The Disheveled Bed
by Andrea Carter Brown
Foreword by Brooks Haxton
Brown records the disappointment and courage of a woman unable to bear the children she and her husband want. Without hedges or illusions, the poems present the crucial details of clinical visits, miscarriage, mourning, and the difficulty of sustaining and reconstructing oneself, one’s marriage, and the world. The Disheveled Bed, reverberates with the complexities of a whole life, tested by its particular turnings. The poems celebrate the strength of mind and the art that find truths in experience unblurred by evasion . . . In the background . . . textures of city living the country and the seaside are interwoven with family relationships and the difficult chosen love of married life. When in the title poem the poet hears the songs of the birds under her window, we feel with her: “the random yet orderly / rise and fall of their songs rising as high / as our high-rise home.” It’s an equally miraculous privilege, as a reader of these vital poems, to find myself in earshot. —Brooks Haxton
Andrea Carter Brown’s remarkable debut book, The Disheveled Bed, may be disheveled in circumstance, but never in craft or intensity. The poems here amount to the chapters in a love story. Filled with passionate craft, a collected wisdom, and the heartbreaking story of a woman and a man in search of a child who find themselves instead, The Disheveled Bed is the first book of poems every poet dreams of: naturally intelligent, unself-conscious, yet knowing, and with a full chiaroscuro of hope and pain. It is like a banquet set among shadows. Here, sit, read and feast. —Molly Peacock
The precision and wit of Brown's language transform events that are almost aggressively mundane into exemplars of human enterprise. Her book joins those which subject the increasing medicalization of contemporary life to poetry's scrutiny. But above all, she is a nature poet of urban life. —Marilyn Hacker
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ANDREA CARTER BROWN was born in Paterson, NJ. She is the author of a chapbook, Brook & Rainbow, which won the 2000 Sow’s Ear Press Competition, and her work as appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Ploughshare, Five Points, and the Mississippi Review, among other publications. Her poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2005 and has received awards from the Poetry Society of America, the Writer’s Voice, Thin Air, River Oak Review and The MacGuffin. She won the 2004 River Styx Poetry Prize for her sonnet crown “September 12.” A longtime resident of New York City, she now lives on the west coast and is Managing Editor of The Emily Dickinson Journal at Pomona College.
(Change of Life on) Synarel®
Seven days into it I don’t know
myself. Temples tight, lips cracked,
I snap at friends, stiff one cabbie
because he drives too slow, another
for his offer to father himself my child.
Hot flashes, cold waves. Knuckles,
knees give way. Breath, armpits,
feet reek. Teeth ache, nose bleeds
but gums do not, as they should
this time of the month, bloated with
blood that will not come despite cramps
that start and stop. The doctor
promises this will reverse itself
although the drug is so new how can
anyone know? Hair goes limp, falls
out. Making love hurts. I avoid
people, insult my husband. One sniff
in each nostril morning and night,
then waking at 3 a.m. in my sweat-
drenched half of our double bed.
And the terrible thirst.