IL Arts Council Nominated – 2 Poems from MOFA

Spoon River Poetry Review has nominated two of my poems from my collection, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Secret Airplanes Press, 2018) for a 2020 IL Arts Council Award!

In most countries, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the government department responsible for state diplomacy as well as for providing for the country’s citizens abroad—often displaced persons. This collection of recorded “releases” (poems) takes the idea of a government entity created to protect its citizens and applies it to the authors’ parents—MOther & FAther, displaced people of WWII who experienced immigrant hardship and inherited PTSD, which triggered abuse and addiction—and who were then unequipped to protect their children (citizens) from the epigenetic trauma of displacement. This is the author’s protective “document”; these are her “papers”.


Following files recovered from Cabinet 6.17.1973.XX, Portsmouth Naval Base. Exiled subject reached a complex, domestic pact with units 1.11 & 10.30.

A girl is a chrysalis, an ornament. Formed from an inexorable, nuclear choice. Once

unobstructed, the subject shares parallel experiences with a luminary —— psychogeneology, for instance.

A girl has fallen behind in the United States, dwindling down to nothing, tripping over

her own dead languages, an attempt to become fully seen, fully scene again

by some self (later redacted).

S.O.S. steel wool needles on the back,

S.O.S. beet-blood skin under fingernails.

A girl arrived, came from two whom arranged and constructed a pellucid 

frame, pulled the subject down 

(similar to a film screen)

and proceeded to set up. Bystanders view ferocity and bile projected upon

original skin, but life is pre-recorded film. Break into the projection booth to disrupt it, but the disruption is also

pre-determined, so it does not amount to disruption at all.

Late night features for several decades:

The Booze Returns

Adulterers Reveal Nothing

Revenge of the Molester 

The Denial 

For whom these personal dramas recurred: “the midnight show.”

Additional details:

a girl attempts to develop

dark room. Harsh light impeded

her process time. Torture devices

identified: metaphor belts. Notches across abdomen, shredded skin, small of back a whistling hem.

A girl identifies with chaos, transparency. Little-to-no self.

Post-surveillance: “It was good. I could shape-shift. It was convenient. But eventually it became apparent that I required diplomatic skills to globally survive. Required support and defense. Left to my own devices.”



Apparent balance, 

failing subzero, 

regain it 

with temporary 


Vestibular neurology, 

retinal duality,

always “in” something 

and simultaneously

very purposefully 

“out of it.” 

A girl throws herself 

into things, constantly 

destroying herself, 

invites struggle, 

(which is very Buddhist; 

engaging challenge). 


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