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Open Your Mouth Like a Bell

Open Your Mouth Like a Bell

by Mindy Nettifee
Open Your Mouth Like a Bell

Open Your Mouth Like a Bell

by Mindy Nettifee


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Open Your Mouth Like A Bell is ultimately a book of love poems to poetry itself, or rather, to the gift of language and its powerful mercury.

"Sincerity is the only currency I bring," writes Mindy Nettifee in her haunting poem "Election Eve," a piece composed in a state of not-knowing, just days before the 2016 U.S. election that delivered the presidency to Donald Trump. In this third full-length collection of poetry, Nettifee's powers are on the wax. The book follows a course of descent, tapping wells and constructing thresholds to underworlds. She's plumbing the dark unknown, in search of wild memory and buried trauma and the stories of the dead. She is seeking the roots of the personal, familial and cultural madness blossoming aboveground. Her studies of the unconscious mind, archetypal psychology and western mysticism are in conversation with punk chaos, feminist politics, and the evolution of kissing.

The lineage of poems as spells is humming and cracking beneath the surface, asking questions about what it takes to imagine, create and enact change. Nettifee won't banish the mystery, but does not leave us in the dark. By the end of the book we are led up and full circle, reinitiated into the bright, light-filled, mundane world. Only everything has changed. Here, in the surreal real and the strange and sacred ordinary, we must use our own voices to emotionally echolocate, to sense new landscapes both inside and out. We must tell the stories it is impossible to tell. We must speak until we feel the ring of truth.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781938912832
Publisher: Write Bloody Publishing
Publication date: 04/02/2018
Pages: 95
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

About the Author

Mindy Nettifee came to writing through listening, mostly at the many dogeared open mic poetry readings around Southern California in the 1990s. Her lyric and narrative poems travel vast territories in personal and cultural memory, while exploring the heart and the voice as both compass and crystal ball. She holds a MA from Pacifica in Depth Psychology and Somatic Studies, and is currently conducting doctoral research into the impact of trauma on languaging and the sensory capacities of the voice. She teaches writing and performance in her home of Portland, Oregon and around the U.S.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt from Open Your Mouth Like A Bell

There are many doorways,
The eating sadness donuts on a frozen river in Vermont/doorway.
The ecstatic yes doorway.
The psychedelic healing in a Detroit living room doorway.
The unrequited doorway.
The adorn your body in small silver bells and walk steady in a
spiral doorway.
The child that blames you doorway.

Table of Contents

There is a Lot Riding on this Moment 1


I Used to be a Honey Moon 5

Forget About Good 6

Election Eve 7

When I Was Your Age, I Was Jumping Off Cliffs 10

Around the Time I Was Listening to a Lot of David Bowie, I Met A Vampire 14

Why I Turned Out So Vanilla 16

Brutal Autumn 17

Chopin 19

What Happened 21

Remember When Everyone Made Everyone Else Angry and Nobody Minded? 23

Hook, Line, and Sinker 24

How to Eat When You're Lovesick 25


An Ordinary Story by the Ocean 31

The First Time I Hit a Boy 33

Prayer to the Gods of Winter 34

Portable Gods 35

After the Neighbor Kid Broke his Toy Wand and Tried Really Hard Not to Cry About It 37

On Being Raised Christian and Taught English 38

Albedo 40

The Yellow Brick Road 42

Last Act 44

Wake 46

In The Land of Monsters, I Am the Hidingest 47

My Mom Listened to Kost 103.5 "Love Songs on the Coast" Pretty Much All of 1985 and 1986 49


What to Expect 55

Everyone is a Low Budget Film of the Girl That Broke Your Heart, Turning to a Song 57

We Kiss So Hard We Bruise Colors Into New Colors 58

Moved 59

Open Your Mouth Like a Bell 60

Labor 64

The Psychic Polar Bear Visions 65

The Psychic Polar Bear Speaks 67

Welcome to the Jungle 68

Back When I Only Dated Lions 70

The Thing about Having Just Dropped Acid When the Zombies Arrive at the House Party 72

Illumination 74

The Hanged Man Finally Unties Himself from the Tree, Stands Up, Blood Rushing From His Head to his Feet, and Walks Away 75


The Year I Gave Up Anxiety 79

I Have Great Taste in Rocks 81

It Is Hot Raining and we are Free 83

Wedding Poem 84

Prayer for a Party 86

The Year of the Rooster 88

Party at the Glass Ceiling 90

Guided Meditation for the Resistance 92

Oh, Ginkgo 94

Good Morning Heartache 95

Tender 96

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