Collage The Handmaid's Tale by Samantha Derendal

em kaldenbaugh

Cry So Long My Cheeks Pickle

We were just talking about me! I used to be cops on horseback but now

I am the lake, reflecting a cloudless sky. No wait, guys, I’m stuck inside

a goddamn word cloud. Be specific, are we where we were? Filling our

noses with glitter, making ourselves sneeze from a really high place—

succumbing to our love of the mall or the inevitable big crunch of the Universe.

Will the occupant of the inappropriately

placed pup tent please report to customer services? I used to be a teacup

but now I think there’s a British man in the ceiling, can you lift the tile?

Guys, I’m literally eating my way out of a snowstorm in Ikea.

What quest is being alive again? Ugly versions of all my friends,

which of me is crying in here again?

I can't help it you won't be a koala forever, I used to be a koala

forever, but now I am the size of my thoughts vs. the shape of my skull,

it’s an avalanche inside an Ikea, but guys, I used to be frozen weird stuff too.

Now I’m on a case by quesadilla basis. I'm born but I'm still dough,

I'm full of gas and wants. According to Meyers-Briggs I'm dead,

but now I am.


Feeling Confident About the Egg

I opened up the refrigerator—

the inevitable heat death of the Universe

I look again—

bezoar, cochineal, dragon's-blood, amber,

gum copal, nutmeg, quicksilver,

pineapples, jalap, mechoacan, wines—

There is always Dew in my fridge

and the algorithm tells me I’m a kook—

I luv being told.

Tell me more about this "human condition"?

Dad asks child, "Dude, do you need to potty?"

This fridge contains spoilers:

I get to be the baby this time!

I get by with little knowledge of special relativity.

I get a new name—

My name is Lenny Rose. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Oh, my accent? It is Sotheby's.


Cruel and Unusual Nourishment

A buried cake, a chalice on a plinth among flowers,

explicating guff like umm your abundance is showing.

How many irreconcilable narratives can a body tell?

Glib and pebbled, I am pinned to eternity and sick of this myth,

can we create a new one? Casting that obligatory magic

into the vegetable internet of information overload,

through a doughnut hole without disturbing the honeyglaze.

Like nature is a collage of evolution's scraps and there's

only room for one of us in this petri dish so hide me

inside a horse and put me on a doorstep please,

a neighbor can be anyone, including me—

a thinking cup left of grape in the discs and

the menu reads cruel and unusual nourishment, market price.

Awaken yourself to your truest foam: foamless,

seltzeresque, oak moss vapor, bread for tears, thinking like

a forehead is dull a cartoon, bends with French actors.

Today feels so Sunday, I was and I wilt.

I woke up in a perfect soft boiled egg.

When I get a new name what will happen to the old talk?

Be specific. I'm very tired today.


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em kaldenbaugh’s wears many hats: writer, curator, collage artist, book maker, LGBT library coordinator, and community kitchen volunteer, to name a few. Their work has appeared in Pleasure Editions, Alien Mouth, and Scopophilia: the joy of looking. In July, em is leaving the libraries, rabbits and deer of Bloomington, Indiana and moving to Philadelphia. Say hi. Twitter: @leonardegg.