Issue 7: Emily Carr

From Name Your Bird Without a Gun


five of cups

Show me.

(She is crying now.)

Show me.

(She is crying now.)

Poom the sky says.

The shadow of Gods hand huge on her shoulder…

threw grief across the verandah while you slept.

Meanwhile (to quote Freud): one perfect rose.

Lightning streams through the world like hair…

Cardinals & tomatoes: in a white forked flame.

Scraps of bright trumpet, clean knots of blue

melody, the moon bleeding in dreams of forest—.

Rises blind. Resets automatically.

To metabolism & panic.

A Syncopated Hallucination

four of swords

The violins hold a high fermata, release.

Seraphim fall like hawks. She feels as if she

were meant to inherit the earth. She has another

drink from the styrofoam cup.

Perhaps Liberty writes on your greasestained

napkin understanding is.

In a sort of skyblue dress—that shows her


Her arms are bright birds & barbed wire cross-


You lay your knife & fork across the white plate.

You let yourself down hand over hand.

(You move toward her cautiously unsolved.)

A bird is singing. The sun is somewhere down a

gong in the bushes. A cloud flings her skirt over

a couple of palm trees. Nothing would give up:

even the dirt keeps breathing.

There will always she says be the danger/                 

of two people meeting, having split up because

she has a taste for love & he for sex—         &

each then wondering if they had made a mistake.

(It sounds very much like a waltz.)

None of this/                                              the

girl says is easy—. You hold between your hands

the black hills of her mind. It is like a knife, &

she barefoot inside it

Time Stands In Pieces Like A Forest To Be Chopped

seven of wands

The drug makes little marathons in her veins.

Soul lands like a paper airplane in damp violets.

Once Liberty says someone invented happiness,

like the angels light hands, or the heros

paperthin ego.

Hormones & the will of god—. A ribbon she says.

A leaf—.

We had evolved. A child had died.

This was in real time. A fish is sailing out of

sight, & will not close its eyes.

Her skirt hitches, neon shines through.

Piecemeal, & in the third person…

Bronze fibula, a match. Her bright tattoos, & in


You know what I’m saying.

You dont think you should praise her somehow

you should let her go—.


eight of cups

You stand without shadows on asphalt at


As if love were a periodic table or the kind of

story people simply could not tell…

There is hope in the landscape & passion in the


Crazy: as her kind were supposed to be.

The sun bleeds on pale diners behind

cellophane—. Oxygen & hydrogen gather to be

somewhere else—. Coke & orange float in


A housecat gnaws fine bones—.

Love exists to end up in a book—. (Oh you!)

(You now: now you.)

Small butterflies wobble through terrible sweet


Childrens voices fall like rain, strung with

fingers of clarity—. Old men on benches fish the

Milky Way—.

Liberty dreams of redemption but knows better

than that too—.

(Did she really say such things? No: but, she

might have.)

(Does it feel like that? Absolutely.)

Emily Carr has published two books of poetry: directions for flying (Furniture Press 2010) and 13 Ways of Happily: Books 1 & 2 (Parlor Press 2011), which was chosen by Cole Swensen as the winner of the 2009 New Measures Prize. Excerpts from The Weights of Heaven, Emily's autobiography-in-progress, was published in the Summer 2011 Adaptations Issue of The Western Humanities Review. Extracts from Emily's tarot novel, Name Your Bird Without a Gun, are forthcoming in a number of other venues, including Conjunctions, Hayden's Ferry Review, Gargoyle, & Front Porch. For a video performance of Name Your Bird, visit