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May 24, 2019 / barton smock

Knock-Off Monarch, poems, Crystal Stone

Knock-Off Monarch
poems, Crystal Stone
Dawn Valley Press, 2018


My next poem will sound like someone else.
It will be brave, change someone’s mind
about poverty. – from Promise


Bullet points and air quotes. Cocoon and echo. Crystal Stone’s Knock-Off Monarch is an outskirt instructional on how to locally respond to, and spiritually receive, those forms that absentmindedly claim to have our vacancies surrounded. In voice, the work appears as a bruise on the neck of one gargling an invisible blood. In word, the work worries that the half-full cup has slipped its mirror. In both, the bruise disappears because it’s been seen. If mothers and men are given first a mask disguised as a face and third a daycare center overseen by a christlike figure, the speaker here allows death to count aloud its own in the middle of a city that makes no sound well. None of these poems escape protection. Becoming is not retroactive, and how moving it is, this anxious vigil Stone keeps for the second self that is otherhood.


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