1 poem

by Julianne Neely

Julianne Neely received her MFA degree from the Iowa Writer's Workshop, where she received the Truman Capote Fellowship, the 2017 John Logan Poetry Prize, and a Schupes Fellowship for Poetry. She is currently a Poetics PhD candidate and an English Department Fellow at the University at Buffalo. Her writing has been published in Hyperallergic, VIDA, The Rumpus, The Iowa Review, and more.

King Lear (Redacted and Reconstructed)

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to acknowledge i  

ROUND-WOMBED

her bed my bed          

I MUST LOVE YOU

i am made of that self

MY TRUE HEART

of love i am alone

I’M HIGH

poor my tongue speak

UNHAPPY I LOVE OBEY

love honor husbands

I SHALL WED I SHALL NEVER

marry my generation

STIRS LET IT FALL

power state empty-hearted hollow

KILL DISEASE OUR NATURE HATED BACK

words of love all old

I’M HIGH AND NOTHING MORE

take wealth

COMMIT OFFENSE

faith in glib art not i

SPEAK VICIOUS UNCHASTE

lady give me love

WIFE DESPISED OBEDIENCE WANTED

shame prosper i have poor judgement

RASH IMPERFECTIONS UNRULY WAYWARDNESS

curiosity my mind dull stale tired

I KNOW NO NEWS NOTHING

terrible nothing i blame policy

I HUM CONSPIRACY SLEEP

to write this i dare danger

I PLACE THIS EVENING SO TENDERLY INTO FRAME

love cools friendship falls off in cities

IN COUNTRIES THE BOND CRACKED

bias of our time

WE ARE SICK I AM THINKING

of serious contemplation

THE EFFECTS OF DEATH NEEDLESS

how long have you gone

HOURS WHEREIN YOU FEAR PRAY

i have told you what i have seen and heard

HORROR I HEAR BY DAY AND NIGHT

im high

EVERY HOUR FLASHES

i will not speak i am sick

MIND IDLE I’LL WRITE

prepare for dinner get it ready

NOW WHAT

i eat fish poor

HIGHNESS

but where’s my days

AWAY

can you make no use of nothing

NOTHING CAN BE MADE OF NOTHING

the rent a monopoly

I CAN GIVE AN EGG MEAT TWO CROWNS

i speak like this for men

I LIE LYING PRETTY NO FROWNING

i hold my tongue weary

A SHELLED FOOL HA

infected with age and devils

DEGENERATE I

fruitful womb create child

IT MAY LIVE THANKLESS

i am ashamed these hot tears

SOME COMPANY A WOMAN’S MILKY GENTLENESS

i want anything

I WILL NOT SLEEP TILL I HAVE DANGER

a house laughs at my place

PARDON ME MUMBLING

my body alarmed roused

MY HEART IS CRACKED

o lady lady ill

AFFECTED DEATH WASTE OF REVENUES

at my house i’ll be there

WHINING IS IT NIGHT

self-subdued

I SERVE EMPLOYMENT

sit till noon till night all night

SELFSAME ILL SO SLIGHTLY

legs whose disposition have traveled hard

I SLEEP REST

ill under this globe

I FIND TIME

from this state my face grime with filth

MY LOINS MY HAIRS IN KNOTS

nakedness mortified arms

THERE’S SOMETHING YET NOTHING

am from home

NO PURPOSE I SAY YEA HALF BREATHLESS

displayed highness

WINTER’S NOT GONE YET WILD GEESE FLY

o how this swells up my heart

IT BEGINS TO RAIN

in the storm they are sick

IMAGES OF REVOLT FLYING OFF

unremovable and fixed in plague

NOT WELL NEGLECT OUR HEALTH OURSELVES

to suffer with the body

INDISPOSED AND SICKLY FIT MY STATE

my rising heart cried

I AM GLAD TO BE HIGH

i fail obligation

ON THE VERY VERGE OF CONFINE

ruled and led by that state

THIS BECOMES THE HOUSE

ingrateful young bones infect

I HAVE GOOD HOPE

being weak till the expiration of month

I AM HOME

i abjure all roofs

I CAN BE PATIENT

in one house i look wicked

IN A HOUSE THOU ART A LADY

give me that patience i need

TOUCH ME I’LL WEEP

this house is little

HIGH RAGE

shut your doors

WHO’S THERE BESIDES FOUL WEATHER

in a dry house weak

I WILL BE THE PATTERN OF ALL PATIENCE

i marry a fool and cry

MY WITS BEGIN TO TURN

i am cold

I AM ILL AND GONE TO BED

come not in here

ALL THE PLAGUES IN THE AIR

come in all

YOUR COMPANY KEEP THEE WARM

no words no words

HERE IS BETTER THAN THE OPEN AIR

come sit          

SHE MUST NOT COME OVER

the haunts in the voice of a nightingale

I HAVE NO FOOD

make no noise draw the curtains

GO TO SUPPER IN THE MORNING

i’ll go to bed at noon

WHO’S THERE

my friends you are my guests

I AM YOUR HOST

i’ll fetch some flax and whites of eggs

PLAGUE BEGONE

a woman’s services are due

HUMANITY PREY ON ITSELF LIKE MONSTERS

the news is tart

I’LL READ THE WICKEDNESS

i live in the state

GUESTS PARTED AS PEARLS FROM DIAMONDS

casualties sting so venomously

I GO ABOUT MY MOURNING

to live I think is gone

NIGHTED LIFE THE WAYS ARE DANGEROUS

let go my hand

TO CURE IT WHEN LIFE ITSELF HASNT BEEN GOSSAMER

breathe a miracle

THIS IS STRANGE

this piece of toasted cheese will do

GIVE ME AN OUNCE OF MONEY

o let me kiss that hand of mortality

THIS GREAT WORLD I’LL NOT LOVE

read with no eyes in head

NO MONEY IN PURSE

behold the great image of authority

ROBES HIDE ALL

o untimely death

I FAIL

where have I been

WHERE AM I

i know these are my hands

THE GREAT RAGE

high I am foolish

MY STATE STANDS ON ME

ill thoughts coming

THE MYSTERY OF THINGS WE’LL WEAR OUT

not so hot I am not well

STOMACH SICK O SICK

my sickness grows upon me

THE LAWS ARE MONSTROUS

plague I must embrace thee

UNTIL SOME HALF HOUR PAST OF PASSION JOY AND GRIEF

she comes over

 

we contract it in an instant

THE BODIES ALIVE OR DEAD WAS BELOVED

image of that horror

I HAVE SEEN THE DAY A DULL SIGHT

all friends all foes no breath at all

UNDO THIS GORED STATE

the weight of this

 

WE THAT ARE YOUNG SHALL NEVER SEE SO MUCH NOR LIVE LONG

EXIT WITH A DEATH MARCH