The Centrifugal Eye ~1~
Su m me r/A utu mn 201 1
Vol um e6 Iss ue 2
Vacation: Poems of Leaving, Loss & Temporary Place
The Centrifugal Eye Staff: Editor-in-Chief & Art Director: Eve Anthony Hanninen Contacts Editor & Review Columnist: Karla Linn Merrifield Assistant Editors: Sherry O’Keefe, David-Glen Smith Editorial Assistants & Proofreaders: Paul Buckner, D. J. Bryant Art Assistants: D. J. Bryant, Sharon Auberle Casual Reviewers & Essayists: Danielle Blasko, Erik Richardson Staff Readers’ Circle: Anonymous Reviewers
“The Abbey in the Oakwood” ca. 1810
Caspar David Friedrich
(September 5, 1774 - May 7, 1840) was born in Greifswald, Germany, and after studying art in Copenhagen, Denmark, returned to Dresden and became a leading, landscape painter during the 19th Century’s German Romantic movement. Gothic in nature, most of Friedrich’s paintings were symbolic contemplations of nature containing allegorical figures and silhouettes. During his lifetime, his work remained renowned, but fell out of favor in German society in the latter part of the 1800s. Friedrich’s contemplations of “stillness” have regained popularity in contemporary art circles, and he’s now considered an icon of the German Romantic movement. Learn more about Caspar David at http://www.caspardavidfriedrich.org/biography.html
Copyright 2011 The Centrifugal Eye * Collected Works * All Rights Reserved
Contents On the Road, Again/Editorial Signs of Vacancy
Featured Interview Poet
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Eve Anthony Hanninen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Interview; Poems; The Road to Damascus…
What’s Left Behind/On Leaving . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ron Yazinski, C. Flynn, Laury A. Egan
Something’s Missing/ On Absence, Emptiness, Vacancy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Laura A. Ciraolo, Jennifer Clark, Ann Howells, Scott Owens, David-Glen Smith, James Martin Spears
Failure & Farewell/On Loss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Cheryl Snell, Bridget Gage-Dixon, Karen Greenbaum-Maya, Pat Hale, Karla Linn Merrifield, Rod Peckman, Martin Willitts, Jr.
The Great Getaway/ On Travel & Leisure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 David Callin, Pat Hale, Ann Howells . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Karen Greenbaum-Maya, Pat Hale, Paul Hostovsky, John McKernan, Rod Peckman, Jeanine Stevens
Impermanence/On Temporary Place . . . . . . .
Objects Closer than They Appear/ Reviews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61 Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry: Within Reach Karla Linn Merrifield: on M. J. Iuppa The Urn
Danielle Blasko: on Karla Linn Merrifield . .
Road Trip and Retreat
Erik Richardson: on B. J. Best . . . . . .
More Than Discards & Detritus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . .
Signs of Vacancy Editorial by
Eve Anthony Hanninen
I seem to have developed an odd symbiosis through the years with The Centrifugal Eye and its production. Regular readers might be surprised to learn that most of TCE’s themes are developed 1-2 years in advance of their appearance online and in print. It certainly doesn’t seem that way whenever I sit down to write my anticipated editorial, often at the literal last moment; there always seems to be some parallel event or process going on in my life that echoes the journal’s debuting theme. For example, our current issue’s Summer/Autumn theme is named “Vacation.” As frivolous as that sounds for a dignified literary magazine, what I really had in mind when I came up with it was this: “n. 2. an act or instance of vacating.” Ironically, when it came time to bring the Vacation issue to fruition, I suddenly found myself amidst an actual “instance of vacating,” leaving behind my far-northern Pacific home and relocating on the Saskatchewan prairies. This event was not being planned 18 months ago, but this issue of TCE was. Yet here we coincided. And not only do I empathetically understand the varied nuances of the poems offered by TCE’s Vacation contributors, but also, I’ve been living this thematic issue from the inside out. Was it hard for me to leave the North Coast? No. It seems like lately — for the last 8 years, anyway — I’ve been leaving repeatedly: failed relationships, a busted business, hometown, family, little cities with temporary opportunities. Each leaving becomes less difficult because each already has an inherent vacancy — something that’s missing, some absence or emptiness built-in at introduction. While I find new places and adventures attractive, to me they are also poised like movie facades: visually permanent, but partially erected. Arranged to look real, but inevitably missing crucial elements — most notably memories, and people I’ve loved. What I’ve gotten most from leaving and arriving is an appreciation for temporary place. I find it’s my obsession with details combined with a generally sweeping overview that allows me to fully take in a new environment and then place myself in it for an indefinite period and find comfort in the experience. I’m not talking about glossy vistas and picturesque valleys. Most everyone feels awe in the presence of natural beauty, which calms us momentarily. No, I’m describing environments that come with populated histories, patterns, specific geography, urban or rural traffic, disasters, agricultural cycles, indigenous flora and fauna. If you ask me, it’s the lack of familiarity with a temporary place that often creates discomfort for many travelers; this is the condition of the tourist, who always feels away, and outside of herself. She may take new memories home, creating the possibility of familiarity should she ever return, but until that later date, the exhilaration of exploration is often also tempered by the notion that there is a home to go back to sometime, someday. A temporary place does not provide the same experience as does going off to an unknown geography to reassimilate culturally or physically.
~5~ So, why is the English word “vacation” so happily associated with leaving behind work and home? It’s the “great getaway,” isn’t it, where you or a number of family or friends, sometimes strangers, leave the familiar to see and do something different, if just for a very little while? Patterns and habits are sometimes broken, but many vacationers have a favorite temporary place they return to over and again — family cottage, cabin on the lake, favorite bed and breakfast, remote campground, fishing hole — this is an experience as much about arriving as leaving. Now in Saskatchewan, I hope that I have just arrived in a land of enthralling experience. A place that will fill my caches of emptiness with firm soil, will grow memories of staying instead of constantly vacating. These types of comings and goings and their inherent losses and absences are what shape the collected poems in this issue of The Centrifugal Eye. If you’re ready to pull up stakes for a little while and follow the travels of our poets and authors, put on your hiking shoes and depart from your familiar state of mind. Leave room in your backpack for something new. First, join me as I get to know this issue’s Featured Interview Poet, Maureen Kingston, who’s no stranger to leaving and loss. Then slip off to all the temporary spaces made by TCE’s emotionally moving writers. And I assure you, if you’ve never thought of vacation as anything other than a trip to Hawaii or France, you will come away from this poetic adventure feeling entirely well-traveled.
Eve Anthony Hanninen — an American poet and illustrator on the Canadian prairies — has poems in Switched-on Gutenberg, Sea Stories, Magnolia: A Florida Journal of Literary & Fine Arts, Long Story Short (interview, 2009), from east to west: bicoastal verse, Sein und Werden (print and online), and many other fine journals. She’s anthologized in Crazed by the Sun and Trim: The Mannequin Envy Anthology. Eve edits and publishes The Centrifugal Eye poetry journal and is currently at work on a TCE anthology, as well as on 2 collections of her own.
“Vacancy” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
The Centrifugal Eye’s Featured Poet Interview:
Eve Anthony Hanninen, TCE’s Editor-in-chief: Maureen, getting to know you better through the development of our projects together has reaffirmed my decision to choose you for Featured Interview Poet for this particular issue of The Centrifugal Eye. Your perspective, while notably nononsense and forthright, consistently probes the negative spaces in life, as well as in writing. How important is it for a poet to pay attention to what’s missing from a scenario?
Maureen Kingston: Wow. Thanks for starting with a softball question! I’d love to sound brilliant about probing “negative space,” but honestly, like a lot of poets, I write one poem at a time. If enough time passes, I might be able to detect certain thematic patterns, but it’s more likely that my husband (my initial reader) or someone like you will detect them. That said, I think I’m attracted to the Japanese concept of ma. In Japanese theater and visual art, silence, gaps, and blank spaces are as attended to
as what is spoken, painted, or otherwise overtly expressed. In short, they receive equal consideration. This sort of balanced approach appeals to me. Poets spend a lot of time observing: what’s there and not there in landscapes and human relations, the importance of foreground and background, what people tend to acknowledge and what they repress. There’s a lot more intuitive guesswork at play in attempting to discern negative space. It’s taxing. As a poet, I like to bring order to complex situations. Or at least I like to slow down the pace enough to examine a particular complexity and relate it to the human condition. In portraying negative space, though, sometimes the best I can do is describe its chaotic wallpaper and admit we humans must muck around in its mystery from time to time. My inner control-freak doesn’t appreciate that sort of imprecision. It’s messy. Words aren’t always useful in this realm of the ma. That’s mighty threatening to a poet! Too unknown. Too abstract. Still, as poets, I think we’re obligated to sit with it in the waiting room, hold its hand, see where it leads us.
~7~ m pupa toyou maturity in just two or had to the consider scheduling. theI day wea How ironic that think my work consistently plumbs negative spaces inOn life. spent weeks,trying so weto really were to What film the scene, Is weit had several thing? couplethree of decades pretend life had no shadowed side! a waste. an American My Irish heritage? I attempted to explore a similar attitude once in a poem called “Yellow Frosting” (Melusine, 2010). No matter the life burden or trauma, there’s no problem that can’t be gussied up or slathered over by yellow frosting. That was my modus operandi for far too long, I’m afraid. My younger brother died by accidental drowning when I was twelve. Yellow frosting. My mother never recovered from his death and spent the next nine years crippled with physical and mental ailments. Yellow frosting. She died when I was a junior in college. Yellow frosting. There’s more, but you get the idea. The price I would pay for pretending everything was fine when it clearly wasn’t? A massive bout of depression later in life. I’m grateful that from this darkness, this negative space, I would discover my poetic self, but how much sooner might I have made this discovery were I leading a balanced life (acknowledging both light and dark) to begin with? EAH: Yellow frosting! Wish I’d had such a colorful image for coping when I was kid; my stock phrase back then was “there’s always a way to beat the game.” Maybe it should have been “always a way to frost the crap.” Your metaphors, Maureen, as well as your interest in the roles of the creative process — regarding both successes and failures — appeal to me on a visceral level. Many of TCE’s readers, most of whom are poets, writers, and artists, know what the successes look and sound like, be it images of monetary prizes, book royalties, peer or even public recognition, applause— but fewer of us like to focus on failure. How has failure played a part in your becoming a poet? MK: Refusing to acknowledge that I was or might be a poet was my brutal and primal failure. I’m sometimes astounded by the number of CANDYLAND®-like wrong paths I took and the excuses I made for not acknowledging the impulse. In high school, for instance, I flourished in all language classes, French, Spanish and English. The one class I avoided? Creative writing. In college I continued with French and added history as a major — I had a keen interest in biography and human nature, but at a distance and not my own! I took one English class, the survey course in American literature. I was doing well until we were assigned a Frost poem to analyze. The professor wasn’t spectacularly impressed with my analysis and I used this supposed rebuff as an excuse to stop attending class. So, I never went back and I never took another English class! The truth? The exercise, in my own language, had brought me too close to a level of selfawareness I didn’t want to get near. A few years later, in a French grammar class, my teacher assigned some Rimbaud poems in order to illustrate a syntactical point. For homework we were to create poems of our own mimicking Rimbaud’s pattern. Later, in a private conference, my teacher suggested I publish the poems and asked why I hadn’t enrolled in any creative writing classes. I respected her opinion enormously, so I actually thought about doing it for a few days. Then my mother died. Yellow frosting. For the next decade my mantra was some variation of: don’t think about loss; survive; and get a job. I abandoned French altogether and garnered a certificate to teach 7th- through 12th-grade social studies, which, in turn, led to my enrollment in a doctoral program where I specialized in the history of women’s education. As long as I kept moving I was okay, wasn’t I? Sadly, I was like the functioning drunk who imagines there will be no consequences to his gallon-a-day vodka habit because he still manages to punch a time-clock every day. When my aunt (my mother substitute) died unexpectedly, my life completely unravelled. And so did all of my bullshit choices and rationales.
