Pattie Palmer-Baker Logo
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A Few Samples of Pattie's Poetry

Pattie Palmer-Baker's poetry has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. She's grateful to have her work recently published or forthcoming in a variety of prestigious publications including:

• First prize winner in Write to Publish Poetry Contest (Ooligan Press/Portland State University, 2017)
The Voices Project
Timberline Review
Writer's Resist
• Oregon Poetry Association's Verseweavers (Third Place Winner, Spring 2016)
Postcard Poems and Prose Magazine
Conclave (Balkan Press)
She Holds the Face of the World (VoiceCatcher)
Riding Light
L & M Magazine
The Poeming Pigeon: A Literary Journal of Poetry (The Poetry Box)
Elohi Gadugi

Recently Published:

The Hand-Off

The speedometer trembles at one-twenty
but the Cadillac runs smooth, silent
as my father steers left-handed,
his right arm draped
over the top of the front seat.

I want to touch that blond-furred arm,
hold his fingers in my hand’s hollow.

My mother leans to the right,
stares out the front window at the black asphalt
unwinding into the desert’s lusterless gold.
She doesn’t look at him or at me
or at the fifth of whiskey
amber-stilled next to her left foot.

Out the window to the left
a mountain presses purple up up
until lead clouds block the ascension
and through that metallic gray
God shoots silver shafts just for me.

Give me the bottle, Edith,
he says to my mother.
I see the dip of her left shoulder,
hear the slap of the bottle against his hand.
Her gaze never leaves the ochre-scrubbed sand.

He tilts the Jim Beam—
the scorched yellow liquid flows into his mouth.
I hear him gulp and swallow,
I see his fingers tender-curled around the bottle’s neck.
In the mirror his crow’s feet gentle and his dishwater eyes
flash a moment’s burnished blue —
not for my mother not for me not for himself
not for the saffron sand or the purple mountain
but for the brown-gold whiskey.

Out the window—
still purple, the mountain—
and the white-gold slashing the stubborn gray,
not god-painted or angel-mounted—
a trick of the atmosphere,
a sleight of hand.

Published in She Holds the Face of The World: 10 Years of VoiceCatcher, Dec 2015
and VoiceCatcher: a journal of women's voices and visions, Summer 2013
Nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2013

Grieving Mallards

The female mallard takes a fighter’s stance
weaves and bobs
her quacks smack the air with body punches.
I’m the one you want,
me, I’m the one
. She lifts off, arcing away
from the grass-shrouded hillside,
the swoosh of her wings hiss her meaning
not one egg lies hidden
in the ferns dotting the uphill.

Two feathered rockets,
one dappled dun one teal glinted black
shoot toward the river, yank prying eyes
away from the eggs cached in knee high grass.
Both quack until their fear breaks the air.
Don’t look don’t look
where the eggs gleam alabaster.

Through green lattice the raccoon spies oval aglow.
With delicate fingers she pries open the shell
sucks and licks the orange globe, the clear pool.
The coyote doesn’t need to look
he sniffs the air, the ground.
His jaws unhinge, his mouth plucks the egg —
one crunch the egg shatters,
one gulp he swallows.

They trudge up the hill.
The female’s eyes shuttered,
her beak brushing the curve of the male’s black tail feathers.
Her feet slap flat
mirror his steps as he traces slow S curves.
All is lost, all is lost,
the eggshells and the slime of life.
Only a slick shines in the hollowed-out nest.

Published in Poeming Pigeons: Poems about Birds, The Poetry Box, May 2015

Poetry & Artwork Pairings

Snail's Journey Artwork & Poem

The Snail's Journey

In a universe of motion-slowed time
a snail, coat of arms spiraled in fragile armor,
trails jeweled ribbon over a jagged road.

When a breeze threatens to unglue his glide
he hunches and buckles over the jutting brick.
What is the point? glitters
in his slime-slickened path

Above, the near naked maples loom,
parse his question
and in rotund tones answer
your pathway shines

Collage of Paste Paper with Artist's Poetry
Professionally Framed & Matted;
Size: 15" x 19"; For Sale: $415.00

Dream Panther

I am a panther.
I creep into your room when night oozes
black too thick to see through.
I slide in-between spaces
among your dreams and level my yellow gaze
at your most hush-hush self
pant my desire into your inner ear
and lick the whole of your inside,
grooming you for my indefinite stay.

Dream Panther Artwork & Poem

The Crows Make a Deal

Collage of Paste Paper with Artist's Poetry
Professionally Framed & Matted;
Size: 21" x 24"; For Sale: $565.00

The Crows Are Trying to Tell Me Something

You’re no different from us
always looking for the shine,
the opals cached in oil slicks,
the color-chart arcing the sky.

We understand your glitter desire.
Look at all the sparklies we collect –
bottle caps dime-store diamonds
copper pennies ocean-green glass.
You know what we like best?
A baby-bird’s heart red shining.
When the pulse stills to rust
we gobble the tender morsel.

Listen, we have a deal.
We are interested in that heart of yours,
How about you lie down,
let us black feather-stitch your eyes closed,
suck the exhale unwinding from your mouth,
unzip your chest, ooo that huge carmine
shimmer. No worries, we know what you want.
Just before your glimmer dims,
we promise in the rainbow
threading the sprinklers gush,
your little girl self will dance forever.

What Bends the Grasses?

What bends the grasses
into grey-green semi-circles, straw-yellow curves?
not the summer-stilled wind.
Perhaps a wish’s fragile weight sways
the tufted reed, curls the tender stalk

What Bends the Grasses Artwork & Poem

Sunflower Artwork & Poem

Collage of Paste Paper with Artist's Poetry
Professionally Framed & Matted;
Size: 23" x 19"; For Sale: $525.00

Sunflower Audience

Like sunflowers, the audience turns toward
your sugared, black-coffee voice, as do I.
but I am not one of them; I am myself.
Surely you can see me,
sparking, shedding scintilla.
When I am finally next to you,
you must hear me fizzing and crackling.
I want you to kiss me.
You call me darlin, say it’s good to see you,
slide your shine away.
Your eyes are first to take flight.

Black-Gloved Mountains

Black-gloved, green-wristed mountains
unclench their fists, spread wide their fingers,
tender spaces for rock-weary land to settle
for toiling water to flow.

Black Gloved Mountain Artwork & Poem

Sunflower Artwork & Poem

Solar Cyclone

I would give anything to see the solar-cyclone
rage in the northern sky, rip atoms from electrons
unleash freedom-frenzied photons to dance
the tarantella, sparking, firing, igniting the night
until the sky glows glass-green in the black-flattened air.


Gold Scatters Through Evergreens

Gold scatters through evergreen needles,
slides through arcing branches,
trunks elongate to drink the light
filter out the orange
seep starlight from their pores.

Collage of Paste Paper with Artist's Poetry
Professionally Framed & Matted;
Size: 19" x 34"; For Sale: $625.00

Gold Scatters Through Evergreens Artwork & Poem
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