Daughtered Out

Funny you should ask–
deoxyribonucleic acid
is the basic building block
of life, holding the torch
in my own little world.

Some people are not
carrying the torch.
“In the presence”
may not be the place for you.

"Daughtered out"
what it means is–
you cannot find a descendant
of a female ancestor.

Don’t believe the hype,
because there isn't any to find.

There was a girl (absorbed)
under my care, but
held against her will–
until I had become the water
under the boat
and saw her looking up.

Created from a Google search result: ‘Torch DNA.’ First appeared in the Found Poetry Review’s “PoMoSco,” a collective April 2015 National Poetry Month challenge.

Burn, Burn a Witch

john william waterhouse the magic circle 1886

Once, I was ordinary–
irrefutable, beautifully smug,
but I would rather be horizontal.
The horizons ring me like faggots.
In the marketplace, they are piling the dry sticks.
I shall never get out of this– there are two
of me now– the abstracts hover like dull angels.

Widow. The word consumes itself–
On this bald hill, the new year hones its edge.
I do not want a plain box, I want a sarcophagus.
The month of flowering’s finished, the fruit’s in.
This was the land’s end: the last fingers–
Knuckled and rheumatic– first frost and I
walk among the rose-fruit, the marble toes.

They are the last romantics, these candles–
the white light is artificial, and hygienic as heaven.
Touch it– it won’t shrink like an eyeball.
Empty, I echo to the least footfall!

I can stay awake all night, if need be.
The night sky is only a sort of carbon paper.
This is a dark house, very big–
two girls there are– within the house.
It is ten years, now, since we rowed to Children’s Island.
Black lake, black boat, two black, cut-paper people.

A found poem ‘cento’ composed and rearranged from the first lines of the following poems in Sylvia Plath’s Crossing the Water: ‘Wuthering Heights,’ ‘Finisterre,’ ‘Parliament Hill Fields,’ ‘Heavy Women,’ ‘Insomniac,’ ‘I Am Vertical,’ ‘The Babysitters,’ ‘In Plaster,’ ‘Private Ground,’ ‘Widow,’ ‘Candles,’ ‘Magi,’ ‘Small Hours,’ ‘The Surgeon at 2 A.M.,’ ‘Zoo Keeper’s Wife,’ ‘Last Words,’ ‘Two Sisters of Persephone,’ ‘Who,’ ‘Dark House,’ ‘Maenad,’ ‘Witch Burning,’ ‘A Life,’ and ‘Crossing the Water.’

First appeared in the Found Poetry Review’s “PoMoSco,” a collective April 2015 National Poetry Month challenge.

Thigh High Subversion

The right dose

of thigh high subversion

borrows from past and place.

I try to make it abstract.

The work of human hands,

and dreams become reality.

Confident woman

(global chameleon)

of the true north–

–haute couture.

Consider the ground

held on an icy winter:

fiery candles and stone ruins

plunged into ancient culture.

I have seen true Vogue

inspired by an elevator.

She started an affair with

a license to imagine.

©C.L. Quigley, 2018

First appeared in Found Poetry Review’s “PoMoSco,” a collective April 2015 National Poetry Month challenge

Source text: Menkes, Suzy. “Time Traveler.” Condé Nast Traveler 1 Mar. 2015.

entity stigmatized





out of a dark space,
a man walking in the oleanders–
the conversation that i started
was just an icebreaker.

experiencing the effects of trauma,
neurosis or psychosis is all done in privacy–
even for the most rational individual.

misunderstand the words or actions
in a high stakes situation,
and you’ll lose complete control.

this is not a get-out-of-jail card
taken to the right place for
draconian forced-treatment.

this is a warning
to the man walking in the oleanders–
step into the light.
you have no solitude.

© C.L. Quigley 2015
found poem source: Tuchinsky, Evan. “Identity destigmatized.” Chico News & Review. 19 Feb. 2015

Splitting Wood

                                                                                                        © C.L. Quigley

Splitting wood,
drips from my body