~8~ It’s been an uphill battle becoming a poet in mid-life. Sitting in workshops with students young enough to be my children. The dearth of mentors. The fact that no matter how I style my long hair I’ll never appear Byronic. Retching before readings (my least favorite poetic activity). Rejection letters that look like raffle slips. The dismissive looks from people my own age who’ve “heard” I’m a poet. Translation? I’m a bum! Not being respected for what I do bothers me, but not enough to stop me from being a poet. I’m at home in myself, finally, and I can’t go back. As long as I’m alive, and don’t have a brain injury, I’ll keep writing, keep learning from the work of other poets. At a reading a few months ago, a young poet read a lovely poem about motherhood and I asked her if it was published somewhere. She said it had been rejected by a local publication we both knew. I asked if she’d submitted it elsewhere. She hadn’t. This local rejection had really thrown her. Over the next few weeks I went into mentor overdrive, suggesting journals that had published work like hers, revealing the reams of rejections I’d received, the rookie mistakes I’d made, demonstrating my submission system. I probably overwhelmed her. She became evasive. In the end I realized there was nothing I could do to help her. She would have to face her own demons, face failure in her own way. I fail every day in poetry: using the wrong diction or miscasting images, receiving rejection letters from publications I adore, sending poems out too soon (stupid, stupid, stupid). I accept it all. I overcame the failure of not knowing myself. The rest is just business as usual for anybody trying to be a poet. EAH: Rejection can be hard to face, but it is part of the business for every writer. And despite the way you initially resisted becoming a poet and spending time around other poets, you did try to help another face failure, as well.
“Empties” by E. A. Hanninen, 2011
Imaginary scenario: If you met another poet while you were on vacation, say, would you ever take a few hours out of your schedule to hobnob with him or her?
~9~ MK: I spend every day and most weekends with poets through their work! I’m not big on hobnobbing. There’s no poet alive or dead I’d want to spend an entire day with, but if you put a pistol to my head, and so long as poetry was never discussed, I’d be happy to trade barstool logic with Baudelaire; build stone walls with Frost; cook venison with Jim Harrison; pull weeds with Hayden Carruth; chew the fat with Claudia Emerson about marriage; watch Kay Ryan teach; argue politics with Robert Bly (about what he got right and wrong in The Sibling Society); and with Gregory Orr . . . yes, in hushed tones, we might discuss the deaths of our brothers; what that was like at age twelve. Yes, with Gregory Orr, poetry might be allowed to crop up. Okay. And I might also sneak into the last row of a dark lecture hall if C.K. Williams and Nin Andrews were explaining the secret to creating their long, gorgeous lines of prose poetry. EAH: I’d join you for the latter prospect. So then, do you find writing prose poetry a bit of a puzzle? I admit I sometimes do. MK: Some binary choices in poetry have been easier for me to make than others: free verse over formal, image-driven not L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E. Prose poetry is a gray area for me. When one of my poems veers in that direction I feel insecure about its true identity. Is it a lyric on steroids? A creative non-fiction piece in drag? I wonder if I should follow the poem’s prosaic lead or cram it into a thirty-lines-or-less girdle because I usually prefer the poetic mini to the maxi. Yes, it is a bit of a puzzle for me too! EAH: It’s curious enough wondering what informs us writers to choose what and how we write, yet one of the most common questions I hear poets ask themselves is “Why write?” Or “Why write poetry?” What connection between writers and the writing process do you think is being missed when they don’t know why they’re driven? MK: Given my sorry history, I can hardly judge another’s path to poetry! I tried other forms of writing even after I was certain poetry suited me best. It was instructive as a negative lesson to learn that I didn’t have the attention span or interest in character or plot development required for fiction or screenwriting. I’ve done academic writing before, in my pre-poetry life, and it required a level of metaphor-deficient analysis that bored me. Creative non-fiction was a near-miss. Like poetry, it attempts to portray truths about the human condition. I think of it as long-distance poetry, but I’m a sprinter: same goal, different distance. I don’t know everything that drives me or my writing. I’m not sure I want to know. Mostly I trust the process. I went on a blind date once with a carpenter. I’m sure my friend thought we’d make a good match because we were both shy. It was deadly dull! After dinner we went back to his place and he offered me a tour of his barn; I thought it was a look-at-my-etchings ploy, but it turned out to be his woodworking shop. For the next two hours, we were utterly engaged with each other; he, touching different wood samples and explaining his tools, and me wondering how he came to this passion, to experience the
~ 10 ~ world through wood, and learning a whole new, incredible vocabulary for things that shape other things. EAH: Love your anecdote — an empty evening that later comes alive with the animations of process. MK: Being a poet is surely about writing, but it’s also a way of being in the world. I never tire of looking under the human hood, of finding new ways to articulate what it means to be human. EAH: In all of TCE’s issues, we look to our poets to “articulate what it means to be human,” and in our Vacation issue, especially, within the arenas of leaving and loss. While “loss” comes up a lot in many poets’ bodies of work, another subject I come across regularly, but less often, is “leaving.” What role has “leaving” played in your life and/or your writing processes? MK: “Leaving” has been a perennial guest in my life. I’ve moved around a lot, often because I had to for economic reasons, but sometimes for the joy of travel. I think we’ve established that I left my senses en route to becoming a poet. I’ve rarely been in the position of choosing to leave. I’ve usually been pushed into it. In every leaving exchange I’ve generally lost and gained: people, habits, assumptions about the world. Leaving is like tectonic plates grating against one another: new and old, future and past grinding, shaping a present you both want and don’t want. Yes, the interstitial is a terrific space for inspiring writing. When you’re off-balance you pay attention more. Your senses are keener. It’s unnerving and exciting. It’s probably why serial romancers can’t commit. They’re addicted to the disorientation! EAH: Why did you leave your teaching position? MK: When I moved west I taught history and geography for a few years. But after I began immersing myself in a writing program I couldn’t seem to manage both. Teaching is consuming — a million details and always the worry that you haven’t prepped enough. I was, and am, lousy at splitting myself. Later I considered teaching writing, but it was the same dilemma. I work, but at a job I can turn off the minute I leave it. I wish I could’ve found a way to merge writing and teaching. Poets in the academy seem to network more with one another. When I’m lonely or discouraged, I wonder if I made the wrong call. EAH: What have you left behind to become a poet? MK: By “left behind,” do you mean sacrificed? EAH: Sure. Whatever “left behind” means to you.
“Call Back” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
~ 11 ~
MK: Other than human contact and middle-class respectability, no big sacrifice. On the contrary, the endeavor of poetry itself was sacrificed because I refused to acknowledge I was a poet. EAH: I’m glad you finally came around to accepting you’re a poet. Sometimes we expend so much energy avoiding “labels” that we miss understanding that we just are what we think and do. And I continue to be intrigued by the idea you could lose “middle-class respectability” by becoming a poet. Being a poet/editor immersed in a network of poets and writers, I find this concept foreign — but I suspect I might notice I was an outcast in my local world if my global, creative surroundings were less populated. So, whose respect have you lost? MK: Probably no one’s and I’m just being paranoid! Or maybe it’s the woman thing. A middle-aged woman who protects large chunks of her time for something other than children, career or public service? Strikes some folks as selfish or antisocial (at best), especially in a small town. EAH: Ah. I understand. But it seems to me that those who most loudly accuse others of selfishness also consistently exhibit their own selfish behaviors. I, for one, am glad you protect so much time for your poetry. In an earlier conversation with me, you said that your greatest curiosity about poetry was whether a poem of yours worked or not — does this come from the ingrained view of teacher-as-perpetual-student? Or perhaps you’re an entrenched workshopper?
~ 12 ~ MK: Neither, I think. It’s more about creating a fresh take on a subject as a poet. As an ardent reader of poetry, I’m too often like the penguin who doesn’t stop swimming as she feeds on krill, preferring to swallow them whole (in my case, books of poetry) while still in motion. But when a poem does stop me, it’s a wondrous moment: love tinged with envy! That’s how I know a poem “works.” A few that have worked for me lately include: the first line to A.D. Winans’ “Birthday Poem:” “73, feeling like a Samurai;” the ability of Peggy Shumaker’s brief poem “Oatmeal” to capture marriage’s long haul in a few sentences about cereal pouring into a bowl; Melanie Browne’s delightful poem “A Couple of Unpretentious Skeletons Decide to Go Skinny Dipping.” I had the image of an arch in my head driving me nuts for months until I recently encountered John Ciardi’s poem “Most Like an Arch This Marriage.” The second stanza begins, “Most like an arch — two weaknesses that lean / into strength. Two fallings become firm.” The image of the arch no longer haunts me. Ciardi expressed exactly what I hadn’t yet found words for. Amazing. I mean, I wish I’d written it instead of him, but amazing nonetheless. In Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Brick explains to Maggie that he can tell when he’s drunk enough liquor by the “click” in his head that makes him “feel peaceful.” I get that same “click” in my head when I read a poem that works. And I wait for that same click to know when to stop tinkering with my own poems (sometimes the click never comes). But how do I know if a poem of mine works for others? EAH: Without audience feedback, poets seldom know what clicks for their readers. I’m pleased to be able to showcase some of your wonderful poems in our Vacation issue, which I hope engenders valuable reader responses for you. Something else I hope readers note is how much robust imagery you include in your poems. You’ve said you write about obsessive images (for more on this topic, see Maureen’s essay on page 20); does doing so have a cathartic purpose? MK: A once-and-for-all catharsis would be fantastic! The best I can hope for is to calm an obsessive image by paying attention to it poetically. If I’m too evasive or attempt to use humor (the Irish all-purpose tension reducer) it sticks around until I stop screwing around. Occasionally I happen upon an outside force that pacifies the image, like Ciardi’s arch poem. That doesn’t happen often enough! EAH: During all this obsessing and partial catharting, what recent accomplishments have evolved? MK: I’ve finished my first chapbook entitled Swallowing Stones. It’s a collection of poems that glimpse life in the harsh and monumental landscape of the old Nebraska Territory (Nebraska, Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana; it’s a region encompassing massive river basins, the Great Plains, mountains and desert). Place or landscape is frequently the vehicle through which I examine human nature. (See, also, Maureen’s essay on page 21.)
