Excerpts from Ally Harris’s poetry manuscript, Her Twin Was After Me, a finalist for the 2015 TS Book Prize.



To explode into, to leave thought and posture for later, to forgive oneself, to turn and measure once cooled. To un-mule from process, to un- slave-drive into—align by force, to retch upon, blinking into your own highness, then: a gut burn, a better shutter, not entirely creamy in buoyance, not all positive, a hissing yes rising off night’s damp foal, she who darts and zags from your caress.


* * *

School of coprolites and necrophores, of tubercles and gleet. All of it suppurating, glabrous, impecunious, alive.

Ethan sent me a video of a woman fucking a guy in the ass with the stump of her amputated leg. I’ve watched this video a teen of times: the woman butters her stump with an ointment of lube, the gentle formula applied to her nub like a parent’s finger on the supple anus of their babe.

Coroneted witch, woman with quartz on her tongue. Ducornet, de Sade, Bataille, Lispector. I continued to see Ethan until what disgusted me became boring.


* * *

Debasement. If I can’t debase myself, surely the TV has perfected the activity. Peering through plastic fronds, REALITY TV, my antidote to the seriousness of poetry, the grim-straight lips of my soul.

I Love New York. John Waters. Divine. Harmony Korine. Rock of Love, Rock of Love Bus, Rock of Love Bus 2. For the Love of Ray J. Dash Snow. VH1. Lifetime TV. The feeling of disgust, my only only.

I came from garbage, the daughter of a prison plumber, daughter of a man whose feet are baptized in shit. I came from garbage. I rose up from a borrowed backyard with a noon glaze and twigs mussing my malformed head. It was summer. I wore tie dye and was born in love with an artist, born confused about fact and fiction.

Yeah, the floor is a place to fling oneself, but where further does one go? Oh, my dewy limbs, the dewy skin of TV. The fan set on low in the far dark, me speechless, ringed in wind. Good American. Say it: Good American. Pat my potbelly. Pat my head.


[An earlier version of “THE MOONS OF MARS” originally appeared in Poor Claudia’s 10 Sources.]



Like neurotic Georges taking swan dives off a long nostalgic leap, it was you who glued all things imperative to the moment and waited to watch it reach, for nothing. The consonant breeze shuddered and flapped with our insides. The flags shivered but didn’t have sweaters to pull upon their elbows. A dangle of that solemn string was you dumping sheaves of paper on my doorstep, everything multiplied ferociously and roiled in a kaleidoscopic stroke of wagging.

Anna, we went beyond the first cliff with mountain blood steeped on our cheeks. My head was a whale’s head, I was mewing like a humpback. You fashioned two grooves in my skull where the bullets might go and put them so gentle to bed they loved you for it and forgot. Gravity’s fat fingers smeared such pretty parts of me onto that rock. But the is still is, you said as you undressed me, it hisses and snakes like a hose on high with no two hands to keep it still.



A park becomes a lot
becomes a building
fantasy goons our thoughts
fucking overhipsters
in print looking oversharp
past the bus’s glass
which touched her child
fed me pills, a bad mix
of how it is to be
content with merely living
and what I do like crickets
do to sleeping gulls
on the quiet street
of the quiet of your face
upon the esplanade

I came into being slowly, sowly, snowly
I came on your cock
already is something
different already, I thought
and became afraid
I walked past your father
by the Alder building
accidentally snorting
a floating pigeon’s feather
you could say I was in bad humor
and talked too much as usual
I wanted to catch your thigh
in afternoon’s blacked up
branch, hissing like a squirrel
or brown grocery bag
all puffed up with wind





I was a faker in the brush
an even logic broke me
day stifled a spore of stars
bent like I did on all fours
fucked in a supermarket gurney
of super blue the manager
fingered his eager revolver
I could hear twitched faces
by the half-blind toward

To study smell in a bath
of tongues that writhe in the dim
afternoon of a PA field
vibrations shrug me into fact
among the filmy angelica
some loping I & tongues
resting on German shepherds
my life under a shadow
halts upon the snow of radiant
mars, her blue gel cast
on my smooth young jowl

[“THIGHS THAT ASKED” and “40 MILLION YEAR FANTASY” both appeared in Her Twin Was After Me, a chapbook of poems published by Slim Princess Holdings.]





Excerpts from Ally Harris’ manuscript can be found in Agriculture Reader, Anti-, Sixth Finch, Typo, The Destroyer, and more. She was a finalist for the 2012 BOMBLOG Poetry Contest judged by Ben Lerner and has two chapbooks of poetry, Floor Baby (dancing girl press, 2011) and Her Twin Was After Me (Slim Princess Holdings, 2014). She lives in Portland, OR where she curates a reading series called submission and edits poetry for Heavy Feather Review.


The full-length manuscript Her Twin Was After Me is partially comprised of prose poems phonetically translated from other poems I’ve written, then radically revised and reworked. They operate as permutations or translations of the self on the border of sense and sensation. Experience packed with image, sound as pastoral. A moon on water, cells dividing. From them emerged the theme of a hunt—to or from a multitude of selves pulsating inside one fleshy sack, where syntax and image recline casually on the same flapping, nostalgic dock. Also in this manuscript are lineated poems, which do not come from my “self translation” project. These expansions and contractions make insane this tiny universe “poem,” they attempt to pull sentences inside out in ways a prose poem cannot.