Cynthia Arrieu-King
& Ariana-Sophia Kartsonis

We work in so many different ways: enough to fill a chapbook, enough actually, to be a book. Sometimes we begin with a news article and just send it along to the other without explanation. In awhile, (an hour, a day, a month) a first line or stanza shows up in our email and then, like a protacted, erratic tennis match, (is it too late to wish it badminton instead—that parachute-bird, that impromptu net) we bat it back and forth until it lands. Sometimes we zip through a poem with little pause (those are likely our December poems, giddy with holiday sugars and the sweet relief of semester’s end) and sometimes we wander the bakery of each poem, unable to settle on a particular pastry. A few poems live in our email accounts in perpetual limbo. Each time, there’s delight in how the other’s mind takes us (all these many years later) by surprise.


This poem appears in They Said: A Multi-Genre Anthology of Contemporary Collaborative Writing,

< draft >


postcard from iceland

I like to think of you surrounded
by tall, tawny summer grasses 
and irritated sheep 
Or steam time and lasagna, 
a toad on the linoleum,
because I'm not getting much
from the black sand
or the sour tops, except         
age, not wine's fine costume
but the wear dropped in the weary

I like to pretend the volcano
laughs under the glacier's
frozen mountain wine, solid
with inebriation, each grape's
last wish a giddy lava of  
green sweetness and weather.

Where have you been 
shepherd? Where have you
slept, drunk purples of pre-night?
Does the traffic of destroyers
bleated and bone, dry on the inside
crash into your final dream?

the black ice of trickery tumbles us
smooth, like stones, but inside,
we're quartz and chevroned
Horizons. They say the smoke
comes just before change,    
change just before offering
a light, small fire-claw 
at the mouth.