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* scroll down for poetry by Mel Coyle, Chris Martin, Nannette Rayman Rivera, Andrew Demcak, Ray Succre, Dave Brinks, Megan Burns, Donald Illich                                                                                     

                                                                                                                        Rhett Iseman Trull  

Sonogram on the Way to Earth

One of only two unpregnant at the baby shower, I offer
my chair to a globe-bellied one, fetch water
for another who has just begun to show.
I’ll be in charge of the trash, I volunteer, collecting pastel
wrappings and ribbons, keeping busy, keeping quiet
about the fact that Jeff and I, for the better
part of a year, have been trying to start
a life inside me, too. I quell an image
of my reproductive system as an engine refusing
to crank. Think positively, I remind myself, and listen
to the symptom talk, labor jitters, the word Sonogram,

which sounds to me like a character in a science
fiction novel, an alien on its way
across the galaxy, earthbound, his ship another blip
among the static of the stars; an alien
whose home awaits him as he marvels
at how opposite of void space is,
even the light years between planets riddled
with small wonders: asteroid belts
and the occasional drifting debris
from ships that didn’t make it. His eyes bounce back
from the stratosphere to the map of Earth
he’s pinned to the oxygen tank. He’s expectant,

like me, though my belly’s as flat as the ancients misconceived
the world to be, not knowing that on one lucky morning
breeze, one of their bravest
would meet the horizon and fail to drop
off. One of the shower moms gasps, surprised
by her baby’s kick, his strongest yet, as if he’s anxious
to get moving. And me, the not-yet-Mom
holding the garbage bag, I smile wider
than all the rest as I picture my Sonogram
practicing for the moment his vessel arrives, the kick
that will open the hatch.


The End of the Hour

Out this window the finch, dulled
of gold for the winter, has found the feeder
empty. They are keeping my watch
in an envelope, sealed
until it’s determined I’m safe
enough to let go. I tell time by the lengthening
shadow, the only clock in the room
facing the doctor who’s been assigned
me. I like her. May says I’m lucky, the good ones
never last long here where the state
pays minimal and the furnace stinks
and the lights in the hallway flicker, fail.

My doctor is young, hasn’t yet
heard it all, keeps meticulous notes as if
she’ll be tested on this, on me.
When I puzzle her, wrinkles divide
her forehead, her fist grips, more
tightly, the pencil. Does she fear I might
lunge, attack? I’d never. In math, the compass
needle; in shop, the saw’s teeth; all blades, always,
I’ve pointed toward me. It’s the

end of the hour—for her, the end
of her day here. Where will she go? A movie?
A fiancé awaits. I can tell by the diamond
alone on her finger. Does she
let him know about me? Does she give me
an alias? May and I name her fiancé
Ernesto. We pretend to be them: she hides
nothing from him; he kisses her everywhere: the bed
of each nail, the valley where her voice
lives in her throat. We can’t wait to be loved

like that, relieved of secrets
we keep for the protection of others. The hour’s over.
Today’s final question: not why
the scars but where? Where else
did you do that? She can’t even name it.
And she doesn’t mean
the woods by the park, the football bleachers, the arcade
in the mall with its jukebox of pinball and gunfire
punctuating an artificial dark. I
start to remove my blouse, to offer
a look at the marks I scored
that no one’s ever seen. For a moment
I feel human, all masks put away. I will show
her all of it, ugliness I’ve covered until now, but
That’s enough, she scolds, jotting a furious
phrase in her notes before opening the cabinet
with her heel and storing, again, my file.
Without looking up, she takes
one last sip of cold coffee, returns
the mug to the desk stained with so many rings
for so many years, a coaster
is pointless.
Don’t ask, I think, if you don’t want to know.
But I say, I’m sorry, sorry familiar
as breath, Sorry, sent out the door half-
unbuttoned.



The House of Pain

“I never yet heard of a useless thing that was not
ground out of existence by evolution sooner or later.
Did you? And pain gets needless.”
--H.G. Wells, The Island of Dr. Moreau


There is a bell on the gate but it does not ring.
The cat on the porch is dead. He wears
no crown of blood. No scent marks the air
as witness that life once pounced here.
Even the maggots refuse to jewel him.

None of this surprises you as you try the door,
which opens easily enough without a lock.
The room, as expected, is windowless, white.
Echoes would stick to the walls if you spoke,
though even the clocks do soundless work,
their strict hands
wheeling on.
You lie down where broken eggshells hide
the cracks that fork the floor. Inside you,
Dr. Loneliness picks up his merry scalpel
and you forget the lick of your name
across the board of chalk. Gone the graffiti
of childhood. Gone the wish lists and the whirling
glass bottle.
But you often remember
the cat on the porch and you wonder
if anyone’s come to bury him. The thought
of the breeze having its way with his whiskers
and snowflakes settling between the pads
of his untwitching paw, is almost enough
to move you. But the numbness
has been spinning your bones into silk.
You’re asleep in the hull of yourself.

Pity the man who comes in after you,
the man who loves your stale bread heart.
Like a paramedic with his first D.O.A.,
he is sure he can save you.
So you undress for him, whisper
what he wants to hear, calculate your
quick breath and your little candied noises.
But he knows that, to you, his tongue is a dangling rag,
his fingertips a swarm of gnats trying to stir

the stagnant water.
As he drags you by your hair
toward the radiator, swearing you will feel it
this time, a wonderful fear opens its wings inside you
and gratitude splays you out,

awakened. As you leave, what begins to haunt you
is not the blisters that bangle your wrist like opals.
It is not the awful things he did to you
but the yes that you roared as you let him.
You will learn to loathe and love
the yes that saves you
and the bell on the gate that never
rings and over the cat—
your step
again.


Extinct Means Once They Ruled the Earth

We used to know the words to unlock each other,
even after mortgages, even after a season of endless
Little League games. We could make any hard day brighter.
I want to keep believing in the heat, in those backyard nights
when you called my heart a bird and traced my ribs for hours
under stars whose light meant they died long ago, long before us.

But today, as you come out of the bedroom, bags packed,
looking away, I can tell you are voiceless and would be cool
to the touch. Not even the sun can reach you and your Listerine breath,
your pulse the quick flick of a lizard’s tongue.
The two hundred dollars you’ve left
is still on the counter under the dinosaur paperweight
Elliot made in vacation Bible school last month.
What does extinct mean ? he asked, in your arms.
And you said, It means there are none anymore,
but seeing his sadness, added, Once they were everywhere,
big as dragons, ruling the earth.

I don’t ask where you’ll sleep, what you will tell them
at the office, or how many pairs of socks you’ve taken.
My tongue is like a stubborn fly
buzzing against the back of my teeth, but I don’t open.
I don’t let the light in. And now you’re really leaving,
careful not to step on the bald patch of lawn
where the fertilizer’s still seeping in. You’re wearing the tie
I gave you for Christmas, undone around your neck.
I meant to say something unforgettable. I meant to fix you
one last lunch with the apple pre-sliced
the way you like it. Your car door sounds
like the burp of Tupperware, shutting in its leftovers.
Your tail lights are the soft red sighs between us.

The cat and I watch from the window you recently glazed.
I wonder if she will miss nuzzling your rough cheek.
And Elliot. How long before he runs to the door
each time a car growls by? How long before he stops?
The world is changing and only the crows seem to know it,
along the picket fence, cawing their flint hearts out.
Meanwhile, the mailman is skipping our house,
the Taylor twins are rollerblading down our empty driveway.
It’s August, the hottest day of the year. Strike
a match in this drought, and the hosta is bound
to catch fire. But it’s January in my bones.
There’s frost on my teeth. My ribs are a rattling glass cage.


Secrets the Whales Wish They Didn’t Know

Don’t be surprised if ten years from now
that Karmann Ghia you’ve always wanted—sea-foam green,
black leather interior—shows up in your driveway
with a note from me and you remember
that summer of a thousand identical parties
when I claimed to love everyone, posing
with the neck of a Killian’s in one fist;
in the other, your unfinished heart.

