White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Diane Raptosh
Diane Raptosh teaches literature and creative writing at The College of Idaho, where she also directs the program in Criminal Justice Studies. Her fourth and most recent book of poems, American Amnesiac (Etruscan Press), was longlisted for the 2013 National Book Award. The poems published here are from a new manuscript tentatively called Torchie’s Book of Days, a book-length dramatic monologue. She lives with her family in Boise.
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Diane Raptosh




I’m starting to back away
                                                    from the world slowly,


in order to become pure ear.
                                                           Air. A mule deer.  Maybe


Karen O. We are who we’ve been
                                                                    waiting for. What’s taking place


now is free of time—tents
                                                       quavering like moon jellies


in the L.A. sky.
                                 Heart’s mind says to itself


I am free to move about.
                                                    And also, I am afraid.


We cannot have any unmixed
                                                            emotions, says Yeats.



Diane Raptosh

And so, Readership,
                                            have a little faith.


You had me at hello.
                                           You have me


speaking fortune cookies. Jeez.                                       
                                                              Believe: Ours is the age


of pre-post-hope, and I frickin’ own
                                                                        this language. BTW, I love


the way you gloze this
                                                with those fingertip licks.

Diane Raptosh

[   ]



Since I continue to have you

under my auspices, hostages,


I’ll slip you this [  ] :

chi-squeeze, gut-clasp, hug for the horse forequarters


of the hippocampus.

Take it.  Sometimes you have to


close your mouth

to keep the heat inside but I am in the mood


for verb: quiet and wolf are a pair

of my favorite cross-dressers.


Life is too short to eat

what’s in you: heart



Diane Raptosh

cells titivate and renew

in time— thanks to small molecules


rousing them to. Men

have come and gone


but mites have hardly changed.

And might not


one’s separate quiet

dust up something like decency?


This world is gravid

with better lode, the way


that crack in Africa may coin

a new sea, the way beetles are born


in a nougat of mother-muck

then carry an armored suit


Diane Raptosh

made of the stuff, brindled

as magnified sand. Thinking thinks it’s


aided by the shoulders’

sloping closer


to the brain.  And now

that word shoulder


wants to turn

suddenly strange:  ou grim humerus,


dread’s knapsack,

florid hump-backed fly—


Is there anybody there?

Diane Raptosh




Today is the first day of summer.
          I first entered simmer.


As we speak, I am writing this quote:
          Women are the less


monogamous gender, more
          carnal-anarchic than men.


Science says.
          It strapped these girls


to a plethysmograph  and taped


some measures. The sight
          of strangers, either sex,


stirred eight times more blood
          than a beloved. 



Diane Raptosh

A t = 0 the universe
          unfolded. Before the printing press


Beauty threw on and off a grab bag
          of gowns made of mayhem’s


alphabet:   beauitye,  bewtee,
          beaute,  buute, and  beaultye  are but a few


she finally let dangle over


what I’ll call here her pedestool.
          I have a fallen ligament in my pinkie


doctors tagged swan neck deformity
          The third man I left


dubbed the tub drain-catch
          the pubic library.


We laughed about that as we lay on a knoll
          one day and watched a cloud-clod




Diane Raptosh

leave its mark upon the world.
          How a part so fine as swan décolletage


can spell disfigurement   
          is past me, but I am


what one might call
          a flame fatale. We ourselves


are only 1/10th human—
          ten microbiota for every cell


in our physiques. I love the soft-fuzzed
          Latin word for nose holes:


nares. I, too, like it
          when people call the eye naked. What


are you looking at? You bet
          I’d take it straight in the ear from a swan.






Copyright © Diane Raptosh. White Whale Review, issue 6.1

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