King Prion

By Joyelle McSweeney Joyelle McSweeney
Lay in an array of pixels
Fat, simulated proteins
Looks just like nutrition!
Acts just like an avatar!
I just wanted to give my body to
A net of guarine
Gingko-balboa azatine melamine
Camphobacter phylacter nicotine
Which hung like neuron-nectar in a cell, net of
Vatic coughdropped hairball tells the future of
Neural center where the straight lines hopped
Like a hairline fracture on a bender jumps a
Mulholland retaining wall and crashes the crinkled Vale of
Fruit for monkeys in a barrel, one fruit per monkey
For a total of fortyseven monkeydays
For a total of twelve hours at a clip
The go-home-and-feed-the-baby milk of it
That man is a mouth chased by ghosts
Round a rainslicked hairpin off a cliff in
(And now I pause to remember
How Art was a silver paper moulded to the ceiling
Where you cut your hair
For your rebirth as Fata Androgyana
The scissors-sister who slits where she goes-into
Cuts as she cuts—)
This machine makes its need louder and
Invites me into its duct, unlike the baby
Sleeping on the other edge of Pow’r,
Eyes roll’d, mouth pinch’d shut
Round Pow’r’s earthly sinks and shunts—

Joyelle McSweeney, “King Prion” from Percussion Grenade. Copyright © 2012 by Joyelle McSweeney. Reprinted by permission of Joyelle McSweeney.

Source: Percussion Grenade (Fence Books, 2012)

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Poet Joyelle McSweeney

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Living, The Body

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Joyelle  McSweeney


Joyelle McSweeney was born in Boston and spent most of her childhood in suburban Philadelphia. She has a BA from Harvard University; an MPhil in English studies from Oxford University, where she was a Marshall Scholar; and an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

McSweeney’s collections of poetry include The Red Bird (2002), winner of the 2001 Fence Modern Poetry Series, and The Commandrine and Other Poems (2004). . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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