In stock

poems by

Kayla Sargeson

ISBN: 978-1-59948-525-6, 36 pages, cover price: $10

Projected Release date: April 6, 2015



Kayla Sargeson is the author of the chapbook Mini Love Gun (Main Street Rag, 2013). 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 Volumes XIV and XIX, and Dionne’s Story. Her poems also appear or are forthcoming in 5 AM, Columbia Poetry Review, Chiron Review, The Main Street Rag, and Prosody: NPR-affiliate WESA’s weekly show featuring the work of national writers. She co-curates the MadFridays reading series and is the poetry editor for Pittsburgh City Paper’s online feature Chapter & Verse. She lives in Pittsburgh where she teaches at the Community College of Allegheny County.

From Kayla Sargeson’s tender grit, we truly experience that poems are made of grief, and hunger, and lipstick, and violence, and frying pierogies in your underwear. BLAZE captures the primary job of the poet: to see exactly what is (no matter how terrifying), and keep looking anyway. These poems will make you braver for having read them. –Stacey Waite

“In the tattoo chair, I’m queen/ of concrete,” says Kayla Sargeson in one of her beautifully tough poems that fill BLAZE with such fire.  If her poems want destruction—and they do—it is only to tear down the concrete that separate us from each other.  “The night you died,” ends one of these heartbreaking elegies, “I dreamed of feathers and black pumps.”  These are poems that take unflinchingly hard looks at the lives we live and the way we fail.  “I’ve spent the past year memorizing your face,” one speaker says, longingly, turning the beloved into an image of power.  “I finally don’t care that you don’t know mine,” the speaker rejoins, wryly, because art is a kind of love, and vice versa.  These are poems of incredible longing, of incredible loss.  And still they dare.  They put on shimmer and shine and strut in their black pumps, in their black feather boas.  These poems—about heartbreak and death, about art that “churns the bottom of our stomachs”—these poems are going to save us. –James Allen Hall


Frying Pierogies on a Monday Night

−for Dan

How many women have stood like me,
in their underwear, flipping potato-filled
dough in a frying pan, a man on the brain?
I’d never admit to liking the sizzle,
the popping sound my stove makes.
The body wants weird things:
a pat on the head, raspberry-filled chocolate,
another blanket.
Last week I almost set my kitchen on fire,
didn’t know I had the back burner on
until I saw flames out of the corner of my eye,
like when I saw you standing in the doorway
of the tattoo shop, your body on fire with light.
I liked the flame, watched it burn my skull painting
until I had to put it out.

Death Poem w/Ouija

Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night freezing.
The windows are shut and the furnace is on.
I know some souls just can’t stay dead, need
a little more attention after their time’s up.
Their rowdy punkrock spirits will never be at ease.
But I can’t feel you. I don’t think you’re here.

It’s your ghost I want to visit me,
help pick out a new black dress,
decide between the plaid skirt or the black one,
to tell me it’s okay that I bought a new eye make-up palette
instead of paying bills.
So I get out my Ouija board, hope to talk to you,
but instead I just get pesty Paul Warhola,
who has a lot to say about his brother Andy.

Where are you, Christina, so beautiful and
peaceful in your grave, one year after you died?
Your lips the color of the strawberries you
liked to drown in your martinis.

I remember your baby shower,
your feet so swollen you had to wear flip-flops.
Nine months later, you’re dead
and I never said good-bye,
just wrote I love you
on your facebook wall over
and over, like that matters.
The night you died,
I dreamed of feathers and black pumps.

Meditations on the Corner of Your Cardigan

Three yellow cabs in a row.
A lesbian couple pushing a stroller.
I’ve never been the kind of woman with dreams like that:
white-picket-fence-two-smelly-babies-and-a-dog bullshit.
I’d like to go to Tahiti because it’s fun to say.
I like to dye my hair pink because.
A man’s tattoo, in block print: Even you can be happy.
Empty Dos Equis bottles make me happy.
Not to mention the pills I take to sleep
and wake up.
I forgot to tell you
that you look nice in that green cardigan, how
it brings out your eyes I pretend not to know the color of:
a kind of brown-green, but not hazel.
I trace the veins in your hand with my mind,
the slight crease in your cheek.
I’ve spent the past year memorizing your face.
I finally don’t care that you don’t know mine.

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