» Karen Faris

Hot Flash Mama


Yo! There!

You at the back of the room

rolling your eyes

at the title of my poem

and looking at me

all grey haired and flat shod

not giving a damn

yes you, I’m talking to you.

Don’t look away

because you don’t like

the subject I’m giving you

the subjective treatment

I am a hot

flash mama!

That’s right!

I’ve got heat

rising up up up


and it’s not on account of you.


Hot Flash Mama.

I am burning up

with things to say

things you’re going to

have to

listen to

because this is my poem

my body

my work

and if I want to get all worked up

about something that is


going to happen to you,

that you’re


going to truly understand,

well then,

you’d be the woman

in the poem

in the books

in the canon


I fired that shot.


You don’t get to

read me

like you’re the man

and I’m the woman

in some old Leonard Cohen poem.

No sir.


I am a Hot Flash Mama.


Read it and weep

because in this poem,

you’re the man.


Notes from the Unknown Poet:

Read this like it’s a musical like Hamilton.  Underline denotes emphasis, like a dotted quarter note.  I am currently at work on an alternate way to punctuate some of my poems as the usual commas and so forth do not reflect the actual breathing and breath of the poem.)




Notes on the old English:

Hamilton seems to be a favorite American father figure who preferred political involvement and song over familial involvement.  Here again, the poet seems to be trying to transcend the deeply embedded male basis of her society and its obsession with their own fluid based bodies.  With that came this strange casual denial of the female body and experience except as it applied to the male sexual experience.












Poet’s reading notes:  This is a reversal stanza, read seductive instead of urgently, then next one return to voice of power and Hot Flash Mama voice.


Notes on the Old English:

Leonard Cohen seems to be unusual in this youth obsessed era as he earned greater acclaim in his sunset years and was known for his considerable strengths and popularity as a poet and ladies man, once again related to the human populations seemingly endless obsession with themselves and their concepts of love and sex.Our scholars surmise that the human obsession with body fluids must originate in the fact that most of their mass, is indeed fluid.


Globe at the Curb


Oh honey how hard it is

to have a round brain

in a square world

and be pegged to death

by algorithms that commute

curves to straight lines

without a simple understanding

of the elements, a factoring in 

of circumference not diameter.


Oh honey your sums

will never match up

meridians, and equators,

and the lines they made

to crisscross you

and divide you into known places.


You are the globe

and you






while the math whizz


snaps the















Oh honey how hard to be

the circle who spins

into the unknown

fighting darkness,

infinity’s abyss,

the anxiety of the unknown

and unknowable.


I took you home and put you on my shelf

lovely blues rain crinkled,

greens cracked and parched,

and peeled from the crust

the countries a mess,

names forgotten and left

all alone now that

the estate sale’s over.









I’ve been holding it

for a while when I ask

for a pit stop.

“Can’t you wait?”

He’s always asking

that of us.

Like we can control

when we have to go

if we just put our minds to it.

But really, that’s all we do.


The monthly saga

of being responsible,

a moment’s slip,

the wait too long

and everything’s a bloody mess.

We have to be clean and clean up everything

that’s messy and dirty and somehow our fault

we inherited these bodies.


If only they were really restrooms.

Places of respite

instead of this soldiering on

man up, we’re taught.

(Sing a song here of overcoming

glorious women that we are)

We shall oh we shall:

pop pills

avert pain,

“deal with”

our bodies

and the aftermath

of your pleasure.

(Amen.  His song ends)

when we’d rather just not deal

in the face of the constant

pressure to pretend

the uterus doesn’t exist.

No matter.  I will

still need to pee.





Notes on the Old English


The human predilection for wasteful behavior indicated by their blatant abuse of the natural world was also inherent in their own structural integrity and their inability to recycle the nutrients they ingested.  They eliminated the excess into holding tanks, waterways, and any other place outside of themselves.


The culture, obsessed with efficiency and a machine model, rewarded the male subspecies for having an out of body appendage for this activity and held the female subspecies hostage to her own body’s design as somehow flawed. Culturally men were allowed to eliminate outdoors while women were forced to use special huts designed for the process and thus were at the mercy of the hut buildings.

About The Author


Karen Faris


Karen Faris holds a B.A. in English Literature from McGill University.  Her work is informed by many jobs in many places, tenure on the Irondequoit Conversation Board, and a lifetime of thinking and searching for the things that matter most.  Faris is the author of the cheerful dystopian novel, Grumbles:The Novel (Whimsical Publications, 2015).  Her short fiction has appeared in the on-line journal, Empty Sink Publications, and other short fiction, book reviews, and essays also have appeared on the website, RewritingMarySue.com.