Emerge Literary Journal, Issue One
Literary magazine featuring the work of new and emerging poets.
EMERGE LITERARY JOURNAL ISSUE ONE FEBRUARY 2012 Emerge Literary Journal Issue One February 2012 Edited by Ariana D. Den Bleyker Collection Copyright 2012 by Emerge Literary Journal All Rights Reserved By Individual Authors Cover Art, "Rain Over Oil," Copyright Eleanor Leonne Bennett All Other Photography, "Shell" and "Pressed Between Leaves" Copyright Eleanor Leonne Bennett Contents Balmy..............................................................Matthew John Davies Superman Proposes Near the Balustrade Overlooking Brown Pelicans.........Bob Putnam For the woman I am named after, and the room where she once dwelled......Emily Wilensky Gretel.......................................................................Sarah Wright Paper Boat..........................................................Matthew Hemmerich Two Poems...........................................................Alejandra Olavarria Mad Day..................................................................Cynthia Eddy Two Poems.................................................................Seth Copeland Ancient Sentiments in Modern Man......................................Benjamin Wolfe Three Poems...............................................................Sarah Gzemski Silent Bicycling Bob.............................................................Kris Price Three Poems..................................................................Sheri Grutz Two Poems...............................................................Tim Strobierski (Makings Of You) Peach Cobbler............................................Kenny Fame Two Poems.............................................................Shannon Cuthbert a mathematical concept...................................................Allen Livermore Two Poems.................................................................Lauren Banka Matthew John Davies Balmy And when the dew comes through the window And you wipe a drop from your burning nose People celebrate the birth of a child with a gusto-filled Happy Birthday You outstretch your bulbous belly into outer space Wondering how the rings of Saturn would suit you And sigh over the transitory nature of it all The dew that has evaporated The nose no longer hot The suns shining not as you wish it to But as you expect it to A tribal relic has fallen You consider how ridiculous and boring All the arcane, bloodthirsty sport of black magic have become You consider creasing a bible just for the pleasure Of turning the thin pages as a form of cheap meditation Tired like a young child, you do neither and settle on nothing Another way of saying you settle on it all Bob Putnam Superman Proposes Near the Balustrade Overlooking Brown Pelicans You couldn't hide a jaw like that square as a brick deeply cleft. His thick rimmed glasses definitely Clark Kent. His Lois Lane pleasantly sits across an ornate dinner table set outside for outdoor dining. We wait interminably while the world's slowest waitress smokes. Food never comes. Lois releases her delicate hand and like a butterfly it settles in his giant outstretched palm. He is leaning forward towards her almost to his knee. They are no longer timelessly bound to the episodes that thrilled us when we believed in the impossible. Though cape-less, his handsome face rests above a body worn beyond endurance. His once tight biceps sag as wilted as yesterday's balloon. That manly chest is but a hollow tank, and his eyes are filled with longing. Take off the glasses Clark Kent and fix her in your x-ray vision. Fix everything. Fix the dark smear clotting our waitress's lung. Burn tar from the pelican's wing, and it's feathers will spread through the air. Wings will pulse with the power of a locomotive, will carry her perfect form like a brown "V" arching tall buildings and we will sing into the sky, Look!, it's a bird, and the bird will light full bodied and buoyant over the deep forever deepening sea. Emily Wilensky For the woman I am named after, and the room where she once dwelled This room is a forced respite from life's stagnant float its continued orbit all but a furtive rumor to those not privy to universal gossip. The beige hued walls reflect more than light and shadow They reveal volumes cannons of time squandered risks averted decisions second guessed They whisper echoes of what you tell yourself you are capable of, but quietly doubt alone and without the use of your most dominant appendage Its walls the color of forced patience and recognition that despite all the things you tell yourself you are probably wrong and like your namesake these four walls serve only to force you to realize that it is not the space that defines your truth or separates you from becoming it. but the walls you self-impose to block it out. Sarah Wright Gretel I. We do not talk about why we journey. We do not ask if we are lost. To be lost, one must expect a place to which they might return. To be lost, one does not know where they are. We always know where we are, Or where we are not supposed to be by our father's sideAway in this vast wood of towering trees, Of bear shadows in plum shades, Of roiling wolf pelts in panting brush, Of fierce dappled silhouettes on clawed branches, Of small burrows and rapidly beating pulses; There's a brief scream in the forest, and I hold My brother's arm as though I would climb inside the safety of his skin there is no comfort in mine. II. I cannot separate his scent from that of sweet hay, Or the warmth of his body from that of summer. The shades of our hides blend into each other, Matched by the patterns of our breath. Of what mother we've never known, Suckled by goats, and held in the ribs of hounds. Known of our father, his starving eyes, Sharp slaps, raging calm, and wooded sweat. Of the world, we've learned the variety of hunger. A hollow-bellied pinching ache that stings the throat, The grinding jaw, swallowed spit, and listless mind, The impulses that drive us to curl together and stroke each others hair. Will we return like swimming birds to the distant Inhospitable shore of their only knowledge, Their only survival? Even should it mean Having our pinfeathers sliced by barren rock In an icy desert wasteland where no flowered plant smelling sweet as love will ever grow? Matthew Hemmerich Paper Boat a paper boat a pensive thought a moment paused a berry sky ocean of lullabies an erasing collapse a quivering tide gloaming goodbye her voice crumpled in the wind a dampened despair a moment rewound a paper boat slipping stars unpinning a salve now sleeping underwater Alejandra Olavarria Anna, Full of Silence Anna Pavlinova Whose brother was a cellist wore the mysteries of her land around her body like labyrinths of silkened silence. She watched from below the notes from imagined aeroplanes that landed at her feet Carrying inside the stain of red letters of which she took no notice and under which lay the sound of all her thoughts collected by the thief that roamed her night. Anna Pavlinova Whose weeping robbed the shadowed of love Whose feet left behind the silvered radiance of paper romance She sang from above and the notes fell down the staircase, lachrymose crumbs, Into the incendiary hands of the thief Whose lips followed her to the grounds lost Frantic for the moonlit gleam, Of which she took no notice. Anna Pavlinova Who carried the scars of her mother Like a fistful of petaled secrets through the midnight blue, drunk from the river of sorrow While waiting for the opening sentence of truth. She took no notice of the thief standing under the wings of liberty, writing her reflection from the collected bleeding of euphoric dreams. Anna Pavlinova, Whose eyes were always under the weight of grief, Closed them in silence. Alejandra Olavarria Between the Last Verse I loved you last night In between the last verse You were not who you thought you were and I was not of my mind. And your body, a borrowed canvas on which the velvet lead drew you in infinite shades was the oil to the fire of the midnight rain. I loved you last night In between the thirst of dreams and the grey interlude of hours There in uncertainty, my eyes were desperate for your sight and a thousand leaves burned before me. I understood your love last night Like the furious downfall of the wind It was not made to be understood and in the escape of the nightmares that plague It was in between the unspoken presence of the room. I understood your love last night and the night came upon us, like the ardent impatience of desires we left in between the unsaid burning of the last sentence. You who I loved beneath shadows, and you whom love masked Nocturnal eyes that stole the morning from time you loved me last night and my voice became the writing on the stone and you the ground on which I slept. I loved you last night and in between my hands, your flame that became my own Cynthia Eddy Mad Day It's thicker Than she thought That earth beneath her feet Until the dirt opens And she is gone Her descent is not the great whoosh she expected But swirling dreamingly, cream