It’s hard to write an introduction for our artist this week. I’ve admired her work since we were angsty teenagers about a decade ago. We attended a charter arts school together during our Junior and Senior years of high school, both focusing in writing. During our Junior year, our class focused on biographical writing – dredging up every traumatic, painful, psychologically defining moment of the past of a class of 24 fairly disturbed, early matured teenagers. It was hard not to bond in this environment. Kaleigh and I fell in love over a cup of coffee, a pack of cigarettes and an eavesdropping assignment. If I had to point at one person in the world to call a best friend, or even a sister, well, this girl’s stuck by my crazy ass for a decade.
Kaleigh has a distinctive voice that carries the ability to find beauty in everything; from filthy city streets to bloody horror scenes to the grease on the back of her crush’s neck to the rise of the full moon. She has a playful way with words that surprises you with the juxtaposition of imagery; paired with her soft, feminine voice that never lacks the undertone of a giggle, she is able to seduce the reader with scenes of rain that draws blood or with her expansive philosophy of the universe. Not only vastly analytical but flawlessly poetic on top of it, Kaleigh holds a rare breed of intelligence. She is the first person that introduced me to the malleable possibilities of language, and will inspire you in an EE Cummings-esque fashion.
Recently, Kaleigh has been pouring herself into a project called (RE)verb, a zine meant to bring together the creative scene emerging out of Anchorage, Alaska, her home for the last year. Check out details and submission guidelines to be a part of this exciting project. If you want more of Kaleigh’s evolving personal work, don’t hesitate to visit her creative blog and her travel blog. I suggest following both; they have a way of flowing into each other. And, of course, don’t forget to follow her on Twitter. Without further ado, the poetry of Ms. Kaleigh Hinkley:
long laces lazily tap the saloon
floor. footstepsonwood, a creak of
old. black lace gently placed on bare
thighs. dangled boots bounce again-
st a bar
stool: nervesthoughtsintentions un-
exposed, except those you can hear in
the tap-thud-tap of rubber
on wood onrubber on metal on
wood. skin silverpale, glowing,
stale: a beacon at midnight. the space-
s in lace draw shadows on her
legs: treeshadows on a bed-
lipscurved upwards, a smile. only
one. curious as a child turning moss-
y stones in search of
but instead finding only
dirt. this body
hurt as the black
lace knows pleasure. trust is no-
but the scratch of a treebranch
on glass, as it asks to be invited
in from the cold- she lets it
roll: aloneandbare in rumple-
When I was five, I wanted to grow up to be an alcoholic
Loving the smell of stale beer
I wanted to grow up and be stale
Before I knew what that meant.
I drank rain out of dirty beer cans
Covered in backyard dirt
With a cigarette butt pinched
In the corner of my lip.
Squinting at the sun
Like the grown ups do
Laughing at jokes
With my imaginary friends.
Spitting on the ground and on my light up shoes.
Small cabin, moss wood, no moose in sight.
Blood moon in clear sky, sea and mountains gone dark.
Winding roads on razor edge between rocksandwater.
Imagine beluga whales in wave crests:
Finding pictures in clouds.
Pickup truck with broken glass in the bed.
Ouija on dashboard, shadows on ceiling.
Lingering smoke-spirit smell inside.
Small bar in half-way-to-somewhere Alaska.
A few nice folks call themselves Locals.
Beers settle in stomach, free plays on jukebox.
Crosswords in the newspaper amplify.
Golden head-fog success.
Bartender helps from up-side-down and talks.
Supporting his family.
Hazy lightdark yellow hue, imagine Bartender:
A ghoststoryteller. A phantom tavern on.
A long road half-way-from-anywhere.
He smiles too muchbigsincerely.
To frighten me.
My fear is if I hold your gaze too long
If I make eye contact and don’t look away
look away quickly,
If I don’t look away quickly, my soul will jump out through my pupils and fall into yours.
Leaving me empty.
My soul would sink into it’s space
it’s space in your torso
right above the pelvic bone (on the left side.)
. (your left side.)
And quietly refuse to return.
I would sit there, a statue, and you would have no idea why I’m frozen.
I’d be smiling. You’d smile.
You’d smile and say goodnight.
And you’d slowly, slowly back away.
You would not know
That you’re taking everything I am