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Twice Burned

July 29, 2010 1 comment

by Ray Sharp

Last night I was burned twice,
once by one who cares too little
and once by one who cares too much.
Some nights I would light matches to stay warm,
if only someone would cup two hands
around mine to block the wind.
But I am dry tinder, and fire can consume
like the Ganges crematorium at Varanasi.
Did you know that when the monk
Thích Quảng Đức set himself on fire in Saigon
to protest the persecution of Buddhists,
he was re-cremated after his death
but his heart, twice burned, remained intact?


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Ray Sharp lives and writes in Michigan’s rural, rugged and remote Western Upper Peninsula region. His recent poems have appeared at vox poetica, Eclectic Flash, Caper Literary Journal, Ink Node, Astropoetica, and in the Spark 7 collection at getsparked.org, as well as at his blog, raysharp.wordpress.com.

Categories: New Classics Tags:

Female Parent

July 28, 2010 1 comment

by Jeneva Stone

for Mary Shelley


1997 : I bid my hideous progeny go forth

and prosper. I have an affection for it,
for it was the offspring of happy days
when death and grief were but words
which found no true echo in my heart : M.S., 1831

 

The anxiety cupboard of suburbia : houses gestational pods
daddies scatter for work in their suits and ties

mommies finish breakfast dishes wipe faces push strollers to the park
the daddies return : sometimes : it is dark : sometimes

light : it depends on the season : close the door on your unnecessary fears

 

Natura nihil frustra, is the onely indisputable axiome in Philosophy (T. Browne, 1643)…

 

The delivery room is like this : light & dark : dark & shadows
tightening & relaxing pain crenellating then : easing

sometimes the room goes : white brilliants dancing around
loved face in the center : dark : a spotlight masked faces

all around the margins then you are : stitched

 

…there are no Grotesques in nature nor anything framed to fill up empty cantons, and unnecessary spaces…

 

Forced through barriers love comes : eerily beautiful like God’s breath
beauty a sort of barricade : behind it crouches something unaware

 

1816 : Invention does not consist in creating out of
a void, but out of chaos—it can give form to dark,
shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being
the substance itself : M.S.

 

Mary nurses William on the summer shores of Lake Geneva,
Percy and Byron’s laughter bouncing back to shore in bursts as
the sail inflates, deflates, inflates, a human heart tacking—

The rain drags with it evening sheeting toward the manse,
at the hearth flames grope like hands, clasp and unclasp,
Mary’s imagination birthing, dilating upon so very hideous an idea.

Harriet will drown herself in amniotic waters of dark November,
will force her lungs full with fluid, percolate it through
cell spaces of her brain, her heart, breath after blue breath.

December’s end, cusp of the year, Mary and Percy wed—
vows constellated like a barricade, behind which
Clara forms, cellular spark tindered with a dark breath.

 

1998 : Dream that my little baby came
to life again—that it had only been cold & that
we rubbed it before the fire & it lived : M.S., 1815

 

The Pacific is cold in June—his feet balance on packed sand,
the tide undermines them, a thrill of fear as water surges—
our last snapshot from a great distance, framed icon of normal.

A day in July and he cannot crawl—body now a hospital puppet,
we prop it up, curl around it at night: by day, punctured, digitized
and monitored, tapped for secrets. We ask the wisp inside to stay.

August and still we hold arms down on a white table
too long for him, while the PICU nurse looks for a vein—
his cry is measured, repetitive—resignation, defeat.

September, an end to imagination: reality is nimbler,
quick past this stunned body, disassembled brain—
not what we made, but what love in making requires.

 

…There is therefore no deformity but in monstrosity, wherein notwithstanding there is a kind of
beauty, Nature so ingeniously contriving those irregular parts, as they become sometimes more
remarkable than the principal Fabrick…

 

My heart is a cupboard filled with love and fear : doors snap
open and birds flock out : black pressure rising throngs

a thousand childish vees : half-hearts bursting
as around us small perfect bodies skip a beat while

 

Victor has pushed and pushed his dogs : sled’s runners slicing
rust slough behind them gasping : cold

air burning down : acid air wrenching up blood
exertion : brains flame against the polar ice while

 

Clara : William : Percy—dead—1818 : 1819 : 1822
blue tongues : fevered pores : the brain shuts down

on the sight of blinking lights on shore : or
a face framed with damp black hair while

 

…to speake yet more narrowly, there was never anything ugly, or mis-shapen, but the Chaos

 

ahead of all, the monster leaps nimbly
from floe to floe shrieking
a falsetto promise
to burn himself
alive


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Jeneva Stone — poet, blogger, mother, federal employee, practical g/i nurse, interpreter of EOBs, queen of medical necessity letters, keeper of the family exchequer, unlicensed physical therapist, knowledgeable wheelchair mechanic — may also be found at Busily Seeking… Continual Change.

Categories: New Classics Tags:

Ariadne sends her friend a ball of twine

July 27, 2010 5 comments

by Leslie Ann Minot

sturdy, but not strong enough
to hang herself with, and long,

useful for tying tomatoes
in spring and early summer,
for bundling flattened boxes,
or for the coarser kind of kite.

Her friend has been making maps of emptiness,
the spaces in between
the islands’ separateness,
a blankness crossed by lines.

