Blue and Green Music

Kendra DeColo

after the painting by Georgia O’Keefe

Tonight I'm in the crowd                aching to enclose the woman                                who strips off petalsof stolen light, to touch the rim                of static before nakedness                                is another closingdoor. If pleasure cannot be asked                but given into, why do I come here                                if only to be unseen?When we lived together,                my sister returned                                each night lacedin dregs of glitter                to study after long shifts                                of letting customers buy herdrinks, never telling them                her real name. Now I understand                                what keeps us wholein the face of daylight                after hours underground, how                                it meets the eyestraight on like a woman                kneeling to gather                                what you neededto give. My sister                called herself Ruby,                                blurring the space around herlike a myth. Or maybe the myth                is snow falling outside                                the club, her bodyuntouched by the precision                of notes wincing                                in her hair, an alarmin the dusk, how I still need                to imagine her lit with silence                                before she risesinto another song, the color                of light escaping a body, the blue-green eye                                at the center of a flame.

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Kendra DeColo is the author of I Am Not Trying to Hide My Hungers From the World (BOA Editions, 2021); My Dinner with Ron Jeremy (Third Man Books, 2016); and Thieves in the Afterlife (Saturnalia Books, 2014), selected by Yusef Komunyakaa for the 2013 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. She is also coauthor of Low Budget Movie (Diode, 2021), a collaborative chapbook written with Tyler Mills.

DeColo has received awards and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell, Millay, Split this Rock, and the Tennessee Arts Commission. She has performed her work in comedy clubs and music venues, including the Newport Folk Festival, and she has taught at Sarah Lawrence College and Vanderbilt University. DeColo served as the Guest Editor of Poem-a-Day in March 2024. She lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Cover of Graffitied Heart

Sleepy Hollow, New York

Hudson Valley Writers Center

Graffitied Heart is the 2024 Conversation Chapbook by Ellen Bass & Kendra DeColo, newly published in February, 2024.

Graffitied Heart, by Ellen Bass and Kendra DeColo includes searing, sensuous, serious and hilarious poems in conversation—plus a conversation—about how fully embodied lives mark the heart in no-holds-barred lines

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