June 6, 2016

Two Poems from Hannah Carmack

Two Poems from Hannah Carmack


Face up, Palms open, Eyes closed. Legs spread.
This is where we’ve put ourselves.
Somewhere between traipsing through the cecum and
dragging our nails along the soft livelihood of our stomach,
we fell and ripped the sweatshop seams of our intestines
open. Trapped in Abraham’s bosom, stuck between death
and mediocre existence.

“We’ll be going internal now.”

It is a fire, lit in the esophagus that keeps us here,
our bodies’ negative reaction to our natural existence.
We are internal now, pushing through the perineum with
coconut oil and a scrap of shrapnel. There are hands wrapped
around the sigmoid, squeezing to test its tolerance. We don’t
scream, but our bodies tense to build us a wall, because they
don’t understand nothing is wrong.

“You’re preforming well.”

Yes, we are.
With deep breathing cycles and chakra aligning oils
we’re invincible, aren’t we? With ulcerative pus and extra
bile spilling from our fistulas we’re invincible, aren’t we?
And don’t be fooled, this is just the height of the second
act. If you over stay your welcome any longer, we’ll throw
our heads back and swallow pills by the handful for the final act.

“We’ll see you next time.”



There was something so cinematic about it.
This perfect town with perfect people.
Where everyone passes their classes and still
has enough time to go to the gym.
A place
-not a time-
where things were simpler.

Tonight’s Headline:
The weatherman chases a chicken,
while the cameraman laughs so hard that
a boom mic
can be briefly seen entering the shot.

In this town where no one is murdered and no one is raped,
the students are politely rowdy.
Where the snow always falls lightly, and
the roads may be icy, but
no one veers into a telephone pole.
No one ejects from the driver’s seat only to reappear
on the nearest condominium roof.
Where the conflict is internal not external.
It was a place where all illnesses were minor
except mine.

* * *

Hannah Carmack is a second-year undergrad at Northern Illinois University. She enjoys volunteer work and spends most of her time working for the organization STEM Read, connecting reluctant readers and bookworms alike to the world of literature and science. She hopes to one day continue on to work in a community outreach environment like STEM Read as she goes on to graduating with a B.A. in English. She enjoys writing of any kind, but often veers towards writing about her own personal experiences living with ulcerative colitis. Although living with an auto-immune disease is difficult, she finds power in using her writing as a way to convey the world that people with disabilities live in to people who may not fully comprehend it.

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  • ricbonnie@comcast.net says:

    I had the pleasure of hearing you read your poetry about a year ago in Altgeld Hall. You’re a fine poet;your poems powerfully vivid. Thanks for sharing your work.
    Bonnie Amesquita

    • Mike Mavilia says:

      Wow, it’s a small world, Bonnie! It’s great to know that two of our members are familiar with each other by coincidence.

      • ricbonnie@comcast.net says:

        Mike, DeKalb has many excellent poets and writers, fostered by NIU’s creative writing professors past and present. Hannah is extraordinary. I loved hearing her read.

    • simplyhannahthings says:

      Goodness, what a small world is right! I am incredibly honored to have left an impression. Thank you so much for your kind words, Bonnie! You are dead on about the DeKalb community, the amount of talent here is astounding!

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