Bottle by Barbara Perez

Sculpture by Roxy Pain

Selected from the most recent issue (November 2011) of Ploughshares, my second poetry pick from this literary magazine reveals that I make the most of my literary subscriptions while grieving the ever-increasing disappearance of print publications.

“Bottle” is perhaps an apt commentary on the prevalence of environmental destruction amid the lack of spiritual belief systems. For many years, there has existed a dichotomy between mother earth and father god – now we have neither. Or rather, we have the additional choice of capitalism…but, “maybe not.” I leave you to research the author of the epigraph.

Here is this weeks pick:


“If god is everywhere then he is also in this bottle.”
~Ben Vautier

How unlucky that god would lie low for so long
in a fluxus gallery in St. Louis. Maybe not.

Maybe we’ve overlooked holy rubbish everywhere,
sacred cans and cartons in trash cans worldwide

all being pecked at and treasured by animals
who know better. Once, I did take a particular

liking to a pair of salt and pepper shakers
shaped like birds. Maybe god was also there.

Maybe not. In the news, relief workers
from the spill are bottling and selling the oil

as souvenir, as art. Vautier would be proud.
But I don’t think god is in these. Maybe not.

According to the contributors of Ploughshares, Vol. 37, Nos. 2 & 3, Barbara Perez earned her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her work has been published in various journals, including Bateau Press, American Letters & Commentary, and Consequence. She teaches at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas.

A quick Google search reveals that Perez is also involved in a new independent press publication titled “Abject Press”. Follow the link to discover more about Perez and her many projects.

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