouth
all those nights i lied so i could forget
i fled i kept coming back i pumped my legs high on the swing and hoped
all those days we were one home one body
i climbed over dog shit and pizza boxes to hold your hand

there was the light that day off the fire escape and you were crying
when i consoled you the truth in the gleam off the window your open crooked mouth i
fell in


i slept in your bed all those years there was no other bed
but betrayal and for that piece i fought others like me
teased hair and fist-fights rumors and rank-outs stealing bruises and romanticizing
little boy pains i lost hid concealed ate my own
i pretended i was one of the cool girls i’m not a cool girl anymore i’m a cunt


little ditch was a century of sad women a defect in the cell division a slash across the
ribs little ditch tried to be a good girl bounced on men’s knees when told/don’t bite back
bit instead the insides of cheeks to taste her own blood/remembering her worth –
pennies

the dirt in her mouth
one small sacrifice

her wobbly arms doin’ the woo

her belly fat exhaled in a curdle atop

little tight dresses little bow ties little ditch started young
she took it all in opened her mouth wide lips cracked
she thought it was kindness opening she thought it was power
she became walls

little ditch is centuries of digging
little ditch is the ghost – the pallor hanging over every woman’s achievement
little ditch was is centuries of generations of women digging out the future

little ditch is a burned-out Barbie Dream House sour milk between legs
a motor that guns every time she’s casually interrupted in conversation casually
sexually assaulted in conversation casually dismissed gaslit light that match


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

ditch poem # 13

pink ditch in wilderness
gash in the ground
damp & rent with salt
no one owns a bodyzz


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

ditch poem #20

it was the wildness
everything was singing and
you tried to protect me
i resisted it was pitch
and forest it was the trenches

i washed my mud and
donned its mother i slept
among the trees my golden guilt

it was the wild nests of
Brooklyn summer it was the
Cyclone everything was grit
and sunshine a glitter
of dun sand. What is protection
he asked under the boardwalk
who rides the Wonder Wheel

i resisted it was milk
or the ditch
so i started digging.


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: little ditch by Melissa Eleftherion

Brighton Beach

sea-worn glass smoothed by ocean mouth

we wandered into your opening for
so long we forgot streetlight curfew

the gunmetal tide an invitation
i swam in the hot sludge of summer
swirling styrofoam oily with hair gel
and the grit of defiant refuse

i refused
the heat between my legs a warning
my kindling was my own heart
little lit matches held
chamber by chamber


This selection comes from the book, little ditch, available from ABOVE/GROUND PRESS.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, a librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including little ditch (above/ground press, 2018) & trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa created, developed, and currently co-curates The Poetry Center Chapbook Exchange with Elise Ficarra. She now lives in Northern California where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at http://www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.

Kelly Lorraine Andrews is an assistant managing editor for the American Economic Association and an MFA graduate from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the chapbooks Sonnets in Which the Speaker Is on Display (Stranded Oak Press, forthcoming 2019), The Fear Archives (Two of Cups Press, 2017), My Body Is a Poem I Can’t Stop Writing (Porkbelly Press, 2017), I Want To Eat So Many Kinds of Cake With You and Mule Skinner (both out from Dancing Girl Press). Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in [PANK], Prick of the Spindle, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. You can read more about her past and future publications and look at a slideshow of her cats at her website.

 

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: On Becoming a Role Model by Lynne Schmidt

On Becoming a Role Model

There was a day in the history of the world
when my niece stole my glasses,
stole my winter hat,
and put them on.
With a smile that could swallow oceans
she said,
“Look Auntie, I’m you!”
And I remembered my mother’s words when I told her I wanted to grow up
and be
just
like
her.
“Don’t ever turn out like me,” she’d hissed,
a slap in the face to a small child.
I didn’t understand then.
I understand now.
I am not my mother,
and my niece is not me.
Instead, I pulled her into my arms.
I cannot point to that day on the calendar,
because at the time I didn’t realize it was important.
Scholars will not write about the great battle that took place within her words
because they won’t care about it.
But on that day
in the history of the world
I decided
that I would become someone
that my niece could look up to


In honor of PTSD Awareness day of June 27, this selection comes from the book, On Becoming a Role Model, available from Thirty West Publishing.  Purchase your copy here! Our curator for this selection is Nilsa Ada Rivera.

Lynne Schmidt is a mental health professional and an award winning poet and memoir author. She is the author of the poetry chapbooks, Gravity (Nightingale and Sparrow Press), and On Becoming a Role Model (Thirty West). Her work has received the Maine Nonfiction Award, Editor’s Choice Award, and was a 2018 and 2019 PNWA finalist for memoir and poetry respectively. Lynne was a five time 2019 Best of the Net Nominee, and has received honorable mention for the Charles Bukowski Poetry Award, the Doug Draime Prize for Poetry, and Joy of the Pen. In 2012 she started the project, AbortionChat, which aims to lessen the stigma around abortion. When given the choice, Lynne prefers the company of her three dogs and one cat to humans.

Nilsa Ada Rivera writes about gender and diversity issues. She’s the Managing Editor of The Wardrobe for Sundress Publications. She’s an MFA candidate at Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work appeared in the Huffington Post, 50 GS Magazine, Six Hens Literary Journal, Assay: A Journal of Nonfiction Studies, and Selkie Literary Magazine. She lives in Riverview, Florida with her multi-species family.