Two Poems by Emmy Newman

Dec 20th, 2020 | By | Category: Poetry

Bruce Lee Admits

adding ground beef to his smoothies
was not just for the muscle tone
but the salubrious energy
they kindled, the smoothies, how they made
you aware of your biceps twined
around your triceps, those burly fillets, how this bouquet of you
reaches over your scapula, along the thick cord
of your spine that tickles the bowl of your pelvis,
presents your calcium-nourished femur to the sweet embrace
of the quadricep, tucks your patellofemoral ligaments
neatly under the kneecap, rides the Achilles tendon
all the way into the sturdy grasp
of the calcaneus that allows your phalanges
to wiggle and waggle, yes, you
are a beautiful smoothie of a human.
Bruce Lee does not hesitate to shout it,
love the thrush and dander of your eyebrows,
the yellow gems of wax you slough from your ears,
every last toenail playfully half-mooned from your body,
the peach pit bruises of your own blood, the laughing
red patches of dry skin on your upper arms, the aching tooth,
the split heel, a thousand tiny leg hairs waving out,
god, with meat in your smoothie wouldn’t you, too, be amazed
by this body’s being, run out naked in summer rain,
pluck honeysuckle blooms and drink, hold hands even with sweat,
wear chenille sweaters, laugh with your mouth full,
make up new words for delicious.
Maybe Bruce Lee is on to something here,
circle kicks and handsprings, couldn’t you climb
a mountain, reach for your lover’s hip, cup a sip of water,
stretch your xylophone arms all the way to crescendo,
wouldn’t you believe in the impossible, shouldn’t you believe
the wisdom of Bruce Lee. He turns the blender on and laughs
at your face shaken by the pink tornado touching down, laughs
at how that horizon still teases your eyes,
how your feet may have become soft and unsteady,
how you will walk towards anyways
and you have no choice but to accept the cup he offers,
your smile pink with laughter.


Let’s Make Small Talk

Last week I discovered it’s hard to say
I love human skin without a lot of weird looks
and party guests pulling sweaters
over shoulders even in too hot rooms.
It’s hard to be cool at parties.
At a friend’s birthday I met a stranger
and it felt like my first time again.
I made a few good jokes but mostly bad jokes
and I cut her off midsentence like I do
when I get worried the conversation is moving on
before I have the chance to wow my conversational partner
with the perfect tidbit I’ve been preparing in my head.
I started thinking about my elbows (dry),
my shoulders (drawn up to my ears), my hair
(frizzing in the humidity) and did she find me
completely, impossibly uninteresting?
I hated how my laugh sounded
(the word sycophantic came to mind),
I sifted through things I’ve been reading about for topics
1.shrunken heads
3.alligators and their differences from crocodiles
and everything was certainly a conversational anvil.
She was talking about freckles and pinching her collarbone
and that’s when I go for I love human skin
and the knot of people around the hummus
turn as one hydra of judgement and I blush,
hold my fingers to my heated cheek and try
to look nonchalant even as I smile
a tiny bit because really, who couldn’t love
such a ticklish and knowledgeable,
sweet soft organ as skin.


Emmy Newman is a current MFA candidate at the University of Idaho. She is known around the office for being fascinated by things like mucus, which leads to articles about things like the deep sea snot palaces of larvaceans being sent to her, which she enjoys greatly. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, New Ohio Review, CALYX: A Journal, Cream City Review, and elsewhere. She has been twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and currently serves as co-editor-in-chief of Fugue.

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