Lauren Keefer will be one of the featured readers at the debut Chance Operations reading on Monday, April 12, at 7:30 p.m., at Duff's, 392 North Euclid Avenue, in the Central West End. Admission: $3.00.
Lauren Keefer is a Saint Louis transplant, hailing from Huntington Beach, California. Lauren recently graduated from Washington University with a degree in women and gender studies. She debuted her poetry at the Get Born series in summer of 2008, and since then has read at the River Styx Hungry Young Poets series, Voices from the Underground, the Speakeasy, Bad Shoe, and at the Day of the Dead Beats (as Amiri Baraka).
Likes: love letters, making lists, calculus, the Star Wars saga, and the Mississippi.
Dislikes: the patriarchy (really, exploitation of any kind).
SPILL YER GUTS.
i once turned to lips for answers to all life's questions
i drank sweet saliva and relished
filmy traces left on collarbones and breasts.
and when lips held me no more, i looked to hands
i saw from whence they came: exquisite shoulders, broken wings.
ancient spine supporting tense sinews of muscle and mannish flesh.
his ragged arms bear the weight of too many lovers
above me, always, this wounded beast of mine.
each finger told stories of all the skin it'd met before
fingers spoke more to me than his lips would ever permit.
and i found hope in the gentle caress of pleasure-driven digits.
your hands, they're blinding me, darling man!
that's why it took me so long to realize:
it's neither lips nor words and definitely not fingers or touches
that break my heart
because love, really, is only made up of guts.
guts are all i've ever got -- everyone else's, spilled without end, and mine own.
but never yours.
i imagined myself a surgeon and i cut you open in my dreams:
under flesh and warm viscera i found nothing. i dove deeper into silence.
yes, your sweat continues to pour hard and fast down my stock curves
but the weight of your silence is suffocating me.
your scars are heavy, and your guts are gone!
and your fingers trace each droplet a bullet. and because i once welcomed lips and then hands
i no longer have armor to protect my fragile flesh.
i have no more skeletons to support it all, dear sir
and my skin's bruised and taut.
-- Laureen Keefer
Elly Herget and Erin Wiles, from Bad Shoe, St. Louis' only literary magazine featuring entirely women writers and artists.
Matthew Freeman, author of the recently published Darkness Never Far, his third collection of poems.
Chris Parr, performance poet who has read his work at art spaces, music venues, and poetry events, in his native New Zealand, as well as in Boston, New York and St. Louis.
Lauren Keefer, a veteran of both Get Born and River Styx's Hungry Young Poets series.