Poems from Wild With It previously appeared in Fall 2001 and Winter 2002

For Aliki's translations of C.P.Cavafy in Winter 2002.


To order Wild With It or other books at bn.com by Aliki Barnstone

Wild With It was published by Sheep Meadow Press
P.O. Box 1345
Riverdale-on-Hudson, NY 10471


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Wild With It

Title Poem: “Wild With It”:

You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fibre your blood.

     —Walt Whitman

I am your underground river, flowing in the dark
beneath the earth's skin, and I am your blood.

I am the Mississippi, lighted and calm,
and the grassy hills clambering from its waters,

and I am your Mississippi flooding its banks, a volcano
flaming the sky to ash, a tidal wave. Because of you,

I am a Greek island redolent with oregano and thyme,
dry salt air. I am the sea voluptuous against your naked thighs,

the sunlight drying the blond hairs on your legs and arms.
I am your sun burning away all sight except its own light,

a sun throbbing, giving the land color and shape,
the little whitewashed house, the bed below the window full

of mountains breathing deep into the earth, bones of knees,
elbows, flesh of breasts and cocks, cunts and shoulders,

broad chest where the heart beats and makes the capers
and daisies tremble, all the nerves, thistles and sticks,

electric and telephone wires buzzing on your flesh.
I am the moonlight showing you how the sea's body stretches

all the way to New York, to streets whitened by oil and rain,
to shoes scuffing the sidewalks, and windows bright

with pots and pans dangling from the ceiling,
lovers and families, bathrooms—"a guy's bent head

as he fills the bowl— I am pens, notebooks, computer screens,
I am your world wide web, I am your easy chair

you hold a book on your knee— mine is the bare belly
appearing before the shade goes down and mine is

the kiss deepening to a bite on your neck.
I am your witch poking pins into a voodoo doll.

She who comes between us I will burn, bury, break,
shoot off in a rocket to the nothing of space.

I am I am I am. And in you I am, for you erase
and make new our two conjugating shapes.

Publisher's Note:

Stick with Aliki Barnstone. You will find her poetry is full of verbal extravagance, bare. She is wild with poetry, wild with honesty, wild with father and mothers, husbands, lovers, wild with child. There is some question of whether her poetry can contain her. In this book she is captured by her gifts.

Praise for Wild With It:
“Turn to “Bathing Jesus.” This is an example of what I like in Aliki Barnstone's work. Passion; power; fearlessness. Read her!”

—Gerald Stern

“In Wild With It Aliki Barnstone is in full bloom, silkily erotic and radiantly intelligent.”

—Carolyn Kizer

“What razzmatazz! What brains! What beauty! Aliki Barnstone's poems are a delight, sexy and smart, coursing deeper than we might know to go. And there the poet--unabashed!--finds what poetry must do: “push out the air and O of mystery from our throats.”

—Alan Michael Parker


Aliki Barnstone's previous collection, Madly in Love, (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1997) was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She's the editor of Voices of Light: Spiritual and Visionary Poems by Women around the World from Ancient Sumeria to Now (Shambhala 2000), and A Book of Women Poets from Antiquity to Now (Schocken/Random House, 1992), both of which contain her translations. A previous issue of The Drunken Boat contained a selection from her study, A Changing Rapture: The Development of Emily Dickinson's Poetry. She teaches in the International MFA Program at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas.