annaka saari

Poetry Spotlight #36: Annaka Saari

One of the most enriching, forward-thinking, fastest-growing online creative communities flourishing right now is the Poetry community, especially in those scenes that center on marginalized voices — Women, POC, Neurodivergent, and LGBTQ. Poetry Spotlight is a feature aiming to showcase the work of some of the most talented creators we’ve discovered making waves on the Internet literary circles, inside or outside the mainstream. This new installment focuses on the poetry of American writer Annaka Saari.

Annaka is from Jackson, Michigan. Currently, she lives in Ann Arbor where she studies English at the University of Michigan. Her work has previously appeared in Ghost City Review and MICRO//MACRO and is forthcoming in Collective Unrest. Her work is often inspired by music, movies, and other facets of pop culture, as well as topics surrounding Feminism, Sexuality, and Mental Health.

 

 

Applications Welcome

 

All the girls said
I should kiss
the pretty tan boys
that smile big
and drink Burnett’s
but one of them
raped a friend of mine
and I’ve been
turned off ever since.
I like boys that look like
they’ve seen more years
and more drugs
than I’ve had the pleasure
of swallowing.
You know the ones:
boys that drink Remy
over ice in a stout
glass cup they keep
next to the Taco Bell
plastics inside their
shitty white cupboards.
I like boys with
long unwashed hair
and leather jackets
that smell like smoke
and the Michigan cold.
I like boys with sharp tongues
and short tempers,
boys that will return my jabs
and argue with me
when I decide that
our ship is sailing too smoothly
and I need a little fire
to keep my veins at 97.6
(my doctor doesn’t know
why I run cold
but I haven’t felt anything
in quite a few years so
I think my heart’s the problem).
I was raised in chaos
and nothing says “I love you”
like being pinned to a wall
with insults burrowing
into the blush of your cheeks.
I like boys who will catch
the spiders in Tupperware
and let them outside
when they crawl
from my mouth.
I like boys who listen
to Zeppelin and John Denver
not because it’s cool
but because that’s
what dad played on the way to
the tall, brick church
on Wesley Street
while the sun painted the sky
scarlet and pink
and if you didn’t tell mama
he’d get you
a small, black coffee
from the smiling man
behind the counter
at Sunshine Express.
I like sly-smirked boys,
boys that will reduce me
to shreds with biology
and computer science
but let me tear them apart
with the creations of my tongue
and the words of Salinger
and Shakespeare
and the poets I find
in the annals of the internet;
we can use the bricks
we throw at each other
to build bridges
(or walls, if that’s
what you prefer).
I like boys who take up
a lot of space
with their bodies
or their laughs
because I emptied out
my organs quite recently
and it feels nice
to have a flower or two
to put in the vase
on my nightstand.
I like boys who know
how to be sad,
boys who let me rest
my head on their chest
when I’m dreaming
of bed-sheet nooses
and digging my own grave.
I’ll promise to eat
if you play me a song.
You know which one’s
my favorite, babe.

 

 

 

 

Religion

 

Does worship make a man a god?
I kneel at your altar, sing Psalms at
your lap, speak Proverbs into the hot

damp of your mouth. A smile drips
from your lips as a laugh manages
to escape from them. This is gospel.

Stand before me, trembling. Those
bronze curls matted to your face.
The sweat glistening on the pale of

your chest. A statue. An idol. Your
heart crucified. Your mind damned.
Look at what I’ve made of you.

 

 

 

 

Abraham

 

Our captain lays his head in his hands
as his long legs spill from underneath
the violet velvet of the chair in which he rests

The man has not always been like this:
it started after he watched the girl –
forever and away across the street –
wither thin through the window
while his wife sat sternly beside him

He rises and walks to the bar
raising his glass so slowly to his lips
as if he fears what sloshes inside

The man will not always be like this
surely the pills and prescriptions those
white-cloaked doctors swear by
will suffice to choke the melancholy
from his pallid lips and ghastly mouth

He hands a girl a blue slip of paper
with the poem of another written on it
(he wept the first time he read it)

The man will always be like this
he makes his acquaintance with
specters and phantoms he finds
lodged between book spines

He tells a joke that we’ve all heard before

It is not for us, but for him.

He laughs but his eyes stay blank

His irises long ago went grey

He lays stretched out in Oak Ridge,
his bed so soft and permanent,
surrounded by family on all sides

The man was shot dead in the balcony
of the theater; we knew him soon to
be still, but had not thought he’d be
made lifeless at someone else’s hands

 

 

 

[“Applications Welcome” was originally published in June 2018 by Ghost City Review]

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.