The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller, released by Two Sylvias Press in 2021.

Pelagic

A water / unlike any other water ~Joanna Klink

At Point Lobos, a woman mentions she nearly drowned
at Monastery Beach—some days she can still taste brine.

Pleurisy of tissue and wave: kick harder, kick harder.
Grow a third lung, line it with desire. Holdfast. Hold. Fast.

Cormorant deep-dives, belly full of pebbles. Flash your blue
throat to me! Build us a nest, carino, con posidonie e fiori.

Tie the boat in the shallows, hike through dune asters,
a clutch of bees, thick bullwhips beached on black stones.

18th century vaqueros broke mustangs along coastal bluffs, mistook
barking sea lions for wolves. Gray whale cries ghost the cove.

Sway-balanced on driftwood, a great blue heron syncs with my
shipwrecked vertigo, slow motion wingbeats carry her away.

Poseidon chases down the sun. Storm-footed chariot. Whitestarred
Hippocampi. Coffin bones hammer the seafloor gold.

In the Whaler’s Cabin, a man spoke about the sea—
how it took his boy and didn’t give him back.

Giant kelp coppers teal water, long garlands wreathe into laurel
crowns as if all Olympus is surfacing.

Kelly Cressio-Moeller is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net, and have appeared widely in journals and at literary websites including Gargoyle, North American Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review, and ZYZZYVA, among others. An associate editor at Glass Lyre Press, she lives in the Bay Area. Shade of Blue Trees from Two Sylvias Press (Finalist for the Wilder Prize) is her first poetry collection.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller, released by Two Sylvias Press in 2021.

Double Helix

                        content warning for dysphoria, body image and appearance

I am growing thick in the middle again,
		an avalanche over the waistband.
Those pounds I strong-willed away,
		unwelcomed back into newly upholstered
cells. A scale is unnecessary. Last summer’s
		clothes now grab my breasts and thighs
with graceless but determined ardor.
		My corduroys brush and spark.
Strict exceptions become the reckless rules.
		The last pastry or bread slice becomes a second
or third. What am I trying to feed?
		How I green-eye marvel at those women
who sit straight-backed and cross-legged in simple
		chairs, effortless as their unlabored breathing.
My lumbering limbs wince and blush.
		Such slender tenderness my body
has never known. Where to rest when your nest
		of skin feels cold as wintergreen dusk? I think
of my parents riding under the weight
		of themselves, careening down
demented diabetic roads, bread-crumbed days
		spent wiped and bathed as their bodies surrender
to decades of excessive hunting and gathering.
		My sleep plays hopscotch, each night falling
further from the last. I’ve lost count of the recurring
		dream where a black bear, rearing full height
upon its hind legs, swings inadequate claws
		at a half-hearted moon. All through these nights
of humorless stars, I hear bits of life cry out, each skating
		their separate darkness: a heron’s snapped wing,
a loon’s lonely wail, my burdened bones. 

Kelly Cressio-Moeller is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net, and have appeared widely in journals and at literary websites including Gargoyle, North American Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review, and ZYZZYVA, among others. An associate editor at Glass Lyre Press, she lives in the Bay Area. Shade of Blue Trees from Two Sylvias Press (Finalist for the Wilder Prize) is her first poetry collection.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller, released by Two Sylvias Press in 2021.

Woman in Blue Reading a Letter

after Johannes Vermeer, oil on canvas, c.1663

*

It was mid-afternoon when I arrived in Amsterdam. The flight from California fueled a headache I couldn’t shake. I checked into my hotel room, hoping a hot shower would restore me. I was slipping on my robe when I noticed the blinking red light on the room’s phone: a message from my mother to call home. Her voice was low, a strange mixture of indecision and sadness. She spoke slowly as though lowering an anchor; there had been an accident. Tommy, close as a brother, was dead: a drunk driver crossed the divider, hit him head-on, the engine in his lap. I don’t remember telling her goodbye, hanging up the phone, or getting dressed, but I rode the elevator down and walked the stone-paved streets, shellshocked under a turquoise sky.

**

At the Rijksmuseum, whose rib-vaulted portico reminded me of a Gothic crypt, bicycles sped through the passageway before I entered. Upstairs, Vermeer had a room of his own. I stepped off the hardwood floor and sank deep into blue carpet. She was on the damask wall next to The Milkmaid, illuminated by skylight glow—so small, she could fit in my suitcase. But I didn’t care about the light or the colors. I didn’t care about the woman or the news in her letter. It was the map hanging behind her. The one detail that had seemed incidental before was all I could focus on now—all those meandering lines leading to and away from home.


