Literature 1-19-2009

What Light: This Week’s Poem: Charisse Gendron

This week's poem by Charisse Gendron, is the third of her NONSETS poems to earn recognition in this cycle of What Light, was selected by Deborah Bernhardt.


“Jam,” Nonsets 7

Ever more wildered, oh what a pother
the scandal of the trout over the boom.
Tortoiseshell tea leaves tattle of wither
or whither shall we go now, out of room,

all a-crinkle in pod. Heavy she trod
on lucky, on squeaking by the book,
on fancy bought on credit. Shoulder hod
and trudge, girlie. No more of your backtalk.

Threadbare the better to see through, goldish
oldish, tarnish. Trees around the tarn,
terriers, retrievers wet and welter.

How do they walk on water, not famish,
canoes rolling right as rain, tax shelters
intact? Grout not. On bismark, on lavish.


“Pedestal,” “Plush,” and “Jam” are part of a nine-poem series called Nonsets. To write these poems, I quickly make a list of words without considering content, only sound. Then I write a sonnet using the words. So, the syntax and prosody are traditional, but the narrative is skewed, subliminal. Incidentally, I plan to make a chapbook out of the nonsets, and I am looking for an illustrator. I’m thinking quirky but delicate line drawings. Please contact me if you have an idea.


Charisse Gendron is a grant writer and poet.