Tag: johns hopkins writing seminars

This Is Rigged: Poetry by Erin Sweeten


Poet Erin Sweeten — a graduate of the JHU Writing Seminars — sees the world like no one else. Tour her trio of poems for a stimulating and surreal break from your back-to-work Tuesday.


This Is Rigged

Alex Calder has got a room to himself at the National Gallery of Art.

Men with glistening sunburned heads come herding children to the center, a collection


of wacky animals.  They turn their attention up and out, to pieces

in the air; they think their kids could do as well. But the mobiles exercise


a perfect balance: arcs of steel hang by a thread, graduated

triangles dangling from the spines like guitar picks, moth wings, hearts seen


at an oblique angle (still, nonrepresentational).

But here, a fish spangled with colored glass; there, a man’s head


of twisted wire. The sculptures drift and spin on thin

strands, their duplicating shadows moving with them—


light and dark, heavier and slighter, big,

or smaller. They flatten and telescope;


they intrude, wheel across the body.

I’d open my mouth to them.  I


feel as a baby must:

her mom rigs a mobile


and leaves the room,

the contraption


to keep her