Karen Garthe, author of Frayed escort, has published in numerous literary journals, including Chicago Review, New American Writing, American Letters & Commentary, VOLT and Fence. Frayed escort is the winner of the 2005 Colorado Prize, selected by Cal Bedient.


Frayed Escort on Amazon.com
Colorado Review

"The Nomination" and "Frayed escort," are from the book Frayed escort. The third poem "Andrew, all bespoke" is from a new project titled National Sky.

Three Poems by Karen Garthe


In the Vietnam café, in mostly looped French

There is a manual of the world’s originally indigenous

Vernacular idea

A patent all worry snows in the café and ranges over
         (you in your Prague wools
            are also
               Castled there)

         Je ne caresserai pas L’Érudit, that Child Lord
Horus with his hoop of stars and his finger in his mouth
Who could thus
Still our ranks

or trade the deep thumbmarks of Old Cross for a rictus modern

of Broad Geometry

I will not pet the scholar with his washer of stars
In the café in glittering duck fat and beer

French toggles in the neck position, my ears flutter shut
                                                            in a stretch
               and the spine of the world’s original
         Vernacular idea

His finger in his mouth can sneeze

Our little death

Frayed escort

the animals of the odds, a child’s
Rigid Christian

Bread drifts, the wine hauls its chambers
         Old Love takes a sibling

Tongues lost to Her Rake
         of Her
wisdom struck its difficulty
(its way

sleep    - if you even have a body

Troubled odds at the end of laughing

Not a day goes by without them mastering
how to throw themselves into blue’s old blue
         Frayed escort,

inched from you I'm ransoming

Andrew, all bespoke

                 Recreates loneliness
            of the necessary
                heart hurt
                             circling        high in the vortex  of V or pinnacle, I continue
           to wreathe
                    the lie, you remove
    the truth

fat grouse of speckles unspelling its design    tray for runneth
    and ash
drifting to my pills       No, Granddaddy, you come with me

sleep is undeserved        palpitations have spent their delicacy, now they
ride out time

                                                                     The sill’s bowed from settling I fear
                                                           the righteous remove from reason

                                                & Andrew --- whose jabot and
the edge of luxury recused from crime
                                 newsy exhales

                                 erotic posting airs on air

                                           up & down
                                                the heart hurt stairs     that Andrew, all bespoke

                                                    Eclipse of Effort     That Hurt Form