No World Safe Enough — Three Poems by Glen Armstrong

Nov 26, 2019

All the way from the Great Lakes State, Glen Armstrong brings our readers three poems that dig deep into the quotidian to retrieve a depth that often times goes unnoticed. Armstrong employs the power of the verse to unveil the magic of the everyday. In his own words, the poet introduces his work as "selections from a series of poems that attempt to mine magic from the mundane. They take place in the here and now, but search for primal human experiences in the bric-a-brac of pop culture and modern life." Our Kashmiri and international readers will be delighted to know that Glen Armstrong was the late poet Agha Shahid Ali's student at one point and now teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. His book of prose poems, "Invisible Histories," is forthcoming.

Introduction

All the way from the Great Lakes State, Glen Armstrong brings our readers three poems that dig deep into the quotidian to retrieve a depth that often times goes unnoticed. Armstrong employs the power of the verse to unveil the magic of the everyday. In his own words, the poet introduces his work as "selections from a series of poems that attempt to mine magic from the mundane. They take place in the here and now, but search for primal human experiences in the bric-a-brac of pop culture and modern life." Our Kashmiri and international readers will be delighted to know that Glen Armstrong was the late poet Agha Shahid Ali's student at one point and now teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. His book of prose poems, "Invisible Histories," is forthcoming.

SPIRITS SHAPED LIKE PAPER BAGS

I'm afraid when the wind blows,
and children jump over debris. 

Hats visit other planets.
Mirrors

and glass pears
voice their final wishes. 

I’m afraid when the mayor’s wife
taps her Ouija Board

as if spirits
shaped like plastic bags

might want to whisk her off
to Chicago, 

as if no wish is final,
no world safe enough.

 

THEME PARK

I feed pigeons in Tomorrow
Land,

and I’m asked to relocate
by a “cast member” 

who claims it breaks the mood.

The future is a feeling
doled from chromed dispensers. 

I fear my brown shoes
will be taken 

from me.

 

SWEE’PEA

I’ll eventually just refer
to everyone as “Swee’Pea,” 

even myself.
I’ll call all liquids “thinner.”
As I wait for times 

of indiscretion and lesser
scrutiny, 

I’ll call anything that toots
its own horn a singer
of love songs.

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About the Contributor

Glen Armstrong holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters and has a forthcoming book of prose poems: "Invisible Histories." His work has appeared in Poetry Northwest, Conduit, and Cream City Review.

Knowledge is like Teher.
A handful of cooked rice
a humble offering
to ward off the grief
from an entire century.
Whosoever receives Teher
does so with blessings
and well wishes.
Today the T in Teher
is the T in Taaleem
just as the K in Kashmir
is the K in your name.
From Teōtīhuacān to Tral
we make a humble offering.

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