Solid Quarter

Blood Jet Poetry Series in New Orleans, weekly poetry and music as well as open mic performances

Visit Trembling Pillow Press for poetry books, broadsides, chapbooks, and Solid Quarter Magazine.

Megan Burns' Poeticsofbone&city project on Tumblr

Saturday, November 14, 2015

[field map for a living specimen]


by the taste on my lips: this treaty we met splintering before even made whole this nothing carries me like a bi of skin the losing of you came sudden like a flood we cater the space we are made to occupy a strung along vestige/ now this minutiae rounding i would think you could forgive me anything but now you gather up loss like a woolery/ a carding/ cradle this sheeping/ a mewling that feathers me down/ breaking a chirp that rustles, oh dear loneliest of heart spaces i would return a bargain once made against feeling/ traveled lengthwise i had to cut the thick lines of regret/ i had to cut & cut long after the bleeding stopped/ to free a wound/ i couldn't speak like any other mouth that gets stopped up with loss/ how do you wander so far to come up empty handed, a breathful of beauty/ it rubs the gently rocking/ take hold/ take hands i felt before i felt/ how i would table this/ how you can never have all that you desire/ this is how you parcel this is the wedge of sweetness offered you get this small ration/ heart-throat

gathering not chance
this upset of time
where a sudden        untethered
i don't want & want
can't turn it over / some singing
what do you do to a wound that won't close
wander in a dreaming of what is not real
so you go somewhere like anyone might
to die alone: grief like a sobering
grief like the echo to this line
now a sistering means to hold the hollow of where you were


undo the father
a taken back referral
not specific but this archetype
how family breaks against us
the grain edged
until none & then
a wander lonely as in a dream
where you can identify only strangers
in a fabricated geography where want
was the tangible realness

for with children
in some ways once you say
it it is a truth
the parent's ability to structure
a whole lifetime
we know nothing about words
though all our trade was done in them

"More mundanely it was she [U. Zurn] as we read in a letter by Bellmer from Berlin dated 8.7.1954 who had the duty of typing up the manuscripts" -Malcolm Green, Intro to Hans Bellmer's The Doll

Oscar Kokoscha 1920s painter
famous doll made as a surrogate for his lost love

Freud's The Uncanny

Sunday, November 08, 2015

[field map for a living specimen]

4.15.12-4.16.12 (Brooklyn, New York)

"He maps himself in it it? How? In so far as he isolates the function of the mask and plays with it. [Man] in effect, knows how to play with the mask as that beyond which there is the gaze." -Lacan, The Four Fundamental Concepts of Psycho-Analysis

one does not [  ] cease playing a role simply, because one has begun to understand it. - James Baldwin

object: central complex for the collision - to interpret alone or in a group at the rate at which outside of the mind determines & begins to order the external opinions/ cut down & formed by the first impression then whittled away by every further subsequent thought

body-in-pieces/ body without pieces

the internal rearrangement presupposed for external structure
dolled in extensions [multiple mimicry]
divided into quartered facial contortions
cracked reflected
vetted in the Artic colded hard
fronted as laughter's last result   last resort: retreat
vacation rental culled that spring
overt violence gives us the excuse
of not thinking too hard
or does it help encapsulate
what moves/ what helps keep the cage's bars holding --
attack-- resistance of normative playback [first break] from initial solid view
[who breaks rank]
contrast to what/  sonorous rhythm should do --absence of resolution

tangled in the trespass place/ a line not knotted/ studied as sinister/ studied as wood rot/ penciled in blue, not one but two/ & eyed up along avenues/ as if explanation in its winged deference/ give me a dressing down/ a measured glance I could copy/ out a faceless gutter/ gutter's great & plentiful/ sloppy catalogues/ of how to track a tortoise's back

terrible in our moments of most unabashed human/ trotted out show pony amid founts/ of breathing abyss: the colonade where peeked summer's crept up by degrees & we lay spent among asters & day lillies, mouth crammed with dandelion stems

crammed aghast in beauty's last footfall the drip drop my little bird's chatter it's the morning's swerve as it creaks its way downhill each crunchy step; to falter bunches of rammed revolvers each caliber is its shot face explosions of petals that are falling about, its existing & its absolute a(versions) / rounded about as invisible exotics roasted & crannied nooks brumbled/ broached in the vernal absolute -- oh hosta of exacting -- so clovered in the maw's juice/ junction
quartered in the rules/ ruling class that lined up like stacks of cards/ crossed hairs/ crosswise