~ 13 ~ The working-title of my next chapbook is A Poet and a Geographer Got on the Road, and it, too, uses place as a vehicle, but this time to examine marriage and perspective (a multiply ambiguous concept!). I am, in fact, married to a geographer, and we’re often stunned by our different interpretations of the same place, not to mention how differently we navigate the same marital space. EAH: Do you travel for readings? MK: Because I live in a rural region, my reading opportunities are few and far between, but recently I’ve become involved with a grassroots group called “Bold Nebraska.” Writers and artists from around the state have been performing and giving readings for the past six weeks to protest TransCanada’s intention to build the Keystone XL crude pipeline through Nebraska’s Ogallala Aquifer and the Sand Hills region en route to the Gulf of Mexico. If the aquifer becomes contaminated with tar sands, Nebraskans will have no water source because an aquifer can’t be washed squeaky clean with Dawn dish detergent; and there are no underground waves to dilute the oil’s impact. EAH: That’s terrible. MK: And the Sand Hills. It is the sacred heart of our region; what most Americans speeding through Nebraska on I-80 never see. At first I was upset with my inability to maintain detachment at these readings. I had to stop myself several times because my lip was quivering and tears blossomed. But the poets who followed me, many of them veterans, had
the same problem. Still, I’m not a native Nebraskan. I couldn’t make sense of my reaction. My inchoate sense of place had been shaped in New England not the Great Plains. What was going on? After some reflection, I’ve concluded that what had happened was this: my poetic crucible was being threatened along with a landscape I love. Somewhere along the line the two had actually conjoined to form an imaginative nexus. I wasn’t conscious of this love connection until the pipeline threatened the landscape. Then I felt like Steven McCaffrey (Kurt Russell) in the final scene of the movie Backdraft, where his firefighter buddy is about to be engulfed by flame and he says (grabbing his arm): “You go, we go.” EAH: I’ve recently moved to the prairies from the northern West Coast rainforests, and I anticipate some of the same disorienting experiences you describe here — in relation to your newly-loved landscape — and in your essay, following. I hope to develop a similar integration with my own writing and sense of adopted place. Thanks so much for sharing your perspective with us, Maureen.
Read Maureen’s featured poems & biographical note on pages 14-19.
~ 14 ~ Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen
Ukiyo-e Pictures of the Floating World
I want to escape into Hokusaiâ€™s woodblock prints, lounge with the samurai, be served sake by geisha, write sumptuous scenes for the Kabuki theater. I want to sing from right to left in this bottoms-up land, climb Mount Fuji, plant my extra rib in its brocaded soil. Blessed Edo paradise, where consequence is a vestigial organ and pleasure the heart of it all. Japonisme, the French call it. Fluid silk robes wrapping and unwrapping bodies in progress, waterfall stories carved in arcs without historic frame or future tense, a lush, floating world where all shadow is vanquished, flattened, seduced by the red paint of now. Nothing spoils or rots here, no ruin or disgrace, no distillation of bitter truth. Just the sweet grape released from its taut skin, pink lungs panting, and wave after wave of lost perspective.
~ 15 ~
Wildflowers “Release” by E.A. Hanninen, 2011
Their seeds blow across the plains, take root in rocky rail beds, climb the calves of power poles, claim squatter’s rights to shitboxes on blocks. Blooming rebels. Some joyous, cartwheeling types, some revolutionaries waving pistols in the sun, all certain of just one thing: freedom.
But you, in the passing car, can distinguish field from ground, can see they’re all vagrants in a flophouse ditch, all dressing from the same closet of abandonment.
Maureen Kingston lives and works in eastern Nebraska. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Bicycle Review, Hobble Creek Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Red River Review and Third Wednesday. Website (http://mockingbird.creighton.edu/ncw/kingston.htm)
Don’t tread on me! the feral buds scream.
~ 16 ~ Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen
Their red-rich ovaries a creek bed of chaste seeds, heavenly sweet, the girl-next-door tendering backyard caviar. But like all such Vestal beauties, a little frightening, too, witches best put to the stake; Christmas stars flaming in freefall, landing on our plates, hissing, salvation tarred in figgy pudding.
“Impressionist Figs” by E.A. Hanninen, 2011
Their violet brown her-shapes don’t travel well unless preserved in Newton’s chest of drawers.
~ 17 ~
Repetitive Motion Injury When I quit smoking, I dreamt of shivs and daggers and swords; a straight razor slitting my throat â€” its sensuous steel sticking me, flaying my flesh, night after night. Since your death I've dreamed only of vomiting. Crude, bottom's-up, Jack Daniel's heaving. I always manage to awaken mid-spill, mid-bray, revolted by my mind's Woody Woodpecker need; its singular key; its idiot-savant insistence on banging middle C. Desperate for relief, I try biofeedback. Conjure a rock hammer at bedtime. I pray the invisible hand wielding it will crack open my skull; pray its magic fingers will find my afflicted vine and poison its rootstock with Macbeth's oblivious antidote. Numb. Dam. Strangle. Anything to interrupt the corrosive flow from reaching its cellular goal. Make it a dead zone. Or if not dead at least defanged; my current of grief diverted, pooled into some forsaken borrow pit. The biofeedback works. I awake refreshed, the emetic juices quelled, the rebellion put down. All day, nothing but pleasant thoughts. Only a few stray images dare to poke through the weed mat. Good ones, though. Like the splendid warm bosom of my preschool teacher; her inviting roly-poly waist. When I fall asleep I even dream of her sunny playroom; of the funny clown in the corner. Do you remember him? The punching-bag one, weighted down, guaranteed to pop back up no matter how hard you slugged him in the gut.
Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen
~ 18 ~ Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen
Red River of the North What if water flowed backwards? What if it raised a sodden middle finger and refused to seek its own level? The Red River of the North flows like that, bullying map readers' eyes to roll up and up on the atlas page, rushing some five hundred miles north in a wrong-eyed direction just to separate the flatlands of North Dakota from the plains of Minnesota. *** The Lakota swam the Red River when it was still a glacial lake, collected wooly mammoth hair stuck in its loam, piked bison sipping from its shoals. My son belongs to this race of heroic hunters. His eyes are mine, it's true, Celtic blue, the color of slate, but the rest of him is Lakota. That's why he walks backwards without losing his balance, why he glimpses slope in the fields where I see only plane, why dust devils fear him, losing their breath when he spins their way. ***
~ 19 ~
My hoe sticks in the frosted ground, upsets my thrusting, and I slice the sugar beet in half. I've waited too long to harvest: the sundered beet leaks into my glove, its tender juice, like his, concentrated sweetness below the surface. And I'm sorry I didn't wonder more about magnetic north and raindrops falling on the Continental Divide. *** I know now that my soil is weak, prone to erosion, to mudslide; know I am the reason his heart blood flowed backwards, bursting his life valve. It came from my side of his equation: that anemic clicking and whooshing, a distant murmur from Irish ancestors, a harmless vestige, until it brawled his Lakota half and lost. “Red River of the North” first appeared in Plains Song Review, v XI, 2009, and is forthcoming in Caduceus Journal, 2012
“Heartbeets” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
~ 20 ~
The Road to Damascus by Way of the Great Plains
Kingn Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen Kingston Maureen
An Essay by Maureen Kingston
How Do Poets Become Poets? My ears always prick up when I hear or read descriptions of our creation stories. I don’t know what I hope to gain from them. A family tree, perhaps. Too often lately, though, such stories seem to be hogtied in Sunday dress, scrubbed pink for public consumption. The poet-star began writing at the age of nine-twelve-fifteen, the tale begins; kept a journal; had a college mentor or prescient first editor who nurtured the budding poet’s talent (“though my first poems were horrible,” sigh). He or she struggled in obscurity for a respectable amount of time; had a brush with addiction (a nod to sin or Bukowski); won a few contest prizes; then first books; a reading at the 92nd St. Y; and voilà: a full-blown poet is born (and the whelp currently teaches at such-and-such university). I understand the appeal of such stories, their step-by-step progression. I wish it were my story. Is it yours? What if you’re the hula hoop in a room full of ladders? A thirty-five-year-old soldier, home from the war, attends a poetry workshop to appease his VA shrink. It stimulates a nerve he never knew he had. The waitress at the end of a long shift sits alone at the counter, jotting phrases on her order pad. The elderly clerk in a men’s store hurries to serve his customer at the checkout, trying to hold the rhyme in his head until he can write it down. These are some late-blooming, odd-blooming, maybe never-blooming, hula-hoop poets I know. I’m one, too. We’re poets on the margin of poetry. Seems oxymoronic, I know, considering how little regard even renowned poets receive in American society. All poets are marginalized here. Hula-hoop poets even more so. If we’re honest, outside forces aren’t entirely responsible for our fates; some self-inflicted wounds (and exile) are usually at play as well. It’s the matter of volition that distinguishes us from other poets. Laddered poets seem to invite poetry into their lives, while hula-hoop poets, more often than not, feel blindsided by it, as though poetry had jumped from a dark alley and shanghaied them.
Poetry at the Point of a Depression-loaded Gun Grieving. Unemployed. In debt. A graduate school dropout. That’s how I arrived on the Great Plains from upstate New York more than a decade ago. This would be the site and situation from which my poetic self would emerge. Or, more accurately, would be dragged with forceps and chains into being. My husband had landed a teaching job in Nebraska and we were giddy (initially, at least) crossing the country in our Ryder® truck for this new land of opportunity. Neither of us knew what to expect in Nebraska. We didn’t much care, either. Like a lot of recession refugees today, phrases like “contract” and “health benefits” meant we might be able to abandon the gypsy teaching circuit and plan our lives for more than a few months at a time. A godsend. Into this wake followed two additional, unwelcomed guests: memory lapses and relentless mental imaging. The memory lapses were brief, like patches of ground fog, not long enough to endanger, but just long enough to scare the crap out of me. The pictures were another matter: sometimes whole slide shows, sometimes the same image over and over, occasionally traumatic, but largely mundane. A set of keys. An old man inspecting mason jars. Lichen on a rock. This quasisynesthesia afflicts me to this day. Right now the image of a ship in a bottle is nagging me for attention!
