Poetry chapbook, 34 pages, $8 cover price
($6 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)
This title is part of Main Street Rag’s Limited Edition Author’s Choice chapbook series.
About The Author
KAYLA SARGESON earned an MFA in Poetry Columbia College Chicago, where she was the recipient of a Follett Fellowship and served as an editor for Columbia Poetry Review. Her work has been anthologized in the national anthology, Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye as well as Voices from the Attic Volume XIV, and Dionne’s Story. Her poems also appear or are forthcoming in 5 AM, Columbia Poetry Review, Chiron Review, The Main Street Rag, andProsody: NPR-affiliate WESA’s weekly show featuring the work of national writers. She co-curates the Mad Fridays reading series and is the poetry editor for Pittsburgh City Paper‘s online feature Chapter & Verse.
Kayla Sargeson’s Mini Love Gun pushes the boundaries of taste and acceptable speech–and then pushes further, casting light where we’d expect to find shadows, secrets, repression. The poems might shock, but only because of Sargeson’s commitment to rendering the shock of the new without evasive riddling or obfuscation. Even when the poems linger on uneasy subject matter, they do so with an ironic, ribald sense of humor, like when she imagines herself as the spawn of Ozzy Osbourne (“I love a bathead burger–extra rare”) or as the woman with the longest fingernails in the world (“I can reach that itch on your back from twenty-seven feet away”). Sargeson speaks in the voices of figures the mainstream wants little to do with, and she does this with empathy and vulnerability. At times unsettling, and wise as it is wise-cracking, Mini Love Gun reminds us that the so-called “other” we relegate to the margins is really just another version of ourselves.
–for Nancy Spungen
I want the gun necklace, the one around your neck
in exhibit 181 A in your mother’s book.
I want your punkassleathercomesuckme heels/faux British accent/
rasp of Siiiiiid/rampaging around London/I want your junkiedon’tgiveafuckifIdiedoingwhatever
I want the list of men I fucked to look like yours:
Dee Dee Ramone/Eliot Kidd/Johnny Thunders/Joe Perry/
Iggy Pop/Syl Sylvian/Jerry Nolan/Steven Tyler/
Sid Vicious (and all the other dirtyrudeundocumented punks)
Let me tell you something-
sometimes I want to stab my therapist.
She says everything’s okay.
You know that.
You wanted to die when you were born,
umbilical cord a noose around your neck.
The way you never shut the fuck up even when all the punks want you to,
ignore when they call you Nauseating Nancy.
Cheetah Chrome says: If Sid hadn’t killed her, I woulda.
He’s my step cousin,
but I have my mouth on his cock.
doing 85 on 65,
Ohio River Boulevard to Pittsburgh.
I’m fucked-up, too,
in the front seat of his big-ass truck
while I’m thinking of his friend Joe
who has strong hands, fat lips,
a meaty cock.
Not thinking of my boyfriend Kyle
who thinks pretty and sweet.
My step cousin takes a hand off the steering wheel,
shoves my head/he likes it when I gag.
I don’t love him, but I love this-cock,
his hand grabbing a hunk of hair,
the air on my exposed back.
I keep my eyes closed,
imagine the view of Pittsburgh from the Fort Pitt tunnels
as my step cousin
shoots his load,
my city laid before me.
At Flying Monkey Tattoo
Nobody told me the sex is in the ink,
the seven vibrating needles entering breastbone.
My first tattoo is a quill that curves between my tits.
Lying in a leather chair, dress pulled down
Mike the artist goes out of his way to avoid
my bra-covered breasts, apologizes when his elbow
grazes my nipple.
How nice, I think.
Nice like lunch with an old friend and the friend picks up the tab,
first orgasm nice, lying spent thinking
so this is what it’s all about.
I didn’t realize until sixteen,
when I took Cody’s dick in my mouth
and didn’t gag,
how I love the cock.
Now I know it goes through me
like needles in a tattoo gun.
The woman in the chair across the room from me
is getting a “tramp stamp,” her lover watching.
She screams over the AC/DC Mike plays on the stereo.
You’re taking it better, he says, his lip ring
blocking his bottom front tooth.
He’s right, I don’t flinch.
In Cody’s attic I learned to lie still and breathe through my nose
even when I didn’t like what was happening to my body,
his cock in my mouth.
Thanks, I say to Mike.
The truth is I don’t mind the pain, the blood running
down my breast like cum down my teenage-girl throat.
If you would like to read more of Mini Love Gun by Kayla Sargeson, order it today.