Joyelle McSweeney

Joyelle McSweeney

Joyelle McSweeney is the author, most recently, of Percussion Grenade, poems and a play from Fence Books; the upcoming Salamandrine, 8 Gothics, prose and a play from Tarpaulin Sky; Flet, an eco-dystopic novel from Fence; Nylund, the Sarcographer, a baroque-noir novelette from Tarpaulin Sky Press; The Necropastoral, an artist’s book with essays and poems on ecology and mutation by McSweeney and collage by Andrew Shuta, from Spork Press; Deformation Zone, a double-essay chapbook with Johannes Göransson on translation and media; as well as The Commandrine and The Red Bird, two books of poetry from Fence. She edits Action Books, writes for the collective blog Montevidayo, and teaches at the University of Notre Dame. For 2012–13, she is a Visiting Professor at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.


"Killzone2" from Percussion Grenade (Fence Books, 2012)

Up on the wire, the young body
Makes a bend like a wave with its body of knowledge
Then makes a bend like a lens. Thought and light,
Those carcinogens, make eyes
Through hard plastic at the fetal body.
For I am the Thought and the Light
For I am the Wire and the Lens
Looped with estrogens. Like the evening news
It’s over. And it’s over and over again.
Before the candy can crush the crowd
The cop shoots the piñata with his service revolver.
Just shoots the pants off it. Shoots it right in the paint.
So it’s over, it’s all over
The crowd, the crowd
Makes a spasmody
Scrums for candy
In a series of balletic gestures
Seized from the sixteenth c.
From the sixteenth arondissment
Of my love for you from the sixteenth chamber
Of my heart
In that chamber
I take a bullet
For every member of my team
A learned violence from the game of the year.
An exercise in teaming and gaming
Followed by relentless sleep
In my femur trailer.
If you think there’s a moral here,
Or a femoral artery, a Pasteural,
Good news, you missed it, you’re missing it.
You’re missing the morale boat
The boost
The boast
The shot
The overall thrust
At the throat
Of the heart.
It’s a service game.
It’s the year for it
Here where the young body eyes itself
On the Jumbotron of the Ox.

Photograph by Johannes Goransson

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