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About this poet

Caroline Crumpacker holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Brown University and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Columbia University's School of the Arts. She has published poetry and reviews in Seneca Review, Boston Review, American Letters and Commentary, Chicago Review, Provincetown Arts and the Poetry Project Newsletter. She is Poetry Editor of Fence magazine, a literary biannual, and a contributing editor to the French/American online magazine Double Change. Crumpacker is also an experienced administrator who has worked as Director of Government Relations for the Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, as Deputy Director of Government and Foundation Underwriting for Channel Thirteen/WNET, and, most recently, as Managing Director of the Poetry Society of America. Her academic work has included chairing a panel on female publishers and delivering a paper at a conference held at Barnard College on "Lyric to Language: Contemporary Innovative Women Poets."

[Girl]  [Eyes]  [Foreigner]

Caroline Crumpacker
A circle of young: vicious.
A circle of young: smells like sugar.
A circle of young: why such organization?
                              Around what? Around how?

And into the circle is assimilation.

The girl with blue eyes is a foreigner.

Xenophobic is a fawning.
It smells delicious, of lavender and his mother:
He slept with her. So as to understand false pieties
and false ambitions and false greed.

The girl with blue eyes is a situation of assimilation.

As if the advertisements were getting the better of her.
No, no, not a drink, a Coca-Cola.
Pronunciation various according to location.

The girl with blue eyes is a vixen.

The foreigner approaches the game.
The game is (pretend it is a game)
          too hard.

She is not of this place

Round One:
What is old and smells of the attic?
What is young and smells of the collaborator?

The smell of sugar is high in the wind.
As if a dying sugar cane had dispersed itself.
As if the dying nation needed to profit
from its youth.

Blue eyes. Such luxury.
Her mother must have had beautiful ideas
to make her that way.
We haven’t seen it for years. Centuries.
Before the ice and the concept of the ice.

Before the end of material difference.

The blank with blank eyes is a blank.

And think of what you know to be true:
Her eyes are not blue unless blue has its own currency.
So why do they persist? Why do they do it to us?

Strangers.                            Make them stop.

Copyright © 2002 by Caroline Crumpacker. Originally published in Ploughshares. Used by permission of the author.

Caroline Crumpacker

Caroline Crumpacker

Caroline Crumpacker holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Brown

by this poet

(appendix to the     forgotten                                   )

See character         see costume               see ambassador conjugate of

Country of origin     see that night I fell in love (wrong