into coffee Warm, sweet the comfort of no voices No demands, just calm. Until the world pulls her back. Seth Copeland ambience we sit stiff in the living room, the host playing piano in the next-over, one of us remarks how much the music sounds like a film with a wayward, lonely protagonist shuffling down a city street, crestfallen, down on his luck & we all agree and begin to see that we are all that man & the music keeps playing long after we stop listening. Seth Copeland Rum Girl, Beaufort There is no grass where she lies, the tart bath of rum, a pirate's hot breath on a woman's cold neck, sterilizes the tilled and turned soil, dirtied with dry chips of old leaves, chunks of carbuncular tree bark, shattered confessions of eternal love, "Mark & Jonie 4Ever" apart in pieces, drab confetti for the festivity of death. A name does not scar the darkened, charred driftwood marker for "Little Girl," always young, forever like a ship's discarded figurehead, left in the woodpile as the hulk was towed away in the Atlantic sunset. The joke of tectonics shifts the grave to an immodest slant, as if tipped by the drunken body's stupor Amidst the dissolved epitaphs, the tears of a father still moisten the earth, and every step lifts the dust of his pleas against Neptune back up to the sun, cajoling to bring his frail, wilted Jessamine back home, lest the dolphins be the last to kiss her, laying her down in the dank mint of seaweed. On the lichened concrete, pilgrims have jettisoned small trinkets; gum, shells, pencils, coins, memento mori to wasted journeys, perhaps to dote the senseless loss of youth or to hide the fermented sorrow gelled underneath. She waits a resurrection, when the other graves will stir and rise with their eroded Mary's and crumbling calcite sheep to pull her from the murky chrysalis of Caribbean sugar, sweetened and aged to the angelic scour of a child. Benjamin Wolfe Ancient Sentiments in Modern Man I was forced, by birth, To be a modern man, But despite all that, I was so romantic That I almost died for love, Getting hit by a bus Whilst texting my girlfriend and crossing a road. The medics found my blackberry twenty yards away, More intact than my body, And on the colour screen was typed: "Take boating holidays off the coast of Somalia, I just want a chance to rescue you." Sarah Gzemski Kelly explained there was a Polish priest singing Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence dressed in purple robes while relatives Kelly will never know paid their respects to her mother's body, and she wore high heels with a gray dress, sat in the last pew crossing and uncrossing her legs, passed the time by telling herself jokes-- aren't there more practical things they should put in the coffin, like a change of clothes or a shovel, a picture of the little girl she gave up, a bottle of cheap wine. I'm reminded of Kelly's first breakup, when she asked me to dye her hair bleach blonde and the ammonia stung my eyes so bad that we stayed home from school that day and she danced herself dizzy. She tried to remember her old ballet lessons and I watched her prance around my living room until she stood at the center spinning, and I sat astounded while she fell-- her head grazed the corner of the coffee table-- she put her fingers to her temple where the syrupy blood matted her flaxen hair, and she laughed. Sarah Gzemski Kelly is trying to pick up new habits-- she read that getting a hobby, taking vacations, having sex, flossing, add years to your life, so she picked up some knitting needles on her way to Chesapeake Bay, where she met a man in the Crab House and Dock Bar on her twenty-first birthday and took him back to her room-- I imagine him sprawled across her bed while she stands in the bathroom, scraping waxy ribbon against her teeth in a futile attempt to lengthen her future one second at a time. Kris Price Silent Bicycling Bob He swoops by on an old bicycle from the 50's. A man from another era, hair white as a blank page, pants blue as morning sky, face weathered like an old leather shoe. Happy but tired, a white plastic bag full of beer and Doritos from the Quick Mart just up the street weighs like a boulder on the handle bars of his bike. He stares at the cigarette in my mouth with silent judgment. His callous, shivering hand makes the gesture of smoking as he shakes his head back and forth, giving me a nod as if to say: "Stop that shit." And just like that, he turns the corner. In a rush of smoke, he's gone. Sheri Grutz A Witch's Day in the Life When I put the feather in the hat, my head feels light and easy again, my side is tickled and my writing is ancient as with a quill. When I put the rocks in my hand, my teeth start grinding and my knees make rough movements and my toes crunch together. When I make hot tea there is a warm day in Asia. When I jump over a puddle, it's a dry season in California. Whatever I do of one thing, something else is equally done in relation to the thing. When someone told me the sky is falling, I started falling down and feeling clouds in my head. When someone told me there is no end, I started to think of new beginnings. When you told me we are only friends, I became a friend to everyone. Sheri Grutz Barricaded Season There was a white death grip around the moon and a green song in the wind lashing against the tied up night. The missing link was buried like a star they stop wishing on, nothing can stop the cold heart from sliding into oblivion. Scum and mold layer the surface of so much drowning, like the last drink that put you under. We live and move alone like that one and only sun when we were trying to be God, flying between heaven and hell and never landing. The birds that face freezing to death cut a star out of their throats in the morning and it sounds like nothing will be taken back, except the distance that will go back beyond the failed thoughts of livered love. There was a morning against all rain streaming like so many fresh thoughts. There was a morning against the chest of night streaming its hair like so many long dreams. The poems, in the eyes of men. Tim Stobierski The Golem I made it out of hair brown hair your hair I made it out of hair and a few sprigs of thyme a handful of lilac so it would smell like you when it moves dances in the moonlight Main Street I'm walking down Main Street Ansonia on my way to the haberdashery when a herd of rats dashes in front of me, across the street. I look after them and realize that they're not rats, but a cluster of dry leaves being blown by the wind. I pass by the bakery on my left and there is the smell of fresh-baked rye. Beside the trash cans in front of the shop I see a mound of discarded coats, only I stare at them for a moment and see them move and I realize that they are not coats, but men making love to stay warm. Kenny Fame (Makings Of You) Peach Cobbler Fruit scented aroma invaded my nasal passage. Images, enhanced juicy dreams awakened to cinnamon sticks dancing with nutmeg. Hint of sweet perfume made this black boy blush. Sight of sticky syrup--this I craved so much. Eyes watered at that flaky crust, missing the warmth in my granny's touch. Shannon Cuthbert Only Child Closets big as caves for exploring Father's ties hang, loose-limbed bats Mother's dresses shapeless spirits, breathing, exuding moisture. In silence stalactites whisper, eyes wide as orbs, child in the dark hears another world calling, voices of playmates hush through the heating grate. He knows the language of leaky faucets and pipes behind walls, feels the house pulse at its warm black heart. Darkness draws him, repelled by stars and well-lit porches, he tunnels, primeval creature warmed by shadows sweet and real. Shannon Cuthbert Crow Eyes are drops of amber embryo wings, handkerchiefs dipped in oil. I should take a match to them, watch you become a phoenix. Baltic blackness unseen, merely felt. You shift angles, red and purple arrows puncture the illusion of liquid black. You cry, engorged throat and swallowed-pebble sound, wind chimes off-key. Feet delicate, emerge from feathers in flight, blade slits the gray belly of sky. Above me you are a question mark pressed to my lips that leaves me to drown. Your pelt of dead things, slippery and unreal quiet violence taking flight. Allen Livermore a mathematical rule August halflights float-carnival uprising of phantom-limbed beer belly 5:15 AM bedroom a conventional Wednesday discharged dials the number for work-tremulous finger buzzing (Prison. An unexpectedly stable career path.) He will be late: personal business unlocking a mathematical rule from an unquiet book at the perimeter synchronous the top half of his body always trying to arrive places before the rest spilling pollen all over the horizon Lauren Banka Death by Drowning Water probably cold, probably very very salty, like a thick syrup, a sludge, a lot like Michigan sidewalks, road salt and slush, leaves white tracks on boots, highwater marks on lungs, like concrete at the right speeds, asphalt, all sorts of paving materials, symbolizing suffocation, symbolizing didn't leave the house today, symbolizing or yesterday either, chain