March 7-13, 2005: Aomawa Shields and Amy Tyler

week of March 7-13, 2005

Aomawa Shields and Amy Tyler

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Aomawa Shields

Bio (auto)

Aomawa Shields holds an MFA in Acting from UCLA, and a Bachelor of Science in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from MIT She has played back-up violin for Brian McKnight on The Queen Latifah Show, Donny and Marie, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and the 2000 American Music Awards She has written a one-act piece, Selected Targets: Voices from Ground Zero, about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the screenplay The Knot, and two solo pieces, Goddess Divided and Necessary Precautions, both of which she has toured nationally Selected Targets was performed at Gallery Figueroa in Los Angeles as part of its artist series “Piece by Piece: A Response to World Events,” in January 2002.  As an actor, Aomawa can be seen in the upcoming film 9 lives, directed by Rodrigo Garcia and starring Holly Hunter, Robin Wright Penn, and Sissy Spacek A writing student of Natalie Goldberg with a passion for the Southwest, Aomawa travels to Taos, New Mexico whenever possible to attend writing/meditation retreats She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, actor/director Steven Shields, and has just completed her first book of poetry.

The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Aomawa Shields and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

From the newly finished collection of poems The Restless Season: poems for a new world (Registered with the Writers Guild of America), by Aomawa Shields.


Over the radio excited voices relay history’s latest achievement They’ve found a strain of HIV that can’t wait Alone in the dark tunnels and bored with convention,
it decides to become full blown within months, and strip the body of care and
deliberation—judge, jury, and executioner in one ego-driven tumult The poor man who is pioneer In the medical journals, printing away,
they will document his profile:
Gay, Meth-user, Multiple Partner The statistics make it make sense It is a killer combination Bet he didn’t wake up as a child of fourteen and say
“this is what I want to be when I grow up.”
At a certain point the body becomes secondary, a trunk carrying buried treasure We don’t need to know his name It is never mentioned in the story He hasn’t been murdered It’s far more important than that.

In Rebellion

After the Earthquake and Tsunamis in Asia
December 26, 2004

Today God is angry
The other side of the world is gone in one great quake and wall of water
Here my small metropolis moans over one week of steady rain that feels like The Flood
I believe He has had it with us all
He is washing us away like a crusted stain on the counter top
We have too long lingered
I for one won’t argue
There are too many of us anyway
We are inescapable
I don’t understand
If someone told me to stop producing, I would
Why must there be more of me
I’ve seen my kind in stores, traffic, cellars
We wouldn’t last the night in a room together
Why not wash us away
Why stop at the other side of the world, buried in mass graves from the biblical proportions
Why not sweep it all clean and start fresh
Lay down the ground rules and stick to it
One of us goes into the ditch with stones before every harvest
Let Pandora believe it’s nothing personal.

The Late Hours

In the late evening hour my husband shuffles poker cards while I
critique the latest news update The television has forgotten every global violation, the trail of
indecencies washed smooth by all of the rain They are someone else’s jurisdiction now On Leno a man may eat four dozen oysters The feigned skepticism
keeps the suspense playing out My eyes settle on a corner of the room and review the day Subtle angles of dissent,
harmless transgressions A few small victories I think I am getting a cold Only time will tell, I think, and make a note to drink
more water, rest, do more of less Outside a woman has just let her temper get the best of her, and
closes the book on things Tomorrow she’ll wake up with regret in the corners
of her mouth and make a phone call I go to the bathroom, make a sandwich, open a
drawer on some chocolate stashed away A movie I’ve seen four times is coming on I settle in This is no place for children, no role models here My husband has thrown in the towel, turned off his light,
relinquished control of the remote Alone, I test my limits while the light flickers back at my advances.

Amy Tyler


Amy Tyler lives in Seattle, Washington and writes poems about mouths, teeth, and the occasional bloodshot eye.

The following work is Copyright © 2005, and owned by Amy Tyler and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

I small red vessels
criss-crossing over
whiteness in a
sad tangle,
revealing internal patterns,
a direct route
to the brain
with all its
mushy circuitry
pressure building,
fluid breaking
over the soft
dam of lash and flesh,
trickling down,
dissolving skin,
itching and
like a flood
that has knocked over chemicals
and created

II an effortless
across her face
like the first light
of morning taking over
the sky,
diffuse, glowing, comforting
beautiful and noticeable,
appearing out of
and then instantly
so different from
these corners of mine
that I drag up
with heavy machinery,
trying to put the lips
and teeth in place
just right,

hanging a little bit off,
like a crooked picture,
a knock-off painting,
obviously not an original there is no light behind it
nothing spreading
and reaching outwards

instead it looks
and feels like
a sad
hole, stretched but still
a fishmouth
for air.

III the need to have
another heart
my chest
is overwhelming
it is a hollow
pain that
my teeth

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