All talk, no action, you accused, leaning
on the iron fence at the Oldest Trick Cafe, downing
your third shot-in-the-dark. I didn’t tell you
how long I had lived at the bottom of the sea
with the big slow lurking fish, how afraid I was
I might drown you. Which is why
late that night in the arms of the great magnolia,
when you called me tiger and blamed the tilt of the world
on the unlit stars between us, the leaves green hearts
that seemed to say, Press your lives together, I refused
to climb after you, but instead dangled my legs
from the bottom branches and warned,
if you touched them, the white of the petals would brown.

I was always a defender of beauty, you see:
your unlocked doors and easy sleep. I would do anything
to keep you wild and willing, to spare you
the secrets of the whales who swim from shipwreck
to shipwreck, studying the ghosts
of sailors who braved the wrong storms.


Rhett Iseman Trull's first book, The Real Warnings, won the Anhinga Prize for Poetry and will be published by Anhinga Press in fall 2009. Other prizes include awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Foundation. Her poems and essays have appeared recently or are forthcoming in The American Poetry Review, Best New Poets 2008, Convergence Review, The Hampden-Sydney Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, roger, The Southern Review, Yemassee, and elsewhere. She is the editor of Cave Wall.

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                                                                                                                                                                                        Mel Coyle                                                                                       


                                                               AWP: Reading

                                                                                      

                                                                        The constant he’s so she’s so
                                                                                        very aware

                                                                                                           He the cinnabon
                                                                                                           She the fruit cup

                                                                         On the outside
                                                                         the serious ears of poesy

                                                                                                            He the translation
                                                                                                            She the mother tongue

                                                                          the audience
                                                                           whose heads metric bobbed
                                                                           & gave righteous sighs
                                                                            to say the poetry was great!
                                                                                            Chicago! is great!
   
                                                                            who
                                                                            on the inside bobbed
                                                                            logistically to the couples’ bedroom

                                                                                                               He the gourd
                                                                                                               She the kumquat

                                                                              envious to how husband
                                                                              sees wife in the way
                                                                              only a husband can see
                                                                               a wife’s quotidian
                                                                               with no bra folding the laundry
                                                                               on the computer, reading
                                                                               so there is no God
                                                                                but for this man

                                                                                                            He the sunken anvil
                                                                                                            She the water chestnut

                                                                                 so all that me or any other
                                                                                 could only utter: I thought
                                                                                 the two of them did a great job
                                                                                 up there on stage together


                                                       
                                                                          the corn


                                                                     the corn took photographs we drove
                                                                      my little desire flowers on your head
                                                                      a sculpture park in skokie we looked
                                                                      good told you some     poems fill the
                                                                      drawer just for     you not like gifts
                                                                       like pinky swears birthday candles
                                                                       fountain coins counting past the
                                                                       cemetery     piñatas white summer
                                                                       berries     tan around your ankles we
                                                                       stuck     our hands out the frontseat
                                                                       you were twentytwentyonetwentytwo
                                                                       with me




                                                        little andrei codrescu

                                                                            was the best dressed prince in Sibiu:
                                                                            long lashes gilded trousers & wool
                                                                            the strength of twelve idiot lambs.
                                                                            he had more red things on than black.
                                                                            at the square the prince looked up
                                                                            at statues of history     removed his
                                                                            infant frills & placed his feet in the
                                                                            public fountain where secret police
                                                                            held out bitter sweets. the 20th century
                                                                            was a vessel. little andrei cried.
                                                                            pigeons acted out.





                                                               Academia

                                                                twentyfive years ago
                                                                you got a book deal in New York
                                                                I bore into the Catholic scene, fresh for original sin
                                                                greeting your permed vulva, fruitpits
                                                                everything successful about the eighties
                                                                large flogging underwear, I praised
                                                                your titled spine, sat up colicky & soiled
                                                                smelling your Gucci, digits whipping through a sandbox
                                                                only to hate my babe puppered skin
                                                                I flung my nappy
                                                                a gesture of love
                                                                rang you for outdoor sushi but you had a  reading in Buffalo
                                                                ate sugared cereal, prank called your Mother
                                                                burglarized your man, picnicked in my cul-de-sac
                                                                still no new messages
                                                                hormonal, I wrote you alarmed
                                                                my seasoned breasts stalked
                                                                you looked good
                                                                organically meated & into yogurt
                                                                I blurbed your first novel
                                                                you chucked me out roaring

