Monday, February 13, 2012

Clarinda Harriss


Call me a monster, I'll straddle you with my
Loch Ness legs, drip my hair on your gasping.

Tell me my eyes are the color of pond scum.
I'll open wide to flash you their fish.

Call me your whore so I'll know you're thinking
of Babylon, how I’m all of its seven wonders.

Insist I’m a bitch, I’ll snap at your parts
till your bark’s peeled to a whipped yelp.

Or say, "Happy Day, my Ancient"; I'm your
whole history of mothers, and mothers work

like this: put something in, get something out.
In, out. In, out. Baby, I’m a sweet machine.

Clarinda reads "Sweet-talk Me on Valentine's Day":

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Clarinda confesses: "'I never write Occasional Verse.' That's what I used to say before realizing that somebody I once had a considerable crush on was going to be attending a reading where I was to be one of the featured poets. It was scheduled for Valentine's Day a year ago. I wrote this poem especially to titillate him. I am pretty sure it did not, and it had lasting consequences: Now I'm forced to utter the much weaker statement, 'I almost never write Occasional Verse.'"

CLARINDA HARRISS is a professor emerita at Towson University, where she chaired the English Department for a decade during her many decades of tenure there. She directs BrickHouse Books, Inc., Maryland's oldest literary press. Most recent books: Mortmain, Dirty Blue Voice, and Air Travel. She and Moira Egan recently co-edited Hot Sonnets (Entasis Press, 2011), an anthology of 20th-21st-century erotic sonnets. Her continuing research interests include writing from prisons.


Thomas Pluck said...

well damn. makes me wonder who's at the bottom of a lake after this ends...

Anonymous said...

well damn is right

Michael Southard said...

Sounds like her. A great poet, and a wonderful teacher.

joe said...

Well damn it all. I know it is not me but I have a serious crush on Clarinda ever since I saw her photo in a Pratt snail mailing. I always tell myself I will attend one of her Pratt events just to gaze (fantasize?) at her while falling asleep wrapped in her sensuous voice. Excuse me as a cold shower beckons...alas...