[I feel too porous to read, and too empty to write]

Kelly Schirmann

I feel too porous to read, and too empty to write. In bed, I picture my whole body as a sea sponge—foamy and yielding, with big soft holes. I get angry with myself because this is not how a poet should be. A poet is emotional, yes, but rigid, too—they make their mess within a form, which is the only way people can stand them. I don’t know any forms and am drained of my feelings just from being alive. Still, supposedly, I want to be an artist. I eat buttered toast at the coffee table, thinking this over. When a tree is too slow to fruit, scientists invent new trees with quicker apples. This thought makes me scared, and emptier still. Who are the scientists? I wonder. What did a quick apple taste like?

Feature Date


Selected By

Share This Poem

Print This Poem

Kelly Schirmann is a writer, musician, and ceramicist from Northern California. She is the author of Popular Music and The New World, and the co-author, with Tyler Brewington, of Boyfriend Mountain and Nature Machine. Her debut collection, Popular Music, was named among the top poetry books of 2016 by Entropy Magazine and the Chicago Review of Books. She is the founding editor of Black Cake, a record label for contemporary poetry and other experiments that published over 20 digital albums of poetry from 2013-2015. Her music projects include(d) headband (solo), Sung Mountains (with Jay Fiske), and Young Family (with Sam Pink). Other projects include OMO, Public Access, Infinite Trademark, and Americans for Responsible Technology (ART). She currently lives in Western Montana, and at kellyschirmann.com.

“Through poetry and essay, Schirmann weaves sentimentality, irreverence, wit, politics, reflection, research, and philosophy into one harmonious soundtrack of our complicated, modern lives. In lesser hands, the result would be cacophony, but Schirmann’s brilliance alone is convincing connective tissue.”
The Chicago Review of Books

“[Schirmann] is a striving, musical mystic whose struggle is worked out right on the bandstand. The scope of her energies and the gut-bucket improvisation places her more in the realm of Coltrane and Ayler than anything a pop star would recognize.”
The Brooklyn Rail

Poetry Daily Depends on You

With your support, we make reading the best contemporary poetry a treasured daily experience. Consider a contribution today.