                                                                only I cleared your thin railed mouth into mine
                                                                that once, I felt on your veins
                                                                heard your abdomen caffeinate
                                                                mustacheless, I brushed you
                                                                only to find you never married
                                                                kegaled & called your sister


Mel Coyle is a native Chicagoan living and writing in Baton Rouge.
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                                                                                                                                              Chris Martin

WHERE DOES ELECTRICITY GO?                                                                                   
for and after Laynie Browne

The voice of a writer must meet natural light in the anchorage of a tree. Its allies cannot uncover sleep then. To occur, after all, is not always the same. Just as to inhibit flees from an act of remembering. Which lens will calculate the music of a jewel?  There is a clock in the forest subletting inclusivity. She is a mirror hung on the promise of an image of a meadow under observation. I do not argue with chemicals.


DEAR SNOW,
for and after Laird Hunt

It was surprisingly warm. I told the doctor I was pretending. Then my room was a bright green valley. We were in a cave above the ocean. I am sending you flowers from there. They have given me the electricity. The woman called that our ugly history. All day since I’ve never quit thinking. The curtain is a pretty way to touch the evening. I grow wings and they are filled with woosh. I graze a fork and it rains all day. Oh snow, put your hand on mine. Gentle like. I had a dream last night that Moses was writing us a letter. He was writing it with moss in the dirt. It was surprisingly warm. The nurse brought me a glass of milk and it began to pour. Up through the furrow sprouted a column of dogwood. Then the fireflies had it in bloom. I wonder why everybody’s wearing masks. A boy comes in the morning to dance like a ventriloquist. I just went ahead and looked at his fingers. When the whirlwind came out of the corn I was telling ghost stories. It was without a face. I said I was sorry until I had said it one hundred times.



Chris Martin is the author of American Music, recipient of the Hayden Carruth Award and published this year by Copper Canyon Press. His poetry has appeared in Jacket, Cannibal, Aufgabe, Lungfull!, and Swerve. His discourse on the phenomenology of rap recently appeared in Poiesis, a journal of philosophy. He is the editor of Puppy Flowers, an online magazine of the arts. After living in Colorado Springs, San Francisco, and St. Paul, he is now five years deep into Brooklyn.
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                                                                                                                        Nanette Rayman Rivera

Benign 

8 ⁰ peoples First Avenue with broad penumbras.
Noise coming forth from smoky taxi tails, their Viagra
and toothpaste top-signs polished to a fuzzy sheen
as my breast cradles among the sounds of snow icing up.

Breathing on the burr of silence, breathing on the burr
of relief, my husband listens to wind for a recant
of the word from pacified mind: a lid for the other-world
he didn’t want to breathe. It’s benign,

he hears, be mine he says. I feel the blue
swish of flesh inside, can’t hear the cacophonous
noise of the cab he hails down. Mercy for the me
who bemused and anesthetized now hears the motorized snap—

sees that there is this radiant shelter
the gesturing color of the sky, the sideways
trench before beginning
to take up thanks
take up hearing as something deeper, take
love from a husband as something lingering

be-mine, hear me, be mine. In degrees.


my violin

Today I didn’t care the radiator was cold, glassy
ice on the window fixed to my fingers,
bags of garbage flying past the pane
I left in Massachusetts twenty years ago.
I ask the glass to tell me what it implies: a place
certain women can’t fly, crows banned
by the sun, the Statue of Liberty lying
about it all. The world I see outside
is not for me. Those landscapes over there, all glow.

Father, they say my face is yours,
a face upon a face I can’t see. Let me
see you walk toward me, a valentine
candy box in your hand to remind me
of the years of your protection, your voice
resting into your slow, dry Boston accent.

Today I turned from the light of the distant
island outside my window
toward the thin hour when selves and other ghosts
rise to bond with sky. Now each breath
must find a way out as they make the cut
to my breast.  I breathe for me.
I come back to blaze
the very air with my happiness,
send fire to stitch my husband’s heart.

