Saturday, March 8, 2008

A Poem I Liked: Vex Me by Barbara Hamby

I am not much for poetry. That being said, I heard this poem on NPR the other day and it has really stuck with me. I thought I would share it with you all and take a look at the author and her books.

Barbara Hamby was born in New Orleans and raised in Hawaii. Her poems have been printed in numerous publications and her first book of poetry, Delirium (1995), received literary recognition. She lives with her husband and fellow poet David Kirby in Tallahassee, Florida, where she is a writer-in-residence in the Creative Writing Program, and he a professor, both with the English Department at Florida State University.

This particular poem, Vex Me, is from her book Babel published by the University of
Pittsburgh Press in 2004

Vex Me

Vex me, O Night, your stars stuttering like a stuck jukebox,
put a spell on me, my bones atremble at your tabernacle

of rhythm and blues. Call out your archers, chain me
to a wall, let the stone fortress of my body fall

like a rabid fox before an army of dogs.
Rebuke me,
rip out my larynx like a lazy snake and feed it to the voiceless

throng. For I am midnight's girl, scouring unlit streets
like Persephone stalking her swarthy lord. Anoint me

with oil, make me greasy as a fast-food fry. Deliver me
like a pizza to the snapping crack-house hours between

one and four. Build me an ark, fill it with prairie moths,
split-winged fritillaries, blue-bottle flies. Stitch

me a gown of taffeta and quinine, starlight and nightsoil,
and when the clock tocks two, I'll be the belle of the malaria ball.


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