Douglas Kearney

Douglas Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection. His third poetry collection, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014) examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood and was a finalist for the California Book Award in Poetry. Cultural critic Greg Tate remarked that Kearney’s second book, National Poetry Series selection, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), “flows from a consideration of urban speech, negro spontaneity and book learning.” A collection of opera libretti—Someone Took They Tongues.—is forthcoming from Subito Press. He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Poetry, nocturnesPleiadesIowa ReviewBoston Review, and Indiana Review; and anthologies, including Best American PoetryBest American Experimental WritingWide Awake, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Poets in America.Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts.


The Loud-Assed Colored Silence: Moan (audio above)

Kearney Poem

+click image to enlarge


from A Natural History of Inequality: THE DEFORMED AND/OR DEFORMATIVE (audio above @ :55)


she got an existential dilemma so I call her Big Booty.
I wrote the red rose about herself, mess of blue violets she muse me
to grow a long sharp sword. old girl’s dimensions defy my pen.
she a fox with a donkey or her kitten’s a monkey?
but she exists all at me dilemmically having twerked in my cogito. shawty what
you think, shawty what you?
she need a piece of—.
‘cause what I look like falling in bitch with a love?
shit—out a melon patch at the crack of—there I go!
a loin ’to a cutlet, cutlet to a loin—I go!
so I spit: you my #1, that chicken and eggs got my rooster up swole.
beat make em wobblesy, wobblesy, and drop.
say, she got a big booty so I call her out. her name,
I don’t know, but I mean to put it on her.



Grendel goes the Norton upside,

off-the-shelfs him damn self,

ward no more, the ogre,

of the library’s hush, fust.

done ransacking stacks,

King Wrecker (1) discovers, (2) sticky fingers

a Game of Thrones season. sets out,

and left arm, peg arm, left arm, peg arm the plaza to 5th,

throttling his stiffening buzzard

at the buff nippled beef on the dvd box—

ichor magmas goutish out his thick dis-member.

my poor mama!

drones he. he heartbroked so,

hucking leased crossovers over

the beeeeeeeeeeeeeep medians;

of the vrrrrrrrrrrrroooooo commute

right mayhem makes he.

the eeeeeeerrrrrrrrru(u)(u)(u)hhuhkrssssssch

of rubber peeled, road scabs, pileups.

awful, hungry, lopes he upslope Bunker Hill, pig-sticking

with his last thorny ring finger

the stunned blonds joggering—

so much mawfuls of tendon

of velvetoid muscle, of boney snap of

so much just like back when. then

weeeeeeeeeeeeeoooo come Black Marias,

fup fup fup fup fup

choppers come chopping,

blood scudding, come

gasoline sousing scrawny median weeds—

“Yes!” skrreeeeeeeeeee

-ing sigalert.

“Yes!” chittering cell towers timbering.

“Yes!” roars he to billboard-blistered

out-theres and leaps.


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