Two Poems After Prince by E. Kristin Anderson

April in Minneapolis, 2015


It snowed. My pockets filled with wet as I navigated
the streets linking          the place where I need to be
to the place where I would sleep. I felt that bone cold
that only comes with unexpected weather. And I
photographed your city, snow dotting the lens,
to show how strange it was to be inside your song.

Months later        I still dream of Minneapolis,
of this one bridge—a nothing overpass—where
apparently my mind has locked down my own song.
I don’t remember feeling much other than cold,
uncomfortable. The magic of snow fades quickly,
no matter the serendipity           or the romance.

But I am always on that bridge.       Walking.
Waiting. And always, the sun is out because this is
your city, where I cannot stay. It snowed and
I tasted every bit of that melancholy as I slipped
into a warm bath in that two-star hotel and imagined
that your music could keep me in this whimsy.
I’ll sleep,        I’ll watch for you on the bridge.


How to be what the lightning sees.



Be taller than you are. Those pictures
in their frames have never been more
than flat black white color not color.
Be taller. Because you are taller.
The birds know who you are.


Say your name. Say it out loud.
Say it with every chord you play
and every note         you sing
and every whisper in the dark
to your lover           or friend.
     Say it because it is yours
              and only yours.


                   The beautiful ones
     are not who you think
they are.          They are not
who they think they are.
They are not
the glitter,
      the grace,
          the lightning.


Know that every day that the sun rises
it is a sick irony. It sets and that, too,
is irony. It is your face catching heat,
catching cold, catching your own words
or some other words or any words
slick into your skin.


Drop the bass. Touch my shoulders
where I collect freckles, all the places
I shouldn’t have been, hip to hip
with a stranger in the emergency
exit row. In the emergency room—talk,
ravish, praise, craze, liberate my mind.


Kill me with that lance of a song,
kill me with that drum machine,
kill me with that smile that knows
everything the human eye could
even picture perceiving.


Let the rain fall down, down.


Make a basket with your fingers,
give a voice a push with your palms,
walk away and watch the grace
be grace.        Write a new song.
Write everything.  Stand back.
                 Stand back.


Remember that extra time.
Remember it because it was never yours.
I want to leave you with something warm.
I want to leave you with something warm.
I don’t want to leave you.


Even when the winter does you cold,
breathe in a sigh so deep you fall backward.
Here is my vein. Here is your needle;
                  find the turntable and spin.


E. Kristin Anderson is the author of seven chapbooks including A GUIDE FOR THE PRACTICAL ABDUCTEE (Red Bird Chapbooks 2014) PRAY, PRAY, PRAY: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press, 2015), 17 DAYS (ELJ Publications) ACOUSTIC BATTERY LIFE (ELJ 2016), FIRE IN THE SKY (Grey Book Press 2016), and SHE WITNESSES (dancing girl press, 2016). Her nonfiction anthology, DEAR TEEN ME, based on the popular website of the same name, was published in October of 2012 by Zest Books (distributed by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and her next anthology, HYSTERIA: Writing the Female Body, is forthcoming from Lucky Bastard Press. She has worked at The New Yorker magazine, has a B.A. in Classics from Connecticut College, is currently a poetry editor for Found Poetry Review and also edits at Lucky Bastard. She's published poetry in many magazines worldwide, including Juked, Hotel Amerika, [PANK], Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Cicada and has work forthcoming in Folio and Red Paint Hill. She grew up in Maine, lives in Austin, Texas, and blogs at