 NOTE: Yogasana 118 3rd Ave at Wycoff/ St. Mark's 6PM 5:30 (aside: where I do yoga with Nicole Peyrafitte and Pierre Joris while in Brooklyn)

wandering about the frenetic runs to be a flattened response- face first in fist fulls- awash in the grumbling the season's laterst equation- I think that last bit has a falling off remembrance- the way a city is a bitten back, chomped sway
alerted to the block's exact dimensions how to cut about the corners sliced sliced spirals for an easy tabling    trapped in the imaginary mask that you walk about in if the reality is less than satisfying- less tan even in the adding up so over hours & afternoons the last bits became unglued -- prodded as the latest embers flamed up in their little red open mouths- shouting obscene & then fllickering each winking eye

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My New Book: Commitment from Lavender Ink Press

I have a new collection coming out this month from Lavender Ink
Available for ordering now online: 

I'll be at AWP this year debuting this book:

Lavender Ink and Diálogos authors will be featured at two readings at AWP. This one celebrates new releases and is jointly sponsored by Chax Press and will also feature readings by their authors, including Charles Alexander himself. 

On Thursday, April 9 come see and hear:
Marc Vincenz and Tom Bradley reading from This Wasted Land.
Pablo Medina reading from his translation of Virgilio Piñera's The Weight of the Island
Mark Statman reading from That Train Again
Alexis Levitin reading his translation of Santiago Vizcaino's Destruction in the Afternoon, as well Santiago reading from the original
Megan Burns reading from Commitment
Chris Shipman reading from T. Rex Parade
With special appearances by Nancy Dixon (N.O. Lit: 200 Years of New Orleans Literature), Vincent Celluci (Fuck Poems), Michael Tod Edgerton, and likely more....
Segue Cafe
609 South 10th Street
Minneapolis, MN 55404

The second event is on Friday night, jointly sponsored by Gold Wake Press. See
Details here also:
Friday, April 10, 2015
7 - 9 PM
Lavender Ink/Gold Wake Press Reading with Laura Madeline Wiseman, Michael Tod Edgerton, Megan Burns, Chris Shipman, Sara Henning, Kyle McCord, Joshua Butts, Rebecca J.R. Lachman, Erin Elizabeth Smith, and Mary Buchinger Bodwell
The Crooked Pint
501 South Washington Avenue
Minneapolis, MN

Saturday, August 30, 2014

What are the private fantasies of young girls?

the doll itself
is a great empty
wanting to be played with

any man who transgresses
sexes her
what you begin
unbuckling expectation
as first assent
she never says no
& she is perfect

better to hold you
with my gaze
if your eyelids are removed

the harmonics of cutting
her open hole to hole

anyone can fill a doll
with what they hate
about themselves

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Velocity:: this life

be stark in the world in which
all that heart breaking brightness will

            -RBD, draft 96: Velocity

suicide is a nowhere land
the living wade
chest deep, arms below
the surface   numb & where are we?
down in a no-tell breath
grace awash hide back tongue murmur made save
not echo just tumbling this sad
this life     & here i go my love
barely cloaks me
tell me how to house grief
it won’t stay calm: faster than light
faster than the fall of night
I will come darkly
hold   this is a breach
I hold the line even when I forget how
a puppetry of living
this & this & this
shadow side here nothing holds
what a lie, what a beautiful casket of doubt

I go to language to field the darkness

come for me fast, what happens
alone, what happens in our heads
how I tremble at the door you left open
empty lot under night
there is that there & alone
once I was a type of double, siblinged
now this always  try to follow
empty house city of cruel forget
city of rebuilt permanent rot
you can do everything right, they say
but of course we don’t, we rarely break even
these are all just stories of how our lives went

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Countdown: A Series of Divorcing (Beginnings & Endings)

I started keeping a journal shortly after my husband of 10 years moved out in February of 2013. I wanted him to go, was surprised he agreed to leave, and knew as he had so often threatened me that the backlash would be nearly fatal to me. I thought if I can survive this, if I can be here in the moments and process this as it is happening, maybe I can emerge whole. These are the things we tell ourselves when there is nothing but unknown and fear.

