Kelly Canaday - "Earth Portrait/Ruined Choirs"

Apr 25, 2017

This month’s Versed in Florida is with poet Kelly Canaday of Naples. She’s a student at Florida Gulf Coast University where she’s majoring in English and minoring in Creative Writing.  She’s also co-president of FGCU’s Creative Writing Club.  In today’s selection, Canaday draws from the works and style of writers including John Updike, Piers Anthony and Jim Morrison to explore post-modernist themes on the way our minds work and how we perceive reality and meaning.  We began our discussion exploring a bit about the writing process itself and how the audience comes into play in the mind of the writer when first putting pen to paper.

Earth Portrait/Ruined Choirs


The space my mind occupies: a house

with a pale pink rug and soft heat.

There’s an itch in it,

a water moccasin,

an oil painting,

computers that have the hierarchy of angels,

and a globe on a string in a dark room.

Let them see fences drawn tightly

Let them walk through sprinklers that start to

smell like crab rangoon,

Let them see sockeye salmon dyed pink while

workers hum show tunes,

Let them condemn the wretchedness of bumper stickers

and habit,

of Hyde and Papoola,

and the slow blinking cat

Neurons die by the time I order my soup

And yet I take my coin from the vase

and dip them in clay, waiting.

As sweet powder-fresh smoke

in a ransacked village rises,

we all make crude remarks about

the living days, and everything in between.

We want to fall, to join the nuns

of the playground,

the men by the bus stop howling,

the armed guards and secretaries

of the planet, to feel amused once more.

Death is darkness with a made up name,

It’s a classroom where we steal each other’s memories,

we are all in a hall

with letters on our doors,

like singers at the end of a show

where visits are possible,

but it doesn’t occur to us

through the brick

and our gumball machines,

our desperate posters,

like a cheap college town.

Our shows don’t make sense, but our letters would

if we cared enough to write them

while people put roses across

a fresh perfumed grave.