in the door I didn't put there, my skin goes numb from disuse, mouth forgets holding, arms forget opening, that's all, symbolizes that's all, enoughness and the withering afterwards, but the internet has so many television shows, movies, rabbited away, hidden, flooding, versteckt, little beehive cubbyholes, little chains on little doors, like that. Sink Full of Knives I used to drink only gin because of him whose drink it was before it was my drink, him who everything, who whole sky, blot out the moon blot out the streetlights him. Look this tingle numbness in my face watch it drip onto my hands God can't feel a thing I like to not feel a thing like my surface is latex mask or layer cake, stale, like I could just peel off, raspberry icing under I like to drink away from my house after a point I have to avoid eye contact with all the knives in my kitchen they're all staring at me again and again, red rubber handles again my fingers are numb again I like to drink in bars whiskey ginger that's my drink now no reason, just a waitress told me it was her favorite so I ordered it to flirt, nothing, no thing, I like to get drunk and flirt you never know how strong you are until someone's trying to push into your stale cake skin and you are your weakest self, never know how tough your crust is you never know who your friend is until you hear yourself tell him you're so drunk you'd probably do anything and then you're piecing together memory in the morning alone, meaning whatever he could have he didn't, but another time a different friend did, and that's no thing to you, just how the cookie crumbles, nothing, how the cake rots on the kitchen counter, isn't it better to know than to not know? I like to keep a little list taped to the fridge in the dirty kitchen of my brain, across from the old pastries and the sink full of knives. The list says on one side in capital letters PEOPLE I AM PRETTY SURE I CAN TRUST and the other side says PEOPLE I DEFINITELY CANNOT TRUST and sometimes I just sit on the floor in my brain-kitchen and laugh and cry because the lists are about the same size, and you'd never expect that, but they are. Gin used to be my drink because I so loved the man who drank it, who dangled from its rim, who poured it into my every underage receptacle, everything he could coax open and I still love him but I don't drink that drink and I don't look at knives and I don't take it personal when another body treats my body wrong, I just remember it. I keep a list in the freezer of all the alcohols that have ever lived in that kitchen and in the swimming pools of which bottles I have been held under in which lakes there be monsters. But. I mean it. I really don't mind. Sometimes you want to be reminded you can be hurt and the man is better than the knife and I'm working on not having to choose but until then I'm not ashamed of having chosen and the most I mean really, the most amazing things happen when you make yourself stupid and open and just waiting to be hurt I mean it sounds like a clich� and it is, it's the best clich�, it's the best stupid amazing thing is sometimes you flirt and you bait the hand around the bottle to make a grab or a swing, you beg the world to hurt you and sometimes it doesn't. That's it. Just that it doesn't. Just smooth cake skin where you tempted a wound. Contributors Lauren Banka: Lauren Banka is an award-winning poet, artist, and organizer who has performed and competed nationally. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Conclave, the New Verse News, Blast Furnace, and the Lake River Review. She lives in St. Louis, MO. Eleanor Leonne Bennett: Eleanor Leonne Bennett is a 15 year old photographer and artist who has won contests with National Geographic,The Woodland Trust, The World Photography Organisation, Winstons Wish, Papworth Trust, Mencap, Big Issue, Wrexham science , Fennel and Fern and Nature's Best Photography.She has had her photographs published in exhibitions and magazines across the world including the Guardian, RSPB Birds , RSPB Bird Life, Dot Dot Dash ,Alabama Coast , Alabama Seaport and NG Kids Magazine (the most popular kids magazine in the world). She was also the only person from the UK to have her work displayed in the National Geographic and Airbus run See The Bigger Picture global exhibition tour with the United Nations International Year Of Biodiversity 2010.Only visual artist published in the Taj Mahal Review June 2011. Youngest artist to be displayed in Charnwood Art's Vision 09 Exhibition and New Mill's Artlounge Dark Colours Exhibition Seth