Friday, September 6, 2019

Two Poems by Kara Goughnour

Bravery Test

My head is a bursting
hydrangea bloom,
a buoyant floral beach ball
browned with death and autumn.

Every moment of this life
is a bravery test,
my brain begging for deflation
while I keep breathing in bright air.

I Will Never be Satisfied Dreaming of Myself as a Bird

But these days train rides have felt like flying.
White doves of fleeting graffiti sweep by,
newspaper-flung over grass and brick
like propaganda dropped from blimp. The word Love hangs
over the corpse of an oak like a limp, blue shoelace.
There are some things that hold their beauty in impermanence.
There are some words that are that important.
A friend tells me there’s some good in propaganda.
I say all art is propaganda if you take art seriously enough.
This week I’ve been named both wanted and page-filler,
and I want to be honored by both,
but I think honor is an extension of happiness,
or at least acceptance, and I think I’m still fighting it all,
sore bones, twenty-three years and old as the world.
A mother tells me that, in moments
her children brave too close toward the edge
of a cliff, she herself feels the vertigo.
Today, almost ten years later but still thinking of my mother’s
carpal tunnel surgery, I have shooting pains
in my hands. There is still growth here;
I can not yet sit backwards in a moving train.
I cannot read or write without feeling dizzy.
But, each night, I check the train times,
and each day I try again to cut the grounding ties.

Kara Goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian living in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They received their Bachelor’s Degree in Creative and Professional Writing from The University of Pittsburgh. They are the author of "Mixed Tapes," forthcoming in the Ghost City Press Summer 2019 Micro-Chap Series. They are the recipient of the 2018 Gerald Stern Poetry Award, and have work published or forthcoming in The Bitchin' Kitsch, Third Point Press, and over thirty-five others. Follow them on Twitter @kara_goughnour or read their collected and exclusive works at   

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