Terese Svoboda

The following are poems from Professor Harriman's Steam Air-Ship to be published by Eyewear in October 2016. The first is extracted from WET, the libretto performed at L.A.'s Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2005. 

Green Girls  
               pace Anne Sexton
Wriggling on the bottles: 
Drink us, drink us, 
green girls
tell you water
is the long hair that you
swallow in the dark. 
Whistle all you want,  
a girl who swims this water
will make you swallow. 
But if you tell her no, 
(Not no, not no,) 
then water’s all you’ve got. 
Lonely on a rock
the green girls do their writhe, 
Drink me, drink me— 
it’s dark inside, 
inside the inside, 
deep inside the green girls. 
There’s a thirst inside
the green girls
you can’t wait to find, no, 
running down your windshield
coming from behind. 
They’re nymphs  
you’d like to drink, 
Drink us, drink us. 
Oh the green girls want to die. 
Down the drain, down— 
help us, help us down the drain. 
No one knows what’s inside. 
It’s dark inside, 
inside the inside, 
deep inside the green girls, 
there’s a thirst inside
the green girls you really
want to ride. 
From Wolf
                                   “We're not darkening the skies yet,  
                                     says Richard Christiansen, the NASA subcontractor,  
                                                                          “but we are poised.”  
                                                  Doodlebugs over St. Paul's—whine, then smash, 
                                                  the V-1s quick to drop death
Why start with the English?  
                                                                                     Matthew Arnold, the droning clash
at the cliffs  
              infrared across the darkling plain, 
                                                  God at the controls from an off-site screen. 
                            Enhanced i
is not Please.  
                                        The Pakistani in the photo bears
what's left, silver shards.  
                                                               He disappears (we disappear him). 
Ditto his wife. And the photo-- 
               Cornfields buzz with toy Predators  
                                                                                 that slice
the sky over our waving grain
             for weed,  
                                      or for immigrants. FDR: We are descended from
                                                                               immigrants and revolutionists— 
                                                                               remember, remember always. 
Birdwatching--except it bags you.  
                                    Soon they fly en masse,  
flocks smarter
              than ever.  
There's a cave ahead. 
Think Morlocks.  
                                             All day, four weighting the sky, 
the brain.  
                       With seraphim flinging fire,  
           who needs air? 
No wonder bombs                      try
Times Square. 

A recent Guggenheim fellow, Terese Svoboda is the author of 18 books of poetry, fiction, translation, memoir, and biography. Her most recent book of poetry is Professor Harriman's Steam Air-Ship (Eyewear 2016). When The Next Big War Blows Down The Valley: Selected and New Poems (Anhinga) was published last year. 

“Terese Svoboda is one of few contemporary American writers who possesses a global consciousness” -- Brooklyn Rail. Her short stories, Live Sacrifice (Ravenna), appear next year. 
Svoboda's work has been published in the UK in such magazines as TLS, Wolf, Southword, and