Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Hello and Welcome!

If you're one of the five people I imagine will visit this site at least once, I'm glad you're here!  A couple of notes:

  • Please bear with me re: any formatting issues.  It's been at least four years since I've messed around with Blogger.  I imagine that my theme and fonts will be less lame in the future.  I just want to get things up and running asap or this will be one of those passing fancies I'm too busy for mid-February.  If you see any obvious problems, let me know!
  • I imagine that I will update at least once a week, probably more to start.
  • Most of these poems were written during weekly meetings of the Schaumburg Poetry Group (hi, guys!) in response to prompts, so much of the content is purely fictional and not about YOU or HIM, per se.
  • I don't care about meter and have never cared about it, even when it was my business as an English major to care about it.
  • I have been writing creatively for about as long as I can write, yet SOMEHOW continue to languish in complete obscurity.  I am proud to say that my work has been rejected by many of the best publications in America, and I look forward to collecting new rejections from poetry magazines and websites in the future. 
  • If you would like me to link to your creative endeavor, leave me a comment!
  • Questions?  Concerns?  I can do almost nothing about the current American political situation.  I will delete spam comments with joyful abandon.  I will obsessively check for comments.  I am already filled with self-doubt.

First, Some Good News!

Hi everyone,

I just thought I'd take a moment to toot my own horn, as it were.

My poem "Home" was selected to be read at the Jersey City Writers' "Genre Night," on April 21, 2018, which kicked off the Jersey City Art Council's Poetry Festival Week. It will also soon be published on the Jersey City Writers' website.

Next, I just found out that my poem "What Gets Left Behind" will appear in a future issue of Kaleidotrope.

My poem "The Last Girl" has been published in Issue 4 of Arsenika.

You can now read my poem "Lethargy" on The Pangolin Review.

Also, my poem "Maida Vale" has been accepted by The Wells Street Journal for their April 2019 issue.

One verse of a haiku series, "The T-12 Chronicles" will be published in Issue 74 of Leading Edge Magazine as an "Honorable Mention" in their "Sci-Faiku" (sci-fi haiku) contest.

My micropoems "Tethered" and "Horsehead Nebula" have been published in Issue 2 of Black Bough Poetry. (page 37!)

I'll be sure to post links to my work as they get published!

Also, if you'd like to follow me on Twitter, here I am.  I am not, in real life, a dog.  I should probably have some kind of professional author Twitter profile, but that's more work than I want to put into that site right now.

--Karen

Buy me a Ko-Fi?

Hi everyone,

I drink a LOT of tea at the Corner Bakery every week to produce these poems that you (hopefully) enjoy!  If you are interested in sponsoring my tea-drinking/poetry production, please visit my Ko-Fi site at https://ko-fi.com/karensteiger.  Please don't feel obligated to do so, even if you know me in real life.  :)

Karen

Love in the Atomic Age


He kissed her then,
and she closed her eyes.
And in the darkness of her lonely mind,
a blinding flash.
Then she saw a white mushroom cloud
rising slowly above the red desert earth.
The ground shook from the seismic shock.
Cacti and tumbleweeds incinerated,
leaving nothing but shadows in black ash.
Just a test detonation, not a mass murder
or act of war.
But ignorant picnicking sightseers,
applauding the explosion
like a Fourth of July fireworks show,
might experience adverse health effects
sometime in the future.
She opened her eyes again
and smiled,
her smile reflected on his glowing face.

