Origin Stories – Kim Malinowski

Origin Stories

    Archeological Love Song
    by Kim Malinowski


    Let my hands stumble
	    into channers

	    sienna pebbles

    fingers rough
	    scraped across mesh

    history sacred on palms.


    Let my feet always press deep
	    loved soil

	    whispered prayer.

    Sink into sediment

    stratigraphy tongued


    Let me calculate our radials
	    distance between

    my shovel
	    your trowel

    waltz fingers through channers
	    leave me beautifully broken

    taste of grit
	    and bone dust

    praying on tongue.

    (First appeared in Archeological Love Song — Words & Whispers (wordsandwhispers.org)

Origin Stories – Archeological Love Song

My name is Kim Malinowski, and I am revealing the origin story of “Archeological Love Song” in the March 2023 edition of Words & Whispers Literary Journal.

I am almost embarrassed with how “Archeological Love Song” came into existence. I wrote the final poem in about ten minutes. I was recovering from three days of digging Shovel Test Pits (S.T.P.s) at an archeological site. I have aphasia and words do not come easily, or at least not when I want them to.

While screening, I kept calling the square rocks that kept fooling us as ceramics “thingies,” even when constantly corrected. After two days of constant mispronunciation or lack of word use, and my mentor’s constant correction, he broke. It is not easy to break an archeologist, but when I drove him to the edge, he screamed “It’s channers! C-H-A-N-N-E-R-S! Write it down! Why don’t you write a POEM about them?!” I picked up my notepad and showed the word already spelled out. He and I developed this system to accommodate my specific needs. I screamed back, not angry, but full of bravado, “I will!” Challenge accepted.

First, beware. I take dares. Second, never, ever, bet me about any sort of writing. Or do so but know that I will immortalize you. I said “channers” correctly the third day and my mentor seemed pleased. He did not know I was silently plotting his immortality and taking in every sensation that I felt during the day. I used word magnets to relearn how to read and write again, so it is not a leap for me to play around with odd words. It’s morphed from how I continually conquer my aphasia to playful word use. I wrote this poem never expecting it to be published. I believe that every poem written is a love poem and certainly every one of mine, no matter how awful the subject or how intricate the vocabulary. I only knew that I needed to use the word “channers” for the bet and I began inserting archeology terms for traditional “love” poem vocabulary while giggling madly. What came out is a love song to archeology and a love poem that I can slip into any crush’s bag. Better still, one of the other archeologists told me that I certainly had slapped the bet on the table and double downed. I grinned. “All in a day’s work.” This poem is the start to a grand journey. I just don’t know what my excavation of words will bring.


Kim Malinowski is a lover of words. Her collection Home was published by Kelsay Books and her verse novel Phantom Reflection was published by Silver Bow Publishing. Her full-length sequences The Fool’s Journey and Buffy’s House of Mirrors are forthcoming in 2023. Also forthcoming, is her verse novel We Could Be Lovers. She has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of Net, and the Rhysling Award. She writes because the alternative is unthinkable.

Website: www.kimmalinowskipoet.com

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Gyroscope Review Spring 2023 Issue Available now!

Previous Origin Stories

April 1 – Wanda Praisner

April 2 – Howard Lieberman

April 3 – L. Shapley Bassen

April 4 – Sharon Scholl

April 5 – Stellasue Lee

April 6 – Jeanne DeLarm

April 7 – Virginia Smith

April 8 – Patricia Ware

April 9 – Mary Makofske

April 10 – Ann Wallace

April 11 – Jessica Purdy

April 12 – Lakshman Bulusu

Previous NPM celebrations from Gyroscope Review

Let the Poet Speak! 2022

Promopalooza 2021

Poet of the Day 2020

Poets Read 2019

National Poetry Month Interview Series 2018

Book Links Party 2017

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Origin Stories