Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Excuse me while I wring this long swim out of my hair by Sarah J. Sloat

Ms. Sloat’s poetry has appeared in Barn Owl Review, The Dirty Napkin, Opium, and many others. Her collection published by Dancing Girl Press in 2011 is titled Excuse me while I wring this swim out of my hair and is filled with ethereal poems. I feel like I’m taking a walk down the lane in Autumn next to Ms. Sloat as she shares her thoughts and I am happy to share a few tantalizing poems:


I’m thinking of living forever.
I think that way I might finally
get my gig straight and solve the crosswords.
I’m considering outlasting everyone
although I know I’d have a hard time
explaining not having read Ulysses
past the first chapter.
I don’t care if death smells like nutmeg.
I don’t buy the plotline on eternal rest.
By staying alive someday
I might manage to hail a taxi,
and fulfill my father’s wish
of reaching town without a red light.
I couldn’t expect to avoid anger or brooding
or to make the journey with my beasts appeased.
But I might walk vast expanses
of earth and always be beginning
and I love beginning
or could learn
to love it.

I love that living forever means conquering the small things: crosswords, no red lights at a single stretch, walking large expanses. We forget it is the little things that matter and what would living forever mean if not for the little things? I also love that despite living forever Ms. Sloat never gets past the first chapter of Ulysses, she is honest with herself and therefore endearing. This poem makes me grin ear to ear.

On Stopping to Smell Perfume on the Way Home from Work

Do you remember Ecuador?

How our luggage burst like bulbs
from the underground cave
of the baggage claim?

A wrist circled in jade.

Have you ever licked rain from your fingers?
Imagine the drops falling faster.

Biofuel. Bioether. Bioephemeral.

Have you ever peeled moss off a stone,
then pressed it against you, inside out?

Dew, nutmeg and suede.

I’ve promised to stop on the way home
to feed the neighbor’s rabbits.
They are quiet, and have such cold noses.

This poem strikes me because of its sensuality. The scent of the perfume draws memories of a foreign country, the taste of rain, the feel of moss. Even an errand at the end of the day turns into an experience of the senses that may otherwise be overlooked, that rabbits have cold noses and are quiet, an absence of a sense. This poem makes me want to hike in the woods and smell the pines, feel the needles crunching under my feet.

My Money is on Fire

Whenever I read the newspaper
I learn my money is going to hell.
It’s lubricating a chute to the furnace
every time I eat meat or sip whiskey.
Every time I wear green or live
my secret life, no matter what
innocence I’m up to,
I’m sponsoring a disease
somewhere, making
souvenirs of the populace.

My money is minted a clean
but the moment I open my purse
to buy a popsicle, it trickles out
as acid rain. I sit sunning myself
in the park while my money
is felling the redwoods, adding rage
to hurricanes. I’ll have to tell
the drunk approaching my bench
I can’t give him a red cent. Look
at us. My money has done enough.

I’m posting this poem out of self-indulgence, really. I am a finance junkie, thanks to my father. So a poem about money is always exciting to me and this one excites me. The idea that the media constantly portrays is that money to be the source of all evil, disease, and catastrophe. I love that the poet displays her guilt as she takes money out to eat meat (killing innocent wildlife), sipping whiskey (sponsoring alcoholism perhaps?) and perhaps accidentally sponsoring disease. The popsicle as acid rain is fantastic and fascinating to me, I’ll never look at a popsicle the same again. This is my favorite poem of the collection, personally.

If you enjoyed this sample of poems you may purchase a copy of Excuse me while I wring this long swim out of my hair by Sarah J. Sloat for a mere $7.00 from Dancing Girl Press at:


You can also visit Sarah J. Sloat’s wonderful blog at:


Thanks always for reading, please click in tomorrow for more Poems Found by Poet Hound…


Laura said...

This is a beautiful collection, balanced with Sloat's use of humor, wry wit and lush imagery. I love the poems you chose to highlight and I hope others pick up this chapbook. It's worth every penny.

SarahJane said...

Thanks so much for this review. Glad you liked the poems.

Poet Hound said...

Laura--I'm so glad you enjoyed the collection as much as I do!

SarahJane--You are very welcome, happy to read your work anytime!

Kathleen said...

Enjoyed this, and thank you!

Donna Vorreyer said...

Enjoyed the review, and always enjoy Sarah's writing. My copy should be en route to me soon - hope it arrives in time for airplane reading this weekend.