~ 21at ~the time of its onset I felt cursed; it was as While I’ve grown accustomed to my affliction, though God was deliberately foisting a new language of pictures on me late in life, knowing full well I’d fail to master it. What did I know from imagery? I was a can-do, stick-figure kind of American gal. Put your head down. Plow. Get on with it. I never dreamt (even for one second) of becoming a poet. Oh sure, I might have fantasized about being John Grisham once in a while. Who wouldn’t want that kind of money? But in reality, I used language like a plumber uses a wrench: as a means to a more essential end. Which is why, I suppose, God had to blind Saul of Tarsus before he could set him on the path to becoming the apostle Paul. Nothing short of a sledgehammer bash would’ve accomplished the task of transforming one of Christianity’s most vocal critics into its champion. And, no, I’m not comparing myself to saints. I’m just admitting that without the forced vacation to Depressionland, it never would’ve occurred to me to wander into poetry. Accepting Baudelaire’s Invitation to Voyage? Late spring. West of Valentine, Nebraska. Past the 100th meridian. The last dividing line between the humid east and the arid west. The sandstorm forces me off the road, onto the shoulder. I can’t see a thing. But I can smell and taste. The grit of the dunes. The garden. The grave. Terrifying and profound. It is here, in the Sand Hills, that I first learned how to behold, how to live in the midst. Of what? The moment. Chaos. Creation. A fate I never imagined. A death I couldn’t evade or fix. The roots of the bluestem grasses here extend deep beneath the hills, but they must always contend with the paradox of eroding soil. Earlier in the day, I’d stopped near a ranch to observe a calf bleating, nuzzling her dead mother’s stiff body. Other calves and mothers passed. Some paused to sniff and then moved on. I moved on too. Though depression was in my rearview mirror now, this scene reminded me how I’d stumbled in its wasteland, a crucible which both erased and re-defined simultaneously. The desire to write poetry was a gift, a by-product of depression’s grind. Yet I feel no gratitude for its impressment. The ambiguity of such forced vacations is reminiscent of Charles Baudelaire’s mixed-message poem, “Invitation au Voyage.” On one hand, the speaker is jubilant at the prospect of sweet transformation at the hands of his beloved; on the other hand, the prospect is undermined by its corrupt context. The ecstatic “Invitation” comes after fifty bleak poetic portraits of urban life in Flowers of Evil. Is the speaker deluding himself? Which is the real voyage? Can we have one without the other? It took considerable time to adjust my eyesight to the Western landscape, accustomed as I was to Eastern Rococo: the Victorian draperies of vines; the protective canopies of trees; mounds of diverting stone knickknacks; and forest beds layered with entertaining plants only a superabundance of water could birth. My earliest encounters with the Great Plains made me quake with fear. I wondered how a body was supposed to take in so much sky, so much vacancy. It was like the ocean but with no water barrier. I could just keep going. Get swallowed. Drown in space. Over the years I’ve continued to explore Nebraska, South Dakota, and Wyoming, often deliberately getting lost in their spaces. The Great Plains are part muse, part beloved to me. I’m better able to embrace life’s unknowns in their enormous presence. Better able to accept the scars of grief and my bit role in the human drama. The span is also large enough to connect the flow of images in my head. When my hibernating writing skills returned, I enrolled in a number of writing courses hoping to make sense of these images. In the end, only poetry seemed capable of capturing the intersection of my new inner and outer spaces. October. Dawn. I’m at the edge of a field, contemplating the extraordinary rust-red of the ripening soybeans. If I were a painter, like Mark Rothko, I might be able to paint the feeling of falling I’m experiencing. But I’m not. Instead, the ship in a bottle is back. There’s a connection, I’m certain, but it slips away. I’ll need to drive farther down the road.
~ 22 ~
What’s Left Behind / On Leaving
“Leaving” by E. A. Hanninen, 2011
~ 23 ~ Yazinski Ron Yazinski Ron Yazinski Ron Yazinski Ron Yazinski Ron
A Drive Around Nothing is more American than leaving. Every generation is laced with Pilgrim blood, The feeling that something’s wrong here And our father’s gods are embarrassing. And so we go, As Twain left, ending up in the East where people pay dearly for laughs; Or Kerouac, On the Road, Bumming cigarettes and looking for the ultimate fix; Or Persig driving his Zen to the coast; Or Dylan on the never-ending tour to make this land his land, Because a man needs fresh dust beneath his boots to give them traction, Or he’ll end up like Woody Guthrie, trembling in a bed. The purpose of sacred things is to hold you back. Fortunately, nothing here is sacred. Think of Ambrose Bierce, Written out, angered out, weakened by petulance, off to Mexico
Is a metaphor for the universe that asks nothing of us, We can either be the terror of the St. Francis Nursing Home, Bullying to get the best rocker on the veranda, Or we can be true to our American hearts, and go.
Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher who, with his wife Jeanne, divides time between Northeastern Pennsylvania and Winter Garden, Florida. His poems have appeared in The Journal of the Mulberry Poets & Writers Association, Poets Online, Strong Verse, The Bijou Poetry Review, Recursive Angel, Edison Literary Review, Lunarosity, and other fine journals. He is also author of the chapbook, Houses: An American Zodiac, published by The Poetry Library, and a book of poems, South of Scranton. Ron is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Contact Ron (firstname.lastname@example.org)
To piss in the fountain of youth, never to be seen again. When that age comes, When the idea of evolution is all that comforts us, With its assurance that the nothing we are
~ 24 ~ Flynn C. Flynn C. Flynn C. Flynn C. Flynn C. Flynn C. Flynn C. Flynn C.
Going Home My daughter used my minivan to move to Florida after she got married. For the first time in three years I was driving it again, bringing it home to Ohio. Well, partly. I needed floor space in the van, so I left the bench seats in Florida. That, and a new house, guarantees my return. Driving my moldy fast-food-bag-on-wheels to the steady thump of worn suspension, an overcast sky split me, like the van, in two. Heading north through the Jefferson National Forest, on I-77, Iâ€™m thinking, part of me is with the seats under a brilliant sun-blue sky, while the rest is driving on a shadowy mountain, beneath grey rippled clouds, on a concrete road, trying to make it home. What if the van never makes it home? I wonder, which home? What good are seats without a van? I counted my homes. At least, the ones I could remember since childhood. Eighteen. All permanent, but not.
“Radial” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
~ 25 ~
For house nineteen, my Homeowner Association requires St. Augustine sod to be laid over our sandy and barren yard. Home eighteen, where I lived the longest, has so much grass, I wish I could roll it up, stick it in the van, take and plant it in my new front yard. I’d sprinkle it twice a day, for awhile, with Florida’s reclaimed water. Let the subtropical sun wave its nurturing wand, cast a radiant golden spell on each blade of grass, and conjure its growth to accepted HOA height.
C. Flynn is a retired school teacher / librarian / technology coordinator / technology integrationist / golf coach who is now able to invest time into his first passion, writing. He recently had a poem published in Kent State University’s Luna Negra Magazine, Spring 2011. He lives with his wife Liz in Kent, Ohio, and will soon join his Voyager van seats in Florida. His three married children live in Florida, California, and Israel.
But just as important as that— I have to get the seats back in the van.
~ 26 ~ Egan Laury A. Egan Laury A. Egan Laury A. Egan Laury A. Egan Laury A.
Leaving I was always leaving. It’s what I did. One way or the other I found myself gone, across an ocean, continent, from a relationship, moving on, alone.
Sometimes I’ve wondered when I’ll return and to where. I’ve misplaced myself many times, careless about honing the sense of home, a location that implies belonging. Now I sit in a chair and roam, since I’m no longer fit for real roving. Suitcases molder in closets, maps go out of date, yet I still depart, more often from people than places. Someday soon, I’ll be gone from both, leaving this seaside house and this itinerant self. From Laury A. Egan’s published collection, Beneath the Lion’s Paw, 2011
A regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye, Laury A. Egan's two poetry collections, Snow, Shadows, a Stranger and Beneath the Lion’s Paw, were published by FootHills Publishing. Her work has received nominations for several top poetry prizes, and has appeared in over 20 journals, including Atlanta Review, the 1999 Emily Dickinson Award Anthology, Boston Literary Magazine, and anthologies by Static Movement press and Sephyrus Press. In 2012, a collection, Fog and Other Stories, will be published by StoneGarden.net Publishing, and her first novel, Jenny Kidd, will be issued by Vagabondage Press. Laury is also a fine arts photographer. Website (www.lauryaegan.com)
Islands were the best place to go when leaving— Greek, British, Leeward, U.S. Virgins, the Azores, destinations chosen for disappearing.
~ 27 ~
Something’s Missing / On Absence, Emptiness, Vacancy
“Pool in Winter” by Phoebe Murer, 2011
~ 28 ~ Ciraolo Laura A. Ciraolo Laura A. Ciraolo Laura A. Ciraolo Laura A.
What Should Never Be in Poems In poems, butterflies should never scream Or tear flesh with their sharp jagged teeth. In my poems, they remain silent Or get pinned like Prufrock. In poems, angels Should never be fried, or eaten, for that matter, Unless it=s just their wings, Which make great hors d=oeuvres when batter-dipped. In poems, adolescents should not come of age Having sex in the back seats of cars. Everyone knows they should abstain And save themselves for marriage. Poems should never be in the style Of John Ashbery, Unless you really want to sound Like a pompous ass. In poems, you should never use the word Fuck gratuitously. In my poems, I use it only for good reason, Like to tell time. Poems, in general, Should avoid clichĂŠs. Refrain from crimson roses or veal cutlets, Chiefly if you=re writing rhyming couplets.
â€œShadowcatâ€? by D. J. Bryant, 2011
~ 29 ~
Poems should never have a cat Or be about cats. In my poems, I break this rule all the time And perversely presage a cat in every one.
Laura A. Ciraolo was born in New York City and has lived and worked there as long as she can remember. She had poems recently in The Cortland Review #49, The New York Quarterly #66, The Medulla Review, Caper Literary Journal, and Poets for Living Waters. Her poems have also appeared in Agenda (UK), Long Island Quarterly, Orbis (UK), Iota (UK), MiPOesias, The Comstock Review, and, of course, The Centrifugal Eye, where she=s a regular contributor. She was a finalist for the 2010 Bordighera Poetry Prize.
Never dedicate a poem to the living. Invariably, they will misunderstand. Only dedicate to the dead. It=s too late for them to object.
~ 30 ~ Clark Jennifer Clark Jennifer Clark Jennifer Clark Jennifer
Where Is Norman Rockwell When You Need Him? Against a sprawling canvas bordered by cornfields tinged with copper, my husband and his family stand still as stalks in this wide, open place. Just our boy moves in this Indiana heat. Crouched in our circle of shade, he picks up a stone, only to drop one for another. “Why, it’s Wilson and Kate!” shouts my mother-in-law, who spots them first. She clasps her hands in delight, as if these neighbors from just down the road lived light-years away. Stones spit out tired complaints as a burnt-umber Plymouth rolls slowly up the drive. Dust cloaks its dry greeting over the scene. When it wearies, you can see that we stand in this painting not yet painted, the peeling barn hugged by a cerulean sky, the old farmer and his wife polite as pie. A small smile dances upon his lips, then leaps across to hers, then back again. Paint them shiny. Like tiny stars dropped from the sky, they burn bright. Wilson wears denim overalls and holds a present wrapped in plain brown paper. Look closely at his hands, two small planets of rugged terrain. Dip your brush into a lifetime thick of sun and earth. Kate stands beside him in a yellow-ochre dress. Pencil in peonies, then use a clean, dry brush with just a touch of watery white to give a hint of flowers.
“Hint of Peony” by E. A. Hanninen, 2011
~ 31 ~
“I hear you like flags,” he winks to our boy as his hands bestow the gift. Kate leans in and whispers in my ear, “He made it himself.” Bathe their pleasant mixing of voice in a sea of swirling pigments. I stand beside my husband, sprung from this Indiana ground. Sketch him solid, warm, stretching for miles. Can you see our boy release crumpled paper to the wind, pull the wooden flag to his chest? A car with blurry occupants rushes by. Get this moment down so that we and the hurried ones of this world may pass through once again and see
Jennifer Clark’s work has recently appeared in Driftwood (Ludington Visiting Writers), Defenestration, Gloom Cupboard, Raven Chronicles, Dogs Singing: A Tribute Anthology (Salmon Press), and All Poetry is Prayer. She has work forthcoming in Rose & Thorn Journal, Astropoetica, Paper Crow, The 7th Sin (Shade City Press), and Main Street Rag. She lives in Michigan, where she serves as director of community relations for Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo.
plain brown wrappings tumbling out of view, the gift opened, readied for the embrace.
~ 32 ~ Howells Ann Howells Ann Howells Ann Howells Ann Howells Ann Howells Ann
Something, Perhaps, by Sophocles
Act II Everyone on stage: flashing blue lights, paramedics, neighbors, rubberneckers. A country doctor pronounces my sister uninjured . . . but pregnant. Much pacing, wailing. High drama. Pathos. Mama hysterical; Sister repeating, I’m not! I’m not pregnant! And Ron offering marriage, which doesn’t help a bit. Curtain.
