Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Carmen Giménez Smith's Milk & Filth (University of Arizona Press, 2013)

Here are some favourite passages from this bold, thought-worthy book:

It sets wild into new fluencies.


The jar houses my illusions

of eating men like hairballs.

end of "[Fragments from the Confessions]"

The charlatan was prelude

to the fracas I'd be.

Oh, those razor-sharp

appetites and their audacious



We met in the shadow

of his artificial interrogation

and wrested out the victories

from each other's defects.

from "[Wizardine]"

The blade was made

in the furnace where

excess is made and tiger

and where we sleep

like vampires when God

comes knocking.

She constructs a man

limb by limb from the earth,

and he belongs to us,

so we tear him apart

because he belongs to us.

from "[The Red Lady]"

I became the gelatin shiver of tea's

surface, that spent emotion.

from "[Susannah's Nocturne]"

Demeter became monster,

foul shame to motherhood.

We can be so insensitive

with others' losses when

they aren't our losses.

end of "[Hysteria]"

Poetry of regimented epigraphy smelled like fabric softener when I was young.

from "Parts of an Autobiography"

My cruel, divisive temperament: my cross

to bear. We all bear it because of our 

shared ancestry of milk and filth.

end of "Trigger Warning"

My parents can't describe me. All they ever see is assimilation and coconut. All they say is, "Why can't you just build yourself a Trojan horse into the big league?"

from "Can We Talk Here"

We're figures. We're lists of expenditure and food diaries,

but today I held the middle of me in hand and shook it.

It shook, shook like something fun.

from "Our Tiny Dimensions"

When God was a woman,

empire was meh.

the beginning of "When God Was a Woman"
The best way to purchase Milk & Filth in the UK is to order from Abe Books here.


  1. Looks like another book I *have* to buy :-/