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Larissa Shmailo


Carol liked my poem “Personal” for its playfulness and music. Since playfulness was Carol’s signature as a writer, and since there was never a syllable out of place in her never-prosy poetic prose, I was pleased by her praise. Carol used this poem on several occasions—she mashed up a recording of it with my Siva-worship poem “Bhakti” for the MHR mash-up issue, she read it on the radio in her last home town of Asheville, and had Jeff Davis play the attached track read by me on his radio show, Word Play (also in Asheville).

There is something in the spirit of this poem—a curiosity and an enthusiasm about people—that reminds me of my friend. Word play, in all senses, seems a good way to honor her.



recitation by author

I want to know
what makes you

I want to know
what makes you
fickle; I want to know
what makes you

Tell me

which ion propels you
which soothsayer spells you
which folksinger trills you
which hardwood distills you
which downward dog twists you
which protest resists you
which neural net fires you
which siren desires you
which villennelle sings you
which jailbreaker springs you
which Uncle Sam wants you
which calculus daunts you
which lullaby lulls you
which confidence gulls you
which apple you'll bite from
which hither you'll welcome


forget the right answers
consult necromancers
allow the forbidden
ignore the guilt ridden
unlearn all the learning
embrace this new burning

to know
makes you





Larissa Shmailo - more about Larissa here.

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