Recitation | Olena K. Davis

sweet reader, flanneled and tulled 

By Olena Kalytiak Davis


Reader unmov’d and Reader unshaken, Reader unseduc’d

and unterrified, through the long-loud and the sweet-still

I creep toward you. Toward you, I thistle and I climb.

I crawl, Reader, servile and cervine, through this blank

season, counting—I sleep and I sleep. I sleep,

Reader, toward you, loud as a cloud and deaf, Reader, deaf

as a leaf. Reader: Why don’t you turn

pale? and, Why don’t you tremble? Jaded, staid

Reader, You—who can read this and not even

flinch. Bare-faced, flint-hearted, recoilless

Reader, dare you—Rare Reader, listen

and be convinced: Soon, Reader,

soon you will leave me, for an italian mistress:

for her dark hair, and her moon-lit

teeth. For her leopardi and her cavalcanti,

for her lips and clavicles; for what you want

to eat, eat, eat. Art-lover, rector, docent!

Do I smile? I, too, once had a brash artless

feeder: his eye set firm on my slackening

sky. He was true! He was thief! In the celestial sense

he provided some, some, some

(much-needed) relief. Reader much-slept with, and Reader I will die

without touching, You, Reader, You: mr. small-

weed, mr. broad-cloth, mr. long-dark-day. And the italian mis-

fortune you will heave me for, for

her dark hair and her moonlit-teeth. You will love her well in-

to three-or-four cities, and then, you will slowly

sink. Reader, I will never forgive you, but not, poor

cock-sure Reader, not, for what you think. O, Reader

Sweet! and Reader Strange! Reader Deaf and Reader

Dear, I understand youyourself may be hard-

pressed to bare this small and un-necessary burden

having only just recently gotten over the clean clean heart-

break of spring. And I, Reader, I am but the daughter

of a tinker. I am not above the use of bucktail spinners,

white grubs, minnow tails. Reader, worms

and sinkers. Thisandthese curtail me

to be brief: Reader, our sex gone

to wildweather. YesReaderYes—that feels much-much

better. (And my new Reader will come to me empty-

handed, with a countenance that roses, lavenders, and cakes.

And my new Reader will be only mildly disappointed.

My new Reader can wait, can wait, can wait.) Light-

minded, snow-blind, nervous, Reader, Reader, troubled, Reader,

what’d ye lack? Importunate, unfortunate, Reader:

You are cold. You are sick. You are silly.

Forgive me, kind Reader, forgive me, I had not intended to step this quickly this far

back. Reader, we had a quiet wedding: he&I, theparson

&theclerk. Would I could, stead-fast, gracilefacile Reader! Last,

good Reader, tarry with me, jessa-mine Reader. Dar-

(jee)ling, bide! Bide, Reader, tired, and stay, stay, stray Reader,

true. R.: I had been secretly hoping this would turn into a love

poem. Disconsolate. Illiterate. Reader,

I have cleared this space for you, for you, for you.


“sweet reader, flanneled and tulled”, by Olena Kalytiak Davis, from shattered sonnets love cards and other off and back handed importunities, Copyright © 2003, Page 3. Source: shattered sonnets love cards and other off and back handed importunities (Bloomsbury USA, 2003)

*I may have mispronounced tulled. My apologies!

Posted by

Amor et melle et felle est fecundissimus || Love is rich with both honey and venom

4 thoughts on “Recitation | Olena K. Davis

  1. Wow April. You have a way of reciting words that draws me in. I was not just ‘reader’ in this poem, but with your recital became listener, receiver and narrator. Your recital gave this piece drama and emotion i would not have realised had I read only. It was so beautifully immersive.

    Sorry I was so late to this honey, I missed this post. Hope you have recovered xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Rachel.

      Your comments always have me swooning! Thank you, so very sweet of you, my little Russian nesting doll ♥️💜

      This poem is beyond inspirational to me – as is the woman who composed it – so the credit for my passionate reading goes to her and the words themselves! I have been absorbing much of her work as I convalesce and look forward to sharing more of it/her with WordPress!

      I’ve also been lingering around your last few posts and wondering how I got so lucky as to make the acquaintance of such an incredible poet. 🦋

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And your comments and replies always have me swooning…. madly, truly, deeply. You must know by now his spoken poetry nearly makes me giddy, and your voice…. it’s liquid, full of passion and desire, tenderness and darkness. It’s…. simply beautiful. You are amazing, through and through ❤️💜.

        Liked by 2 people

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