The Painted I


Product Description

poems by

Lauren Reynolds

Poetry book, 80 pages, $14 cover price

($9 if ordered from the MSR Online Bookstore)

ISBN: 978-1-59948-268-2

Release date: 2010

About The Author

Lauren Reynolds is an English major currently finishing up her degree at Wayne State University in Michigan, where she has lived all her life. Her poems have appeared in magazines such as Riverwind, Skyline, Burning Bush and The Red Hawk Review, The Storyteller and the Wayne Literary Review and a short story in Third Wednesday. Her chapbook Worshipfully and other poems was published by Maverick duck press. In addition to poetry, she has written a play, Dog Girl Suicide, which was produced by Wayne State University’s theater department.


Lauren Savatsky Reynolds is Detroit’s young poet of the future. Her unique language, metaphoric stylings and poetic sensibilities are fresh, innovative and engaging. When a young poet writes lines like “The dressmaker’s dummy / watches over Venus. / She is her mouth-less / mother star…” you know you are in for some very fresh and original new poetry. Ms. Reynolds is part of the new wave and a new direction in contemporary American poetry.

–M.L. Liebler,
Editor of Working Words: Punching the Clock
and Kicking Out The Jams
(Coffee House Press, 2010)

‘Birth/ is a lonely thing,’ Reynolds demonstrates in _The Painted I_, a book that flits back and forth between self image and art image, reflection and refraction. The volume records the emergence of a poetic voice haunted by ‘fire demons’ as she tries on and discards various perspectives like rich but ultimately disdained garments. These columnar poems connect artwork to dreamwork and become an architecture of inquisitive wordplay that echoes with its own isolation and the desire to embalm memory’s slipping images.”

–Caroline Maun,
author of The Sleeping and Cures and Poisons.


Pope Innocent X Melts

No longer born
of roots are our words.
Blood lynched
and wilting,
he is the flower
with screaming
constriction. Golden rod
weeping, he’s bound
to his wrought iron chair.
Museum casketed,
he cries, wide mouthed,
framed like his body.
His once proud robes drape
agony over his electric
He melts into past,
like back-porch, screen door
He burns
like the eyes
that watch him.

The Gates of Hell

Footsteps on suburban
concrete. Picture saddle-
shoes, fifties waists, bee hive
But this could be anytime
Even death gets tired
of sharing limelight
with misery,
and pretending
she’s someone
who she’s not.

A boy and his friends
listen at the top of stairs
as his mother and the woman
at the door exchange wilts.
Sad looks, soft sighs
and tempered tapping
of feet and clucking
of tongues like sticky, pink
worms. “How could this
have happened to John?”
“Cars and the people in them
are becoming increasingly

The boys creep
from the stairwell.
Lying on their backs,
on the floor,
spread out like a three
pronged halo,
they wonder,
What is it like
to be dead?

A man parks his car
on the street.
-Let’s call him “John”.
Remembering his keys
in the door
he returns for them,
past the traffic light.
Two girls get out
of his car. Sexy stepping
with smite-me sneers, they jeer
and toss
his keys.
They wield his chrome
pearl with a long nose
and give it bullet teeth.
He runs
to a traffic cop
who turns to face him,
long robes and a black
hole mouth he screams,
“Repent, repent!”
The man multiplies
onto building tops,
vacant windows of street cars
every seat
in every row.
From the ceiling
of the sky,
“Repent” he bleats.
“Forgive me!” John yearns
to cry. But in truth,
knows not why.
He can’t remember
his own mind.
like a beautiful,
T.V. screen.

This is the Promised Land

I live
in a very small room.
one that’s not part
of a house.
Bare light bulb lonely
as a man in a bar.
He talks too much
and never turns off.

I live in a very
small room. Full of my
many blank selves.
I peel off
like wallpaper.
There I am
staring out
the window.
A stained mirror.
Here I am reading
a book.

I live
in a very small
Try to revoke
my existence.
I do.
Pretty posters and a clinically depressed
rabbit eared T.V. set beg,
“Please pay attention,
please don’t
look away.”
Don’t forget

I live in a very small
room. There is
no world outside.
Outside is a flat, grey
smear, a two-dimensional
human-less plain
static playing on
my eyes, like
on the T.V. screen.
Protecting me
from what I
I live
in a very small room
where looking
means breaking

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