Copeland: Seth Copeland was born in Lawton, Oklahoma and is currently attending Cameron University, studying Creative Writing. He was the recipient of the Grand Prize in the John G. Morris Poetry Contest for 2010 and 2011. His poems have been published or are soon to be published in the Goldmine, Apropos and the Scissortale Review. Shannon Cuthbert: Shannon Cuthbert is a creative writing and psychology student at Hamilton College. This is her first publication. Matthew John Davies: Matthew John Davies is an emerging writer from Brisbane who has recently discovered Francis Webb. His work has recently been published in Page Seventeen, S/WORD, Cottonmouth, and Queen Vic Knives. Cynthia Eddy: Cynthia Eddy lives and writes on the eastern shore of Virginia. She holds a degree from Framingham University in Art History and an attended the University of Baltimore Graduate School. Kenny Fame: Kenny Fame is a black writer that was born and raised in New Jersey. He currently resides in Harlem NY; and Brooklyn NY as well. He is an English Major attending CUNY Medgar Evers College in NYC. He was recently a graduate of Cave Canem's 2011 Poetry Conversations with Bakar Wilson writing workshop. K*Fame is also the winner of The Tenth Annual Black Writers Conference Poetry Writing Award. His work has appeared in Steel Toe Review and he has performed his work at CUNY Medgar Evers College, among others, and Poetry Super Highway live on the radio. Sheri Grutz: Sheri Grutz earned her B.A. in English from The University of Iowa where she spent one semester in the workshop. She has been published in Lyrical Iowa, Out Loud Anthology, and Dead Earth Review.. Sarah Gzemski: Sarah Gzemski is a junior Creative Writing/Secondary Education major at Susquehanna University who loves sharks and corgis. Her work has previously been published on campus in RiverCraft, and she serves as the managing editor for the national undergraduate journal, The Susquehanna Review. Matt Esteves Hemmerich: Matt Esteves Hemmerich is an undergrad from SFSU with an emphasis in scriptwriting. He writes for the fictional blog, Pathos v Logos, and has appeared in Berkeley Poetry Review, Atlas Poetica, Vanitas, and Oatmeal Magazine. Allen Livermore: Allen Livermore has published in Chronogram (October 2011), Shingi (November 2011) and Heyday Magazine (Post-Art, November 2011). He is also an accomplished jazz saxophonist who has collaborated in live performances with Marc Smith, Michael Gizzi and Clark Coolidge. He is a member of the Woodstock Poetry Society and lives in Columbia County, New York. Alejandra Olavarria: Alejandra Olavarria is a Chilean-Australian poet living in Melbourne. She was most recently published in White Ant in 2005. Kris Price: Kris Price's work has appeared in Penumbra, and the Modesto Poetry Anthology, "More than soil, More than sky." He was awarded second place in Kay Ryan's Community College Poetry Project contest that she held during her term as the United States Poet Laureate. Bob Putnam: Bob Putnam has published short fiction in Riverbanks to Mountaintops and Pine Knots. He has also previously published poetry in A Blackberry Sun. Tim Stobierski: Tim Stobierski is a freelance writer and editor based in Connecticut. He writes poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction on his downtime between assignments, and is always looking for a great new book to read. Emily Wilensky: Emily Wilensky has been writing creative non-fiction and poetry for over a decade. Her piece, "Broken Wing" recently ran in the 8th issue of the Logan Square Literary Review. She has two essays which will be featured in the first issue of the soon to be launched, Project018. Benjamin Wolfe: Benjamin Wolfe is a recent graduate in history (something which informs his poems enormously), and is currently working as a freelance journalist for a number of newspapers, writing mainly in the Theatre and Arts sections. He has published poems in a literary magazine called Sarasvati, and is due to have some poems appear in a magazine called The New Writer in the spring next year. He grew up all over the world as an expatriate child, and loved the experience so much that one day he hopes to escape again. Sarah Wright: Sarah Wright is not a starving artist. Not yet, anyway. But she expects to become a mildly hungry artist any day now. She is getting her second useless degree, the first of which was a BS in graphic design, and the next a Masters in creative writing, and hopes to round out the trifecta with a PhD in "Underwater Basket Weaving." This is her first publication.