Poor Claudia published poetry, prose and conversations online and in print from 2009 to 2018.

Kyle Booten

Two Poems

  • These Beasts
  • Algorithmic Meditations on George Herbert

These Beasts

The boy is raving now. His mother pins him down.
The chorus regrets them and cringes and steps over them to reach something on the list.
By 7:00 p.m. they are so hungry they would eat their god.
Please sign this petition, this petunia, this subpoena, this peony.

His elbow flails, and the mother’s nose snaps silently and without much fuss.
Cleanup on aisle two! the chorus says to the help.
Due to air pressure fluctuations as the seasons change, tragedy may befall you and you alone.
You must choose what your hands will cover: eyes, ears, or one of each.

Never mind the sounds. The boy is not actually vomiting.
The chorus cherishes animals and dreams of treating people like goats.
This appointment pops up weekly and cannot be programmed otherwise.
We are your minders and therefore we are starlings.

Luckily the boy is himself dreaming of temperate lions.
The chorus will remember him for thirty seconds or even more.
The seconds are the pillars of a great artifice, a hotel with guards tucked beneath the pillows.
Give us five stars, chosen from the helpmates of Artemis.

To the mother, the boy approximates singing.
And what of our song? The chorus wants to be loved too and considered poor even by the poor.
Soon this place will be closing for the night.
Gather your fingerprints if they mean anything to you.

The mother helps the boy into the van, straps him in, wipes his chin.
The chorus wonders if in the future they will fix this sort of thing.
But thinking so far ahead reminds them of death, which they consider to be largely bullshit,
    and so they think instead of the weekend.
Before you go, why not see how many gifts your body can carry.

Algorithmic Meditations on George Herbert

as our double frame bears this blessed pearl
as this bloody pearl conceals our weak art
as our weak stone conceals our rebellious door
as thy rebellious pearl counts our weak praise
as our lesser praise seeks thy rebellious sweat
 our double sweat counts our wounded frame
  yet so much more truly does our Feast understand us

as this wounded praise gains our blessed stone
as our blessed frame bears this pure sweat
as a mighty sweat alters a gentle door
as our gentle art conceals a lesser stone
as our pure stone gains a weak door
as this weak servant alters this lesser frame
as a double frame gains this wounded roof
as this lesser roof counts thy mighty frame
as a mighty altar seeks a pure sweat
as this pure altar climbs a mighty art
as this weak art climbs this pure pearl
as a bloody pearl gains our lesser hope
 our lesser frame conceals our gentle pearl
  yet so much more quickly does our Diver open us

as a double worm seeks this pure art
as this pure sweat climbs a rebellious wit
as thy rebellious sweat alters our lesser servant
as a blessed servant bears this gentle altar
as this gentle altar alters a rebellious art
as a double art alters thy wounded wit
as this gentle wit counts thy blessed roof
as a blessed pearl climbs this double sweat
as this weak sweat climbs this mighty door
as this mighty sweat bears a pure hope
as this pure frame bears our blessed praise
as our bloody praise conceals our blessed frame
as this wounded frame gains our gentle pearl
as this wounded pearl seeks our pure frame
as our pure art bears this weak roof
as this weak door counts this wounded wit
as a wounded door conceals thy double pearl
as this double door alters thy mighty roof
as thy mighty worm climbs thy blessed wit
as our blessed praise conceals thy pure altar
as a blessed altar seeks our gentle frame
as our weak frame counts thy lesser art
as this lesser wit seeks thy rebellious servant
as this mighty servant seeks our bloody stone
as our mighty stone seeks our gentle door
as thy double door conceals our weak servant
as this weak wit bears thy bloody sweat
as thy blessed sweat alters thy gentle hope
 our gentle hope conceals this weak altar
  yet so much more softly does our Architect mend us

as our mighty door gains this pure wit
as this wounded wit conceals a double roof
as a double altar gains a blessed art
as a blessed worm conceals a weak frame
as this weak art seeks thy pure wit
as our lesser wit counts our pure servant
as thy pure sweat climbs this bloody worm
as our blessed worm counts a bloody wit
as a bloody door climbs thy lesser praise
as thy blessed praise bears our weak pearl
as thy weak door seeks this mighty sweat
as thy mighty wit alters our rebellious altar
as thy wounded altar climbs a bloody frame
as this rebellious frame gains thy double worm
as our double hope climbs a gentle roof
as a mighty roof seeks our bloody praise
 thy gentle praise gains thy pure servant
  yet so much more suddenly does our Prince seize us

Kyle Booten

Kyle Booten is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley where he studies the ways that that internet is changing how we experience literature. His most recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Fence and Bombay Gin.