And, maybe, the heart
really is an arrival, this chaotic whipping
in my chest a simple bell. Once, a man
at a shelter reminded me of a violin. His polished skin
opened me like an egg. He was so open, I could see valves
as if at any moment he would become a concerto
or vanish. The way stars banish themselves
bare as possible when a scared woman
has a man bring her coffee.
Jose and I saw a puppy released from a subway—
grate
soft picture of onward motion.


what other women will say


Don’t tell me it’s a parable of my patrol,
or an isthmus

Don’t tell me my old breasts are still going to be
high birds, perfect pink grapefruits,

as those women mutely clap tonight – cloth-mouths sewn shut,
ears a coccyx of crow as I foxhole the puma that was my heart.

Not: when those plastic s who pee in porcelain tulip bowls
wait for my beauty to be lost in a violent

house, an outhouse, roadhouse, no-house,
like it was my fault I was kicked from my mother’s house

by that mother in a gasconade of gloat-cloth.
Mother, you taught me where the tightrope bleeds.

Smoking and cable, coconut cake gorged to forget. Husbands repair,
easy as moons who cajole tides and women away from the coast.

I drink to how simply I make myself imagine: I won’t be
anywhere; how quickly I swing between fear and strength,

like a swan gliding this way, then that on gleaming darkness.
To calm myself: I gather them in my mind

before they crash into the lake and hurt their refined necks,
too late to see life floating to the surface.


a different death

To let it go, coffee stain on white cotton, purr
of the fan, peroxide aroma of this apartment when I have energy—
I don’t. I’m ripening, ready to burst, still—
how the dream of chasing you through underground tunnels,
the gray and fluorescent light deciphered as a genre
of travel, how after you died, after the synagogue
I hadn’t been to in years, the hold held on,
how I craved it stark, and hurled the kitten
heels and little black dress against the door.
That way I could give it you, as a different death,
as the love I withheld.

Today I care for a husband who hears voices,
who hears me. A man open and vigilant, as if each movement
is the one that will take me away. So I hold onto
the walls that convert into tunnels, only this time
there’s no message I missed. I talk of Penn Station,
of holding tight a bag of clothes, of coming back after the run-
away as if I knew then I’d made a hash of things,
as if I didn’t know the theory of pure gravity—
that tunnels imprison, that in real life I would have fallen.
How strong and trembling at once, on stems of age, I cave.


summer and smoke

The moment before we believe water will work.
There are fitted headstones that weigh us as odd,
as motion of ghosts in cilia. They sustain us quietly
when squalls shift the cigarettes we’re smoking.

This before you forgot which way would do it.
This after we’re stopped in the park near a Summer
and Smoke statue emboldened by rusted pyrotechnics.
Eternity’s fingers pointed outward like a breath stopped
and we found ourselves over-exposed, in Coalition
for the Homeless posters, faces that once
might have graced covers of Elle and Vanity Fair.

There were no more statues, but water,
the end of the park, and a pier decomposing
in saw-toothed collapsible edges,
and our hands grabbed hands, pulled without looking.

There is a shack down the coast surrounded by squid.
Both of you bring your jetty-filled hearts, that statue, and remain there.

If we keep going we’ll find the sea
or a single buoy,
the mucro of a shell.


Nanette Rayman Rivera, 
two-time Pushcart nominee, is the author of Project: Butterflies (Foothills Publishing) and Alegrias (Lopsided Press.)  Her favorite publication is Oranges and Sardines. Upcoming publications include Santa Fe Writer's Project, Hobble Creek Review, Contemporary American Voices, Magnolia, Slant, and Motel 58.

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                                                                                                                                        Andrew Demcak

Cancer Camp Okizu

Blood-work answered yes,

it was back.

Its red light sticking all over like pollen.

I'd spend June in the Sierra foothills.

My kneecaps were gray stones.

I had become a grown man in a dying boy's body.

I wasn't allowed sunlight.

I just wanted to be mothered by fragrant geraniums,

whatever grew inside me,

that terrible yes of my summer.




