adult night at skate world / Christina Kallery
"Christina Kallery's poems possess an eerie bit of magic. She has the rare and uncanny ability to weave the world's wandering souls and gritty, familiar details into a luminous tapestry, with cosmic significance. Her writing is glittering and precise, yet instantly absorbing and accessible. The overall effect is that of a ragtag hitchhiker who blows your mind with a few golden reflections, then vanishes at the next rest stop. Adult Night at Skate World includes some of the most wondrous poems I've read in years — beautifully observed, funny, and transporting. There's so much heart here, so much empathy. By the end, we feel comforted to be among the lonesome and the lost."
—Davy Rothbart, author of My Heart is an Idiot, editor of FOUND Magazine, and contributor to public radio's This American Life
"In this much-anticipated and brilliant debut collection, Christina Kallery’s full-hearted poems avert our gaze from the spot-lit glow into the forlorn, palpable scene way offstage where star-crossed lovers with “hearts electric” fail to connect, where a real swan falls madly for a swan boat, where all the “dingbat romantics” roller skate to oldies, and bare bruised hearts at carnivals and open mics with nothing left to lose. Kallery’s tough, tender voice riffs praise for the broken and the burnouts, for those who don’t make the list and can’t afford what’s in the trendy catalog—but unlike the “Drunk Guy” poetry she skewers, she doesn’t glorify the sad edges of American life as macho exercise or empty retro-chic adulation. Instead, she aims the crystal-bright beam of each of these hard-wrought, gorgeous poems beyond the shadows of broken marriages and alleys, past the disco lights and smoke and finds: all of us there, beautiful in spite of our loneliness, quivering, “tremulous for a little love and the sound / of a few hands clapping.”
Robert Fanning--author of Severance, Our Sudden Museum, American Prophet, and The Seed Thieves
"The poems in this wonderful, gritty chapbook are full of wicked humor and a deep generosity of spirit—they forgive all our reckless foibles. The brilliant images— packed tight, one after another—create friction, throw off glorious sparks of insight and understanding. Christina Kallery doesn't miss a thing. She finds the "tells" most of us are reluctant to acknowledge as we try to bluff our way through life as best we can. I love being in these poems among all the "dingbat romantics." My kind of crowd, and, I'm betting, yours too."
Christina Kallery’s poetry has appeared in The Collagist, Gargoyle, Failbetter, Rattle, and Mudlark, among other publications. She has served as submissions editor for Absinthe: A Journal of World Literature in Translation and poetry editor for Failbetter. She was born in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and recently spent 7 years living in New York City. She currently resides in Detroit.
HARVEST MOON ON TRASH NIGHT
Hauling out the last black Hefty bag
I spot the full moon fat as a lemon bundt
cake above the dumpsters. Three stray cats
dart into spindly elms that split the reeking
bins from the railroad tracks beyond. At night,
steel freighters thunder through here, jittering
loose windows, sounding their low drone
that strikes the heart’s anvil like longing.
This is the sort of place you live when you don’t
know where to go--young couples dreaming
lifetimes in their first shared beds, guys
who know too much about kung fu films,
or the just-divorced getting by between
visitation Sundays. I’ve grown to hate this
sameness, the nowhere feel of modest brick,
communal lawn plots, strip malls of the soul.
But tonight the big moon stops me cold; haloing
the slate October sky and wisped by clouds,
like the sky one autumn years ago.
After a nightmare kept me up, my mother laced
her boots and walked with me around our northern
town to help me sleep. Down past dark
houses to the street of empty shops that faced
the shore. Far below, I knew, black waves
of Lake Superior rushed the rocky crags.
In the quiet night that already smelled of snow
we heard the constant, churning undertow.
The moon looked near enough to touch
the unleafed limbs or if I stretched my palm,
I might feel its scarred and dusty face,
so many miles from home.