115th Annual Conference - Honolulu, Hawaii
Friday, November 10 - Sunday, November 12, 2017

Earthquake Daily

Jacqueline Lyons, California Lutheran University

Jacqueline Lyons is the author of the poetry collections The Way They Say Yes Here (Hanging Loose Press), and Lost Colony (Dancing Girl Press). Her next book of poetry is forthcoming from Barrow Street Press in 2018.


Jacqueline Lyons is the author of the poetry collections The Way They Say Yes Here (Hanging Loose Press), and Lost Colony (Dancing Girl Press). Her essay collection, Breakdown of Poses, was named finalist for the 2016 Permafrost Book Prize in Nonfiction (University of Alaska Press), and for the 2016 AWP Award Series in Nonfiction. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship, the Indiana Review Poetry Prize, Utah Arts Council Awards in poetry and nonfiction, and a Nevada Arts Council Fellowship in nonfiction. 





Thursday’s Quake



Thursday’s quake was centered in personal pronouns, out of our hands and into the hands of giants who wandered west-northwest of the civic center shaking residents’ beds, according to the U.S. Geological Survey


A seismologist called it “terrifying”, and drank bottled water


The quake likely would be studied as an end to the earthquake drought, as a signal of an end, and as a possibility


LA police and seven officials said there were no immediate reports of fireworks from citizens pressing fists to eyelids


Resident Andrea Smith described going into the violent movement as a “considerable breaking” that “trembled her dog”


A neighbor who didn’t know what to do with his hands said, “I never could get the hang of Thursdays”


The quake was felt as far off as cursive, as the earth immovable, and words trailing roots, soil, we wish, still attached


Broadcasters live on the air stopped time and traveled to their separate deserts to be released into a flood of vast personal memories


The quake was typical for how one motorist experienced the shaking alone, while another was certain everyone felt it with her.













Epoch Quake



This epoch’s quake was centered in a “no man’s land” becoming literal


And striking us maybe more so as “no woman’s land’’, said a seismologist and single mom whose child was fathered and abandoned by a surrealist, “and more of a sad land, not unlike a badland”


“Guided away, guided and guided away”


When asked whether they presumed US Geological Survey geologists to be women or men, officials admitted they always pictured men, ones who looked a lot like them


One resident, who had “no idea” that people were falling through the cracks, had not yet peered into the sink hole in his backyard


Another resident, hoping to see steps taken toward retrofitting before more disastrous phrases were uttered, turned blue at the throat, and chose not to speak


“I had a dream that stress in the outer earth built until rocks slipped and sent waves traveling through the earth’s crust” said a seismologist with the US Geological Survey, “and then there was a buffet of dark chocolate cakes and cherries, but I couldn’t taste them”


There was speculation that the quake would strike and keep striking until we learned to really look at someone, to touch with our eyes a person named Mel


The quake was felt as far away as a girl steered clear of numbers’ clean lines by comments made about the body beneath her dress


Though many temblors have struck the region since earthquake recording began, none has been strong enough to vibrate moon and sun from their separate skies, said city officials in a statement


Outside a border, in rainy no man’s land, stood children, women and men with warm palms, bad kidneys and thin shirts, craving a giant hand to curl up in.