Karen Greenbaum-Maya started writing poems when she was nine. She has a B.A. from Reed College and a doctorate from the California School of Professional Psychology-Los Angeles. From 1998 to 2003, she also reviewed restaurants for the Claremont Courier, sometimes in heroic couplets, sometimes in anapest, sometimes imitating Hemingway. Karen has Mikhail Baryshnikov’s knee injury, Leon Fleischer’s hand injury, and has so far avoided Maria Callas’s vocal problems. She lives in Claremont with Walter Maya, her husband of 29 years.Since 2008, her poems and photos have appeared in more than 50 journals, including Lilliput Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Waccamaw, Off the Coast, The Dirty Napkin, Women’s Studies Quarterly, qarrtsiluni, dotdotdash, The Prose Poem Project, Bohemia, Poemeleon, and, Right HandPointing. She received a Pushcart Prize nomination in 2010. The Centrifugal Eye recently featured her mini-chapbook, Floating Route. Chapbooks Eggs Satori and Burrowing Song are forthcoming from Kattywompus Press. Links to poems and photos online can be found at www.cloudslikemountains.blogspot.com.


carpet, v., n. :  as in bombing,
laying down death, hot and bright,
covering with orange turning
to the black that erases, smudges
like punch spilled
onto carpet, the happy host
pouring, not looking, laughing,
missing the cup, a wet sticky rope
of sweet black tea and orange sherbet,
the stain that rises and rises again,
that Poe story retold, never weary,
a blow that keeps pummeling,
a blue-black stain cleaning cannot touch;
carpet woven by hands
100,000 knots of silk
tied tight, meant to last.

published in The  B O D Y, 2012


Ariel    echo of Prospero
who is satisfied to see
himself extended    his arm in flight
plucking    upending    returning
but Ariel is no more Prospero
            than candle flame
            and logs burning
are diverse elements
Ariel is no more Prospero
            than fire
            is anything but fire
            enflaming consuming
burning damp pulp down to carbon crusts

published in Heron Tree, 2013

Monsieur Saluki

He’s stationed in front of the cemetery
and we pass him, on our way to the Métro station,
on our way to the café with the guide dog.
He is arguing with himself in reasoned discourse,
laying out his points, weighing each in his hands,
one against the other. He nods:  well said.
Full hair springing silver frames brown eyes
dark and liquid as a Saluki. Monsieur Saluki.
He surveys us holding hands, settles
his fringed red scarf like Lautrec's Aristide;
he catches my eye and calls to me:  Mais souriez,
     ma belle!

A beat until my French clicks:  Come on,
     sweetheart, smile!

and when I hear, I smile to him as sweet as ever I can.
He tips his face up to the leafing white alders,
he sighs, Oh, to be in love in springtime.

published in Perfume River Poetry Review


Eavesdropping in the Louvre

Have you ever heard of the Post-Modern
     Neoclassical Style?
I like it, it’s very architectural.
ABC art is the simplest you can find.
Framing is so important.
It’s very accessible these days.
Rembrandt had all his drawings framed.
You can always find some group of people
that cares about that.

Nobody really likes Picasso.
It’s just a scam from the critics, did you know that?
Harbingers of the future is what I’m about,
but I’m really low-tech about it.
During my hiatus I got into antique art,
like Van Gogh’s Sunflowers
Do you know how much it sold for?
            Fifty-three million!

Did you ever eat at Nordstrom?
I’m unemployed, just making my art.
Do you smell garlic in here?
Maybe it’s a new perfume.
I don’t like it as an air-freshener.

Have you ever read Timothy Leary?
He’s written some books.
I’ve read “Exo-psychology.”
Have you read the Bible?
Do you believe in Christ?  I’m not
a Jesus freak,
or anything,
but I like Christ the Light.
The Light.  (The Light.)

You can’t call yourself a man if you don’t make art.

published in Superficial Flesh, 2008


Karen Greenbaum Maya



2013 Karen Greenbaum Maya


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