by Tamuira Reid
I stopped caring about you sometime between January and May, when the weather changed and the leaves came back. You went on that big white pill and couldn’t have aged cheese or avocado and I sat at the table in the kitchen, watching you watch me.
We tried to drive the crazy away but it had us by the throat, slept where we slept. The yelling wouldn’t stop until you’d had enough, when your eyes no longer felt right in your head and you’d rather lie down than stand there, fist in your mouth, the cat rubbing against your leg.
You once told me that depression comes in waves but that makes it sound too beautiful. There was nothing good about the bad.
Impossible, I always tell them, to pinpoint when it started, when words went from breathy whispers to knives hurled at one another across a dark space.
Sometimes we’d try to fight it before it hit. You’d take a shower. Shave your face. Vacuum the hallway rug. It never worked and the top would blow off and it would be me and you again, just like that.
Teacups shook in their skin, books fell over on themselves and I wanted to see how it would all play out. Would he get the girl in the end? Or does she leave during a quiet moment, smiling as she turns away. His hand pressing against her back like an ear.
Tamuira Reid is a writer and educator currently living in Florence, Italy. Since receiving her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2003, she has been teaching in both traditional and non-traditional classrooms, from India to a state penitentiary and now full time at NYU. Her first feature-length screenplay, Luna’s Highway, is currently in pre-production and earned her a finalist position in the 2009 American Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest and a 2010 semifinals finish in The Nicholls Fellowship Competition, sponsored by The Academy of Moving Pictures.
by Emma Sovich
we made the stars, just let them go one day
a few caught fire
we expected them to return, all of them
they laugh at us each night
our modern constellations
fixtures, navigational jokers
we should have chanted, come back
where it’s so remote the milky way leaps within reach
night isn’t black
wraps itself around my head
by Pia Taavila
My students now study the sculptor and statue
marking externals: proportion and scale.
We talk of the casting, of bronze, wax or stone,
of chisel and bit, of angle and stance,
the trick of believing it moved or it spoke.
We ponder intention, the artist’s technique,
all the while confronting the shock of our
selves looking in mirrors, the false masks, the pose.
Oh, to be naked, truly stripped down, exposed,
where one’s inner essence resides on the skin
in veins of fine marble, in muscle and pore.
I step off the platform, regard my life’s work
and take up the hammer to smash things
to bits, brutal and glad. The students gasp.
Pia Taavila is a professor of English at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. Her book Moon on the Meadow compiled poems written over three decades, and last year a new chapbook, Two Winters, was published by Finishing Line Press.
Most eyes are looking for other eyes.
Love Your Disease
Winter solstice – rain sleeping in the clouds.
The large majority of the time, we are just comparing the size of our idiocies.
Where do you hide in an empty room?
There’s too much of everything.
The planet grows bluer.
I’ve got more dark corners than a circle in the night.
be as humble as a door
as humble as a toothbrush
as humble as
Skindrinking the breeze…
Wind-grabbed / star-washed / drizzle-rinsed / night-dried
If you want to laugh, look at the back of your knees.
The big dream is smaller than us.
The immense desire to be the water itself – where the clear ocean rests in warm pools over ancient rocks.
I’d climb out of this hole, but I can’t feel the sides.
Every dream with a soundtrack!
I’m still afraid, after all this time, to write that list of the words I overuse.
Killing the spider, you become more ugly than the spider is.
Now noting knowing nothing.
i am where i be
i be where i am
Couldn’t see the face for the eyes…
There’s nothing above loving.
Just before you die you will suddenly be very young.
I take your point until it stops me.
Matt Hetherington is a writer and musician living in Melbourne, Australia. His most recent collection is I Think We Have (Small Change Press, 2007). He is also on the committee of the Australian Haiku Society. Some current inspirations are: Amon Tobin, Grant Caldwell, and plain old sunshine.
Fragments are essential to my poetry and my art. I ofttimes partner poems with collages. Thoughts taken from my poem, Collage, delineate the mystery:
I gather dabs of life-stuff around me. They come in a drift,
or singly like snowflakes. Moments fall in my ears; their music, sometimes discordant, although mostly remembered as harmony.
I trim each chance to one-inch squares, line them up on my canvas, seal them—
a portrait of self. My family admires my effort, or mocks it—
this impulse to control past and present. Yet, I persist. Translate half—
or twice as much—of every emotion into these small paper pieces.
Bright hues—purple, hot pink, mango, bitter green, azure—tangle in my hair, in my art, blind my other eye. I edit images into these fragments, rearrange, attempt to appreciate
this life, this urge. Ampersands, seashells, bird nest, rocking chair, moose, spiral, moon. And words: The heart is the hub. Go there. Roam in it. I am.
So. Look at me now. A scrap-monger in a world of dots and words,
confetti of my life a swirl ’round my head, while the unremembered fall away—
fall upon my bare feet which tap and twirl without notice.
gaye gambell-peterson (website) never tires of piling words on a page or sticking bits of stuff onto a canvas. Frequent recognition in both the art and poetry worlds only encourages her. Two chapbooks feature her poetry and her collages: pale leaf floating (Cherry Pie Press) and MYnd mAp (Agog Press). She likes sticky mac’n’cheese.
I will speak. You will hear me someday. I have read enough books and played with enough guns to know that this can’t be it. There’s always that last bullet that you don’t manage to miss. And you fall, hoping that this is the fall that saves you. I remember falling from my cycle. It would be the same. That sudden change of view and the distinct touch of the road. I don’t remember my fall. Is it the same? Do you also die missing the moment that kills you?
Do you go from alive to dead without dying? Do you understand your death only after you’ve finished dying?
Saudamini Deo, a literature student, is an amateur photographer and writer (of sorts).
a solitary egret
flying low under an intricate
sky of live oak branches
yesterday I couldn’t stop worrying
today I can’t stop making plans
June is the season of sober brown grackle mothers
followed by begging fledglings fatter than they are.
One stuffs a bug in the gaping mouth,
another turns her head away again and again,
pretending to ignore her squawking chick.
someone yelling outside near midnight
but I can’t hear what they’re saying – 82 inside
and still too hot outside to open the window.
with summer we choose a little more
comfort, a little less connection.
Visiting my dad last week at the “home”
I looked out the window at an orange butterfly
in the purple Mexican petunias while
a 103-year-old man sleeping with
his jacket drawn close against the air conditioning
woke up, muttered “I’m cold” and went back to sleep.
childless, I wonder if anyone will visit
me if I outlive my strength…more
a sadness than a worry today
when I can’t find my faith in God’s mercy
I put my faith in surprise
and brought from house to garden
the tiny lizard…
Kris Lindbeck is a professor of Jewish Studies who writes Japanese short form poetry on Twitter (@KrisLindbeck). She is working on a book of poems and short essays about women in the Bible. Her twitter poetry is collected at klindbeck.tumblr.com.