Ann Howells serves on the board of Dallas Poets Community. She has edited its journal, Illya's Honey, for thirteen years. Her chapbook, Black Crow in Flight, was published by Main Street Rag (2007). Her work appears in Ascent Aspirations Magazine (Canada), Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Concho River Review, Magma Poetry (UK), RiverSedge, San Pedro River Review, Sentence, Spillway Magazine, and Third Wednesday, among others.
Act III Interminable weekend: Greek chorus chants, I’m not pregnant! I’m not! Ron is banned. Mama expands the roll of tragic heroine. Early Monday, my sister’s doctor declares her unsullied but constipated. Anti-climax! Epilogue We do not return to the island, instead, expire in sweltering city heat. Curtain.
Act I Whitewashed planks clappity-clap as we cross the humpback bridge into summer. Mama won’t let us date island boys, but Sister, age 15, can date Ron, whom Mama knows from the city. No blue-eyed innocent though, he terrifies her, rocks his car right and left over humped macadam, until it rolls. Curtain.
Read more of Ann’s poetry on page 50.
~ 33 ~ Owens Scott Owens Scott Owens Scott Owens Scott Owens Scott
The Loneliness of Old Men
You get up, leave the lights out, walk from room to empty room, look for the familiar robe, the towel left on the floor, small signs of what was here before. You stop in the room where you started, uncertain where to go next, stand halfway between the clock and the bed. You wonder how you got here, in a house where it is morning both day and night, and you are always rising.
Recipient of awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Pushcart Prize Anthology, Scott Owens is the author of 8 collections of poetry and over 900 published poems in journals including The Georgia Review, North American Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Poetry East, among others. He is the founder of Poetry Hickory, editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review and 234, and vice president of the Poetry Council of NC. He teaches at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory, NC. Scott is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.
You hear a tapping at night. You hold your breath to listen, then recognize your own fingers on the headboard. You roll over, throw your arm across the empty space beside you, look to the windows for light, find none. You think these curtains donâ€™t belong here, or you donâ€™t belong to them. You wonder whose house this is.
~ 34 ~ Smith David-Glen Smith David-Glen Smith David-Glen Smith David-Glen
Fragments: East St. Louis 1996 “I am forgotten as a dead man out of mind: I am like a broken vessel.” —Psalms 31:12, KJV
I —or like the beauty of the slow wearing down of a warehouse’s bricked archway— for travelers who turn off a highway too soon, the torn map becomes rubble, abstract codes, fractures— as if finding yourself suddenly lost in rows of abandoned buildings, downtown, near the river. Alleys painted with signs in thin, fading coats Sunny Brook Whiskey, clear —as in the rise of curiosities. That was me, you see, lost in the very city I lived in for more than six years, caught in a sudden maze of altered streets— as mountain-clear water The phrase faded, but when I turned a corner, the building disappeared within itself— ii It’s not 1957, although the emptiness in the streets makes one feel otherwise— like a black-and-white photo. In the distance, women walk under steel bridges. The scene opens as if a bomb were dropped on this section of town then no one ventured back to repair the sum of all the shattered parts, leaving them all in a sudden decay of brick and stone. They move forward, these honey-almond women, dark coffee women with a cadence unknown to me, a higher style of attitude, even a self-knowledge; they dance knowing I am watching them, still distanced, without showing myself.
“Crumbling” by E. A. Hanninen, 2011
~ 35 ~
Deeper in this part of town, the buildings smile back with harelips and gap-tooth grins, vanity left to fallen doric columns, blacked marble and cracked plaster niches. The brass address plates have faded to gangrene lime and lace-patterned arches crumble apart with slightest fingertips— over time everything will be bordered up, one by— In this part of town, teenage boys call out in falsettos: Hey, Queenie! drawing out the phrase, words directed at anyone other than themselves, the thick blood-bonding bridged between themselves. Even their tattoos mirror each to each in their raw housings of skin. iii It is ironic, this situation: sometimes after dusk when the blue lights appear in my neighbors’ windows, their televisions tuned to late-night reruns, I wander cross town into the bordering woods, Creve Couer Park, slipping like Dante into the forest of his personal Hell, slipping among dark scented trees, figures with wild, open gestures. At this hour the only sounds are small-voiced owls calling out suddenly, or stray dogs on the prowl— At this hour, I can come across men kneeling into the essence of themselves, their bodies unaware of anything other but the temporary now. The forsaken act. Sometimes, if you lean closely enough, you can smell the whiskey on their lips,
~ 36 ~ or if too late, you can stumble upon their lost condoms, exposed and casual as stray coins, or burnt matches in the rubble of the men’s portable restrooms. Tangibles of another life, of something dictated by different rules. Even a beauty lies here, in the rush of blood and rising flesh, rash as fighting cocks: feathers spread in plumes and Elizabethan lace, the flash, the sudden angry lunge of furies turned up in volume, the blood-rush and anguish, until a release, a separation, and a hasty regrouping of recollections— or the regathering of worn clothes. Unlike the night when the crescent of your face hovered over me, silent and tender. Your raw, exposed beauty heightened the pace of the hour, of the raw newness between you and me, unexposed to elements, to the fresh pulse of morning growing unseen, filling out the window, filling out the day iv until this present tense. At a distance, with myself traveling again, cross town. Looking back, days exist when my wild impatience tightens. There are days when time, working against me, tears down all my motions into a slow decay, friction working along the skin. A slight prick in the side, a thorn. On days like this, I cannot explain myself even to myself, least of all to someone else. Least of all to— It’s as if I have worn this depression as a suit ever since the first beginning, before memory provided knowledge, before the tense shift opens in childhood’s speech, a natural sea patterned in the flesh of the tongue.
~ 37 ~ I have known this depression as a lover, a constant companion through nights, with songs humming in his throat, words turning over in his warm mouth. His beautiful face turns away in his sleep, his pale warmth burns against my side. Like a city burning nightly in riots, unable to repair itself,
Residing in Cypress, Texas, with his partner of ten years, David-Glen Smith teaches English Literature at both Wharton County Junior College and Lone Star College-CyFair. He received his MFA at Vermont College, and his MA at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. Currently, and most importantly, he and his partner have welcomed a baby boy into their lives. Smith’s work has appeared in various magazines, most recently: Assaracus (forthcoming), The Q Review, ffrfr, Saltwater Quarterly, The Houston Literary Review, Lady Jane’s Miscellany, Slant, and The Write Room. In addition, a recent print anthology, titled Ganymede Unfinished, accepted two of his poems. Blog (http://davidglensmith.blogspot.com/)
“Missouri Paver” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
or myself lost in the middle of my life, just learning how to read the beauty that dwells in you, a clear glass of morning buried in your eyes or in the way you lean into me, quietly kneeling unhurried into the delicate hesitancy caught between us.
~ 38 ~ Spears James Martin Spears James Martin Spears James Martin
James Martin Spears has an MA in English from McNeese State University, is working on an MFA in poetry from Drew University, and teaches English at Louisiana State University at Eunice.
I would lie inside her thighs and sing, Glory, glory, glory if I werenâ€™t married, grasp the horns of her altar and plea, my face near her unveiled Holy of Holies, for healing from sterile Puritan walls and weeds beyond my window that render me blind. Brambles in my yard and a callous vine called Age creep my back toward earth. I would beg for absolution and a salve of her spit in my eyes.
~ 39 ~
Failure & Farewell / On Loss
“Sister Age” by Janet Snell, 2011
~ 40 ~ Snell Cheryl Snell Cheryl Snell Cheryl Snell Cheryl Snell Cheryl
Sister Age With the album spread across her knees, she turns the pages of her life, where sons become brothers, nieces are cousins. A husband died, but peacefully, of natural causes. Is this you? she asks, pointing to a photo. I’m ten, my Brownie uniform weighted with badges. You were so sweet with your bandaged knees and blonde braids. You liked to sketch the horses we kept on the farm. Her farm. Her childhood. The brain unravels backward. Did I know you then? I tell her that I am her daughter. You are? How lovely! She closes the book and holds me as close as if one of us had been lost.
Cheryl’s sister, Janet Snell (artwork on page 39), has shown her art in venues including The Drawing Center in NYC, Cleveland's SPACES, and Summit Art Space in Akron. She is the author of Flytrap and other books of art and poems.
Cheryl Snell's books include poetry and fiction, and several collaborations with her sister, expressionist artist Janet Snell. This is Cheryl’s second appearance in The Centrifugal Eye.
~ 41 ~ Gage-Dixon Bridget Gage-Dixon Bridget Gage-Dixon Bridget
The Day You Died ~For Alex
Bridget Gage-Dixon's work is forthcoming or has appeared in Cider Press Review, Flywheel, Poet Lore, Inkwell, The New York Quarterly, Gargoyle, and other fine journals. She received her MFA from Stonecoast/USM, and she lives and teaches in central New Jersey.
Arrived much the way that others had, the sun lifted itself slowly over shivering waves, stretched glowing arms across the horizon. You lingered a bit longer beneath the covers, tried to ignore the unrelenting alarm, but that day, like so many others, pulled you to it, you entered unaware. The earth seethed with blooms, forsythias, tulips, azaleas, every branch erupting around you. There was, of course, work to do, things demanding to be tended to, so you slid on old jeans, one pocket torn by the errant screws you’d stored there, knees frayed by the friction of labor. You ate your sandwich outside, sunlight spilling over you; its heat began to sear your skin. When you climbed back into your truck, to head home, a firm-fisted glare pressed against the windshield, music milled from the dashboard radio, you thought about dinner, about meetings, about next week’s game, about days you didn’t know would never come.
~ 42 ~ Greenbaum-Maya Karen Greenbaum-Maya Karen Greenbaum-Maya Karen
To Die in Cochabamba (I Will Not Die in Paris) ~after César Vallejo
Cochabamba, green valley at the mountaintop, umbilical scar high on the equator. No one dies in Cochabamba. I will die in Cochabamba.
Cochabamba of bum leg, fùtbol ploy. The center herds the ball around rival feet. His bamboo legs thread it down the field while fans shout eternal spring in Cochabamba. Cochabamba, hit samba of Carneval. Close the window, that cochabamba is getting on my last nerve, I tell the nurse, but she is busy slipping morphine under my tongue. She cups my face in her dry hand, and my eyes, lips, bum leg relax, Ay, mi cochabamba. It seems in Cochabamba everyone knows, and I’ve stopped wondering why I stopped here to die. I'm just another plane crash, lights down the aisle in the center of the darkness.
Cochabamba of eternal spring, no longest night, no shortest day. Streams freeze hard after sundown; winter comes every night in Cochabamba.
Read more of Karen’s poetry and her bio on page 52.
