January Gill O'Neil
Underlife represents that gnawing wilderness of thought and emotion hidden away from the external world. The dynamics of race, family, motherhood, career, sex, and, ultimately, transformation are explored in this debut collection. Vivid and unflinchingly honest, O’Neil’s narratives are portals through which we see our lives as if for the first time. These poems make the ordinary extraordinary.
Today I spent the morning
brushing pink crayon
from your teeth. This tells me
you know how to eat words.
You’ve tasted those intangible calories
that fill my cavernous heart.
You’re beginning to understand
how sloppy and brutal the imagination can be.
I put my hands between your pearly teeth
and yank petals of paper from your mouth.
Someday I will teach you how to read
words that are not there,
show you how to breathe without
disturbing the air. Nothing lives
outside of us in this overprinted world.
Decide for yourself. Then let me know
if you can eat a crayon without leaving
*Originally appeared in Crab Creek Review
January's debut poetry collection scheduled release is September 2009. Her work has appeared in numerous publications. A Cave Canem Fellow, January regularly participates in writers' groups, poetry festivals and readings. She blogs at Poet Mom and is a columnist for readwritepoem.
January is my peer, my friend, my confidant for our weekly Confession Tuesday. I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do. Support poetry. Buy her collection. Poetry Friday is hosted this week by Tricia at Miss Rumphius Effect.