Here is how it begins on March 17, 2013: 

"I don't want to feel anymore today
and prefer the symbolic world. 
I have been living poems for so long I'm only
a figure and I'm glad. "    -Alice Notley, Culture of One

I would like to think poetry brought us together, that it was something we did well like making three amazing human beings. But I think too, we hid there. We imagined because of it, we were something else. We lived in words and not in the space between us. When we talked, we talked too much about too many things and never just sat with feeling. I wonder too, if the erratic, unstable behavior I see more clearly in the last year separated from him is the stuff I chalked up to being eccentric, to being a poet. I mean, when you are at home with the kids and he doesn't show up till 4am drunk after a reading. That's normal right? That's what poets do. When the control and passion blind everything, financial sense and responsibilities, well that's just him being a poet. But I was a poet too, and I was never afforded the same generosity. His poetry allowed him to be irresponsible, flighty, crazy, and undependable. My poetry allowed me to pick up the pieces, to hold it together, to steal time to write in between pregnancies and babies. His writing was a given, from the largest room in the house that was his "office and library" to the second floor porch where I was not to disturb him to his late night bar hopping where he talked poetry till the wee hours with other poets, mostly single, males who didn't have 3 children and a wife at home.

 March 17, 2013: 

There's no way to tell a stone it's a stone, to tell water to be less. A woman too can only be so much in world always at war against her. There's fighting and then there's fighting for your life. 

 March 19, 2013:
... the breaking I will admit to, I said to someone: this life is overwhelming and all the emotions. handle what you can handle. make and make and poetry. always the poetry. these lines that draw and draw us.

I met Dave at the Faulkner Literary Festival in 2000. He was married and I was in a relationship with someone. He came to a reading I gave and shortly after I attended a workshop he held in poetry with the New Orleans School for Imagination. I remember the first time I went to his house and saw his extensive library. I thought I could spend my life with someone who had this many books because I would never run out of things to read. I knew nothing about love or marriage. I barely knew myself. I was 23.

Being married to a poet made me a better poet especially in the beginning. Dave was supportive, he was enthusiastic, he knew who I was talking about, who I should read and why. He knew tons of poets and taught me how to host readings, how to put on events, how to make broadsides, how to make magazines, how to read deeply, how to write harder. I was bought and sold on the mystery of what it was to be a poetry couple. In 2001, Dave handed me Bernadette Mayer's unpublished MS Ethics of Sleep and said you are going to publish this. It took nearly ten years later, but I did. I told him I wanted to publish books and he opened the door to that. I did the work though; I laid out that manuscript while the baby played at my feet. Just like I got a MFA while taking care of 2 kids and rebuilding after Katrina. I always did the work, but it always felt like so much of the work was Dave's work. The patriarchal standards that divide the world were just as sharp in the poetry world. Dave was ten years older, so I could never catch up. And the gap became a widening point of contention as the shine of him being the teacher wore off and I wanted to just be a poet in the world. Not a poet-partner, not a wife-poet, not a student- poet, not the person who fulfilled the ideas and made the practical happen.

March 23, 2013: 

I found completing most things impossible. how to be better plugged in, how to not war ourselves to death, after the fact--we were still addicted to the wreckage. 

In May of 2013, Dave petitioned to gain sole custody of our children. He told the courts I was an unfit mother who endangered the children's lives. For as long as I live, I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive this. I remember the day the children were supposed to come home. I hadn't seen them in 3 days and Dave texted me to tell me he had decided I couldn't see them. He wouldn't let me see or talk to them for 5 days until the judge saw us and decided to grant me supervised visitation pending an evaluation. I had to prove I wasn't the lies that he had made up. And as usual, he didn't have to do anything. The kind of man or husband or father he was was never put on trial. Being a woman means you are already guilty, in the face of money and privilege, you have to prove you are a fit mother even if you have always been one, based simply on the word of a man.

