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L’image est sur le Mur

May 30, 2012 1 comment

by Shirley Brewer

after John Ashbery

I
Imagination circulates in the seasons
adrift beneath the mind. A man
grabs the impact, the known solution.

This being so, the world responds.
A breath of his innocence swirls in the black domain.
We know why angels refuse such logical dreams,

the strange dismal wailing. The man’s mouth
resonates in the presence of plumes.
The picture retains the wall. But what

desolate shimmer betrays the moment? The ecstasy,
a blue shore, the man talking
about his destiny with only one hand?

II
A child sprinkles lemon seeds
into the green fountain. She leaves
and the seeds blossom. Now other children

awaken in startled petals.
The fountain supports them like a stem.
Angels caress the outline of a man

in the folds of the fountain.
Which disappears. Are there
catastrophes, conversations on the edge,

or did the vapors reappear when
the man walked away? Are the seeds protected
in the water’s worship, or did the shadows vanish?


Download the podcast (reading by Siona van Dijk)

Shirley J. Brewer is a poet, educator, and workshop facilitator in Baltimore. Shirley won first, second and third prizes in the Maryland Writers’ Association 2010 Short Works Contest for Poetry. Publication credits include Pearl, Comstock Review, Cortland Review, Little Patuxent Review, Passager, Manorborn, Free Lunch, and other journals. Her first poetry collection, A Little Breast Music, was published in 2008 by Passager Books.

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Vermeeresque

May 29, 2012 3 comments
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Bigfoot Kept Lumberjack as Love Slave

May 25, 2012 1 comment

Wife Says Man “Not the Same” Since Return from Forest

by Lou Amyx

for John Wood, with apologies to Thomas Hardy

It’s true. For who could be
Called same that loved so free,
Keen, and wild as we upon that ridge in native wantonry?

Who would dare to claim
These dusky stars the same
As those which lustered bright at that convergence of our twain?

I was just a lumber-
Jack, off to fell a number
Of small saplings. Framed in shadows dappling, I remember . . .

Tho’ fearsome when we met, he
Soothed my dread and set me
High upon his mantlepiece — his prize; and he became my Yehti.

Joy was his task. Watch
My tender Sasquatch
Gently love my eyes and lips, neck and nips, belly, hips, ass, crotch.

Consummation comes;
My steaming vessel runs
Upon his iceburg; seas prolapse, and the black sky hums.

Fate has cracked the world
This titan valley, hurled
Us each to disparate peaks, then watched the lovesick plan unfurled.

Fate traced our course
Coincident — that coarse
First meeting. Glad melding. Grim cleaving. My enduring curse.

Dare not apprise of this
Beast the mere size of his
Shoes! Measure instead the insatiate sighs of His

Disconsolate Love
Who yearns here to prove —
I belong returned to him, and to that high mountain grove.

He read poetry to me
Beneath the oak tree
And the aspen. Now I miss him, and feel all things are parody.


Download the podcast (original music composed and performed by Joshua Amyx)

Poetry by Lou Amyx may be seen in The Arena, The Naugatuck River Review, Tidal Basin Review, at Melusine.com as the winner of the 2011 Vivienne Haigh-Wood Poetry Prize, and soon in The Southern Poetry Anthology, Volume IV: Louisiana. A chapbook, The Bracelet, is available from Finishing Line Press. The recipient of creative writing MFA and English MA degrees, Lou teaches freshman writing classes at McNeese State University in Louisiana.

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Dulce et Dotcom Est

May 24, 2012 2 comments

by Chris Clarke

Bent double, web designers without slack,
Ache-wristed, hacking with tags, we cursed each kludge,
Till on the table cells we turned our back
And toward semantic code began to trudge.
We did not sleep. Many hours lost, reboots
And trancing iPods. All went numb; the grind;
Drunk with caffeine; deaf even to the suits
Of Hi-Fived Two Point Ohs who then resigned.
Crash! Crash! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,
Finding the clumsy backup just in time;
While CTO was chilling out and Tumblring,
Websurfing with a Tanqueray and lime . . .
Dim, through the tinted panes and Aeron mesh,
As under a green sea, I saw him clowning.
In all my coding, after each refresh,
His comments in there, muttering, joking, clowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the bitbucket we flung them in,
And watch one-liners twinkling ‘cross his face,
His sad trombone and tiny violin;
If you could watch him drinking Jolt, the flood
Of banter as he climbed each corporate rung,
Obscene as goatse, bitter as the cud
Of stupid WHASSUP jokes from off his tongue,
My friend, you would not Greek without regret
For clients entre whom you would preneur,
The old Lie; Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet
Consectetur.


Download the podcast (reading by Dave Bonta)

Chris Clarke (Coyote Crossing) is a natural history and environmental writer, an editor and photographer. He’s a finalist in the Los Angeles Press Club’s SoCal Journalism Awards this year, in the Advocacy Journalism category, for his environmental column at KCET.org. Chris is currently working on a book on Joshua trees, which will be based on over a decade of research.

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Adcock Modulations (Symbolic, Fantastic, Historic, Personal)

May 23, 2012 Comments off

by Jon Stone


I. THE EX-BOYFRIEND AMONG WILTING FLOWERS

(after Araki Nobuyoshi)

They’re not yet limp and still well flushed
with bloody dyes that darken in
their curling tips but past the point
of picking, the summer’s cut-and-thrust.

But he, hawk-hearted, freshly loosed,
with time for more and nothing else,
thinking beauty at its most heady
in its final shudders, is well seduced.


II. THE EX-QUEEN AMONG THE DINOSAURS

They watch the sky turn bludgeon-blue,
their crests engorged, their plates pricked up.
Every fin, sail and spiny frill
is frenzied to a danger hue.

But she, exempt, extant, ex-queen,
exudes an air of measured calm.
She’s done this once; the kingdom up
in smoke, the flood, the cannibal scene.


III. THE EX-NECROMANCER AMONG C COMPANY

(after Sidney Keyes)

Through Bone to Medjez from Algiers,
they hold the line with spats and scraps,
then take a hill and hold that too,
bed down among the rusty smears.

But he, death-scholar, symbolist,
has found the place where his lab rat
is infestation – wild, at large,
and studying him through the dreaming mist.


IV. THE EX-NORTHERNER AMONG THE NORTHERNERS

They bring the full and fattened cobs,
and from their gardens leeks and beans,
and from the shops horseradish sauce,
then meat and mustard, heat the hobs.

But he, far flung, now London-based,
tongue stiffened on much harder vowels,
drains his glass and tries to pin
a name to what he can’t quite taste.


after “The Ex-Queen Among the Astronomers” by Fleur Adcock


Download the podcast

Jon Stone was born in Derby and currently lives in Whitechapel, London. He’s the co-creator of the micro-anthology publisher Sidekick Books and the multi-format literary zine Fuselit. His work has been published in a variety of British anthologies, including The Best British Poetry 2011 and Adventures in Form. He has twice been highly commended in the UK’s National Poetry Competition and his full-length collection, School of Forgery (Salt, 2012) is a Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation for 2012.

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we know most when we know nothing

May 22, 2012 Comments off

by Dana Guthrie Martin

after Linda Gregg

What things are lost? Not the trees.
Not the small shells we’ve gathered and displayed
on our bookshelves, which call to the ocean
every day.
The winds are not lost as we are.
Worn bottle fragments experience our hands.
But not like our bodies experience one another.
Apologetic and shy, we stutter.
Wanting satiety and longing all at once
and what that means. Nothing holds us here
yet we stay. Nothing remembers what
we have been
to each other. We pause, stop sometimes
at this realization, as the wind blows,
as the ground swells with spring.
As we untangle what we are, alone and together.
Perched on a future we cannot know.
What these bodies resist.
Our fingers quiver like wings.

 

Dana Guthrie Martin (website) lives and writes in eastern Washington state. Her poetry collections include In the Space Where I Was (Hyacinth Girl Press, forthcoming), Toward What Is Awful (YesYes Books, 2012) and The Spare Room (Blood Pudding Press, 2009). Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Boxcar Poetry Review, Alice Blue Review, Failbetter, Fence, Knockout Literary Magazine, Stirring and Vinyl Poetry.

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Ezra Pound Reflects on the Los Angeles Riots, 1992

May 14, 2012 4 comments

by Patricia L. Scruggs

Wotan sleeps in the house of Freya
surrounded by boulders and flames.
And he said: “Long is one night,
Long are two nights” (sounded phonically),
and he said: “But how shall I hold out three?”
That was Longfellow
(that old potato),
in l844 or 1845
or thereabout
and Emerson said he lived like a king
around the time
Courbet was denounced
(if he was denounced)
for painting The Stone Breakers.
It lacked spiritual content
or so the critics claimed,
but he said, “Je ne peux pas peindre un ange
parce que je n’enai jarnais un vu.”
He made his own exhibition in a shed
and distributed A Manifesto of Realism.
That was at the time
of the Paris Exhibition.
Later Lincoln wrote: “You can have
no conflict without being yourselves
the aggressor,”
but that was before
the South seceded
and Sherman marched
to the sea.
“Strike the tent,”
Lee murmured as he died,
with Grant already
in the White House.

“Anger is short madness,”
said Horace. I think not
of the helicopters
vibrating overhead
or the National Guard on every street.
As Mary Siewert said,
“I never thought I would be glad
to be living in a police state.”

chorus

After the warm spring rain,
the hills don
their poppy covered shawls.

When at night I go to sleep
National Guardsmen watch do keep.

Did He who made the lamb
make thee? Has He carved
both madness and bliss?

Let not the fear
cover up the fear.

The cat is king in his jungle yard.

Let go of thy talent
I say, let go.
Release thy genius
that flowers in its place.

Open thyself wide,
let the poem emerge.

This is all there is.
There is nothing else.


Download the podcast

Patricia L. Scruggs is a Southern Californian by way of Colorado, Wyoming and Alberta. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Rattle, Spillway, OnTheBus, and the anthologies 13 Los Angeles Poets, Deliver Me, and So Luminous the Wildflowers. She is a retired high school art teacher.

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