Posts Tagged ‘Girls from the River School’

Part 1!

Part 2!


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[Note: This may have just been one of the most self-serving things I’ve ever done. I’m only getting away with it because I have to for novel.]

[Dr. Robertson, if this isn’t what you wanted, please tell me. Either way, I had fun doing it.]

(This is a love poem for Tara Elizabeth-Lynn.)[1]


A heavy-bottomed glass[3] tipping over.
That’s what it felt like when her head dropped to my shoulder.

She is all things orange: clementines[4] peeled in single spiral,
Sewn back together with red thread, left on the sill[5] for winter;

Thai tea[6] swirled with clouds of rice milk[7], blooming underneath
My tongue, forever staining[8] the white cuffs of my shirt;

Peach pie out of season, frozen months before and discovered under bags of
Vacuum-sealed corn, the bottom burned black when it was finally baked;[9]

A heavy-bottomed glass tipping over.
That’s it felt like when her head dropped into my lap.

She was suspended there, airy, like silk scarves, and then
Sunk, leaving iodine[10] stains on my thighs

The tint of tainted orange and a sanitized
Feeling that I just couldn’t scrub off.

Andy[11] had said, “Everyone knows
Girls are like fireflies.[12]” But it wasn’t

Until I felt her leave that I knew
He meant grasping for light that goes

Dark in your palm.[13]

1. Tara Elizabeth-Lynn is more commonly known as Tara Toms from Tara Toms and the Tumbleweeds. Toms is the only person with a poem in the Girls from the River School series to not be directly associated with Susquehanna University.
2. Morris has noted that this title is taken from a poem written by Andrew Shiraki. The original line is, “Hey lover of mine / sweet clementine divine.”
3. Morris is most likely referring to a tumbler or highball glass, which has straight sides and, as is mentioned in the line, a heavy bottom. These glasses were weighted so that they would not easily tip over, which is the reason it is an important moment in the poem.
4. A small, seedless variety of mandarin orange. Clementines are characterized by their juicy interior that breaks easily into eight to fourteen sections and, as is pertinent to this line of the poem, its flexible and easily-removable peel. Even though clementines have a Wikipedia entry, Microsoft Word has never added them to their spell check roster as anything except for a proper name for a girl.
5. Short for windowsill. Sometimes the peels of clementines, which were popular in the winter months, as they were shipped to the United States from Spain, were dried on windowsills and used for potpourri.
6. A tea popular in American Thai restaurants. The tea is usually served cold in a tall glass with half and half or evaporated milk floated on the top. The tea, which is usually just a strongly brewed black tea, sometimes with orange blossom water or star anise added, is colored with red and yellow dyes, giving it a bright orange color.
7. A milk substitute made from brown rice. Morris has noted that her best friend Abby used to make thai tea with rice milk and that that was the first way she ever drank it.
8. Again, the tea had such a strong dye in it, that it would, indeed, stain a shirt for a long time, if the shirt were not properly treated before being washed.
9. In an interview, Morris said that this references a peach pie she found in the freezer of her Grandparent’s house, six months after her grandmother had died. It was the first and last peach pie that she had ever eaten of her grandmother’s, and she considered it truly magical to have found it after she had thought that she would never eat her grandmother’s cooking again. Her grandmother’s middle name was Clementine.
10. Iodine was commonly used as an antiseptic and was also known for its orange color.
11. “Andy” is an imaginary boy in a song written and performed by Tara Toms about a boy named Andy who was every drug that Tara had ever taken and the loneliness that these drugs and Andy caused her.
12. Originally spoken by Steven Schrey one night after playing Frisbee, probably on a Sunday, in the Summer of ‘07, when he was driving Morris home in his Jeep with the top down. Morris knew it was poetry, but it took her a year and a half to fit it in the right place and have it mean something.
13. Morris notes that Tom Bailey, her fiction professor at Susquehanna University, originally said this line in describing the end of a short story. He said, “You know how the end of some short stories are like grasping for a firefly? You reach your hand out and think you’ve caught it, but when you look in your palm, it’s gone.”

And I can’t even pretend that I didn’t come up with the idea of linking the few things that I did on here from Nadia‘s hypertext final project that she did for Randy Robertson’s History of the Book class in the Spring of ’09.  Nothing is new!  Just think of them as footnotes to footnotes, since I can’t make footnotes to footnotes (I tried). Though I will say that I kind of did something similar when I was fifteen and thought that I was cool.

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Okay, so I’ve completely revamped my structure for my chapbook that will (hopefully) come out this fall.  By come out I mean “I will print a whole bunch of copies and give them to people.”  I have to give huge props to Brian Henry and Quarantine for this one, but I think I do something different enough with it that its okay.  Also, I’m 20 (21 by then) and get to fuck around, right?

So, imagine this: Cover “Girls from the River School” with some sick print that Alicia makes me (Alicia Ritter, parallel in life)
All the contents or whatever bullshit
The quote, “Oh, Susquehanna / And I wonder, what did they do with the bodies?” Which is from that Defiance Ohio song which I have been trying to work into this goddamn thing for awhile.
Light poem
Section one “Girls from the River School” (aka all dem luv pmz)
Dark Poem
Section two “(Girls)”

In (Girls) what I do is, much like Brian Henry from Quarantine, is take cut up lines, from the bottom up, of my ever so saccharine love poems and basically make it sound like I mutilated and murdered all of the girls I have crushes on. I first did this with my “(Love Poem to a Women who Never went by Anne)” (Is that the name–it seems longer–whatever) because that one was already sort of “stalker”-y. Karla suggested in my portfolio that I do this with all of the poems, and it’s turning out very well.  It also creates a beautiful balance to how sweet the other poems are.  Plus there’s the recycling-language-togive-everything-new-meaning-we-already-have-words-just-reuse-them thing.  I told you I read the July/August Issue of Poetry very closely!

Anyway, I just had this revelation the other day and am feeling pretty good about it. You know, because no one has told me it sucks yet. Jesus, I’m so angsty.

In other news–Knitting, beat my roommate to Cupboard Maker Books to get cheap novels, Louie Land beat me to DJ Ernst’s, Spun some cotton, dyed wool with the kool-aid, blah blah blah

All my affections,


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Liz has a new muse:

The New Muse

The New Muse

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So, feeling a little better about fiction, at least my naked pictures story.  I wrote a solid two pages of dialogue yesterday and plan on re-writing the first couple of pages today giving context to his daughter and shit.  You know, you know.  Okay, so maybe I’ve decided that the Grandfather story will have to be in third person and that I haven’t even started the re-write yet, but whatever.  At least I’m getting something done.

I met with Karla on Friday about the first super rough manuscript of Girls from the River School, the chapbook I’m hoping to self publish by the end of the semester.  Which is ambitious as shit, considering I also have to do this whole fiction portfolio thing as well as the poetry portfolio thing.  Day-yum.  However, Karla gave me some really good feedback about making my chapbook cohesive and told me that I should consider that my level of writing makes me a real poet that people outside of SU might want to read!  She didn’t use those words exactly, but I walked out of there thinking, “Oh my God, Karla Kelsey respects me as a writer.”

I then went straight to the library and checked out a bunch of books on typography and book making that I don’t have time to read. Neat!

All my affections,



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