Kristine Ong Muslim

Kristine Ong Muslim has been a great inspiration to me. For years, I’ve been following her poems and conversations in journals like Anobium Literary Magazine, Boxcar Poetry Review, Pank, Prick of the Spindle, Viral Cat and a hundred other amazing print and online journals. I’ve finally had a chance to read two of her recent books, Grim Series (Popcorn Press, 2012) and We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012). Both books are ghastly wonderful and filled with an uncanny wisdom about what terrifies us most in life and death—a knowledge so nonchalant and startling each poem proves only to reveal truths about each of us, about our humanity. Have a taste for yourself from We Bury the Landscape below. But be warned, when you come back later, and you will come back, you may find yourself buried behind the walls.

Self-Portrait as Broken Home
After Julie Heffernan’s Self-Portrait as Broken Home
oil on canvas
67 X 57 in.

What will the surgeon say if he opens us up only to find
rooms of unfinished lives? What will he make of the
unmade bed, the living room where a television set plays
reruns of breakfast cereal commercials, the Christmas tree
erected in the middle of July, those  loose floorboards, the
attic of cockroaches, toys and discarded chandeliers, and
the aquarium of venomous sea creatures? Will he understand
our need to look tough, to look smarter than the rest?
Or will he see through our weakness? And Shaking his
head into our bellies to diagnose bad plumbing, and wade
through the muck of unpainted rooms and guts stringed
to create space for guests? After all this, will he stitch us
up in time, slap a For Sale sign on our bloody doors?

Rebellious Women in Poetry (brought to you by rebellious women) is made possible by rebellious women. Reprinted from We Bury the Landscape by permission of the author. Kristine Ong Muslim is the poetry editor of LONTAR: The Journal of Southeast Asian Speculative Fiction. Her stories and poems have also been published widely in hundreds of genre venues, from Abyss & Apex to One Buck Horror. The introduction is by Susan Yount, editor of Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal, madam of the Chicago Poetry Bordello & author of Catastrophe Theory.

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