Matches


Andrew wrote a suicide note
and addressed it to his daughter on her 16th birthday
but then considered that that would be
both traumatizing and cruel.
So he set the letter on fire,
watched it burn slowly in the sink,
along with his murderous intentions.
His wife called him from the living room,
“What are you doing in there?”
She never trusted him alone in the kitchen.
Always had to know what he was doing,
what he was cooking,
what he was eating,
like a man couldn’t stand in front of the sink
and stare out the kitchen window for a while
or gaze into the open refrigerator,
contemplating all his options,
closing the door and opening it again.
“It smells like you lit a candle!”
she complained.
“Just come back to the couch,”
she implored.
He didn’t have a mirror,
but the kitchen window provided a reflection.
He practiced a toothy grin,
but his reflection did not smile back.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Mastication


Lacie had only been married for three months
when she suddenly noticed
the way that her husband—
the love of her life, 
the man of her dreams, etc.—
chewed his food.
His jaws working
mechanically,
pulverizing, tearing,
crunching, grinding,
lips smacking,
brief gulp of a swallow,
slurping at the lid of a can,
then the next bite of food
shoveled in
to begin the process
all over again,
his eyes blankly
staring at the television
blaring across the room.
Lacie stood up then
and shouted,
to her spouse’s utter bewilderment,
“Stop! Stop it right now, goddamnit!”
“Wha?” he asked,
wounded puppy voice with a mouth
half full of food.
“Sorry…I’m sorry,” she replied,
eyes cast downward.
“It was nothing…must just be
that time of the month, ha ha!”
He eyed her suspiciously,
then resumed dining,
and Lacie realized then
just how long
happily ever after would be.

Graduation


Everything Cheryl had ever worked for
was culminating in
a short walk across the stage
and a hearty handshake
with the Dean of Students—
a PhD at last!
She had dreamed of this moment
as far back as high school,
taking every advanced class possible,
cultivating all the right after-school activities,
even volunteering at a hospital for two years,
loathing every minute,
but all in service of the goal
of getting into the right college.
Then, when she attended the right college,
she studied through the night,
instead of drinking
and sleeping with her classmates,
and she double-majored and double-minored
and cultivated the right GPA
so that she could attend the right graduate school.
Then when she was in the right graduate school,
she studied through the night,
and courted all the right mentors
so she could be admitted to the right PhD program,
and when she was a PhD student,
she performed menial tasks,
studied through the night,
ate ramen for dinner and wore threadbare socks,
and had a brief affair with the wrong professor,
but despite all that,
she finished her dissertation,
and here she was,
and she didn’t have as many friends
and hadn’t had as much fun as some,
but she had achieved her goal,
and the achieving of the goal was the thing,
not the low-paying adjunct teaching job
that was waiting for her in Oklahoma City,
and after her name was called,
she took one step onto the stage
with her right low-heeled taupe pump,
joyful tears glistening in her eyes,
when her progress was suddenly interrupted
by an impossible sight.
Some freshman frat boy named Brad
or Chad or Thad or similar
had been coerced by his so-called brothers
to ride a bicycle across the graduation stage
while dressed as the Cat in the Hat.
The audience gasped, then many laughed,
and the furious dean of students
was demanding the young man’s capture.
Brad/Chad, as we will refer to him now,
ditched his bicycle once he was offstage,
ran down the steps,
was aided by guffawing accomplices,
stripped off his costume,
and disappeared into the crowd.
Meanwhile, Cheryl stood onstage,
her moment shattered,
her mouth gaping open,
her heart pounding in her frozen body.
The dean apologized for the interruption.
Someone ushered Cheryl across the stage.
They never announced her name again.
No one placed her doctoral hood over her head.
No one applauded her accomplishment.
She walked down the stairs back to her seat
and exhaled.
The ceremony continued without further incident.
Afterwards, her parents bought her a late lunch
at Applebees
before they drove back to Kalamazoo.

Break Up, Junior Year


Grace stared ahead of her,
through the front windshield,
to the end of the driveway,
wearing a stony expression,
determined not to lose her composure,
because he didn’t deserve it.
She turned to him with a smile.
Of course, she agreed.
Of course he wanted to date other girls.
She was just a junior
in high school,
and it was a silly thing.
He insisted on a hug
before she got out of the car,
so she leaned over awkwardly,
and it felt good there in his arms,
but she couldn’t stay there.
Such a silly thing.
My heart is breaking into pieces,
she told herself,
but that thought made her want to cry,
and she still had to turn back to the car
and wave goodbye
before he drove away.