A Poem by Kathleen Hellen

Kathleen Hellen

Kathleen Hellen

Kathleen Hellen’s collection, Umberto’s Night, won the Washington Writers’ Publishing House prize for poetry in 2012. Hellen’s honors include prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review, as well as individual artist awards from the Maryland State Arts Council and the Baltimore Office of Promotion & the Arts. Featured on Poetry Daily and Verse Daily, her poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Cimarron Review, Colorado Review, jubilat, The Massachusetts Review, New Letters, North American Review, Poetry East, Poetry International, The Rumpus, and West Branch, among others. Her latest poetry collection is The Only Country Was the Color of My Skin.

trigger rhymes w/

something rat-infested?
something about borders?
Kanye West?

rough adjusting cuffs
the will to power

I said that consciousness is
prison I said that I admit
there’s nothing better than a little

at least from the perspective of
the Kremlin

to those who stunt with flags, who mask the self-

a view he rented at the Ritz
with kompromat of hookers—each
more beautiful than the next

A complement to strange obsessions
I submit
that doesn’t look good

that knee that doesn’t bend
that doesn’t recognize
that life is limb, that

gender doesn’t mean
I am his sister