Poet's Corner - Winter 2012
A Coffin Covered With Wildflowers
We were fighting
the Indians in Florida.
You said a joke
without a punchline
isn’t a real joke.
Why I always carry
an arrowhead in my pocket,
over the hill.
He only came out
when there was
a fire downtown.
The tall ships
of the China trade
A sign of something,
like a face shaded
by a wide hat.
Howie Good is the author of a full-length poetry collection, Lovesick, and 21 print and digital poetry chapbooks. With Dale Wisely, he is the co-founder of White Knuckle Press.
"A Coffin Covered With Wildflowers" was originally published in Volume 1 of and/or.
a march into the squared off lands of meat
(you might want to take them back
irate man of sand and cloth
strong causa sui
care of them
to beat around
Arkava Das lives in this old house in Kolkata, India. Some of his recent work has appeared in BlazeVOX 2kX, Blackbox Manifold &c He has a blog up and running at www.asmotheringrock.blogspot.com.
"Wernicke's flatlands" was originally published in Volume 1 of and/or.
The Dead Woman’s Float
Joanne L. Detore
Nothing is better than hearing your laughter, my girl,
your tiny legs, pumping furiously, dancing like a whirling dervish to the song
You grasp my hand in your right hand,
your father’s in your left,
and bring us together with your hug,
smiling from ear to ear, believing that your parents are in love
and will be together forever.
I believed it once too. I believed that we would be different,
laying on that cheap bed in our white trash trailer,
books and papers hidden among the sheets,
empty Chinese take-out on the night stand, reading Donne’s sonnets,
discussing the virtues of Cezanne.
I wouldn’t have believed it then, laying naked across my then-boyfriend’s
chest, legs draped over his, running my finger along his lips.
I wouldn’t have believed in things I couldn’t see,
that indefinable space that seems to ingest
more of us as we move through our lives.
It swims through me, envelops me before I know I’m struggling for air.
I began sinking on the day I vowed till death do us part,
and now it's official –
the person I was is dead.
I can remember almost nothing from that wedding day
except from pictures, the memories float like photos underwater,
distorted and surreal.
I remember the feeling of drowning
as I approached the church with my father in the black limo.
Like Hoodini, I thought I was some kind of escape artist,
submerging myself inside the box with each step nearer to the altar,
until the lid closed completely.
I forgot the key back in the limo.
I imagined a bad soap opera scene,
where the man I loved since I was 14,
burst into the church just as the priest said,
"Is there anyone who knows why these two should not wed,"
and we'd ride away on his motorcycle.
But no one appeared.
I had made my choice.
Settling for second best. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for both of us.
I gave what I could, only a part of my heart,
and he gave what he could,
a heart of dark secrets.
A beautiful girl and a handsome boy later,
you were life preservers in an endless sea of tears,
keeping me afloat for years.
One day, I surfaced finally, face down, knowing that I drowned long ago
and had only myself to blame.
I threw the rocks out of my pockets,
felt myself rise to the surface.
I swam to the shore with the sun rising on the summer solstice.
You didn't know the old me, full of laughter and promise,
but you will.
Joanne L. Detore is an Associate Professor of Humanities and Communication at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL. Her creative essays and poetry have appeared in The Apple Valley Review, Review Americana, The Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering, Italian-Americana: Cultural and Historical Review, VIA: Voices in Italian Americana, Slow Trains Literary Journal, The Philosophical Mother Magazine, Revista de Arte, Ciencia e Communicacao, and in the anthology, Sweet Lemons: Writing with a Sicilian Accent, among others. Her blog can be found at inkpenandpaper.com.
"Dead Woman's Float" will be forthcoming in the anthology, Joy, Interrupted: Motherhood and Loss edited by Melissa Miles McCarter and published by Fat Daddy Press. Other poems of Joanne's can be found in Volume 2 of and/or.
is how it’s said, how it’s meant, how it’s told, how it’s sent, what with all the what you meant with what got you last time with all the clutter in the air, what with all the things we said we’d never become, we’d never do, we’d never shame, we’d never be game for, what with all those years you said you’d never skip, you’d never cross off with x’s, the what you said you meant with the what with her, and what with him, and what with them, and what with the neighbors upstairs who blast the deep bass boom box til three in the morning, what with your booming dreams that resemble drag car races what does the upstairs boom box matter anyway, what with all the stuff with you said what it was that drove home what it was you meant with her, what it was she went without with, you know without with, without with, without with what.
