Pink Plastic Residents

These poems were produced by people who watched the workshop The Succinct Striptease of Short Form Poetry from The Southern Literary Festival Online 2020. People watched this 15 minute lecture on imagery and followed the prompt by writing a poem about the picture above. By doing so they earned their residency in the Residence Hall, and here they are with their work:

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<hot goss >

inspired by a photograph taken by Kristin Garth /

Sara Matson

last i heard​ she was

living in a tarantula’s war room

pearled to the edge ​of my molded

clavicle ​plastic picnic bench

under pastel microscope ​cilia

dance in their ribbon backed chairs

anxious to eat from my flower pot palms

her x-ray lampshade hide fractures

from prying dome ​cloche eyes covered

nylon bodice cut​into fairy bones

like music​my rucksack of

mildewed wigs leaves a damp ring

​​on the table setting

(too heavy to donate)

vintage horn section brings my

celebration to a needle facet head

boiling into wooden prams full

of baby meat ​​animated

by shadow puppet obscenities

when i left​she stood

gazing into the vast underbelly

+ i will always remember

the texture of her hair

between my teeth





Olly olly oxen free / Constance Bourg


I would like to be in one of those photographs where we all jump at once

But I wouldn’t be able to jump as high

to stay suspended

in the air like that

I would look less than

and make everyone else feel awkward

but they would throw me reassurances

like you throw a rubber duckie to a babe that screams in the bath

I know all too well

to hide my phobias under the bell jar

tuck them behind pearls, behind the Gehry chair and table

a spriteling dance

to avoid the microscope

Inevitable Epitaphs / Amy Alexander



Beneath the glass a pretty cake. We asked

The bakery girl to label it in red.

Swinging, swallowed, door closed, was she masked

Enough? Microscopic droplets of dread

Are weighed against the sloppy, loosely-gloved.

But the icing was pearled. And that little girl

You once were ignites like X-ray. You loved

A Barbie birthday I couldn’t get for you. Purple

Ballerinas put away for headphones now.

Soap opera sex. Billie’s tarantula.

Drive home, steady the box. Math is how

You decide we are safe. “Bye, Corona!”

Your message written on a cake for laughs

Smarts like inevitable epitaphs



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