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Michelle Bitting has work published or forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Narrative, Rattle, Nimrod, River Styx, Crab Orchard Review, diode, Linebreak,the L.A. Weeklyand others. Poems have appeared on Poetry Daily and as the Weekly Feature on Verse Daily. Thomas Lux chose her full-length manuscript, Good Friday Kiss, as the winner of the DeNovo First Book Award and C & R Press published it in 2008. Her book Notes to the Beloved, won the 2011 Sacramento Poetry Center Award and was published in 2012. Michelle has taught poetry in the U.C.L.A. Extension Writer’s Program, at Twin Towers prison with a grant from Poets & Writers Magazine and is proud to be an active California Poet in the Schools. In March 2012 she was appointed as Poet Laureate of Pacific Palisades. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University, Oregon. Visit her at:


Permeable, Smitten

Piped in Lennon penetrates veins, ignites
obsession. I become sound, a black box speaker
tipped to kiss stage floor, deaf dancer
pirouetting on the boom beat of desire, 
her percussive metatarsals. Oh to buzz about
something else, rearrange the marquee. Your role
not stroking the fine hairs of my spine, just so.
The after show remains unseen: a room
at the Chateau Marmont, my naked knees
reciting Keats every which way. Reservations
we’d press from wet ashes of our burning houses.
Strange, how I’ve never loved my husband,
bare-fleshed in the kitchen, more. Your eyes,
a feast of saints, my hands inhaling two worlds.

~Winner of the 2011 Beyond Baroque Poetry Award



Shiny, heart-shaped, orange-red orb.
Pride of Powhatan, the Algonquin
linked tribes, your name sifted down,
re-shaped in the great etymological
cookbook: putchanin, pessanine,
 persimmon.  Last night
I ate you sliced thin, mixed
with pomegranate seeds, a splash
of olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt.
Now I’m a fool for Fuyu.
It was Thanksgiving
at my mother in-law’s.
I cooked all afternoon, knowing
disasters loomed ahead: burnt pie,
rogue shards of glass in the gratin,
a scabby remark
about Uncle Bob’s heel. And look,
nothing but wine
and snips of Whitman! The children
shoeless, swapping songs,
surfing the Net.  Persimmon,
I’m not afraid of you anymore.
Let’s beat a drum and dance
buck naked, hunt some deer,
scale a stone cliff,
look wide and far
over a North American plain.
Let’s fill our cups
and come together over candles and puddings,
let’s praise this life, mere life,
the feast my mouth cries over.

Published in diode, 2009


© 2012 Michelle Bitting

Michelle Bitting

Photography by Donavan Freberg

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