~ 43 ~ Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat
Dead Reckoning It was the dead of winter and we had nothing nothing to do but sit and talk our blues away at a table full of dead soldiers meaning empties Truth of it was we were all alone in the middle dead center of no place special, faded flowers deadheaded by the wind, clipped by a gardener with a mean sense of the ironic We were in a deadbeat’s dead heat to closing, racing toward the unimaginable cold, to the final effortless dead man’s float
Pat Hale is a Connecticut poet who has been writing since she was a little girl. In recent years, her poetry has appeared in CALYX, The Sow’s Ear, Long River Run, Dogwood, Connecticut River Review, Naugatuck River Review, and other journals. Her awards include CALYX’s 2005 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize, first prize in the 2007 Al Savard Memorial Poetry Contest, and the 2011 Sunken Garden Poetry Award. In 2009, she was a resident at Hedgebrook, the women's writing retreat on Whidbey Island, Washington. Her 2011 chapbook, Composition and Flight, contains many of the poems written there. She is a long-time member of the poetry group, the PIPS, and serves on the board of directors for the Riverwood Poetry Series, Inc. Contact Pat (email@example.com)
And you won, sweet Jesus, you won Look at you lying there so smug and so still, satin pillow beneath your head dead as the proverbial doornail
Read more of Pat’s poetry on pages 49 & 53.
~ 44 ~ Merrifield Karla Linn Merrifield Karla Linn Merrifield Karla Linn
Elegiac Meditation (on the part of me that’s gone) ~for Michael Smith
You sent me to be among armadillos and barred owls. You specified palm (sabal), pine (slash), oak (live). So I sought the subtropical forests of Florida — and asked for echoes. At first lichen-like, diminutive, mossy-varied echoes of dew. Then my ear acutely turned to the distinctive sound — jungle drum tympani — of my cells
Last of my family’s heart to beat, mine enlarges; I give the dead sanctuary. I am able to deliver my brother to the Universe that echoes your calm silence of midnight on the Caloosahatchee River. His anger has arrived on the far side, no echo in its wake, no fish stirring.
transforming negative charges to loss. The DNA stops here.
Read Karla’s Review Column and her bio on pages 62-67.
“DNA Strand” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
~ 45 ~ Peckman Rod Peckman Rod Peckman Rod Peckman Rod Peckman Rod Peckman Rod
Eastern Oregon: Disassembling the Wreckage Their car just barely a car, axle wobbling on its differential 200 yards from a flaking gray metal heap. Contorted steam from a radiator hissing in due liberation. Your realization and guilty disappointment that cars do not explode like on TV. Warped steering wheel spinning like a plate on a quivering dowel. At the edge of the salt pan, luggage, underwear, broken glass and dirty socks line the two-lane desert highway pinched between alkaline Lake Albert and immense basalt columns that we now know fall with a slight shift of a random wind.
This is the stray shoe breaking through that crumbling silence. This is the shoe just short of melting on the hot asphalt. This is a shoe mourning its dirty tube socks just down the road. This is a shoe the alkaline wind will consume, will swallow whole.
Another version of “Eastern Oregon: Disassembling the Wreckage” was published in Cantaraville 11 (July 2010).
A stray shoe straddles the double yellow stripe beneath a grand expanse of crumbling dry silence. Slowing the car through the flashing lights, you flash on the random horror of it all, and the utter beauty — the columnar rock, to the white rim of the impossibly blue soda lake you follow.
Read more of Rod’s poetry and his bio on pages 56 & 57.
~ 46 ~ Willitts, Jr. Martin Willitts, Jr. Martin Willitts, Jr. Martin
For My Wife Who Died on a Late August Day Much Like Today I tried to reassemble her, like building a house of cards, but sections kept crumbling, like her mind. Snow was in the air. Snow was in her words, never settling on anything. Snow accumulated in the hem of my heart. That’s the thing about snow. It never lasts, and when it’s gone, it comes back when you least need it. There is no comfort in this. I know. I tucked her in a comforter to her chin. Her feeble smile haphazardly appeared. What did she see, when nothing was anything she could remember?
She did not recognize me, and it did not matter. I have been shoveling ever since, although nothing stays.
Martin Willitts, Jr. has four new chapbooks: “The Girl Who Sang Forth Horses” (Pudding House Publications, 2010), “Van Gogh’s Sunflowers for Cezanne” (Finishing Line Press, 2010), “True Simplicity” (Poets Wear Prada, 2011), and “My Heart Is Seven Wild Swans Lifting” (Slow Trains, 2011). Martin is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.
She went to that place where snow goes. What did she take along with her?
~ 47 ~
The Great Getaway / On Travel & Leisure
â€œMorning at the Bunkieâ€? by Karla Linn Merrifield, 2011
~ 48 ~ Callin David Callin David Callin David Callin David Callin David
Lunch with Leopardi The breeze was warm, light-fingered, jasmine-scented at the sunny corner table we had taken at the top of the piazza, looking down over the orange roofs of a quiet town.
David Callin lives, if not quite at the back of beyond, certainly within hailing distance of it, on one of Britain's offshore islands. Dabbles in poetry when he can, and has had poems appear in Snakeskin and Lucid Rhythms. Seems to spend most of his spare time in the garden, whether he likes it not, where he is trusted with a few menial tasks, but occasionally slips away to the pub.
Out of the clamor of the busy kitchen we heard a slender voice rise in a botched rendition of something cloying, some kitsch tune, banal and irresistible, and watched the sea wink at us and our misfortune.
~ 49 ~ Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat
Clearing Things Up “Driftwood Heart” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
Baja for the holidays – the water too cold for swimming, so we left it to the pelicans, watching them collapse into the bay and then rise up again, their pouches, we supposed, full of fish. We cooked shrimp for Christmas dinner with a firefighter from San Diego whose girlfriend was afraid she might be pregnant – she wasn’t 100% sure, but she was sure he wasn’t ready. Just out of one bad marriage, with kids he never saw, he walked the beach for miles, gathering armloads of driftwood. Each night’s bonfire was a roaring inferno we backed away from, choking, eyes tearing, while he danced silhouetted against the flames. Nobody asked the two fishermen from Texas what they were doing so far from their wives at Christmas time. Day after day, they just sat
and the cooler of beer propped in the sand between them. And nothing went on in our tent at night, not a goddamn thing.
in their matching, aluminum lawn chairs, cowboy hats pulled down low over their eyes, staring at the water, working on their sunburns
Read more of Pat’s poetry on pages 43 & 53. Bio on pg 43.
~ 50 ~ Howells Ann Howells Ann Howells Ann Howells Ann Howells Ann Howells Ann
Crossing Pentland Firth Our last night, just us and two elderly locals in the bar of this frame hotel, an assemblage of aberrant extensions and annexations. Our room down long passages, turns through fire doors, up partial flights; we joke of notching doorframes to blaze a trail. Come morning, we’ll cross where North Sea and Atlantic collide, the hungry Swelkie— old Norse for Swallower. A pharmacist reads the legend of a sea witch, who sits below at a giant quern, grinding salt to maintain the sea’s salinity. Locals contend it’s two giants, Fenia and Menia, who grind the salt. Chronicle and myth grow more outrageous with shots of single malt.
Dawn bloodies the eastern sky, dirty weather, as I join companions on the quay. Aboard the ferry, we cannot discern where shrouded sky slips into frigid sea. Still, we settle with scones and brimming cups of tea. Our attention turns to brochs, henges, and standing stones, where we will feel, again, the breath of pagan gods.
I dream rampaging white-capped rage, spouts where ships descend slowly, as if drawn, languidly, through a glass cylinder. Sinewy, tattooed arms set salt crags churning; rising grains turn the sea effervescent. Crumbled grindstones litter the sandy floor: a casting of runes.
Read more of Ann’s poetry and her bio on page 32.
~ 51 ~
Impermanence / On Temporary Place
“Oklahoma” by Keith Moul, 2011
~ 52 ~ Greenbaum-Maya Karen Greenbaum-Maya Karen Greenbaum-Maya Karen
My Patient Invites Me to Visit Her Map Quest is wrong. Really, don't go into town. If you get to Lee Vining, you’ve lost your way. Head north on the highway, north past Yosemite. Don’t tell anyone where you’re going.
Don’t swing wide on the curves at the end of the summer. That road’s dry and dusty. It fills up with dirt. If you go past the edge, you’ll never get traction. The road’s squirrelly curvy and just one lane, and there’s no second chance if you’re wrong.
Karen Greenbaum-Maya is, among other things, a clinical psychologist in southern California. In another life, she was a German Lit major, and read poetry for credit. She reviewed restaurants for the Claremont Courier from 1999 to 2005, sometimes in heroic couplets, sometimes imitating Hemingway. She has placed poems and photographs in many publications. Her first chapbook, Eggs Satori, was a finalist of note in Pudding House Publications’ 2010 competition, and will be published in 2011. She does not plan to visit Lee Vining.
Another mile gets you to the park ranger station, where they know about me. Don’t stop, don’t tell. Just sneak a look across to find our road. Turn right, don’t stop for another two miles. That first mile’s a bitch, gravel all the way uphill. It can tell when you're scared, it'll slide you right down. Hang on until the second mile levels you out.
Read more of Karen’s poetry on page 42.
~ 53 ~ Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat Hale Pat
Going South “Your sweet and shiny eyes are like the stars above Laredo,” from the song “Sweet and Shiny Eyes” by Nan O’Byrne
It was her birthday dinner – ham and black-eyed peas. Brenda had edged the inside rim of her lids with black eyeliner for the occasion,
“Desert Moon” by Stephanie Curtis, 2011
making her seem hyper-alert, like a mime who’d suddenly realized she had something to say. Richard was combing his beard with his fingers. He’d just finished reading us the first chapter of his Over the Moon, in which the hero – all the while conversing loudly with his Lord – makes love to his wife in the back seat of their Studebaker in a Holiday Inn parking lot just inside the city limits when they have no money for a room, and snow is falling. Brenda straightened her shoulders, said all she could remember was being cold and hungry. But I closed my eyes and felt it all, saw his face above mine, and the frost on the inside of the windows, heard static as the radio station signed off for the night. (We should have turned it off, she hissed, the battery’ll die.) When I opened my eyes,
and we passed a bottle of tequila instead, listening to Bonnie Raitt singing about the stars above Laredo. Our arms across each other’s shoulders, we swayed and sang, all homesick for Texas. Truth was, none of us had yet been south of the Mason-Dixon line.
there was Brenda watching me, and there was Richard with his fine blue eyes. Brenda asked, Wanna do something about it? but the moment passed
Read more of Pat’s poetry on pages 43 & 49. Bio on pg 43.
~ 54 ~ Hostovsky Paul Hostovsky Paul Hostovsky Paul Hostovsky Paul
Geographic Tongue My daughter wants to see the world. She's nineteen and fearless. I wrestled Marc Silva in the 8th grade. He threw me down on the mat and pinned me in thirty seconds. Those red lesions on your left dorsal look a little suspicious, my dentist said.
It's also Bob Dylan's real name, I said. Then I waited a month for an appointment, during which time I developed cancer of the mouth and esophagus, in my head. Piaf is French for little sparrow. Tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. Silva is the most common surname in Brazil. Everything turns out fine. She ends up marrying a man twenty years her junior. He invites me to his house to lift weights. She dances through the drug wars like hopscotch. He says they're just fissures. Which sounds like fishers. Dorsal fins. Fishers of men. Jesus. Je ne regrette rien.
Paul Hostovsky's poems have won a Pushcart Prize, the Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award from The Comstock Review, and numerous poetry chapbook contests. He has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer's Almanac, and Best of the Net 2008 and 2009. He is the author of three books of poetry, Bending the Notes (2008), Dear Truth (2009), and A Little in Love a Lot (2011). Website (http://www.paulhostovsky)
She will visit Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia and Brazil. Silva's biceps were thigh-thick. He flexed them and they sang. My mother loved Edith Piaf. Robert Zimmerman is an excellent oral surgeon with an office in Norwood, my dentist said.
