Rigorous
Volume One, Issue 2


Poems by Alexus Erin


Cartoon Violence

And isn’t this also the law? We are beautiful in 30-minute intervals.
We balloon, the bears sing cabaret.

One New Year’s Eve I sat in a trailer park playground, alone,
on the swingset

howling still howling
still howling howling-

the goodbye moon, her giant face
offended that I wrote the tide right over;

that I coloured in the big boat
where Austin was one hiccup from drowning,

nearly thrown over by the gale of his pride
which beamed

loud and southern and 15,
not unlike the moon.

I was one-belt-loop-leaning-in
faster than that body, asking not to let up

And isn’t this kin to joy? Blue, heat, holiday, creation-
late night guttered in the storyboard:

the sparrow on a library roof
whose skeleton bleached all spring

Tar street, riddled with parts of the oleanders bloomed
a bloated thought bubble, spilling over like milk. An onomatopoeia

To know me well enough is to know there are times I cannot speak
in complete sentences

so the tent was filled with boy-children, praying
so the ladybird wings in my dreams

slept in small piles
until I hit the bigger light

and God hit the biggest light
and they all flit

to life,
beating.




Crawling toward Collina d’Oro

I return to a cold, full-sized bed, at the helm of the stairs-
there is grace, in a pink nightshirt
with wet hair. It is grace, smelling like gin, saying he will miss me
when I go. I am going up the big hill. I thought I would
be carried out in valley rush light,
dead or sleeping, hissing
successive, heavy-lidded bullshit to no one at all
sermonic: my word as some unfortunate law
claiming the blackberry bramble, the African spear, the hospital corners, the dolls from Iran
I have been
asleep for six or seven days now
rather, very still
on the carpet, catching up.




A Partial List, in Case of Emergency

I cannot tally the reasons
to rejoice
They, then, count themselves
independent insomuch as

there is still
a child I used to care for, asking about the manger babe, downtown,
mid-spring
his fever fading in and out

Here, near Broughty Ferry, and speeding further south
Rurals of a different country. A tracing
touch in the Doolin pub, before any threat of scorn

Heat caught in sprung floors- marley at the studio, where we turn
and roll
Holly branch, waxen and out of its season

Leo leaping the back of a UPS truck, throwing
his scooter in the pond, unable to keep a straight face
At the front door
asking my mother if I could come out to play.

My dancers are still at the foot of the bed, in a straight line,
waking me
for Fosse. Time living
through them, in any blurred longueur:

the sepia afternoons I am nearly deaf to my name
as it is called
by friends who want to know where I went
The moment I stopped speaking

Interrupted
by a kookaburra
I saw in 2004

A punk show Junes ago, returning
Home, in one way I have understood it,
and giving thanks.
It has been my dream to work and love this way

to honor
Snare ruckus in all weather, my fuzzy microphone
Moments that held me in momentary sway, thrown
by awe or rapture
Knocked damn-near-all-the way-out

Until I was not entirely flightless, but shortened
to the space of a credible presence
Being,
and taking in quick
spurts of air.


Alexus Erin originally hails from Princeton, New Jersey and is currently living in Scotland. Her written work specializes in the theoretical frameworks of embodiment, as well as feminist, gender, critical race and environmental justice studies. Erin’s first novel was published in 2009. Her poetry has previously appeared in Potluck Magazine, the Melanin Collective, The Nervous Breakdown, The Audacity (audacityzine.com), the American Society of Young Poets, and a host of others. More recently, Erin completed her first chapbook, Descant, which is set to be released by Saucepot Publishing. Her first screenplay, American Lotus Project, won an award at Temple University’s Diamond Film Festival.




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