‘Ida is Not Universal Hope’ by Simone Kearney

From Her New Collection, My Ida

March 14, 2018  By Simone Kearney

Ida is not fried hake
Ida is not obdurate sponge
Ida is not armchair
Ida is not annihilated water
Ida is not country
Ida is not rinsed moth
Ida is not dog bark
Ida is not plea
Ida is not gallant shuffle
Ida is not plonk
Ida is not ice lying thick
Ida is not indefatigably
Ida is not pains to conceal
Ida is not wettest
Ida is not universal hope
Ida is not wiggle
Ida is not dumped
Ida is not scooped or goosebumpy
Ida is not often lonely
Ida is not very grey day
Ida is not sheet metal
Ida is not carburetor
Ida is not tab
Ida is not screen
Ida is not mean
Ida is not sham
Ida is not hand
Ida is not here nor there
Ida is not dilly-dally
Ida is not charity
Ida is not present
Ida is not meathead
Ida is not trinket
Ida is not maybe
Ida is not noodle
Ida is not noodle-head
Ida is not knot
Ida is not not
Ida is not not not
Ida is not tiff
Ida is not shoddy
Ida is not traffic
Ida is not Camembert on radiator
Ida is not sip
Ida is not is
Ida is not sentence
Ida is not shampoo
Ida is not bobby pin

An onion can be peeled. An onion can be sliced.
An onion can be squashed to emit a bitter white pulp.
An onion can be bloodless on the inside.
An onion-paleness like paleness of some skin, with the hint of greenish vein below the surface.
An onion produces what it produces.
An onion can be a machine.
An onion sometimes is a machine of nature.
An onion can be an eye that opens without a pupil. An onion is blindness. An onion cannot see. It is an eye without perception. It is the image
of an eye made of circles that is blind and static. It is a product blind and static.
Emotions are products too. Who is my onion? Onion is a tear. Onion of my eye. Ida, my onion.


Words I send to Ida. I only send Ida words, nothing else. I give Ida so many of them. I wrap them each individually. I tell Ida: Ida, words. I tell Ida: Ida, words, when they come into contact with the world,
in public spaces, can sometimes break against those spaces
like giant soap bubbles I once saw a clown blowing for children
in a town square. How those beautiful wobbling rainbowesque bubbles suddenly broke under their own weight, bursting air.


Ida can be abundant, almost maternal.


One flees to Ida.
But Ida is the image
of what is blocked.
Ida is what I cannot feel or see.

Ida feels like something
to be mopped up, at least
whatever I can access of Ida
feels like something to be mopped
up but all the sponges lost


I put my face into the jeans of Ida.
I always knew
it would end like this. A cool trail of smoke
coming out from between Ida’s teeth. One of Ida’s teeth are rotting,
I think to myself. Or is it “is” rotting?
I didn’t know if I wanted to press
my face into the jeans any further. The cerulean from the jeans made me think
of the other day. I wanted to know
what the cerulean meant. I just had to push my face deeper into the cerulean.


My Ida Simone Kearney

From My IdaUsed with permission of Ugly Duckling Presse. Copyright © 2018 by Simone Kearney.

Simone Kearney
Simone Kearney
Simone Kearney is author of My Ida (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2017), and In Threes, a limited edition artist chapbook (Minute BOOKS, 2013). She has also published poems in Boston Review, PEN Poetry Series, Stonecutter, Supermachine, Post Road Magazine, and Maggy, among others. She was a 2014 recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry, and a 2010 recipient of an Amy Award from Poets & Writers. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Hunter College (2010), and an MFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art (2016). She has been awarded residencies at The Lighthouse Works, the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, The Edward F. Albee Foundation, the Woodstock Brydcliffe Guild, and Ragdale. She currently teaches at Parsons New School for Design and Rutgers University. 

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