~ 55 ~ McKernan John McKernan John McKernan John McKernan John McKernan John
Photographs in the Painting A wave bearing last night's last scrap of moonlight The shadow of an arrow over the still water The ditch beside the dusty road where I slept Same ditch where the blue roses began waving their thorns through a warm breeze Think of the phrase Metabolizing Alcohol
Asleep in moonlight Blue jeans White shirt Sneakers Twin dots of moonlight on my front teeth Is consciousness another form of alienation from the body?
John McKernan is now a retired comma herder; he specialized in batterypowered punctuation. He lives â€” mostly â€” in West Virginia, where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a collection of selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust.
I don't think the dove was answering my question when it began its song I remember the little neighbor kid that summer would say my name not as John but as When I could taste the grape vodka all day All day
I was probably stunning there in the dark
~ 56 ~ Peckman Rod Peckman Rod Peckman Rod Peckman Rod Peckman Rod Peckman Rod
Hidden in the Red-Rock Debris: Colorado Plateau A glass wrapped in plastic for my protection with 3 fingers of whiskey poured for this infection. Protect me from this movement, this phantom destination. The softest lost bed, this motel room smudged into the next motel room on the Colorado Plateau. Protect me from this glass wrapped in plastic for my protection.
empty rooms, stench of burnt complimentary coffee. I fumble with the remote, search for a local newscast that is not local, to bring me home in a way that only a nonlocal local newscast is able.
“Whiskey Shot Glass” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
Measure a road of 7,000 miles. Calculate a madman, his need to prove fearlessness, born not of courage, but lack of imagination towards consequences — braving
~ 57 ~
Protect me from another fated downtown left with gray fondness, from car as time machine, from a past reinvented. Protect me from whiskey poured for this infection. Protect me from the folly of escape, the hazard in belief that separate miles take one away or lead to place. Protect me from movement, this phantom destination.
“Red Ice” by D. J. Bryant, 2011
Rod Peckman lives in a beautiful space — on a small lake in the wonderfully wet Western side of the Cascades in the State of Washington. He’s published in numerous journals, including Juked, Barnwood International Poetry Magazine, Pure Francis, Thieves Jargon, Silenced Press, Pirene’s Fountain, and Foundling Review. Rod works for a large library system outside of Seattle. He would like to thank his yellow Lab for her gentle soul and infinite patience. Contact Rod (firstname.lastname@example.org) Website (http://rodpeckman.com/ )
Just tell me your stories. Take me home, regale me at your most sensational. Leave nothing out. You have my focus of focus: I want to know who died outside a bar in Durango. I need your red-earth residue on my tongue.
Read more of Rod’s poetry on page 45.
~ 58 ~ Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine
Prehistory of Bird and Eye It had something to do with ashes and canoes in an old file. I research: The Left-Handed Hummingbird, called bird from the south, God of Weapons and Water. Green appears: the tongue, a split reed, thrums soggy banks, looks for wild iris or any flowers with black-dotted centers I have seen it, this immigrant escaping the parched zone, feeding on white verbascum, a prairie flower in a deserted village. I can imagine in some other world hummingbirds raced down wide avenues, flashed ahead of creation.
â€œGreen Flashâ€? by E. A. Hanninen, 2011
To the south, unsure of origins, powers and gifts, anointed quills write with crushed oak galls mixed with gold nectar, the formula for ink.
Sounding familiar, I research: The Weeping Eye. The arched brow, once cosmetic, then cast as sacred, slips into water, seeks the Mexican coast, the gulf, the big river north. Two major astronomical events occurred: the Crab Nebula supernova, 1054 A.D. and Halley’s Comet, 1066 A.D. Pyramids stride the Mississippi: the gorget, shell and column, tears hidden under a canopy of eagle’s feathers. Monk’s Mound, Cahokia, Illinois, population 10-20,000, much larger than Paris at the time. The diet of corn, beans, and squash surpassed that of wealthy Europeans. The left wing opens, green ink flashes thin veins, scores maps of watersheds, etches the lost eye above my wrist, then drops its darker seed into my palm.
Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine
“Black-eyed Susan” by E. A. Hanninen, 2011
~ 59 ~
~ 60 ~ Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine Stevens Jeanine
In My Dream, a Little Boat I wait on the half-moon bridge. Ahead bold flowers glisten and plentiful birds with open wings gaily sing. The way I came is steep and filled with too many broken chairs to return, even if I remove my shoes and walk backwards. I can’t decide.
Unable to go forward, I cannot compete with trees. My brush paints a ladder of purple silk. As I descend a little boat comes for me over the deep and wrinkled stream.
Jeanine Stevens’ poems have appeared in Poet Lore, South Dakota Review, River Poets Journal, Earth’s Daughters, Harpur Palate, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pearl, Camas, and Quercus Review, among others. She has awards from the Stockton Arts Commission, The Bay Area Poet’s Coalition, and The Mendocino Coast Writer’s Conference for a collection. She won the 2009 Ekphrasis Prize for her poem, “Frida in a White Dress.” Her fifth chapbook, Caught in Clouds, was released from Finishing Line Press. Cherry Grove will publish her first collection. She is a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Originally from Indiana, she now divides her time between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe. Jeanine is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.
Snows have come and gone. More will be required of me.
~ 61 ~
Objects Closer than They Appear / Book Reviews
“Goodbye, Iowa” by Keith Moul & E. A. Hanninen, 2011
~ 62 ~
Merrifield’s Tao of Poetry By Karla Linn Merrifield
M. J. Iuppa
Within Reach by M. J. Iuppa Cherry Grove Collections Paper/86 Pages/$18
“A thousand dazzling suns” As I ventured forth on the Tao of Poetry this warm summer day, urged on by reader and poet John Roche, associate professor at Rochester Institute of Technology (who set my course for this review with his Reader Survey), I was more than eager to dig into his recommended book, M.J. Iuppa’s Within Reach. But I was waylaid by C.K. Williams, like I was a New York City tourist intent on climbing the Statue of Liberty only to find myself whisked several dozen stories upward in the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building. It was worth the detour. It’s Williams’ recent essay, “The Sense of Wonder and Expectation” in the spring issue of American Poets, that serendipitously distracted me.
Williams’ essay opens:
There is a malady to which poets are susceptible but to which they rarely, or never, admit, except to themselves — and even then only very occasionally. I’ve come to call it, for lack of a more technical term, ‘The syndrome of the sinking heart.’ What brings about the syndrome is coming across a poem by a poet you hadn’t known before, or sometimes a poem you hadn’t known, or sometimes a single passage in a poem. You’re so taken aback by its originality, its breadth and depth, its dexterity, its ingenuity, its ease, its — there’s really no other word for it — genius, that you think, ‘My god, how did he or she do that?’
Exactly! How did M.J. Iuppa do that? How did she situate me in the precise time and place of the ~ 63 ~ poem, from the first line, so that I’m transported from my Florida condo to her Western New York farm, all in one July morning? Suddenly, I, too, am “waking early, before the burble of birds percolates,” the opening line of “The Season of Mud.” Beam me up, Iuppa! I’ll gladly go where you take me. I wonder how she turn words—inherently noisy syllables—into a comforting, calming blanket of silence as she does in the opening lines of “Snow is falling—everywhere:” “in the field, beneath the lone oak,/ two horses stand transfixed.” And so do I. This, I think, is the “ease” of genius Williams refers to.
“contentment / sidles with shadows” Then there’s Iuppa’s “dexterity,” to borrow another term from Williams in defining the finest poems. In 1982, newly relocated from New York City to Rochester, NY, I first succumbed to the “syndrome of the sinking heart” when I encountered M.J. Iuppa in the pages of our local alternative newspaper, which back then regularly published poetry. One of my poems appeared in the same issue with Iuppa’s “The Weather of Distance.” Reading that poem was a “Eureka!” moment in my poetic career. Who was this woman? How did she do that? I’ve been following Iuppa’s work ever since, always enchanted by, among other things, her dexterity. There’s something William Stafford-like in her lines. Read his “The Trip,” and Iuppa’s “Taking a slow drive to the market” might come to mind. But hers is an original creative brand, as you see — and feel — in “Outside, the world quivers in the winter wind,” a poem as emotionally chilling as its setting is evocative of deep cold, “its frosty crackle / through the maples’ silvered.” But then, oh, then, the startling, chilling revelation: You face those recriminations at the window’s hour— old anxieties bone white— Nothing you say now is without a price.
Nowhere is her dexterity more obvious than in her use of form to serve her poems’ messages. For example, the eye falls on five, one-line stanzas in the playful “round go merry” in which the poet startles our brain with strings of mirror-words, the merry-go-round that becomes her “round go merry.” The final line pleases me immensely: “bird humming light high, above suckle honey, less breath sigh.” The stanza breaks between these word-streams are strategically important so the mind can better grasp the word reversals. Other poems are well served by cascading lines that tumble across the page, lending a sense of urgency and velocity as in “Thundercloud:” shadow of a thundercloud— bristling wind, bolt of searing light distills this steely defiance to just so many raindrops.
~ 64 ~ Within Reach also carries between its covers some of the most nimble, apt couplets I can recall. “Translation” ends with this line pair:
How you hated to be picked on. Crows at the window looking in.
Another example is the penultimate couplet in “The Daydream:”
the water quivers like a daydream, living inside, living outside.
Iuppa also routinely displays C.K. Williams’ defining “breadth and depth.” While many of the poems arise from her nearby cornfields and beloved Lake Ontario, they just as easily emerge from Québec City or New York City, from an Adirondack canoe, or a “restaurant called Aladdin’s.” Iuppa can even momentarily transport her readers to China to contemplate the “defiance of boundaries” in “What the Chinese Call Earth’s Nails.” Hence: breadth in setting, and with that breadth, a deep emotional range as well. A trio of ekphrastic poems immerses readers in the emotional landscapes of Edward Hopper, Fairfield Porter and Robert ParkeHarrison, which are in turn overlaid by the poet’s emotional response to the two painters’ and photographer’s art, and to which we readers bring our own emotional echoes. Thus in “The Usual,” based on Hopper’s “Seven A.M., 1948,” we are invited to explore “the edge of town / where an eye blink determines whether / you’ve been here for a minute, or your whole life . . . ”
“this is the miracle / no one speaks of” My sinking-heart syndrome is perhaps most evident when I ponder Iuppa’s “originality.” It’s not her subject matter. A farm field and winter ice. Frost’s been there, done that. Twilight approaching after a day’s labor in the garden in Iuppas’s “End of Autumn” reminds me of Jane Kenyon’s “Let Evening Come.” Likewise, “Another Side of Morning” recollects for me Elizabeth Bishop’s “Rain Towards Morning.” It’s also not the imagery. Iuppa’s lines, such as “fern crystals bent in/ a wave of weather” (“Blind (Wo)man’s Bluff”) echo for me something of Bashō. As with the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan, there is often a Zen-like sense of the moment in many of the poems in Within Reach.
