Gnashing Teeth Publishing

| words that get in your teeth

Arts of the Ancient World by Kaylen Rose

Arts of the Ancient World
            after Yeshe Tsogyal

I run / into the art museum / a wild animal
           standing in the shiny echo / white foyer
           past / the giant plush ottoman / fuchsia
           big enough / for my fat body / to snow angel
I run / down the hall / the dark-wood grain / chestnut and mahogany / under my feet
I run / to the room / full of tiny / ancient sculptures / bronze / marble / petrified wood
I stop / for a small / alabaster man / copper / carbon / black zinc oxide
            lapis lazuli / eyes / mother of pearl / pleading
            hands / folding / in a knot / at his heart2
I hear / the maker’s children / giggling
I smell / the campfire / smoking
I hold / carving knives / in all my hands
the twelve kinds of matter / are only my bones and my skin1
we are not two / yet you look for me outside
human beings / love pleasure
protect ourselves / against pain
create little objects / of deep love
we love / this world / when we let ourselves / touch it
breathe in / I want to shout / the smell of juniper
before we lose / touch / with the land
love this world / I want to shout / it is your whole body
when you find me within yourself
the joy of the One / will hold you like a lake—
its fish with gold-seeing eyes / will grow many and fat
without it / without this world / without this body / we are nothing
without it / there is no security / no food / no hunger / no joy
without it / there is no fear / and no protection
I run / out of the art museum / a wild animal / insisting
           let people feel / all the pleasure
           because we know so well / all the pain
           and / in the end / none of us deserves it
           all this pain / all this pleasure
                       we just have it / it is ours
go / into / the world
     / listen /
     / smell /
                 / look /
                 / taste /
                 / hold / the tools / of making / in all your hands
            enter / the sky-fields / and vanish
1 Yeshe Tsogyal (aka Victorious Ocean of Wisdom aka Wisdom Lake Queen) was the Mother of Tibetan Buddhism, 757–817 CE. Excerpts from Women in Praise of the Sacred: 43 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women, ed. Jane Hirshfield, HarperPerennial, 1995. Book shared by my therapist in 2007. Poem carried in my wallet ever since.
2 Votive Figure, 2900-2300 BCE, The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas. Early Dynastic. Iraq or Syria. 12 × 4 ½ × 4 in. 1983-136 DJ.


Kaylen Rose is a writer, editor, and teacher in Lexington, Kentucky. As an MFA Candidate in poetry at the University of Kentucky, she writes about visual art, spiritual practice, life in a body, and the culture of human relationship. Kaylen also holds a BA in Visual Arts from Rice University and an MA in Engaged Humanities from the Pacifica Graduate Institute. Connect with Kaylen on Instagram @yayitskaylen or on her website,

Goodnight, Taj Mahal by Andre Peltier

Deep below earth, clay and sand, deep below roots and aquifers, it lies in wait. Like that silent coyote stalking her white-tailed deer through the brush, it waits patiently and

contain by Megan Cartwright

verb past tense: contained; past participle: contained 1. have or hold (someone or something) within. Similar: hold carry To have and to hold in our own microcosm, constructed of hope.

Listening to Words by Mona Mehas

Listening to words out of touch cross lily pads, one to the next my rules, a tiny picture frame debt of honor, repay the gift. Headlights illuminate the path listening

Blooming by Elizabeth Gade

Some days are easy and some days are exhausting the days you have to dig through the muck inside take more hits than a heavyweight prize fighter cling to life

Pomegranate Rose by Laura Peña

I want to feed this delicacy To my concubine A tiny spoonful at a time I want to watch the luscious sorbet Linger on the tip of her tongue Melt


we love hearing from you. tell us everything