We’re pleased to announce the publication of the print edition of our Words of Power issue, which appeared online in Fall 2009, with qarrtsiluni’s managing editors, Dave Bonta and Beth Adams, at the helm. This edition is dedicated to the memory of Harvey Parker, a contributor to the issue who died suddenly last summer. It was designed and published by Phoenicia Publishing in Montreal, has a full-color cover, 126 pages, and is available for $14.25 from the online store or from Amazon.
Words of Power is a magic box filled with curses and spells, charms and prayers, incantations, imprecations, castigations, oaths and legal instruments, mantras and scripture — and a collection of remarkable images inspired by the theme.
Be sure to visit our publishing partner’s new website, browse their catalogue and read their news blog. The listing for Words of Power urges customers to “Please consider ordering from our online store: almost twice as much of your purchase goes toward supporting the authors and independent publishing, and foreign shipping rates tend to be favorable. We’re happy to offer sales through Amazon for your convenience too.”
Come words of power, we said, and fill our inboxes. Come curses and spells, charms and prayers, come incantations, imprecations, castigations, come. Let mantras and holy scripture ladder us down where the bright ore of symbolic language first glittered in the light of a caveman’s torch. Let oaths bleed into legal instruments; let the party of the first part depart. Who has ears to hear, listen the fuck up.
Let words precise as snow crystals give birth to a wild meltwater roar: blessings, namings, signs and rules, writs and contracts. Come words of angry widows, cheating wives, absent fathers, forgotten sons; words to bind us and release us, words that label and ensnare. Come, longed-for words and those remembered, words that enlarged us, diminished, words thundering into life or struggling out of silence.
Let tongues burn with the fire of prophets and bellies knot with the solemn pronouncements of law.
Come, words of power: be recited — or go unsaid.
Let the cloroform of text still your shivery wings.
Beth Adams and Dave Bonta, issue editors
Lung Ta (wind words) by Dorothee Lang
Ceremony: the Opening of the Mouth by Alex Cigale
Go My Uncle and Fetch the Bride by Jane Rice
St Joseph of Cupertino. 9/18 by Wendy Vardaman
Cuss Club by Ian Singleton
“Om Sai Ram” A Thousand Times by Patricia Bralley
Dear Brain by Muriel Karr
Maledictus Requiescat by Juleigh Howard Hobson
The Word by Susan Roney-O’Brien
The Rules by Christopher Woods
Kol Nidre by Peg Duthie
Naming the Flowers by Ron Czerwien
Lust in Translation by Bryan Borland
Brink by Anne Morrison Smyth
The Burrowing Song by Karen Greenbaum-Maya
Prayers by David Need
Incantation for My Old Friend, Landers by Alex Cigale
Incantations Over Alloys by Kaz Sussman
The Smiling Beaks of Bluebirds by Christi Krug
book of spells by andrew topel
The New Dogma by C. Albert
Learning to Curse by Ann E. Michael
Grandmother Praying by Oriana
From Genesis Rabbah by James Toupin
Going Out to Buy Shoes by Richard Nester
Yoga Center Wall by Steve Wing
The Man Who Spoke the Law by James Brush
An Irish Blessing by M.V. Montgomery
Urban Testimony by Maroula Blades
Divinations by Maureen Alsop
Eski Cami (Old Mosque) by Elizabeth Angell
The Atheist’s Art of Prayer by Caitlin Gildrien
Faggot by Dustin Brookshire
A quick visit to Joaquín’s, and a ceremony by Nathan Horowitz
The Names of the Dead are Floated to Heaven, Gyeongju, South Korea by Robin Susanto
(incantation: ekstatic) by Jeneva Stone
November by cin salach
A Language of One by Allen C. Fischer
ARKEO 4 by Marja-Leena Rathje
The Charmed Life by Susanna Rich
Islam for Americans by Khadija Anderson
Pomegranate by Maya Massar
Unenforceable Promise by Julia Martin
Elements of Force by Karyn Eisler
How I Would Do It by Angela Just
Man Date by Penn Kemp
The Mist in Morning by Barbara LaMorticella
The Butcher’s Wife’s Tale by Colleen McKee
Afterthought by Steve Wing
Tricks by Zoe Polach
He Gives Me My Nahuatl Name by Susan Elbe
I am waiting for the right instant to say your name by Peg Duthie
The Killer Poem by Paul Stevens
Bird Transformation by Harvey E. Parker
The Taut String by Joe Hyam
Looking for an Oracle by Amy MacLennan
Directions’ Introduction by Francis Raven
Letters to My Father by Marjorie Stamm Rosenfeld
The Blasphemer by Carrie Ann Baade
Lullaby by Sarah Burke
Toxic Cylinder by Julene Tripp Weaver
For Tom W.—Eyes Only by Linda Umans
The Language of God by Ayesha Saldanha
Bittersweet by Chistina Pacosz
Dream by Anne Morrison Smyth
A Warning by Stuart Barnes
Common Needs by Robin Chapman
A Widow’s Curse by Bev Wigney
Credere by Dick Jones
Emptiness by Catherine Ednie
The Seven Healing Saints by Lucy Kempton
Self-Portrait as Dryad, No. 7 by Marly Youmans
Trance by O Thiam Chin
With Nebuchadrezzar in Jerusalem by William Doreski
Excerpts from Seven Anglian Spells by Andrew McCallum
Silent Messengers: Writing on Stone III by Marja-Leena Rathje
Personnage by Holly Anderson
Abracadabra by Joseph Harker
No Place Like Home: Kansas 1965 by Pamela Johnson Parker
Cruickshank’s Farewell by Irene Brown
Angra Mainyu by Harvey E. Parker
The Curses by Monica Raymond
Voices from the Porch by Catherine Ednie
How Time Does Things With Words by James Toupin
On Signing Your Power of Attorney by Nancy Lazar
Road Sign by Steve Wing
Swear by O Thiam Chin
Three by Stuart Barnes
The Slovenian Grandmother… by Holly Anderson
sea litany by Catherine Ednie
Performance by Anne Morrison Smyth
Escalation (Use Only as Directed) by Adam Ford
Charge to the Jury by Monica Raymond
A Tree for Ezekiel by Marly Youmans
Mal by Dick Jones
Clive Hicks-Jenkins (website, blog) has worked as an actor in film and on TV, and was a highly succesful choreographer, director, and stage designer before switching his focus to painting in the mid-90s. He has exhibited regularly with the Attic Gallery in Swansea, the Martin Tinney Gallery in Cardiff, Keith Chapman Modern Art in London, and Anthony Hepworth Fine Art in Bath, and has had well-received exhibitions in public galleries. He has been a member of The Welsh Group since 1997, exhibiting with them throughout Wales, in Scotland, Ireland, France and also in the USA, and 56 Group Wales since 2004. In 2008 he was nominated a Royal Cambrian Academician. After working from a studio in central Cardiff for several years, he recently moved to Mid Wales.
