Sunday Service

Sunday Service: Allyson Paty & Danniel Schoonebeek Poems


Our woman of black knees
in the dirt she is singing
sweetheart spit your teeth
into my hand and for you
I will play the finest rattle

The gossip about god was
he’s a woman drinks rotgut
no camisole sees the veins
in his husband’s eyelids says
hallelujah this is all my fault


We come from low country we say
when thunderheads growl that’s god
talking to himself when lightning
strikes your mother down in a field
that’s god saying I’ve got a question

The furrow belongs to the crows now
no last stalk no cornhusk doll to march
through town and hang from the door
of the landlord who says shut her out
should the wheat ghost come to yours


Hair teased out like a flame
an old standard (for the crowd)
got a feeling cause I’m blue oh
it disgusts me heartache
all this spectacle and prayer

There are nights I suspect
I will find you your fingers
sear at the tips a music box
in your hands your refrain
will no one turn this crank

Torch Songs is a collaboration between poets Allyson Paty and Danniel Schoonebeek. Colliding the form of the torch song in American music with the aubaudes of ancient Japanese female poets, each torch song is formed by joining together two five-line poems that the poets write in response to each other.

Allyson Paty is from New York. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Tin House, The Awl, DIAGRAM, Boxcar Review, and elsewhere.

Danniel Schoonebeek’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boston Review, The Rumpus, Tin House, Publishers Weekly, and elsewhere.

November 13th, 2011 / 11:00 am
Sunday Service