Birthday

Reality of acquiring years,

as if age meant bleeding,

a wine stain orphaned on my napkin.

The orchestra alive in the apartment corner.

Ice-crusher to fill the tumblers.

I’d be swallowing everything,

a lake-bound fish.

Dismay eased in the wake of my gifts.

This last instant purposely hesitant,

like alpine summer,

or desert winter.




The Bruise Artist

(for Kevin Boyd)


Like chosen flowers,

this one below my right shoulder.

Seemingly a cattleya,

amaryllis,

not lilac contusion.

I try to live with carnations,

knuckle prints from your garden planted on my skin.

Crops of blood,

swelling with bony petals.

These hues suspended for want of blooms,

fresh leaves,

on my Czechoslovakian stems.

This sudden blush was hand-delivered.


Andrew Demcak's latest book of poetry is Zero Summer (BlazeVOX [books], NY, 2009.) His first poetry book, Catching Tigers in Red Weather, from Three Candles Press (2007), won the open book award. His poems and books have been featured recently at The Best American Poetry, Juked!, MiPOesias, The Pebble Lake Review, elimae, Oranges & Sardines, The American Poetry Journal, and Pearl Magazine. Visit Andrew at: www.andrewdemcak.com.

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                                                                                                                                                   Ray Succre                                                  

Stay Close, the Morning Hurries

I am at the night's end where dried men are lifted from smoke and tasted,
where evening's yolk welters out its orchestrating ants and early risers.
You are with me at the night's end where the droving and swatting
and grating eat last, where we nudge day's overflow from the ramekin's rim,
a bed, a settlement of each thought's crumpled trellis, the night's end
in a dally at the seams, where dimness is a pursuit of britches,
and the sinuous stretch of babies slips quietly from the lea.


Where the Evening Falls

The deer are tiredly seeking the shores.
They exit crass woods on devastated stilts
                (I once broke into a neighbor's garage,
                when I was twelve,
                and discovered large bags of their legs.
                Bags of them. Just deer legs.
                I never broke into anyone's garage again),
breaking onto the beach decline,
moving as if near sleep,
deer dimming in the Sun, leaving for evening,
the surf and final break of the undertowing sea
                    (I was once caught in undertow,
                    when I was twelve,
                    and discovered that even brambles
                    swollen over by a killing river
                    can function as ropes enough.
                    I never jumped into a river again).
They jumped past latest waves, small crests
over smaller, and vanish into a canopy of water,
amok in the salt, dragged to the sand,
drowned where the evening falls.

The deer have lusted and lived flush,
and now drift from the world at the bend of the swell.


Ray Succre currently lives on the southern Oregon coast with his wife and son. He has been published in Aesthetica, BlazeVOX, and Pank, as well as in numerous others across as many countries. His novel Tatterdemalion was recently released in print and is available most places. A second novel, Amphisbaena (both through Cauliay), is forthcoming in Summer 2009. He tries hard.

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                                                                                                                                                Dave Brinks

In Stone Stelae, In Nebulae

chest deep in the creek and singing
from a snail-shaped book
the apparition followed a canoe
to see where the sun was buried

not really a road to saunter up
the outsider's delusion could see for miles
portioned by cliffs, mountain asphodels
knocking eyelids with birds

so rare as to be nearly utopian
a thousand years went by on horseback
past lake and rockery
pitch-black weathers, an avalanche of corn

under a passel of stars
that fall but never touch the ground
a puff of white hair grew from his chin
blue & green eyed, racing toward calm


Hushed Jump-Rope Rhyme

when the natives talk
the natives listen
floating backwards
house-sized potholes
soup brown playground
the lake waters
we’re close to drinking
a ghastly alchemy
claps its hands, close
my eyes one to five
this is a vanished person
jump-rope rhyme
don’t go ‘way nobody
smile some sunshine
I gotta old oaken bucket
inside my canoe
A B C & vegetable goop


Dave Brinks is the director of the 17 Poets Reading Series at the Gold Mine Saloon in New Orleans                       editor of Yawp.  These are from a new book to be titled "The Science of Forgetting."  Check out Dave's other wonderful books the Caveat Onus   1,2, and 3 from Lavender Ink Press. Dave has been published in many             magazines, including the esteemed Exquisite Corpse, where you will find the remainder of the poems from the new book

