The first of these three poems by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens dances down the aisle of a paint store as colors come alive at night, while the following two explore feminism, conflict, and sexuality in two “found” Anne Rice poems from Rice’s Exit to Eden…
by: Jennifer MacBain-Stephens
Re-opening the Paint Store
A tiger’s eye stared me out of gold once.
It said give up what you love.
I dug my way back through beetles, water, and oil.
So many colors to get me wet every day I could not label emotions under easels.
Am I Sienna Italy? Am I Frosted? Knight time brusque?
Yellow wasps break in through a crack in the atmosphere
swarm under tiny, wood bones, heave our auburn hair into a cluster:
we shelter in the stock room.
Live nudes dance through the aisles.
Regrow their arms under matte sky blue indoors.
These wolves do not understand humanity — only exposed neck lines.
A twentieth century shade buries a friend
green bottle flies bite everyone at the sale
our same bleach nightmare— in tourniquet shadow
a poison that erases and smears all primary colors,
all the right answers,
finishes it’s stain timed test.
Refuse the Knock Below the Stairs
the lower half
just an anatomy ritual between bodies
of etching your
mouth into a mop
give me a bare taste
too good for Vermouth
and the pearl buttons
arms and throat
draw a vulnerable
push a crush into her
disgusted by a fair trial
gets you into trouble
ride this jungle
beast and beg
This is a found poem. Text from Rice, Anne. Exit to Eden. New York: Harper Collins, 1985. Print. Pages 115-117.
her small mouth
convicts ditch diggers
now he’s going to
caution you again
glare at your
your breasts and skirt
rubbing the place
turn his bite into a wink
into more trouble than paperwork
tethered to this cheek dance
paler than furious hands
he’s tormented to hear her
climbing out of her place
This is a found poem. Text from Rice, Anne. Exit to Eden. New York: Harper Collins, 1985. Print. Pages 116.
Jennifer MacBain-Stephens went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and now lives in Iowa where she likes to rock climb. She is the author of four full length poetry collections and twelve chapbooks. Her chapbook “Teeth Have a Hardness Scale of 5,” is forthcoming from Sputnik and Fizzle Press. Recent work can be seen at or is forthcoming from The Pinch, Cleaver, Yalobusha Review, Zone 3, and Grist. She also hosts a monthly indie reading series sponsored by the non-profit organization Iowa City Poetry called Today You Are Perfect. Find her online at jennifermacbainstephens.com.