Let the Spiders Out
Brittney Blaskowitz Prichard
ISBN: 978-1-59948-924-7, ~64 pages, $14 (+ shipping)
Projected Release Date: June, 2022
An Advance Sale Discount price of $8.50 (+ shipping) is available HERE prior to press time. This price is not available anywhere else or by check. The check price is $12.50/book (which includes shipping) and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001.
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About The Author
Brittney Blaskowitz Prichard is the author of two chapbooks: Lessons in Disaster and Reverberate. Her poems have also appeared in North American Review, Peeks and Valleys, Cotton Alley Writer’s Review, and elsewhere. Prichard is an English instructor and has collaborated with Sinergismo, a performance art group, for twenty years. She lives in a geodesic dome in Charlotte, NC with her husband, a visual artist, and their three cats: LMNOP, Sweetie Legs, and Olive Primrose.
The brilliant, fierce, haunted, loving poems in Let the Spiders Out are all about everything. That’s quite an accomplishment! It’s amazing! These dazzling spirit poems, stuffed with ghost words and Elvis birds, are as capacious as life, and often more fun. Buckle up, Dear Reader—the journey’s bouncy, the destination’s the Unknown, the singing along in the car is a kind of grace—and we’ll meet, as everyone does, where great Art brings us, on the other side. ~Alan Michael Parker
Set in the mythic contemporary, these poems of personal/family transformation keep readers wonderfully off-balance as “[t]he reality of your reality consumes you.” Imaginative, at times even dream-like, the collection always returns to its grounding in the elemental realities of earth, blood, fire, flesh, water; intimately mystical, it confidently connects with wider cultural touchpoints from Dance Moms and Elvis memorabilia to methadone and global warming. Jump into these explorations! “Close your eyes, go under.” ~Claire Bateman, author of Scape and Wonders of the Invisible World
There was no sperm, no man.
It started in my mind,
and then it changed my eyes,
everything a metaphor: this flower,
this chair, this stained coffee cup.
It burrowed behind my breastbone,
rested under my ribs,
made a nest behind my belly button.
The other mothers do not know.
I’ve been hiding it for years,
but I can feel myself swelling,
the letters beginning to crown,
peeking out from beneath my summer dress.
Soon enough, I will hold it in my arms.
I begin to boil the water,
to practice my breathing,
to push and to wait
my body tense and tiring
and then the labor is finally over:
my beautiful, black-eyed baby.
I am slow to debut my baby,
keep it close to me, cocooned.
I would not let the doctors hold it.
I, too, wear protective gloves.
I need to ease into motherhood,
my body now altered, hollowed.
But my infant is unwavering, all hours
it cries for me to rearrange whole stanzas.
It will not stop wailing
even when I erase its mouth.
I take it to the park,
slathered in sunscreen, a hand-me-down bonnet,
antique lace christening gown.
It wants to swing with the other darlings,
to feel weightless like a bird,
but as soon as I get it soaring,
it falls onto the grass, moaning.
It is bruised, but not broken,
knees scraped, bleeding.
I do not know how to quiet it,
so I lift up my blouse and let it drink
from my ink-stained breast
saying “Hush now. Hush.”
A Part of the Clouds
As a child, I trained as a grocery store check-out clerk,
grabbed the canned goods out of the cabinets,
emptied the fridge of stale leftovers
rolled meatballs across the kitchen table,
bottles of beer and ketchup.
I’d punch their value into my father’s calculator
give myself a total, bag up,
turn around and unload again
hoping this time for something better
than cans of Spam and sweet peas,
dented chicken and stars.
Weekends, I moonlighted as a librarian
begged my brothers to check out copies
of Berenstain Bears or Beverly Cleary.
They’d owe me a dime for every day late.
This is how I saved up for the basket of lighters
I gave everyone for Christmas.
I wanted to be part of the clouds,
to unfurl my hair from its tight kept bun
to dance while they took slow drags on the patio.
I did not know I was killing everyone
with my thoughtful gift of fire.
My grandmother was a thief. First Blue, my blue goldfish.
She was only supposed to watch him for the weekend
while my family RVed to the ocean, all cramped up
and miserable, our house on slow wheels.
When I returned, running towards her
scraped knees and sunburn, she would not surrender.
She had him eating tiny flakes from her wrinkling hand,
jumping from his bowl to reach her.
“He’s mine now,” she said and that was that.
Ten years later, sixteen, I begged for a dog
for Christmas. My mother surprised me with a parakeet
in my stocking, a yellow serenader with black sideburns.
I named him Elvis, tried to hide my disappointment.
I had all but forgiven grandmother. Blue a distant memory.
My mother convinced she would not steal another companion,
made me leave Elvis in her company
while we searched for new apartments, a place without father.
And just like that, I lost them both, our new space
stripped of its tenors, no more shouting or song.
When I begged her to give him back to me,
she said I should have never left him in the first place.
Bad things happen when good girls leave their men behind,
all caged up.