Two Poems by Danielle Mitchell

Encyclopedia Eradica

Hadrian’s Wall was incorrectly thought to have anything to do with King Arthur. Arthur was thought to be a cuckold. A cock is a bringer of power. Or a fowl. Hadrian was thought to be a humanist, but he enjoyed a hunt. The Higgs boson is the fox. Run through the Large Hadron Collider beneath France. Results come out of Switzerland, because it’s neutral. The God-Particle has only one intention: to make you choose. Everything above the wall was said to be wild. You are a Lancelot. You convince me choice is irrelevant. There are three anticolors. They repel their natural mates. There is a man who listens deeply, whom I want desperately to love. Hadrian said his wall was “divine instruction.” You said there’s a better way to be lonely. It took two years to excavate the seventeen tons of gravel & six months to freeze the walls that house the Atlas Detector. Arthur was a fool for magic. I ask you to love me. Love me like the Higgs boson, like the particle that explains why I matter. Hadrian died an empire. Arthur, a kingdom. All this to prove a darkness. I sing out to the antiblue, give me some proof of existence.

“Visual Higgs Boson” (image via Flickr user Michael Linden)

Year of the Dig

Ashes of the soul is a kind of potato. I save the National Geographic to prove it at parties. Seventy-seven plays, forty-five operas, seven movies & five ballets have been made on Cleopatra, but her tomb evades us. Makes the daughter-in-law cry is another potato. Proxemics is the study of our need for space from each other. A Dominican woman thinks she found the site; her teachers assume she will fail; she stakes red flags around a temple of Isis anyway. Out-waits the Arab Spring. They say Cleopatra decided where & when & by whom she’d be found. In her immaculate sarcophagus, hugging the jar of pickled asps that she has hugged for centuries with a smile carved onto her eternal lips. The torture of this. Would she like us to know she spared no expense with the glitz, scarab-encrusted-everythings but how in the end Mark Antony’s bones were thrown in a sack among the maids’ intestines. Our plans fail like stars over cities. In the worst year of my life, there were people gathered in listening to the story, a thousand times told. There’s a potato called Guinea pig fetus, there’s Cleopatra the hostess knowing where & when & by whom down to the hour of day, napkin rings. This is the difficulty with parties.

Danielle Mitchell is one of ten up-and-coming poets featured in Pop Art: An Anthology of Southern California Poetry (Moon Tide Press, 2010) and author of the chapbook Poem Food. Her work has appeared in Mixed Fruit, dirtcakes, The Million-Line Poem, and Re)Verb, among other magazines and anthologies. Currently, she facilitates The Poetry Lab in Long Beach, California, and curates Litnivorous.com. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and a graduate of the University of Redlands. In the past, Danielle has worn many hats, including poetry editor of the Redlands Review and associate editor of Connotation Press, but her favorite hat is a Stormtrooper beanie from the Kids Gap.