Poet of the Quarter: Carrie Penrod

July 2022

Poet of the Quarter:

Carrie Penrod – I Wish My Name Was Clementine

Carrie Elizabeth Penrod was born and raised in Indiana. She currently resides in a small town in Indiana with one stoplight. She wrote her first story on an old typewriter she found in her Mamma’s upstairs when she was seven and has been writing ever since. She received her MFA in creative writing from Mississippi University for Women. Currently, she is looking for a home for her first poetry manuscript and is continuing work on a second, third, and fourth. When she isn’t writing she’s painting, thinking about how she should be writing, and editing. She spends most of her time as a freelance writer for several blogs and newsletters across the internet. Her work can be read at Anti-Heroin Chic, Sad Girls Club Lit, Prometheus Dreaming, Button Poetry’s Instagram, and corn stalks, upcoming in Papeachu Press. 

A note from Carrie Penrod:

I wrote “I Wish My Name Was Clementine” after a pretty gnarly breakup that took place following my mother’s death. I wrote it first and foremost for myself, but also for all the others who find themselves a little too tough for people to swallow. It’s a commentary on how not everyone approaches love with open hearts and a head-over-heals mindset. I wanted there to be a dichotomy of optimism and pessimism, which that first stanza encompasses so well for me and is really carried throughout the poem. I needed the scene of what was supposed to be love in a moment to have these almost violent actions and subtly jarring words. This poem is for the feeling of wanting someone to eat all your bitter parts as well as the sweet. – Carrie Penrod

I Wish My Name Was Clementine
You peel me open like a clementine,
every instance your hands drag
over me, I’m left with nothing
between us but sighs and flesh
and whispers of thoughts of love
and adoration that pierces
my thick skin too deep.
You tell me I must want you to bare
me down to my core because I open
so easily under your fingers
that catch like fishhooks
in pond scum on stomach, sides, thighs,
trying to peel back the layers.
I want my name to be Clementine
so that I can be sweeter than I am,
so that I can be opened
like ripe fruit begging 
to be eaten, taken for all 
I have to give, split
into sevenths, pith eaten.

Previous Poets of the Quarter:
Amanda Crum – The Exchange – August 2021

Michelle Davey – Murdering Turtles at the Foodbank – November 2021

“Poetry is language at its most distilled and most powerful”

Rita Dove