November-December 2014 … The Global Online Magazine of Arts, Information & Entertainment … Volume 10, Number 6
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Jeanann Verlee

Poetry Out Loud



Jeanann Verlee [aud] and-or


Jeanann Verlee [aud] untruth 


Jeanann Verlee [aud] Brooklyn’s coming. 

Debuted on IndieFeed.


Brooklyn’s coming.

an open letter to Sarah Palin

On October 17, 2008 at a fundraiser in Greensboro, NC, Sarah Palin stated that small towns are “the real America.”

Dear Sarah:

There is a girl on the loose side of Brooklyn who wears tap shoes, prays for rain, and keeps an origami zoo on her ceiling.
(This is no metaphor. I know her.)

She likes wine, but won’t drink it. She lurches and stops, reverses,
lurches again. She is a windup toy hitting walls, bouncing back,
restarting, churning and churning, ever forward.
(This is a metaphor. She is not, actually, a toy, Sarah.)

This girl has gold where her heart used to be. She is damage dressed in
Gap and you would call her jezebel. She is expert in cute and quirk but
this girl is gravel tested, pulp vein and chipped tooth, she is America. 

You, Sarah, use cute and quirk like grenades.
You use your children like cheerleaders’ pompoms
and your husband like some polished gold badge.

There is a single mother on the cut-knee side of Brooklyn who wears her daughter like a smile, works sixteen-hour days and uses the bitter on her tongue like a bulletproof vest. She paid overtime cash for her daughter’s braces, had to hold a fundraiser to pay for her own surgery. She likes Starbucks and soul food.

I know her, too, Sarah.

I know the woman in the window who wears good leather and keeps
her closet filled with broken men. A girl with pomegranate-apple salad
who tongue-kisses girls, writes in code and speaks the language of
canary. I even know a woman with a peacock-plumed tiara and nearly
five children who keeps libraries behind her eyes and children’s stories
under her skin. She uses lead canisters in fist fights and has hearts for
(This is almost a metaphor.)

Don’t you see it, Sarah? Like your small town “real,” Brooklyn, too, is

And her belly is full. She is fat on jezebel: women with eight children
and women with none. Women who have sent their children to war,
buried them in flags. Women beaten so badly they no longer speak
words. Women who love women. Women who educate. Women who
have never owned a designer bag and buy their clothes at 99 cent
discount stores. Women who have aborted and women who have |
adopted. Women who inject heroin and women who raise other
women’s children. Women who only buy organic orange juice.

This is Brooklyn. This is America.

So be careful. Because we have grown tired of your winks and your
instant clichés, bored with your Charles and Katie blunders, with your
shotguns and your oil fields, with your unpaid rape kits and your
banned books. So while you inject Botox into the lips of pit bulls, pull
your hair into its neat little bun, slip on your smart glasses and turn
back the clock for women’s rights, remember us.

Careful, Sarah, Brooklyn’s coming. 


Jeanann Verlee [aud] unsolicited advice to adolescent girls with crooked teeth and pink hair


  (Originally appeared at PANK,

Contact: Jeanann Verlee,