In the hardware store, Ariadne takes her time,
running her fingers through the bins of nails
and screws, shiny and full of hope
that the world can hold together.

She sings in her native tongue, softly,
making sure the old man at the counter sees her.

They say she’s a witch, how else
could she come here dishonored and marry
the island’s richest god? A foreigner,
she knows she can make them say anything
by wearing red patent-leather slingback pumps
every day of summer, even on the mountain’s
twisting goat tracks.

It’s the untangling that matters.

These climbs are nothing
if you’ve walked barefoot from your past
and stumbled into joy.

The twine is cheap, and gossip costs still less.
The town is hungry for it.

Her friend may shrug. “Witchcraft—who believes?”
But grief is superstitious. Ariadne thinks
her friend will be preoccupied with twine.
Unwinding. Finding uses.
She hopes for long enough.

Ariadne knows: Grief is not about
the shortest distance between two points.
It’s about getting out alive.


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Leslie Ann Minot received an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2004, and has previously published poetry and translations of poetry in The Chicago Review, The Red Rock Review, New Letters, and neon geyser/porcelain sky. She has published critical articles in The European Romantic Review and Excavatio, as well as in collections on Victorian sensation fiction, Caribbean literature, Georges Sand, and Muriel Rukeyser.

Categories: New Classics Tags:

24

July 26, 2010 18 comments

by Barbara Young

the blackbird said
it was dark inside
and smelled of fire and lard
too tightly packed to move
they pretended it was night
inside the casket of crust
the knife that freed them passed
between two feathers of his wing
and damaged one barb
there was noise then
brightness and confusion
I asked him did you sing
we escaped, he said
we did not sing


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Barbara Young was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1947. She writes, “I wrote poetry in high school and college, but quit because I had nothing to say. Tried writing a novel in a month. But did not finish. Five times. Which must make me an optimist, if one with a short attention span. Last April I tried a poem-a-day challenge, and decided that having nothing to say can be liberating.”

Categories: New Classics Tags:

Salve, Constantia

July 23, 2010 4 comments

by Dorothee Lang

Salve, Constantia by Dorothee Lang

 

Dorothee Lang is a writer, web freelancer, traveller, gardener, and the editor of BluePrintReview. She lives in Germany, and currently is into skies, microformats, transitions and visuals. Recent publications include elimae, Nanoism, The, Wheelhouse and others. For more about her, visit her at blueprint21.de.

Categories: New Classics Tags:

The Business of Creation

July 22, 2010 7 comments

by Uma Gowrishankar

Two leaves placed one over the other are pierced by a needle. The time required for the needle to pass from the first leaf to the second is called alpakala. Nine hundred alpakala make one kala. Thirty kala make one nimisha, nodi or matra. Four nimisha make one ganita. Sixty ganita one vinadi. Sixty vinadi one ghatika, sixty ghatika one day. Fifteen days make one paksha. Two paksha make one chandra masa (lunar month). Twelve chandra masa make one year of the human beings. One year of human beings is one day of the gods. Three hundred sixty days of gods make one Deva Varsha (one year of the Devas/Gods). 12,000 such God years make one chaturyuga. Manu is the Supreme King of the earth. A Manu’s life span is completed at the end of 71 chaturyuga. After his lifetime another Manu rules the earth for 71 chaturyuga. Life spans of fourteen such Manus make a kalpa. Two kalpa make a day of Brahma. 360 such Brahma days make a Brahma year. Brahma lives for 100 such years which is 309,173,760,000,000 human years. (Source: Puranic Encyclopaedia)

Father of all beings
Prajapathi,
the architect of the universe
Viswakarma,

the four faced Brahma
born of the radiant lotus,
the god with a big libido,
pulsating with passion
for the swan-gaited Saraswati,
lusting for wives of gods and rishis,

fathering the universe
for a lifetime of hundred years —
one Brahma day 8.6 billion human years.

Weary,
limbs weakened with toil,
loins sore,
etherized in the luminescence of Meru

Brahma wants to rest.

His hands on his lap,
tapering fingers
curl in a mudra
cradling whorls of Boundless Energy.

Eyes turned inwards,
spills the seeds of Life’s Essence,
he fathers four sons —
the pure and luminous souls

sons to inherit the business of procreation;
the boys embarrassed flee,
seek the Silent One
to learn the truth of the Endless.

Brahma the aging father,
tumescence of creation
vibrating in
scarlet flowers, piercing call of birds

counts the years left
crossing out the shunyas in human years.


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Uma Gowrishankar lives in Chennai, South India with her husband, son and parents-in-law. She works as an education consultant for a cluster of schools that offer a meaningful learning program to rural and small urban communities. She paints and practices yoga. She maintains a terrace garden in the middle of the noisy and populated city: she clears space in her garden and poetry for the many demands her crowded day make.

Categories: New Classics Tags:

Roget’s

July 21, 2010 8 comments

by Sarah J. Sloat

I hate to lose you,
you, who knew
everything.


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Sarah J. Sloat grew up in New Jersey, and has lived in Germany for many years, where she works for a news agency. Sarah’s poems have appeared in RHINO, Court Green, Bateau and Opium, among other publications. Her chapbook, In the Voice of a Minor Saint, was published in 2009 by Tilt Press. She blogs at The Rain in My Purse.

Categories: New Classics Tags: