Anna Avery

Anna Avery is a multimedia poet based out of Oakland, California, where she moved shortly after graduating from Naropa University with a Bachelor’s in Writing & Literature. Never have I met a woman so passionate about conceptual revolution and DIY culture. The first time I ever had the pleasure of hearing Anna’s work, I was crowded in a living room with about 30 other poets and artists passing around jugs of Carlo Rossi. Everybody was drunk and a mixture of cigarette and pot smoke hung like a fog around the room. It was called the Drunk Poets Society and Anna was the main organizer at the time. Everybody took turns standing on various pieces of furniture and shouting literature, either their own or their favorites or whatever came to their mind. Anna fretted over what she was going to read, whether it was too personal or not. She was nervous, perhaps of judgement. When she stood and began to read, however, her voice took on a force that surprised me from her tiny frame. Her chest puffed out, daring the world not to listen and her free hand balled into a fist at her side. Her body shook while she read, not with fear but with power. Her words were a challenge, a challenge to care, a challenge to think, a challenge to exist.

I’ve had the opportunity to watch Anna read several times in public, from coffee shops to DIY venues to alleyways beneath the full moon, and every time I have the exact same reaction. A surprise. A conceptual awakening. Every time she opens her mouth, something is moved in me and I am suddenly inspired to take on the world. To say she’s a revolutionary is putting it mildly. This girl is the embodiment of literary revolution. I am honored to display her newly contemplative work today.

Recently, Anna has been collaborating with artist Taylor Newcomb on pieces such as the one you will see below as well as what they call The Simulacra Series. The piece we are excerpting, The Diary of Water, was published previously in the 2013 edition of Bombay Gin 39:1, The Contemplative as Transgressive issue. You can obtain a full copy of this piece, as well as a collection of pieces by several amazing authors, here. To keep up with Anna’s ever transforming work, you can find her at The Art Bar poetry readings in Santa Cruz every Monday night, at The Public School readings in Oakland, or on the beach with a mimosa and a journal. And don’t forget to follow her on Twitter and Facebook.



The Diary of Water

Video by Taylor Newcomb and poetry by Anna Avery.


Excerpt 1

[Drink the air. It is silver. It is water.
It is cool and reflective in convex lungs.
Inhale the possibility. Exhale the sentence:

My name was given to me by two people who did not know me.
They only knew that my body was made by their bodies. All, bodies of water.]

Excerpt 2


A face. Plunged forward.
Mouth opens into sky.
Blue on blue. Blue is
Soft and choking. A gentle
Hand. A gentle grip. Clutching.
Around. The throat. Little pearl
Fingers. Lace around the throat.
Prodding arteries.
Nipping for a pulse. Quiet.
Quiet. No room for speech.
Under water. The volume is
Too heavy, too anchored by

Drowning, I can see you clearer.]

Excerpt 3

[Fine powder, blue black moisture, blue veil. What endures? Gnawed and thawed flesh. What is it to be formless? To be dead? Once you are dead, the narrative is no longer your own. You are confined to the memories of others. Your narrative is their memory- changing and fading. Fluid.]

Excerpt 4

[Visions from the dead. Remembrance under the window sun peaks into the second story hard wood ?oor studio apartment. The sun warms the bed, the body of a young woman hunched in a curl, draped in gold curtains, against a grey brick wall. A mobile of deer bones circle above her, whispering purple lullabies. Calligraphy weeps, holds my heart with its giggling fist in a gesture to protect. What has been hurt, what feels pain Love songs crawl up sweet spine boughs. Two women together on one bed. Drenched hours gleam pink noises. Satin magenta circle of her solitude. Circular sounds imprint sobs create a fullness, languishes in spacious corners. Tender noise. Tender noise.

Sea. Ocean dark, swallowing the picture of a memory dissipates into sepia foam constructed of bubbles and air. Delicate. Transparent air. Sea foam, womb contains an invisible Venus, I do not see her, I feel her spreading and glittering nakedness. The sea is blue and black and full of salt and brine. How do we know more about space than the ocean? Expansive in its darkness Expansive in its depth the ocean holds it secrets in this form:

Dark dark dark dark dark dark dark dark dark
Dark dark dark dark dark dark dark dark dark
Dark dark dark dark dark dark dark dark dark

Trying to describe the thing disrobes it of its essence. Hold it in your mouth for two minutes .Swallow. Drink. Stillness, pause, rest…..

Aroma and taste travel more slowly than sound and sight. Touch is the slowest sense. The black is rough and tender in its roughness. Sentimental and collecting. Sediment and grit and slowly building and eroding.]

Excerpt 5

[Molecules do not stand still in bleeding cities. Articulate the space between sounds, No such thing as silence, only noise. The nervous system chatters, He’s dead, he’s dead. Prenatal noise. The vow of the vowel and a copper refusal. The spider web fog weaves its way between buildings and cars. Olympia’s sidewalk holds my feet, pour the liberation mead between concrete cracks, a gamelan prayer in the overcast afternoon. A slight drizzle rings dark blood, viscous sweat plum wine. Bronze shouts from green leaves. Walking by the Puget Sound up the hill to the West side, the water is thick and pungent.

At the bottom of (my) spine (something) peaks in pain a small hand pulls out a pin needle connecting vertebras to vertebras silver fulcrum slowly seeps out a silver sap at the top of the head. A pain. An ache in the arm pinprick pain at the top of the head Spreads dissonance. People resonate the pain they feel; people slither in between each other in the streets. Do not look each other in the eye. Feel the electricity between bodies. Feel the static between bodies. Feel the static between stations. Feel the static between stationary bodies You and I feel that we are nothing.]

Excerpt 6

[Filling up time’s womb The womb is ripe, whole and fresh Do not pick her, She will choose you. Transmission from the mouth to the other words are realized between you and I in silver touch. Well dressed in our own narratives until the body is realized. Neon blue and pink lights stream up the legs through the feet. The dream and real time know no serpentine. All run in cycles. A bell rings:

It keeps moving backwards and forwards as I’m standing still. Stillness is an illusion as the past pushes the body back. Stomach drops. Future rushes the body forward. Stomach drops. A roller coaster pendulum swing back…. I remember when I you were alive…swing forward. one day I will get over you…stand still in the place where you are. Right now. Feel the sweetness of your present placement:]

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