issue 12 FEATURE: DIANE SEUSS PORTFOLIO
AMERICAN RUN-ON SENTENCES
H O G M A R K E T
bring your full-grown hogs to the white cinderblock fill dirt for sale out front
O V E R S I Z E L O A D
you’d think they wouldn’t crowd the center line hauling carnival shit fools
J E S U S I S R E A L C A M P G R O U N D
got stocked fish pond free baptisms little calvary hill “for god so loved…”
C O R N M A Z E
we grew it screwy like to see people pay to get lost real crows too
D E E R P R O C E S S I N G
the point of this business is to use every part testicles
SELF-PORTRAIT UNDER JANIS'S SHOE WHEN SHE SANG "BALL AND CHAIN" AT MONTEREY POP, 1967
The sky was gold spangles, the wind a smoker’s cough and typhoon. Shade between her shoe sole and the floor of the stage, a good place to tent-camp, our little fire and pan of Rice-a-Roni. An inch for my boy and me to live in. Like the dark between apples at the fruit stand. Like the inside of a muskellunge. Like what went on under the big belly of the water tower. Like the word “like” coupling the train cars of words so they don’t run off on their own down the track of the sentence. If Janis’s face was not pitted like the moon then her face was only pitted and there was no love to be had. “Like” links the iron ball to the leg iron and love to the whole contraption. Without “like” there is only love or no love to be had. It’s like I found my boy in a pile of dirty laundry with a needle in his arm and his lips blue as cornflowers stuck in the middle of Texas. It’s like I grabbed his hand and pulled him out of death like a tent worm from its tent in the wild cherry tree. I did find him blue-lipped. I did grab him. Held him like a baby. I held him, my baby. Then Janis stamped her foot and lowered the boom.
Diane Seuss’s most recent collection, Four-Legged Girl, was published by Graywolf Press (2015). Her second book, Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, won the Juniper Prize and was published by the University of Massachusetts Press in 2010. Her fourth collection, Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl, is forthcoming from Graywolf Press (2018). She has published widely in literary magazines including Poetry, The Iowa Review, and The New Yorker. Seuss is Writer-in-Residence at Kalamazoo College.