“P.J. Harvey Says She is Going to Take Her Problems to the United Nations” – Poetry by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens

Anxiety and diplomacy  tango in “P.J. Harvey Says She is Going to Take Her Problems to the United Nations,” one of two utterly flappulous poems by Jennifer MacBain-Stephens in our Winter 2016 issue.

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Who will kill the weeds in my back yard?
Who will stop my son from scratching kids at recess?
Will there be a panel discussion
on just the scratching
or just the weeds?
How many people will be on the panel?
Will I get to vet these people?
Will my mother-in-law be on the panel?
What if all the solutions are bad ones?
Does that make that word, “solution” not a solution?
But a “problem solution?” like a “problem play?”
What if I think the solutions are bad but the panel does not?
What if a lunch break comes too soon?
Like right when they are in the middle of some good solution talking?
What if a break comes too late and people’s blood sugar drops?
Like really drops, hard, so that women in pearls pass out?
Like right when we are reaching some good compromise?
What if the men get angry because they are hungry?
What if I pass out from hunger?
What if there is no one to get home to my children because I’ve passed out?
What if I have been taken to a quiet office space to recover?
What if no solutions are reached because I am not in the room to
announce, “yes, I  agree to that.”
What if the solutions are reached because I am not there;
a proxy appoints herself to be my proxy and
she says, “yes, I think Jennifer will agree to that.”
Or conversely, what if she says, “no, Jennifer will never agree to any of this?”
What if I never agree?
What if I agree?
What if time stands still like in The Twilight Zone?
It’s all pant suits and gavels now.

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AuthorphotoJENNIFER MacBAIN-STEPHENS went to NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and currently lives in the DC area with her family. She is the author of six chapbooks. The most recent ones are  from Dancing Girl Press, Be About it Press, and Shirt Pocket Press. Her first full length poetry collection is forthcoming from Lucky Bastard Press. Recent work can be seen / is forthcoming at Pretty Owl Poetry; Yes, Poetry; Gargoyle Magazine; Jet Fuel Review; Glittermob; The Norfolk Review; Moss Trill; Pith; So to Speak; Apple Valley Review; Otis Nebula; Freezeray; Entropy; and Hobart. For more, visit: http://jennifermacbainstephens.wordpress.com/.

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