Prince Bush is an MFA student at Western Kentucky University. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including The Cincinnati Review, Cream City Review, Poet Lore, Pleiades, Puerto del Sol, and others. He was a 2019 Fellow at Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets and an Erastus Milo Cravath Presidential Scholar at Fisk University.
"Lithium" first appeared in Pleiades; "On Truth" first appeared in Sporklet. Both poems are used with permission by the author.
BY NC 4.0 with modifications
Welcome to The Beat, a poetry podcast produced by Knox County Public Library. Today, you’ll hear two poems read by the poet Prince Bush.
I love Prince Bush’s extraordinary use of metaphor in these devastating poems. It’s not every day that we hear a father/son relationship being compared to a cell phone battery or that we see the truth compared to something that, to quote the poet, “might stink scooting down the road of my tongue.” Here are the poems “Lithium” and “On Truth.”Prince Bush:
My father calls me, conjuring
Some sort of feeling, from cognac,
Bad-conscience, and a fully-charged
Lithium-ion battery. I hear
The voicemail, may call back,
Blaming an old battery—lithium
Ages poorly, like us both—it's only
Been one year since he's learned
My leaning, not handling
This life from hazard well.
And I die quickly—I should, but won't
Replace the cell phone, enjoy justifying lone
Socialness, low binding vigor,
Bring up gaps I share and shift with lithium.
He will comprehend, as a mechanic,
Churning alternators, fixing power units,
Charging he'd punch a homosexual—
Anger higher than the boiling
Point, potential traction lower
Than the melting—
Though it’s usually odorless, it is so
Concentrated, it might stink scooting
Down the road of my tongue;
Produce more methane than cows,
Which are more like trumpets with thinking
The climate is changing
Because of the air that comes out
Their pipe and got wrong which
Key; be fatter than breathing nitro-
And oxygen, prescribed for my fire-
Place chest, getting me hyper-
Oxia, Planum, sick with martian craters
An ExoMars rover discovers,
My irritated trachea, my hopes up
Weighing a third less, higher but still
Falling; fall out of my mouth into tears
And turn into acid, last a thousand years
In Earth, memory; cause frostbite, burn,
Flush my skin, or leave me alone—Alan May:
That was “Lithium” and “On Truth” by Prince Bush. He was kind enough to record these poems for us at his home in Bowling Green, KY. Prince Bush is an MFA student at Western Kentucky University. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, including The Cincinnati Review, Cream City Review, Poet Lore, Pleiades, Puerto del Sol, and others. He was a 2019 Fellow at Bucknell Seminar for Undergraduate Poets and an Erastus Milo Cravath
Presidential Scholar at Fisk University. You can find many of Bush’s poems online in various literary magazines on the web. Also look for links in the show notes. Please join us next time for The Beat.Various voices::
Thank you for listening to and sharing this podcast from Knox County Public Library in Knoxville, Tennessee. Music for this podcast is by Chad Crouch. Find all our podcasts at pods.knoxlib.org, and explore life-changing resources at www.knoxlib.org. That's "knox l-i-b." Go to our "keep in touch" page to sign up for newsletters. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Make us your essential connection for life-long learning and information.