Keepers (9)

By: Steph Burt
July 28, 2016

One in a series republishing 10 poems — about everyday objects and pop culture avatars — by HiLobrow friend and contributor Steph Burt.

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TALE

for the Sacramento Monarchs

Giant herself, the intrepid
heroine will slay the ogre if
I think so: I know it, as certainly as
we teach a pen, a chair — oh, even
a roof or a freeway — to follow instructional
      lines

of gravity, their transparent, never-to-be-
      crossed
strata making parts of the land
      comprehensible
amid smoggy confusion. It works even if
      you don’t
care: a law — sonorous in
its intangible push and pull — just says

that charisma, while heady, may awe (walk
      or run with it as
you like) the inattentive, but won’t
make the beanstalk grow thicker or faster,
      nor break
the life-threatening hedge of thorns that
      flare like
sparks around hostage beauty. Our heroine
      needs

one homophonic (Oulipo will
offer examples) complement of bright
and well-maintained, if not indeed shining,
      armor,
rinsed, like Achilles’, in a special sea,
new tonics for courageous grownups
      coursing

over its monarchical breastplate and
      greaves:
thus emboldened, she will go on to stand
and fight for her too-sunny, agricultural
      realm,
where fire signals from each hillcrest, in
      hay needy teens
have secretly gathered, give warning
      enough to defend

each village against all marauders,
      imagined and real.

Reprinted from the chapbook Shot Clocks (Harry Tankoos Books, 2005).

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ALL POSTS IN THIS SERIES

STEPH BURT at HILOBROW: KEEPERS (10 poems) | GENO (EPIC WINS series) | NO KILL I (KIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM series) | ENTANGLEMENT (HERMENAUTIC TAROT series) | HAPPY BIRTHDAY (QUIRK YOUR ENTHUSIASM series).

CURATED SERIES at HILOBROW: PINAKOTHEK by Luc Sante | ALL MY STARS by Joanne McNeil | BIGFOOT ISLAND by Michael Lewy | NOT OF THIS EARTH by Michael Lewy | ANIMAL MAGNETISM by Colin Dickey | KEEPERS by Steph Burt | AMERICA OBSCURA by Andrew Hultkrans | HEATHCLIFF, FOR WHY? by Brandi Brown | DAILY DRUMPF by Rick Pinchera | BEDROOM AIRPORT by “Parson Edwards” | INTO THE VOID by Charlie Jane Anders | WE REABSORB & ENLIVEN by Matthew Battles | BRAINIAC by Joshua Glenn | COMICALLY VINTAGE by Comically Vintage | BLDGBLOG by Geoff Manaugh | WINDS OF MAGIC by James Parker | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA by Lynn Peril | ROBOTS + MONSTERS by Joe Alterio | MONSTOBER by Rick Pinchera | POP WITH A SHOTGUN by Devin McKinney | FEEDBACK by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FTW by John Hilgart | ANNOTATED GIF by Kerry Callen | FANCHILD by Adam McGovern | BOOKFUTURISM by James Bridle | NOMADBROW by Erik Davis | SCREEN TIME by Jacob Mikanowski | FALSE MACHINE by Patrick Stuart | 12 DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE by Significant Objects | 12 MORE DAYS OF SIGNIFICANCE by Significant Objects | H IS FOR HOBO by Joshua Glenn | 4CP FRIDAY by guest curators

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