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                                                                                                                                              Megan Burns



Healing Sound

a sequence flowing downward as water
pooling in the broken sidewalk’s crevasse
mud, sweat, tears and urine
dead hand smells—voice barely able to whisper
its own ordering: I’ll make you
any deal about disaster
a coin spinning in mid air
stop video that captures both sides
as if holes can be separate
the density and the lie
for all this shared pain, impossible to believe
other people aren’t more familiar
split in two as cut fruit: blinding bliss and discarded
rind sliced away
walk among the soaking ruins
the one window you have learned to call from
found shut and nailed to the sill
await here in sorrow’s passing
weather proof
proving without a scalpel
wonder can still be divided


Rustle and Form

time + poetry = love
-j.godard

outrun days blossoming venture
of this I sing, trampled deep paths

and set down where water cares to harvest, golden
bowl of most longed desire

to jump face forward, a response of confused gestures
tell me again how it was in the beginning

and how it is now nor ever will be
how usual to lie covered in the brick face

once splitting home behind the stretched screen
entranceway—an illustrious trade

smallest creature taken back into the fold
digress and make time as an amended juncture

an inviting crescendo
how swelling is measured in hand widths

come each morning its dawn
come each night a night

which always leads to cruelty
a desperate wisdom nodding towards
an open door

let the cicadas sing of misadventure
let the cattails swirl as wind lipped folly


When leaving means begging out apace

when leaving means begging out apace

Any suggestion becomes a form to rebel against, a bounded line that can’t resist crossing. View how memory’s clock turns back and back until hitting a wall before recall commenced as though you sprang into the world fully formed –Athene’s awkward shadow. Take this day’s unrelenting drag where no one sleeps easily or without a sound escaping.

how to be truly without a mode for survival

What you worship in one form you may despise in another. Tame all that fickleness; show this as a means to a “good night’s” rest. If the layering of new soil can change the texture, level the distance between whom and what I imagine. The swallowing is a dark, digestible question between the coarsest clay and where the worms slip through.

an axis/ where the layover begins

A setting within a setting so this tree stands in a blue relief among painted on smiles and sings, Oh Evangeline. Color in the navigation system, it’s a go-with as in demarcation, a circular and circulating canvas as an eye turning and turning over landscape. A crocus, cactus blooming, peony, peperomia, cypress bark, reduction of the vine as it spirals towards light; it requires a deadening of certain parts. This peplos woven for the walk descends as well onto stone shoulders.

let go for a moment before changing your grip

A man stares into an empty pool. How many frames tell the story? Factor in the degree of so many long ago conversations. Feral-eyed gaze crouching behind the balustrades. Ornamental rods topped with high heeled shoes arranged by color—go to the riser. Bring up the dead with outstretched caresses that sink like uncounted pennies absorbed into the design.


Megan Burns is the co-curator of 17 poets, editor of Solid Quarter literary magazine and                                                 author of  Memorial + Sight Lines, also from Lavender Ink.    She has  also been published in The New Laurel Review,  Wild Strawberries, Slipstream,  Exquisite Corpse, Turntable  and Blue Light, The Poet's  Canvas and Horse Less Review.

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                                                                                                                                        Donald Illich


Bad Mail

 
Neither you or I want to drop.
We can see how far down it is,
a slot where the bad mail goes

to cry off insufficient postage.
The envelopes are torn up,
eaten by the wrong recipients.

Letters inside worry themselves
to death about private knowledge
spilled to curious strangers.

Each one is fully open again,
like at birth, when they were
licked and posted to the earth,

a return address fully written,
an end completely conceived,
before they could see the future.


Donald Illich has published poetry in The Iowa Review, LIT, Fourteen Hills, Cold Mountain Review, and many other journals. He won Honorable Mention in the Washington Prize book contest and was a "Discovery"/Boston Review 2008 Poetry Contest semifinalist.  He is a writer-editor who lives and works
in Rockville, Maryland.