by Dick Jones
Strange word, ‘stroke’ — a gentle sleep
and then you wake up,
changed. Caressed by infirmity
on the brown hill, kissed
by disability as you climb
the long drive. The farmhouse tips
and, heart in crescendo,
you embrace the grass.
Indifferent sheep manoeuvre,
crowding out your sky.
You lie in a lump, adrift
at the field’s edge, floating
on the dead raft
of your limbs.
The sun nails light
into your one good eye.
Near dusk her scarecrow voice
scatters your crowding dreams:
she calls you from the house,
the sound of your name
curling out of the past,
a gull-cry, fierce, impatient,
tearing at the membrane
that has dimmed your world.
you are another species now.
Your medium is clay and saturation.
Mummified, like the bog-man
trapped by time, you lie dumbfounded,
mud-bound and uncomprehending
as the sun slips down
behind the hill.
The urgent fingers
scavenging for a heartbeat,
fluttering like bird-wings
at your throat,
are busy in the dark.
You feel nothing
of their loving panic,
All love, all optimism, pain,
all memory, desire coarsen,
thicken into vegetable silence.
A dim siren wobbles in the dark.
And then rough hands manhandle
your clod-heavy bulk.
Night swallows the spinning light
and closes in like smoke.
Dick Jones writes, “Initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats, I have been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of 15. Fitfully published in a variety of magazines throughout the years of rambling — Orbis, The Interpreter’s House, Poetry Ireland Review, Qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry and others. Grand plans for the meisterwerk have been undermined constantly either by a Much Better Idea or a sort of Chekhovian inertia.
First of all, know this: the tree was dead,
It had already been dead for a time,
It was going to be dead a long while.
It was a stick in labyrinths of sand.
And yet, and yet—for this Ezekiel,
This dry-bone tree was clothed in chrysolite,
So that the leaves made glitterings in sun.
The bole was swathed in strips of China silk,
The twigs were mummied in gem-colored threads,
The shriveled root began to drink from earth.
A gust came from the East: the sound of wings,
And leaves turned in the wind—blue leaves and green
Looking, and each shaped like a human eye.
A dew arose from earth and bloomed as cloud,
Though in the desert, this was very strange
To see, and also there was far tumult
As if the dunes had changed to waterfalls.
The priest Ezekiel discerned a form
Among the staring blue and green of leaves,
Prismatic figure brightened by the light.
Ezekiel foretold: Your incense lost,
Your limestone idols headless in the dust,
Your cities and all of your histories
Wiped from the memories of everyone . . .
The centuries forget your name, your love,
The sons and daughters raised from infancy
In years that are themselves forgotten things,
And all there is of comfort is this tree,
Mysterious and riddling-strange to you,
A rainbow covenant, its promises
Too far away in time for you to see.
Marly Youmans’ second book of poems, The Throne of Psyche, is due out soon from Mercer University Press. Keep up with all Marly Youmans-related news at The Palace at 2:00 a.m.
In your cool gaze, your neutrality
try to find mercy.
As you mark
the indignation of sparrows
and water seethes her bitter testimony
brackish and abused
try to seek abnegation
for the human—
some mitigating circumstance
uncertain childhood, bitter economy,
metallurgy, glamour, greed:
beauty swollen, congealed.
Try to remember this species
that dates itself by its weapons
is born hairless and has to construct
an armor of fictions,
that gravity, though pale
and guiltless as the sky
is of necessity
When you are tempted by the austere
precision of salutes
try to feel kindness for this ever-breeding
lichen breathing narration.
Keep us from war, from pestilence,
remember babies, joy, sages
whatever redeems us.
Be the hand on the scale
for life, try to find mercy.
Monica Raymond won the Castillo Prize in political theater for her play The Owl Girl, which is about two families in an unnamed Middle Eastern country who both have keys to the same house. She was a Jerome Fellow for 2008-09 at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis, among many other honors and awards. Her poetry has been published in the Colorado Review, the Iowa Review, and the Village Voice, and her work has been selected for publication by every pair of qarrtsiluni editors for ten issues in a row now (counting the upcoming Health issue).