Kelly Cressio-Moeller is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net, and have appeared widely in journals and at literary websites including Gargoyle, North American Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review, and ZYZZYVA, among others. An associate editor at Glass Lyre Press, she lives in the Bay Area. Shade of Blue Trees from Two Sylvias Press (Finalist for the Wilder Prize) is her first poetry collection.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller, released by Two Sylvias Press in 2021.

Ithaka

Dear Penelope, do you now sleep among the catacombs?

Scarves of white drift over the Aegean—an altar of bottomless blue.

I have gone to the edge of the world and still cannot find you.

Even the olive trees raise their spangled limbs skyward in longing.

Mother Earth slides her abacus beads, conjures storms quick as curses.

When lightning struck, did the boat protect or beckon the bolt?

Island flowers shut their eyes only when the stars disrobe—hope and sorrow held
within the same root.

She imagines him bright-toothed and swarthy, but her husband is just sunburned
and homesick.

So many suitors holding her skeins—she’s woven a trail for her waylaid mariner,
long as his beard and her undoing.

In twenty years, she has never asked, What shall I wish for myself?

Odysseus wonders, Do I have the right to return?

Maids cast offerings to the sea: red rose petals and grape leaves—
love and wine all that remain.

Kelly Cressio-Moeller is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net, and have appeared widely in journals and at literary websites including Gargoyle, North American Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review, and ZYZZYVA, among others. An associate editor at Glass Lyre Press, she lives in the Bay Area. Shade of Blue Trees from Two Sylvias Press (Finalist for the Wilder Prize) is her first poetry collection.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from Shade of Blue Trees by Kelly Cressio-Moeller, released by Two Sylvias Press in 2021.

Waiting for Charon in the ER

	Bad news is always arriving. ~Adrienne Rich

Make a fist.
The ambulance ride
begins with a deep poke
into a surprised vein.
Open. Close.
Time-lapse photography.
A lotus unfurling
in my palm. I see
sunlight breaking through crowns
of eucalyptus, breathe
oxygen through a tube.
I’d recognize his face
anywhere: paramedic Gauguin,
Civilization is what makes you sick.
Is that why your Christs are yellow and green?
Yes, and blue trees.
What of the red door in the forest?
We are never out of the woods.
Gurneys glide gondola-quiet
through corridored canals.
An oarsman ferries me
into an X-ray room.
His shark tooth bracelet clangs
against the metal buoy.
I want to dive
into his seafoam scrubs,
breaststroke into March.
The doctor orders a rainbow
belt of slender vials.
She pockets my blood
in her jungle print top, swings
on a vine, disappears
into Rousseau’s foliage. I don’t
see her again for 2 hours.
She’s consulted the gorilla
who was sitting on my chest.
I eat red Jell-O with a spork.
Time drifts through saline solution.
A slow drip counts the day’s small hours.
I have the room to myself.
So tempting just to lie
there waiting, stock-still
with a coin in my mouth.

Kelly Cressio-Moeller is a poet and visual artist. Her poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, Best New Poets, and Best of the Net, and have appeared widely in journals and at literary websites including Gargoyle, North American Review, Poet Lore, Salamander, THRUSH Poetry Journal, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Water~Stone Review, and ZYZZYVA, among others. An associate editor at Glass Lyre Press, she lives in the Bay Area. Shade of Blue Trees from Two Sylvias Press (Finalist for the Wilder Prize) is her first poetry collection.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Macon Sex School by Marjorie Becker


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance by Marjorie Becker, released by Tebot Bach in 2020.

The Dearest Dark

He wanted her naked as thoughts of theft,
he wanted her naked as garden light,
her flowers bursting forth, her breeze,
he wanted and waited to sing her soul,
symphonic flurry, sudden, long,
and as she somehow simmered, sighed,
and as she knew the plot, the thighs,
the under mist, the utter mist,
he sang his hope, his hail, his throng
of deepest dark, of dearest debt
of unknown pleasures ripening. 

Marjorie R. Becker is a Macon, Georgia native and the author of Setting the Virgin on Fire: Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán Peasants and the Redemption of the Mexican Revolution (UC Press, 1996); the forthcoming Dancing on the Sun Stone: Mexican Women and the Gendered Politics of Octavio Paz (University of New Mexico Press, 2022); and the poetry collections Body Bach (2005), Glass Piano/Piano Glass (2010,) and The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance (2020), all published by Tebot Bach.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Macon Sex School by Marjorie Becker


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance by Marjorie Becker, released by Tebot Bach in 2020.

Traipse, then Tremble

Pursue my step
into a realm of sex of pools of light

that near the water’s open eye
within a field that lures me shyly

toward a naked swim;
a step that stumbles

toward a liquid, liquored sigh
the water’s open eye conspires

to reach, to cling . . .

Marjorie R. Becker is a Macon, Georgia native and the author of Setting the Virgin on Fire: Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán Peasants and the Redemption of the Mexican Revolution (UC Press, 1996); the forthcoming Dancing on the Sun Stone: Mexican Women and the Gendered Politics of Octavio Paz (University of New Mexico Press, 2022); and the poetry collections Body Bach (2005), Glass Piano/Piano Glass (2010,) and The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance (2020), all published by Tebot Bach.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Macon Sex School by Marjorie Becker


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance by Marjorie Becker, released by Tebot Bach in 2020.

Cheap Lipstick

He treats me as though
I wear and only wear
the cheapest lipstick,

and only wear that lipstick—
oh so cheap—beside my stream
where I invite him, showing

him the ways the lipstick
though it seemed so cheap
is nothing;

no, my lips themselves possess
that brightest gloss, that most extensive
yes the most expensive sheen

that glossy keen reminder of their reach.

Marjorie R. Becker is a Macon, Georgia native and the author of Setting the Virgin on Fire: Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán Peasants and the Redemption of the Mexican Revolution (UC Press, 1996); the forthcoming Dancing on the Sun Stone: Mexican Women and the Gendered Politics of Octavio Paz (University of New Mexico Press, 2022); and the poetry collections Body Bach (2005), Glass Piano/Piano Glass (2010,) and The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance (2020), all published by Tebot Bach.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Macon Sex School by Marjorie Becker


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance by Marjorie Becker, released by Tebot Bach in 2020.

They Could In Fact Have Grown Another Plot, Another Way

“Play ripe the dawn,” he said,
when yesterday I sensed the golden,

raw gardenia note, I sang it there
within the breeze of patience since

my people, we are Jewish
huddled in a southern town

that never much enjoyed our raw
and ripe excursions into sense

and beauty but the black and Christian man I knew 
so long ago reminded me that 

there were ways to kiss, to place,
to seize a mound of grass, of wild

and luscious scent, “gardenias in the mist”
he said again, within the midst

of song and naked noon, we made
a sort of clock he said that scared

the flower broken, instant broken,
it turned to him and me for laughter once

I plied and played, began to pray
for color’s calm extravagance,

experience, just how and why the
flowers bothered there and then and

once again to truly trust and
also I would say, engage

a sense of presence raw
with melody.

Marjorie R. Becker is a Macon, Georgia native and the author of Setting the Virgin on Fire: Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán Peasants and the Redemption of the Mexican Revolution (UC Press, 1996); the forthcoming Dancing on the Sun Stone: Mexican Women and the Gendered Politics of Octavio Paz (University of New Mexico Press, 2022); and the poetry collections Body Bach (2005), Glass Piano/Piano Glass (2010,) and The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance (2020), all published by Tebot Bach.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com

The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: The Macon Sex School by Marjorie Becker


This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Jordi Alonso, is from The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance by Marjorie Becker, released by Tebot Bach in 2020.

Just How Ripe, How Negligee, How Long

What, then, did they learn
at that Macon Sex, that school

still close to tears and tears
as Aurelia ripped the cloth

and Cynthia still believed that being
black reminded her of symmetry,

of seasons others never felt
or saw or reconsidered and yet also

true that in that school Sharona
or Shareena knew the pliés

the ways we climbed the peach trees
finding just how ripe our men it seemed

remembered all the notes’ tenacity,
the very fingers high above and lower lower

deeper down the women captured fruit
and sound and they proceeded using fingers

filled with thought with purchase and a
sort of permanence to gather up

to claim the ripest of am I here
to play the men or still remember

how stealthy they, the women from
the Sex, that school for touch, for taste

remembered how to seize and cling
to the largest and the keenest of

the branches filled with sun-bleached
sun-lit true.

Marjorie R. Becker is a Macon, Georgia native and the author of Setting the Virgin on Fire: Lázaro Cárdenas, Michoacán Peasants and the Redemption of the Mexican Revolution (UC Press, 1996); the forthcoming Dancing on the Sun Stone: Mexican Women and the Gendered Politics of Octavio Paz (University of New Mexico Press, 2022); and the poetry collections Body Bach (2005), Glass Piano/Piano Glass (2010,) and The Macon Sex School: Songs of Tenderness and Resistance (2020), all published by Tebot Bach.

Jordi Alonso holds degrees in English literature from Kenyon College (AB ’14) Stony Brook University (MFA ’16) and the University of Missouri (PhD ’21). He is currently a Classical Studies MA student at Columbia University. Honeyvoiced, his first book, was published by XOXOX Press in 2014 and his chapbook, The Lovers’ Phrasebook, was published by Red Flag Poetry Press in 2017. His work appears in Kenyon Review Online, Banyan Review, Levure Littéraire, and other journals. Follow him on Twitter @nymphscholar or get to know his work at jordialonsopoet.com