Kathleen Rooney ~ Poems

The Moon is the Moon Whether We Call it That or Not

Your phone is a por­tal, a por­tal to Hell. Look up. Get slapped in the face by the moon.

With a mass about 1/80th the size of the earth, the moon expos­es its but­tocks to the crowd.

Wiser to nature, humans of the past bestowed each month’s full moon a name. Pink Moon tonight, aka Egg Moon, aka Fish Moon, aka Moon of the Sprouting Grass.

Every life seems a dis­tant celes­tial body—unknowable splotch­es in medias res.

Lunation just means lunar month—the time between two suc­ces­sive syzygies.

Learning the names of things fills me with a feel­ing of pro­fu­sion, like the eyes receive when they brim with a full moon.

Everybody knows about eclipses, but what about occul­ta­tions? What about transits?

Moving from West to East in about 29 ½ days, the moon moons around in rever­ie, abstracted.

I am in awe of the facial archi­tec­ture of the Man in the Moon. His bun­dle of thorn-twigs. His accom­pa­ny­ing dog.

Chani Nicholas says of this evening’s full moon: “Pluto brings us under the sur­face of things and here is where we are asked to dwell right now.”

You can’t have hope with­out futil­i­ty, I guess.

I have nev­er known the police of any coun­try to show an inter­est in lyric poet­ry as such,” said Langston Hughes. “But when poems stop talk­ing about the moon and begin to men­tion pover­ty, trade unions, col­or lines, and colonies, some­body tells the police.”

We see what we have been trained to look for. Look! Twilight falls like pale blue chalk.

Carpe noctem. Seize the night.

Across the street, across the sea. It’s key to have some­thing to look for­ward to. Tonight, when it’s 11:11, look at the clock and make a wish.

After it ris­es, the moon becomes a medal: a prize we receive for com­plet­ing the day. But only sil­ver. We can always do better.


A Talisman Attracts, an Amulet Repels

Humanity’s been on a bit of a win­less streak.

Who here believes in lucky charms? A sym­bol to ward. A war­den to guard.

To pre­dict a good har­vest. To pro­tect against disease.

A fetish object that objects against spells. A phy­lac­tery. A scapu­lar. An image of an eye. A text that tells a pro­tec­tive secret.

A coin or a clover for wealth and health.

The Immaculate Heart of Mary above my own wary heart.

Hail Holy Queen” is the most melo­dra­mat­ic prayer, and there­fore my favorite: Mother of mer­cy! Our Life, our sweet­ness, and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor ban­ished chil­dren of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourn­ing and weep­ing in this val­ley of tears

I’ve nev­er got­ten over my child­hood dis­ap­point­ment in find­ing out that rosaries are not for wearing.

I long to make a pledge to a saint or way of life. I long to com­plete a rite. Would sack­cloth and fast­ing put any­thing right?

I haven’t got faith but I’ve got an aesthetic.

Evil walks among us on phys­i­cal feet, and half the coun­try is like, “Hell yeah.”

Saint Michael the Archangel defeat­ing Lucifer is a mood. Quis ut Deus? Who is like God?

How long has it been since I’ve seen any lat­te art in per­son? I’d ask for a por­trait of St. Cecilia, my con­fir­ma­tion name. I chose her because she loved music and died so hard.

Talisman derives from telos as in ful­fill­ment, com­ple­tion. In the end, it’s the devo­tion of the wear­er, not the object itself, that con­fers the power.

How to become a no-stats all-star, the play­er on the team whose pres­ence alone caus­es mag­i­cal outcomes?

I am ready to be ini­ti­at­ed into the mysteries.


Hump Day Has Always Been a Terrible Nickname

Today is a Wednesday. What is a Wednesday.

Every year April makes fools of us all.

Father Time pours his cornucopia.

The big dick-twirling con­test is com­ing right up. I mean, “the election.”

Justice in its purest form is not avail­able to us.

There are more CEOs named John than there are CEOs who are women.

My con­do is 1000 square feet. Pretty decent. What more do I need? I can only sleep in one bed.

Still, I look at pic­tures of real estate online.

Those with vil­las ought to share them with the vil­la­less. Those who are vil­lains ought to be less villainous.

What does it mean to be between Tuesday and Thursday?

John Steinbeck wrote a sequel to Cannery Row and called it Sweet Thursday, a day he defined as falling between Lousy Wednesday and Waiting Friday. I don’t know if it’s worth read­ing, though.

Someone please rec­om­mend me some recommendations.

Living is a process of mov­ing cri­sis to crisis.

I need a com­men­da­tion. The lit­tlest nice­ness goes the longest way.


Kathleen Rooney is a found­ing edi­tor of Rose Metal Press, a non­prof­it pub­lish­er of lit­er­ary work in hybrid gen­res, as well as a found­ing mem­ber of Poems While You Wait. Her most recent books include the nov­el Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) and The Listening Room: A Novel of Georgette and Loulou Magritte (Spork Press, 2018). Her World War I nov­el Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey was pub­lished by Penguin in August, and her crit­i­cism appears in The New York Times Magazine, The Poetry Foundation web­site, The Chicago Tribune, The Brooklyn Rail, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and else­where. She lives in Chicago.