Stephanie Gray is a NYC-based filmmaker and poet. Her first book, Heart Stoner Bingo, was published by Straw Gate Books in 2007. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Aufgabe, Sentence, The Brooklyn Rail, EOAGH, 2ndAvenuePoetry, Boog City Reader, and The Recluse. She has read her work at the Projections, Segue, Zinc, Frequency, and Poetry Project Friday series. Her short experimental super 8 films, "often city-symphonies," have screened internationally, including at the Ann Arbor, Oberhausen, Chicago Underground, and Viennale fests.
"What With" was originally published in Volume 2 of and/or.
“Man can at last be seen in the cosmic integrity of his trajectory, on which, however, he is still at only an embryonic stage." (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, The Heart of Matter)
To dig in the earth,
to sift through centuries
of limestone fossils and caves
to find fragments of bones,
teeth, a skullcap,
is to tunnel backward in time
for 300,000 years,
watch Homo erectus
build the first fires
and manufacture the first tools.
Once you have done this,
the dust of history enveloping you,
climb the highest mountain peak
and gaze at the horizon.
Tell me what you see,
there and beyond.
Look at your hands.
Watch the dust turn into light.
Robert Hamblin is Professor of English and Director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University. He has authored or edited 26 books, including five volumes of poems and two personal memoirs. His most recent books are Crossroads: Poems of a Mississippi Childhood; This House, This Town: One Couple’s Love Affair with an Old House and a Historic Town; and Faulkner and Morrison.
"Peking Man" was originally published in Dust and Light: Poems, After Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (Ars Omnia Press, 2012)
sonnet on the back of a vintage mountain poem
will not / won’t / walnuts
a because I feel orchard
the closetlight aglow in the heart of a tree
Give away it. will you.
things is long silt flections
harangue black pieces of
a zone one-notes upon a carpet
and I this amiss / morass
by sectional, by carpetlight
Dawn Pendergast lives in Houston, Texas. She’s written four chapbooks: Sea Quills (Beard of Bees, 2011) leaves fall leaves (Dusie Kollectiv 2011), Off Flaw (Dusie Kollectiv 2010) and Mexico City (Macaw Macaw Press 2010). She is currently an editor for Little Red Leaves and produces handmade chapbooks for the textile series. More of her writing can be found on her website.
"sonnet on the back of a vinatage mountain poem" was originally published in Volume 1 of and/or.
But Not Today
I may smile politely
and nod my head with heartfelt greetings
and obsequious platitudes
to help grease the
rusty wheels of
But not today.
I may grovel and serve
and grant the right of way
time and again
to you and your uptown kind…
But not today.
I may shuffle along the cityscape
an invisible member of the anonymous pack
content only to go unnoticed
in a sea of harried humanity…
But not today.
Today is for me and mine,
not for you and yours,
a day for glorious self-absorption
and cosmic autofixated revelries,
in which I am
the Supreme Unmoved-Mover
in my own self-contained universe.
Today is my day
and mine alone,
and you, dear friend,
are the uninvited interloper
in the myopic monologues
and solipsistic soliloquies
running through the endless channels
of my own egocentric mindspace.
Tomorrow there will be time again
for duties and obligations,
for oughts and musts and have-tos,
for all the silly stupid demands
the others so capriciously
seek to impose.
Tomorrow I will play
the serf yet again
and graciously do
my masters’ biddings
with winsome charm
and gentle subservience….
But not today.
Nicolas Capelli is a poet, performance artist, and self-professed neo-Beatnick living in the wilds of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. His third volume of poems, Dancing in the Kali Yuga, is being published by Ars Omnia Press in 2013.