At work, Natalie writes copy for ads and other marketing materials, which currently involves a lot of healthcare items. She knows more about hernias than she should.
Natalie has a poetry manuscript about Utah, space aliens, a monster in the Great Salt Lake and a human woman—it's weird, but not as weird as it sounds. Though after reading a few poems, a fellow poet pointed to Natalie's head and said, "I had no idea that was going on up there." Here's a sampling of previously published poems.
Click on an image to go to the poem.
Featured Writer at O:JA&L—five poems, a craft essay and an interview in separate links.
"Capitol Reef," "Here's What's Left of Lake Bonneville," "Pretending to be interviewed, the monster gets choked up, tells the cameraman to shut the damn thing off."
"The Alien Chose He, but Now Wants to Be a She," "Here Is What's Left of Lake Bonneville"
NAMING A BAR
If this were a child, you would be careful—
contemplate distinctions, the way a life can alter
between Jane and Helen.
Long before you suckled a drop, the bar’s distilled
children were gifted their own import and resource.
Margarita: Latin pearls, Spanish daisies.
Amaretto from amore, apricots, bitter and sweet
almond pits. Gin from engine, the coniferous Juniper.
Label your bar anything: Rusty Parrot,
Cadillac Grill, The Wart. No one will mind
decay, out-of-style luxury, skin bulges.
Give it a neon sign, a random theme:
Cowboy Round-Up, Xanadu, Leprechaun Inn.
Paint the walls deep-purple night;
light your ceiling with orbs, imitate the street:
hard-edged stop, slow down partner, go.
Cars will line up all the way to the shoreline.
An ocean out the north window will drift in bruises,
periwinkle, light lavender, burnt urine.
Your place will be the intoxicated focal point
in this duotone scene of wet roads and white flags,
offering opaque notes—Tonic. Vermouth.
Whiskey aged in oak, water of life.
Bloody Mary: tomato juice, celery,
Cup of Burnt Protestants, Sea of Sorrow.
Originally published in Commonthought
THE TROUBLE WITH CLOTHING
What this life wants is a straight line. Speed
of light. To see
what’s on the other side of the barrier, the best
way to figure green.
The alien bends, whispers
a curse. He’s worn clothing long enough to know
when a seam pops the sound
of a human joint
it means unraveling
a coming ugliness.
But what’s undone is done. He lights a match
a flare, a click
the sound of wind
months with no rain
burn a field
one water dropped, comes to a hiss
a toilet bowl
heavy traffic on fast forward
strand of smoke
to hose to sky
One quick stroke. Like spreading
butter or breaking a string.
Originally published in South Dakota Review
THE GREAT SALT LAKE HAS BEEN SHRINKING SINCE THE ROUNDING OF THE LAST ICE AGE.
The monster has lasted centuries
with little light, in one place.
This lake once spanned hundreds of monsters,
millions of gallons to roam.
Now he has a small city, a village
deep enough to safely travel. He doesn’t mind much,
but wonders about humans and sun.
What will be done when the many things collected
are uncovered? Bones and rings and rocks.
What was lost. Cast off.
The trash of time. He and his house release
only what breathes oxygen or is little enough
Life gets smaller. Salt gets thicker.
The monster doesn’t consider lost love or favorites,
the monster wants to know
what fresh water tastes like, how big a lung feels
when it inhales.
Originally published in Pilgrimage