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Wendy Taylor Carlisle


To experience more work by this writer, explore her new chapbook DESIGNATION, available now from O:JA&L’s BUTTONHOOK PRESS.

Dancer in Red by Fabian Perez

To survive you need an edge, said Ann Carson
to the planet. You’re a regular razor dancer,
said Johnny to me. Bueno, so be it, alia iacta est.
I’ll let my designation be that extreme,
that fringe, but I will need a suitable call sign.
Not cool hipster, I was too feverish.
Not spiritual ecstatic, your teardrops, contained
more introspection than my meditation.
Not flaneur, no time to amble.
Not bohemian, too well dressed.
I’d need a moniker that can embrace
Ann and Johnny, a name that subsumes
chill basements, risk, terror, backhands,
swallowed feelings. I settled for woman.


About the writer:
WENDY TAYLOR CARLISLE lives and writes in the Arkansas Ozarks. She has published four books and five chapbooks and is the winner of the 2020 Phillip H. McMath Poetry Prize. Find her work in pacificREVIEW, Atlanta Review, Freshwater Review, Tab, and Rattle.

Image: Dancer in Red by Fabian Perez (contemporary). No medium specified. No size specified. 2014. By free license.

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OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) recommends the programs and services of TERRY LUCAS: Poetry coach.