June 21, 2013 

I had to expand big enough to fill my life, it was no longer an option to be brief, to be fitted. The fatal couple is an unending/ what do they want? the world to bend & bend. I could run or I could write, either way you have to push the emotion out as Sartre says, we engage the abyss. We go under b/c we enjoy going under: the loss of self in another. How much can you take me away from this moment? 

Oct 1, 2013:

Dear Other: 
of everything written & said between us, we were never able to find the right language. 
This unique, atypical 
perfect failing 
is us. 

Sunday, July 06, 2014

Poem for Tracy McTague: To Spook the Crows

To Spook the Crows

for Tracey McTague

caught glistening
amid this blown down living: glints
of shade           birthday as a song
blush breasted  ivory morn
a million miles of home
caustic on the line
a wish     detail shifting  the paradigm
where once in faltering weep we dared
to slumber      it keeps
this lineage we scrapped 
too: beauty so startling & love
occurs somewhere
in a spectrum is it clear
to ask more questions
i want you in the you wanting
& it’s a dance maddening
bound as we are to cawing
collecting baby teeth, torn blossoms
detritus of what we fought for
against the fissures
the eye clamps    inside this beating
dark orbs catching flight


Poetry News, Reviews, Readings, etc.

I've decided to begin writing here again after this extremely tumultuous last year of my life. Sometimes I forget what being a poet means, but apparently I cannot forget being a poet.

Here's some writing I did recently regarding one of my favorite poets Nathan Hauke and his newest collection In the Marble of Your Animal Eyes. “Bees errand the eaves to gather,” Nathan Hauke writes in his new collection In the Marble of Your Animal Eyes. Here a series of untitled poems coalesce to present an overarching natural theme underscored by the attention to the page brought forth by the markings and details written onto the typed pieces that keep the reader engaged in the making of the poem. 

You can read the full review over at H_NGM_N sixteen.

Here's some other news:

Trembling Pillow Press is getting ready to release its summer collection Trick Rider by Jen Tynes. Tynes publishes Horseless press, and they have been putting out a stunning amount of publications in the last few years along with their online Horseless Review. One of their newest collections by Tim Earley is on SPD's June Bestsellers. You can check it out here.

I mention Tim Early because he is one of the many visiting poets coming to read at Blood Jet Poetry Series this fall. Other great visiting writers include Dara Wier, Paige Taggart, Laura Goldstein, Megan Kaminski, & Joe Zendarski. As always New Orleans hosts a bevy of local poets who will round out the season as well including Jordan Soyka, Kristin Sanders, JS Makkos, Joseph Bienvenu, Kaycee Filson, Andrea Young, and Sandra Grace Johnson.

This is Blood Jet's second fall season at BJs in the Bywater. We feature 2-3 poets each show followed by an open mic space for our audience to share their work. I like to think of it as my living room of poetry every Wednesday night, Sept 3- Dec 17th at 8PM.

I mention Laura Goldstein and Megan Kaminski because I'll be reading in Lawrence, KS with Laura Goldstein and Simone Savannah on Aug 31 at the Taproom Poetry Series. Then  I'll be following Goldstein back to Chicago to do a reading Sept 2 with my fellow Lavender Ink poets Laura Madeline Wiseman and Sara Henning at the Wit Rabbit Series. We'll also be back in Chicago in the spring to read for the Red Rover Series.

Marthe Reed publishing with Nous-Zot press released a chapbook of mine titled i always wanted to start over this spring. I'll be reading from that along with my latest MS titled Commitment that I am hoping to find a home for soon.

Laura Madeline Wiseman and I talked about our books from Lavender Ink recently over at PANK. I should update my online bio because the one they use here says I am still married. Yikes!

That's my other big non poetry related news. I'll be officially divorced July 16th.
Here's to new beginnings. Like I said in my last chap: i always wanted to start over.