BANG! authors are showcased individually here online for a month. Each author installment is made up of three pieces in any combination: poetry shorts (20 lines) or fiction or nonfiction (500 words each) for a month. All work on must be previously unpublished. Submission period runs all year round. BANG! pieces are not published in The New Guard. Work should be very short: flash-short. Pieces on BANG! are meant to serve as a kind of calling card for the author. $22 submission fee. :: Our next installment will be posted on August 5, 2019. ::
Colleen Rose Sullivan is a BANG! Selected Writer.
Colleen Rose Sullivan is a writer currently living in Boston. Her work has been featured in such publications as The Onyx and The Journal of Critical Thinking, out of Framingham University. Articles can be read on Medium at www.medium.com/@colleenrosesullivan. Visit her website at www.colleenrosesullivan.com.
POETRY BY Colleen Rose Sullivan
the dress I left behind
a-line, floral, your favorite shade of blue
I left it spread out across my bed
deflated, spent, pilling sticking to the sheets.
the first time I wore it, you fastened up the clasp
you smiled at me, your eyes shiny and warm
how I’d managed to fold myself into it
and smooth out the wrinkles best I could
I’ll never know.
but maybe you do. you knew a lot of things.
you who fastened up the clasp, and cinched up the belt
who knotted up my hair, and buttoned up the neck.
you pulled me to the mirror
where my skin reflected back mottled, stained
dark circles under eyes, chin, ears
you said I would be okay in a day or two
it wasn’t so very bad.
aftertaste like glue
her voice was hoarse
like she had spent a lifetime
forcing the words to claw their way out
and now they didn’t want to.
if I thought it could help
I would send her time
wrapped up in a neat little bow
to pour down her throat.
see, I have too much and it could expire
so I’ll try, I will, if time allows
but when I tried, the time refused
to unstick from my fingers.
I licked them clean instead
and sent her honey in a bottle
dressed up in a neat little ribbon.
I thought maybe it could help.
you look back on that time and you laugh at it
not about it—at it.
wondering all the while if you even should trivialize that time when
Everything was mesmerizing, fresh, oppressive, expressive
when Everything was heavier than it’s ever been since.
you? your voice just crackles,
splits while you carry yourself forward, while we laugh together at It.
It’s many things, times, places, spaces
unable to clearly name or categorize but then—
I wouldn’t want to anyhow.
It’s all just spare space, pauses, for laughter
the longer since time’s passed.
It’s all just time past the further you are from when the weight of every moment was
absolute. Final. do you remember that?
if maybe you’re now the monster who didn’t understand you back then,
when everyone else (read: you) equates the weight
with romanticism, with hunger, with flair, with fun,
(with rampant self-indulgence)
but I’m still here begging for anything indulgent.
I’m still here trying to convince everyone else of the weight.
Poetry © Colleen Rose Sullivan, 2019. All rights reserved by the author.
Previous authors with appearances on BANG! are: Patricia Smith, Jose Padua, Stephanie Cotsirilos, Pete Follansbee, Jillian Brenner, Susanna Baird, Alexandra Oliver, Kerri Quinn, Mike Heppner, Marc Mewshaw, Lola Rainey, Timothy Dyke, Marcia Popp, Quenton Baker, Dan Ritter, Anne Riesenberg, Courtney Campbell, Joshua Graber, Charles Wyatt, Ingrid Norton, Julio Duggan, V. Hansmann, Margo Orlando Littell, Scarlett S. Diaz, Erica Vega, Ronald Okuaki Lieber, Elena Tomorowitz. Amy M. Alvarez, Jonathan Segol, Lissa Kiernan, Roger Bonair-Agard, James Kimbrell, Bridget Boland, E.G. Cunningham, Melissa Goode, Mark Wagstaff, Carla Stern, Sarah Glass, Jennifer Amell, Zakia R. Khwaja, Julie Poitras Santos, Lyall Harris and Amy Nash.