Out of stock

poems by

Mary Weems

Poetry book, 80 pages, $14 cover price

ISBN: 978-1-59948-386-3

Released: 2012  OUT OF STOCK


MWeems_PxMary Weems

Mary E. Weems is a lover of long walks, words, water and people. She’s also a poet, playwright, imagination-intellect theorist, and scholar of urban education. Weems has published several short collections, most notably Closure(kattywompous press) White (Wick Chapbook), and Tampon Class (Pavement Saw Press); one full-length collection An Unmistakable Shade of Red, and The Obama Chronicles (Ohioana Book Award Finalist); Weems has been published in several anthologies including Spirit and Flame: An Anthology of African American Poetry (SUNY Press) and Boomer Girls(Iowa University Press). Journal publications include Obsidian III, African American Review, Xcp: Cultural Poetic, andQualitative Inquiry. Her ‘play’ Closure about the foreclosure crisis told from the perspective of objects left in the house directed by Terrence Spivey and choreographed by Diane McIntyre, opened the 2010 season at Karamu. Mary Weems is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Education and Allied Studies at John Carroll.

Mary Weems’ For(e)closure is a forensic analysis of an unceremonious crisis and current catastrophe where profits are plastered over the interests and corporeal necessities of people whose lives have been uprooted, upended and undermined into upheaval. This is no drive-by depiction of desperation brought on by deceit, but an insider’s on-the-table autopsy where headlines are housed then stripped away to make room for the personification of the inanimate and animated lives of homes and those who once occupied them-where even the hole produced by a doorstop gives perspective. What is foreclosed here, ultimately, is humanity; and in Weems’ capable surgical hands, those involved in the dehumanizing enterprise of deception, do not have the last word or prepotency. For(e)closure is a collection that is vital, necessary, right on time and right on the money, giving voice to the voiceless whose lives have been destroyed and lost in the cold, calculating, man-made disaster of displacement.

–Tony Medina,
author of An Onion of Wars and Broke on Ice


For(e)closure is a timely and textured chronicle of the human costs of the house foreclosure crisis in the United States, which dispossessed millions: “this is Depression in motion/what happens/before more jobs are lost, markets crash/like cars.” Combining photographic ekphrasis, news headlines, vignettes, lyrics, and object-personifications, Mary Weems’ poems explore the human cost of widespread greed. Drawing upon her own experiences of home and house-impermanence, Weems creates an unflinchingly detailed chronicle of loss. Merging her voice to the voices to the dispossessed, Weems refuses closure, making elegies of outrage against the terrible silence. We can be grateful for such insight and imaginative vision, not only for her singing the broken, but also for singing the fighters and survivors: “no matter what/I won’t leave/not giving in to/ banker’s creed.”

–Phil Metres,
author of To See the Earth


Foreclosure, the latest poetic effort by Dr. Mary E. Weems is a compassionate and profound examination of one of this nation’s ongoing and contemporary tragedies even as we speak. One just needs to gaze at the table of contents to gain insight at where the text is going: Worry, Last Day, Dinner Table etc. to understand that this is a unique book that speaks in the voice of not only the displaced of this economic maelstrom but also in the voice of the empty rooms and objects left behind that once made a home. These poems tear the fabric of the heart as they bear witness to the crumbling lives of the lower and upper middle class. Weems is a prophetess of the same caliber as the late great, Octavia Butler in this symphony of sorrow hiding in plain sight. This book stands in bold relief to the so called “high art” contemplating it’s navel while Rome burns!

–Lamont B. Steptoe,
Winner of an American Book Award



Peter Krouse, Reporter
The Cleveland Plain Dealer, 5-12-11




He looks for a job every day
even Sundays. At first always
alone in the kitchen cause he beats
me out of the bed in the morning
cooks our daughter’s breakfast, then ours,
washes the dishes, wanting me to know.

I try to be with him without being obvious,
quiet as a shadow, shame he feels
for reasons I can’t understand
leans in the room like a weight.

It’s been six months and each visit to the unemployment
office takes longer. I don’t ask where he
was when he walks in sober after midnight,
he does not stop me each morning when I get
dressed to go out to earn a living I don’t feel.


Even the Kitchen Sink


This is Depression in motion, what happens
before more jobs are lost, markets crash
like cars, breadlines cover the country
like the lines to vote for Obama.

When a crew steps up to strip it down,
they leave footprints and fingerprints,
places family used to touch: Christmas
scratches made dragging trees, gifts inside
places people gathered in quiet corners.

I wonder if anyone thought about an old
porcelain sink, if they noticed
when they disconnected my faucets,
that my skin stayed wet long after
I was dumped on the scrap heap.



Ranch Dressing


Martha had one floor to fall down. Love, the missing tiles, his rage a closed door, blood clots on the floor. Rainy day. He leaves, she grieves for goodness, a sweet caress, a night of sleep. He gives her money for bills, she spends it on everything but, he’s addicted to porn, but she’s the one he calls slut. She picks up the mail, finds out the house is lost, buys mice and cyanide, vacuums, dusts, washes his clothes, alphabetizes his tools, bathes, get dressed in white, cooks. Serves him a dinner salad with homemade ranch dressing and Chardonnay. Asks about his day.



Whole in the Wall


Houses know when sky
‘s about to fall, moisture
in air outside, hunted faces,
empty boxes, floors undone,
repairs stop, loose boards

furniture picked, delivered to homes
with room for something owners
give up, less to mourn.

Sometimes Anger appears, heads
for the crazy house, cuts through walls
with fists, axes, chain saws attached to hands
that wave red flags in a sea of white:
for(e)closure papers shredded,
left on the lawn.
If you would like to read more or FOR(e)CLOSURE by Mary Weems, order your copy today.

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