Three Poems by Wanda Phipps

BOMBlog’s Word Choice features original works of poetry, fiction, and art. This edition of Word Choice, selected by Peter Moysaenko, features poetry by Wanda Phipps and art by Sarah Walker.

Sarah Walker  Apogee Iv

Sarah Walker, Apogee IV, 2008, acrylic on paper, 17 × 15 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Pierogi Flat Files.

from Silent Pictures Recognize the World II




bursting white pot

red pink purple blue

arcs of color

blue green white stones

pebbles circle the bottom

like jelly beans

ready to pop

color curling

out of the frame

bursting against red brick

the center a pink opening



fixed gaiety

stiffens and freezes

her face in a

constant beauty

queen smile

stuck in a

mask of joy

one face

the opposite

of a hidden






red coiling

snake or

winding salamander

with blossoms

or the clubs

symbol on

a deck of cards

curls on


of brown

beige dingy

white walls

terraced rocks


and a diamond

patterned rug

outside corner

garden with

white wooden

door barred

out of nowhere

leading nowhere


this secret spot

pops open on

the hilly streets

of a Spanish village

the spot

where we met

that night

where that

bit of night

sky fell on us

stars and all

near the church

scent of flowers



except our patch

of dirt

site of kisses





a glowing circle

surrounds bare torsos

cloth falls in folds

and gathers around

a waist pale plaster

above anchoring back

bent in search

of contents

of a goblet

or in protection

from the hanging

tree limbs above

bare but menacing

dark lattice

blue/gray sky

bleeding through

one pale statuette

duplicated 3 times:

one standing

tipping her tiny

urn clutching

a goblet in her other hand,

one sitting cupping fruit

the third still

slightly crouching

fingers touching the

lips of her goblet

a trio of

ladies frozen

in motion

3 muses interrupted

a silver oval flashing

image of angular rooftops

bisecting the leg

of an antique chair

they stood

on the corner

he was yelling

she was

statue still

frozen in shock

fear sad recognition

noticing the sound

of a drill

breaking concrete

the quality of light

as his anger ran

over her

Wanda Phipps is a writer and performer living in New York City. Her publications and recordings include Field of Wanting: Poems of Desire, Wake-Up Calls: 66 Morning Poems, and Zither Mood. She has received awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Theater Translation Fund, and others. She has curated readings for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and has written about the arts for publications such as Time Out New York and PAPER. She is a founding member of Yara Arts Group.

For more by Sarah Walker, visit her page at Pierogi Flat Files.