Shannon Maraghy
     Here is Shannon Maraghy in her own words:
     What to say? I'm 34, a Libra, born in the year of the rabbit, don't know what blood type, live with my husband and 3 cats in our Silverlake apartment. I've written poetry off and on since middle school. My freshman year of college at William & Mary, I won a freshman poetry competition for the recitation of a poem I wrote about an irate lunatic looking in a mirror demanding that the guy on the other side of the glass stop staring at him. A few years later, I co-founded a poetry group called Ars Poetica in Richmond, Virginia. We did readings at museums, bars, coffee houses and bookstores. During my senior year as an undergrad, I took first place in the annual English department poetry contest. Later, I did an MFA at San Diego State University in fiction/poetry (more fiction than poetry, but a good bit of poetry) and produced a thesis entitled Perversity. My publishing history is not impressive: school and university literary magazines, several magazines formed by groups of my friends, and online magazines. I'm interested in things that people don't like to talk about—psychological  "aberrations,” politics, sex, religion, hypocrisy, death, anxiety, unpleasant aspects of the body, controversy. Subversion interests me. I'm not interested in trying to describe something as purely aesthetically attractive and harmonious. I find that boring. To me, content is king. If a poem is written very skillfully with a virtuoso-like control of foot, meter, and for—but yet it contains no gripping ideas or images, well then, I'm left cold by it. When poetry is at its best, it is honest and vulnerable. It brings the reader's mind alive, humming with the combination of fascinating thoughts and sounds. (I'm saying what I love about the potential of poetry and what I aspire to. Not necessarily saying that my poems embody this...)


Maybe you first notice in the shower, rinsing off the facewash:
Sore, hard mountain, rising from the plain of cheek.
You press gently, wince, press again.
In the mirror, it is flushed with the fever of infection
Or the anger of the magma within it, dangerous, waiting, wanting out.

Your resolve not to touch it
Lasts for most of an hour,
Then you find yourself in the bathroom again.
Anticipating easy victory, placing a finger on either side,
Angling down and in, 45 degrees
And squeeze
Except it hurts like a son of a—
And it will retaliate
By being bigger and redder at work tomorrow.

Conversing with a coworker:
At first she doesn't see it,
But then
She does,
Struggles valiantly not to stare.
She seeks out your eyes again and again,
But it pulls at her glance like a magnet,
Mesmerizes like a snake charmer,
Captivates like a burning wreck on the side of the road

You go home, your mind set.
Wash and dry the region for strategic grip.
You bring out the big guns:
The knuckles of your pointer fingers
Searching for optimal leverage,
Probing for maximum soreness,
The greatest chance to spring the landmine.

Then you take a deep breath,
Hold it.
You watch for movement subcutaneous, a whiteness
Rising to the surface to break free and yes,
Yes, yes it's coming—keep up the
Pressure and there's
The tremendous
                                   triumph but don't stop
Yet because there might
Be more and if you stop now it WILL
Return with reinforcements, so keep
Going and there's another
                                                                rupture from
The stubborn volcano and that’s—

Pressure released. Energy transformed: potential
To kinetic—like a sneeze, orgasm, the emptying of bowels,
The shift from pressure--
To pleasure and the juxtaposition
Of the two
Is marvelous
And now it's done and you can breathe and there's just joy
And the sprinkled drops of clear and creamy yellow-white on the mirror.

You wash the wound and let the healing begin. And know it's just a matter of time until
The enemy next rises upon you.

2010 Shannon Maraghy
Shannon Maraghy was a Featured Poet who read her poetry at the June 2010 Second Sunday Poetry Series