Erin Redfern and Metta Sáma

Winner of the Robert H. Winner Memorial Award in 2016

To Mr. Frankenstein, upon the Destruction
Wreaked by His Work
by Erin Redfern 

Sick Victor, sad grad student, what good will one more nervous breakdown do,
really? Buck up your mealy mouth and be frank:

so your project didn't pan out as you expected. Well, you cranked up
this mad merry-go-round and, like it or not, you'll ride it out.

You'll cling to your devil, cleave to his angelic strength,
his graveyard neck good as anywhere to bury your face.

He's all you have left. Nestle close in his arms; he won't throw you off.
Mistakes never do. He'll stay with you, cradle your head in his fearsome hands,

hold back your hair when you can no longer stomach the perpetual spin,
the tinny, hilarious music, the bad choices, each upon each, that led you here.

What's done is done. Don't run. The past can carry you. Be borne
by his untutored strength. Step off the painted edge of this platform:

the machine is suspended in moonlight--rods and sweeps, ring gear,
each improbably saddled unicorn, each manticore and mare.

The forest is black. His eyes are lamps.
Your humility rises beneath you like the sea.



Churches burning Flags
Burning The promise
of pastors to burn alive
by Metta Sáma

On the television they swear before god
they will burn themselves & every thought unlike
their own thought The joke they say
of the south: a church on every corner
But in Indiana there were churches stacked
against each other each preacher claiming
the title: The Chosen One
When I was a child my preacher said
he had a direct line to God
I never understood how God could speak
through such a small
minded man In children's choir
we sang I'm glad that I'm a soldier
and in children's bible study we recited
the first ten chapters of the Bible
just the names not the verses &
there were no wars in those chapters
not that I remember
anyway when we left the church
the pastor who was my grandfather
by marriage called upon the congregation
to burn our family clean from their memories
And they did They did
An unChristian sentiment & act if ever I saw one
But he claimed he was God's Messenger
& they were God's Soldiers
as long as they only took his word for The Word

 

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Cyrus Cassells on Erin Redfern and Metta Sáma

I found Erin Redfern's vibrant and protean poems, packed with telling details, immediately engaging; they're acrobatic, dynamic, richly populated—a rightful heir to C.K. Williams' roving and inclusive work in Tar.

Impassioned, propulsive, Metta Sáma's poems confront bigotry and violence point-blank—in an urgent sequence that serves as both a lyric exorcism and a necessary tonic for our roiling times.

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