Poet, photographer, teacher, observer of others and fearlessly honest about herself, Star Black has long caused people to be relaxed in front of her camera.  Here she turns her lens toward her youth, never relaxing her grip on the reality of adolescence.  You might want to share this one with the teen in your life who is thinking, “No one has ever felt this way before.”



Rather misspell than spell out, wasn’t raised on honesty
but veneer, manipulations that endear getaways to teens.
Mighty uncomfortable at home those locked-in years when
you learn to smoke to get out of the house, constellations

behind the garage flustering about in the dark like pals
before fresh starts were known to mankind, an antediluvian
state of mind where troubles are too amorphous to define
and nobody wants you to, grades are what’s in view, track

medals.  But everyone I know no longer smokes or ponders
like a nostalgic over these obstacles,  a sandbox treadwater
Of sorts, very backyard, unsolva ble, so I hesitate to invite

you through this army-brat door screen into the kitchen
Of my youth for a Velveeta snack since, given the shambled
emotions held back, it wouldn’t take you long to leave.


From “Waterworn.”  Reprinted with the poet’s permission.


Author Photo(c) by Chip CooperStar Black’s sixth book of poems, Velleity’s Shade, was released by Saturnalia Books in 2010. She is the author of three books of sonnets: Waterworn, Balefire, and Ghostwood; a collection of double-sestinas, Double Time; and a book of collaged free verse, October for Idas. Her poems have been anthologized in The Penguin Book of the Sonnet; 110 Stories: New York Writers After September 11, and The Best American Erotic Poems: From 1880 to the Present. Her collages and handmade books were exhibited at Poets House and The Center for Book Arts. She teaches in the MFA Writing and Literature Program at Stony Brook Southampton and works in New York City as a photographer.
Author Photo by Chip Cooper.

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  • diane burgess May 5, 2013 at 7:19 pm

    I love this image, “the kitchen of my youth”. This is where so many women began their pilgrimage to self knowledge, even if some of us didn’t start to get it until years later. I have bookmarked this page and plan to read this poem until I get to the point in life where I can imagine inviting others into the kitchen of my youth as well.
    Thank you for finding this poem for us.

  • Toni Myers May 5, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    Thanks for this poem. It resonates like a singing bowl in my memories of things past.