The Works of Yvette. Schnoeker-Shorb

Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb is co-founder of Native West Press. Her poetry has appeared in Blueline, Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built and Natural Environments, Midwest Quarterly, KaramuThe Pedestal Magazine, The Foliate Oak, The Externalist, LanguageandCulture.net, and many other print and online journals. She holds an interdisciplinary MA in Ecosemantics from Prescott College.  In addition to poetry and linguistics, her areas of interest include evolutionary psychology and the phenomenon of biophilia related to sustainable practices and human interactions with the natural world. 

All Poems © Yvette A. Schnoeker-Shorb

Body Count

Consider this the preface

to my death, for all my life

I have aspired to be someone

else, to count; now I am committed

to being myself, the insignificant

one who feels

so indignant at being someone else's

oversight too many times; did you see

the division of a shadow

that once was me in your eyes?


At least I will die bathed in luxury,

warm, rose-pink water gently dyed

with my own blood. Oh I know, wrist-

slitting is a bit maudlin and outmoded

since the individual became an object

of statistics. The result of the act

itself may have no merit,

given the politics of suicide--just one

more life down the drain,

but it is my mediocrity of method

that no doubt will be condemned. Still,

will you remember to count me

among the abstractions of community?

(Demographically speaking,

I'll typify the dead ones.)


Consider me the aftermath

of any self out of context, a count noun

strained by consensus of a mass,

just one more less-than-whole

soul unaccounted for

in the disorder of indifference;

of course, were I represented

in the remainder of social angst,

I would not count on the odds

that this won't happen again.


Offline Phylogenetic Matters

How assess the genes

of a planet's lifetime,

the lines that cradled

                          with all matter

the material of our intellect

and inventive tendency? I flew

in my dreams

before ever a plane

left its blueprint on the sky,

when language was less

a sound than an intention;

I remember the stars

                         and the sacred

earth that bred us

                        out of infinity

into consciousness

of the way we are expressed--

with our genetic misunderstanding

that nature's version of life

needs new gods

who are even more fragile

than our ideas of the old ones.



Uncontrolled Burns


Fire--it's elemental, the memory

cross-referenced in gametes,

imprinted in cells, preconceptual

forms flowing, glowing, growing.

450,000 years ago, Homo erectus

perceived control over the circle

of burning light; mankind now

desires to define the bright,

elusive lines, the depths of beauty

and brilliance, still wanting

to master the ancestral claim.


Campfires may seem tame, even

comforting, but the feminine flames

are tricky, ready to leap and lick,

to seductively drift. Depending

on what's sparked in the dark,

vamps don't camp but prefer to burn

as you stand erect and awestruck

by the heat, southern excitable,

undiminishable; with all exits locked

in life, small deaths are likely

from the striking of one match.