Publication News: AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought

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The Apostrophe Blog

Musings on Writing and Life.

In 2016, my wildly experimental free verse poem, “Devil in a Blue Dress” appeared online and later in print at AZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought, a project of the Lazuli Literary Group. This is one I thought would never find a publishing home.

According to their website, Lazuli Literary Group is “a platform dedicated to fostering the delight of the literary imagination through a small publishing presswriting contests, and an online/print literary journalAZURE: A Journal of Literary Thought. […] We are particularly drawn to writing that broadens the concept of ‘literary’ to one that pulls from a global pedigree of storytelling technique. We seek authors who revel in the rhythmic possibilities of the poetic line, who contemplate the flavor, the shape, and the history of every word they use; who are so committed to the pyrotechnics of the written word that they comprehend the beauty of classical forms and yet feel compelled to constantly re-invent their craft. Our goal is to support underrepresented styles of writing, specifically within a genre that we imagined, which we call otherworld realism.”

“Devil in a Blue Dress” is from my draft manuscript, Miss Scarlet in the Library with a Rope, an abecedarian of poems that take their titles from books by my favorite authors including Italo Calvino, Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison, and Marilynne Robinson. Thanks to Walter Mosley for the title of this one. The illustration on this page is Winslow Homer’s 1899 painting, Sand and Surf, Nassau.

Devil in a Blue Dress

She’s blue
the I that turned into this
you. This I, an I-
oh, you.
Easier to ad
-dress, to dis/appear
in a dress.
to split the atom
-ized or (even) the atomizer of your/my
choice perfume.
You, on the other
hand, back
-ward leaning, lured
memories, stick your
tongue out—who has the upper
hand? Hear.

Your eyes
used to be blue. Envied, shift
to green. The crystal gaze would say
impure. The bluest ai
yi yi, do stet away—
the Is the yous
the eyes the ewes
the poet Ai the use.


am speaking to
the you,
the one I ceded my
lost/last voice,
better entrusted to you?

You with that loveliest
oo & leading, yielding
Y. Of the why versus
I don’t like the way a mouth must
shape, grimace
the I, more ai yi yi

this I
this I used
this I used to want,
crave see,
be seen—the eye beheld,
others who’d cast the
eye you/I, me

But now I’ve turned to
you, historic
you who used to
do/be that,
a cardboard cut,
scissors in a

No more the I, the in & out
a door, that skeleton key,
the glassed-in porch.
Where you sat.
Where I watched.
Where we cleaved to split.
Where we shed, we
left, two
skins. Excused from
chatter, blast/bombast.
The tried & trying,
true. Tired now?
It’s true.


I have been teaching myself to want.
You have been wondering if it would stick.
The riddle outside her
blind, my blinds, your bind, the long
un/winding road.

A self that’s split & I who eyes about
the world, first person claimed but (still) thinking
you. You that’s the eye
seen third and, I
who wisely took the seat in
back, set out to watch
this reconnoitered
you, that you who did it—

Her solo path.
Yours, too. The wringing out of
words do ring, mere
hands do script & fail
too & erase


The bluest eye
The bluest I
The bluest you who blew
in blustery & blessed,
a blister on the bruise that’s you,
my shins, her high high

The eye/I is an unreliable, an
oracle, the I is a
dunce & a stumble, a
butcher baker candlestick
maker, rapscallion thief. The I is a pole with
hat & shoes. You, oh you, the you is a
woo. The ewe is a wolf in curled-right wool.

Life is a short eye/short I
For O, she’s
blue the I that’s
turned into this:

Nancy Flynn
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