Friday, June 13, 2014


The fifth of five Pittsburgh poets to have NBP publish them this week is Nikki Allen, with her brand new full-length collection of poems ligaments of light tigering the shoulders!
In ligaments of light tigering the shoulders, Allen writes lushly textured poems that draw you in and won't let go.  Her world dances and daydreams, burns and shines.  These two poems from her collection are prime examples of the beauty and skill with which she wields her words:

aloe vera

she kept her aloe in the fridge next to
hot sauce and a jar
of olives ball-gagged

with garlic

grin of arrowhead

                                   and clover
                                   i burn she said
                                   i don't


Georgia: billboards and red clay, fruit stands.  Hotel soaps so slight in geometry they become phases of moon before the shower ends. Hallway carpet I will never see again, hum of ice machine.

Virginia: we dig a big hole in the sand.  So big that children of strangers start appearing with shovels and buckets and helping.  At the end of the day we let it go and by evening the crater is swollen with ocean, a full mouth pushing its food aroundform loses shape.  Thick aloe leaves snapped and shared, scrubbed like erasers on the essay of shoulders.

Kentucky: the beautiful girl with blue dreads, her thin-as-reed companionhead low in yellow shirt.  The poems and our car with no heat, shivers down the highway.  We talk nonstop to stay warm.  A man named Falcon in the back walking circles, practicing.  Getting lost between bridges, slingshot and brewery.

South Carolina: population of jellyfish against my morning run.  Hijacked liquor cabinet; we run with shovels and sweaters in the dark.  The water looks like chocolate and I can point out sharks.  I learn to fear the current.

Florida: baby with colic in the backseat.  He is small and red, unrelated dynamite.  I use my stack of empty postcards for poems.  In the center, on the Gulf.  I am afraid to feed the seagulls.  I stare at two of them mating on hotel roof, off-white flutters stacked and screeching; my father tells me to look away.


Nikki Allen scribbles poems on cocktail napkins, receipts, and/or any other blank space she can get her pen on.  She's been getting on stages to read her work for over 15 years, including in St. Louis, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Seattle, war protests, music festivals, charity events, and art openings.  Allen is the author of My Darling Since, Quite Like Yes, and Birds at 4 A.M., and has contributed vocals to tracks by recording artists Poogie Bell ("Question Song") and Jack Wilson ("NYC").  Visit her website at

ligaments of light tigering the shoulders is 48 pages long and contains 34 poems printed on creamy white paper.  The cover features a stunning photograph taken by Allen, printed on a very pale turquoise cardstock with a rich turquoise cardstock insert.  This fantastic collection of poems is only $10 plus $3 shipping/handling, and can be purchased beginning today, June13, 2014,  by clicking the PayPal button in the right side column of this website.  You can also find us on Amazon, or, if you live near Pittsburgh, you can get your very own signed copy directly from the poet at the Words Dance in the NightBallet book-release super-bash TOMORROW June 14, 2014 (follow link for details)!