~ 65 ~ While by no means derivative, the lyricism of Iuppa’s poems feels grounded in Wordsworth. His famous sonnet, “The World is too Much with Us,” leaps to mind when I read Iuppa’s “The Weight of the World,” its opening lines imbued with an updated romanticism transformed from Wordsworth’s Lake District to Iuppa’s Lake Ontario plains. Thus:
In one crevice of all the chinks and on this barren dome, windblown dirt lined a pocket of darkness where a pine no bigger than a toe found its hold and grew ancient.
Iuppa’s lyricism is of a kind TCE readers have sampled over the years in the admirable work of Wanda Schubmehl and Laury Egan among others. No, no, no. What is original—sinking-heart-syndrome-generating—is the remarkable aura of silence that imbues Iuppa’s poetry. To enter the pages of Within Reach is to go on a vacation of the mind. It is like entering a sanctuary where the cacophony of the modern world is walled off. Even when she takes us to New York City, as she does in “Tides,” you don’t hear brakes squeal, taxis honk, or subways rumble. Instead, you find yourself 3 stories up in a brownstone in a city whose noise is so muffled it’s possible to detect the muted sounds of someone walking: “Below, footsteps to Third Avenue quicken— / Someone’s leaving, just before morning.” Similarly, “Plunge” takes us to a cocktail party where you’d expect voices rising in volume as more alcohol is consumed. Not! Yes, there is “the ripple of laughter,” but what’s surprising is that the poem’s speaker guides the reader underwater so that “mouths [are] moving in an undercurrent.” Likewise, the unnamed subject of the poem swims, “ducking / under the thin veil of smoke” and “surface sounds emerged for one distinct moment: // the searing pop of ice cubes in sweaty glasses.” It’s a subdued cocktail party with “gold bracelets shushing in the slight gesture.” In Within Reach, you hear “the red tailed hawk’s cry” in “The Orchard.” And “wind ruffling the / cottonwoods sounds like rain” in “One Blue Spruce.” And “one cardinal’s chipped / notes” in “The Orchard.” And “insects’ polished songs” in “By Any Means.” But human voices are few and far between — in only 6 of the 64 poems. Even then, such voices are dampened or brief. In “Taking a slow drive to the market,” the speaker and two children “talk quietly about/ what’s holding us back.” In “The Day Before They Declared War,” a restaurant waiter gently interrupts the poet’s musings: “Are you ready? he asked,/ Do you know what you want.” But for the most part, humans keep their mouths shut; as readers we observe the figures in Iuppa’s poems in rich detail, but we rarely hear their words. And that’s a pleasure. What a delight it is, for example, to meet Iuppa’s husband in “Pond” as he labors in their yard. We become acquainted with him not by what he says but by his actions:
~ 66 ~ He dips a neatly carved pit and calls it Pond, filling its kidney shape with water and cattails, and goldfish won at the fireman’s fair.
In a couple instances, the people in Iuppa’s lines simply refuse to speak. So it is we meet a woman and her son in “ Barter:”
They oblige each other without adding their lies together, without stretching their difference in fuzzy talk, weather, what not…
How refreshing, this signature absence of human chatter. For all Iuppa’s skillful romanticism and lyricism, it is the magical silence of her poems — their soothing hush — that proves her originality. ***
So, there you have it, readers, a confession of the sinking-heart syndrome brought on by M.J. Iuppa’s ease, dexterity, ingenuity, breadth and depth, and originality, just as C.K. Williams described. But— the great thing about my suffering this syndrome as a result of reading Within Reach is that it is short-lived — just as Williams said it would be.
But then, of course, what happens, what always, thank goodness, happens, is that envy and dismay turn to admiration and awe, which in turn lead to delight, then—and this part is astonishing— to a kind of exaltation, which you all at once remember is what poetry is about in the first place.
Reading and rereading the poems in Within Reach is not “a kind of exaltation.” It is an exaltation. Period. And I am returned to quotidian reality refreshed, as if coming home from a restorative, quiet vacation. I am content because I’ve learned from my sojourn with Iuppa that “Everything left unsaid / is, at last, understood.”
Column Editor’s Note: What’s your story behind a poetry book that you’ve read and desire others to read? What path led you to that book? Tell me. Just complete our online Reader Survey. From your stories I’ll select the books and I’ll review them for all our readers in future issues of The Centrifugal Eye. Give me something new to rave about! (http://home.earthlink.net/~tinyviolet/thecentrifugaleyepoetryjournal/id366.html)
~ 67 ~
“Missouri” by Keith Moul, 2011
Read one of Karla’s poems on page 44.
As 2009 Everglades National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had poetry appear in dozens of publications as well as in many anthologies. She has 6 books to her credit, including her most recent, The Urn, and Godwit: Poems of Canada, which received the 2009 Andrew Eiseman Writers Award for Poetry. She was founding poetry editor of Sea Stories, and is book reviewer and assistant editor for The Centrifugal Eye. She recently worked on a project with poet William Heyen, photo-illustrating his essay, “The Green Bookcase,” to be published by Janus Head. Karla Linn also teaches at Writers & Books, Rochester, NY. Blog (http://karlalinn.blogspot.com)
~ 68 ~ The Urn By Karla Linn Merrifield, 2011 Finishing Line Press Georgetown, KY Paper/25 Pages/$14 US
Before Widowhood: No Vacancy Here By Danielle Blasko
In her latest chapbook collection, The Urn, Karla Linn Merrifield’s exploration of the natural becomes a wrenching lesson in the unnatural, a taste of “the cancer of gluttonous times.” Tone is set in the first poem, “No Mainland Visible, Islands Only,” with the speaker immediately establishing herself as part of the natural order of things:
mullet nourish snook as snook do bottle-nosed porpoises a few miles off shore mosquitoes no-see-ums seek me out.
It quickly becomes clear, however, that “the chain is out of order;” the speaker begins to wonder “who else falls prey?” and concedes in “Invitation to Maasai,” “death comes / to herbivore and human alike.” (17) The Urn, in its entirety, is a preelegy homage to the poet’s husband, Roger M. Weir, whose struggle with Stage 4 cancer has brought the poet face-to-face with “the enemy Death.” In “A Notre Santé,” the speaker imagines:
one man’s armor as heavy-duty suspenders, wide webbing of day-glow orange, holding up trousers full of prostate cancer (“A Notre Santé,” 9).
Despite the “din of warring elements” at work in the poet’s world, Merrifield musters up the courage to articulate the “blue moments [that] hide in [her] breath” through the vulnerableyet-powerful voice of the speaker in this tough set of poems. There is a realization of the universal in the sense that we all have blue moments hiding in our breath. The reader, like the speaker, can’t help but “gasp at the deeper shades of death:”
First: horseshoe crab carapaces, gutted, rudderless, their dull brown armor polished blue for a shadowy moment (“The Color of Your Asphyxiation,” 11). I am consumed with the feeding habits of buzzards red tides wracklines of decomposing fish miles of surfed up smorgasbord for the carrion-eaters among us (“No Mainland Visible, Islands Only,” 3).
~ 69 ~ In “Sold,” the moon (a metaphor for the speaker), “mourns / night’s spoils with day’s earliest / vultures rustling their appetite for carrion” (5). One might stop to wonder at the reappearance of the carrion-eaters. Perhaps the speaker finds some comfort in approaching the more vicious side of the cycle of life head on. Perhaps it is what will ultimately allow the poet to possess the power of Everglades birds to hold on . . . to become a roseate spoon bill and learn how to grasp life firmly, then let go when it’s time (“At the Feet of Birds,” 7).
It is not only the letting go that is difficult for the speaker, but also the holding on. A balancing act is evident as the speaker teeters a thin line between being consumed by the death and decay all around her and having the will to go on living, knowing she must succumb to the inevitable widowhood that will be bequeathed to her. In fact, the word widow has a particularly haunting presence in the chapbook as it reappears throughout the text. Widow is, it seems, always lingering in the mind of the poet, who is forced to reconcile the present meaning of the word with its future meaning for her personally. In “A Notre Santé,”
Two women begin to worry about the gaunt bodies of widowhood” (“A Notre Santé,” 9).
Later, the speaker predicts: We will sleep together swaddled in that rough woolen cocoon until, outgunned by cancer, he fades away and his child bride, this woman, this widow lives on (“US 51195704,” 10).
She even reaches a point where she finds herself free-associating widow: widow’s peak—anguish of solo orgasms? widow’s weeds—our eden gone to desolate seed? widow’s walk—love’s desperate limp? black widow spider—venomous sting of grief? (“Parting Word,” 12).
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Just as it seems that we are nearing the end, as “the ride on the Stage 4 Line grows shorter,” hope is restored if only for a brief reprieve:
The dapper clan of backyard avians comes calling to celebrate with me your cancer’s remission (“The Calling,” 14).
Perhaps, in time, by autumn, you will boldly make strongly scented poetry, moist with aging hope & maybe thereby, scratch out more tomorrows, so many more, if only you are not rudely interrupted by cancer so early in September (“Good Timing,” 16).
It is clear in the second half of the series the speaker is learning to grasp life firmly, as she and her beloved “feed on the final / drumbeats of our time” (“Invitation in Maasai,” 17). As she continues to reconcile the inevitable she finds it in her to offer up
part of herself to be buried alive with her husband, her Osiris: her throbbing heart hardening (“Hereafter,” 22).
The voice of the speaker becomes bittersweet in its reassurance that the two will eventually come together again, but ultimately that requires death and decomposition, a vacating of their earthly bodies:
one day my body will know your body is a nest of ashes (“My Body Is a Nest,” 20). Over his body I lay my body; on the old blue egg I brood my husband’s emergence into death. The world is sand-worn and hard (“His Body Is an Egg,” 21).
In The Urn, Merrifield skillfully approaches the realm of nature poetry, elevating the dialogue between the natural world and human nature to a whole new level of interaction. Merrifield has never fallen into any clichéd definition of “nature poet,” but her execution in
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this collection is nearly flawless as she weaves the many shades of nature into her beautifully written tribute. She manages, even in the presence of “the death-clatter voice,” portending loss, to
find the music in nature that is central to her body of work. Readers will find themselves revisiting The Urn again and again, each time discovering something new and more potent than the time before.
Danielle Blasko is a Detroit native pleased to be back in her hometown after four long years on an east coast beach. Her poetry has most recently appeared or is forthcoming in Etchings, Gutter Eloquence Magazine Print Edition #2, Halfway Down the Stairs, and Red Ink Literary Magazine. Her poetry book reviews can be found in The Centrifugal Eye and Gutter Eloquence Magazine. She is editor of The Feline Muse Literary Journal, and has just released the journal's first print edition. Danielle is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye. Website (http://www.danielleblasko.com)
“The Urn” Cover Photo by Karla Linn Merrifield, 2011
~ 72 ~ State Sonnets sunnyoutside press Pages 56/$13 US
& Mead Lake, This Centennial Press 44 Pages/$8 US
By B. J. Best
Road Trip and Retreat:
Two Ideas of Escape in the Poetic Works of B. J. Best By Erik Richardson
B. J. Best is a poet on the rise. His work has appeared in a wide variety of journals, among them: Nimrod International Journal, Mid-American Review, and Hayden’s Ferry Review. He was also the inaugural featured artist in cream city review. In recognition of his talent, Best has garnered a variety of contest prizes and nominations, and in 2008, he was a finalist to serve as Wisconsin's Poet Laureate. In reading his work, I have found that one of his particular gifts as a writer is his command of place — not just through the senses, but through the skillful use of changing moods, as well. His talent and range can perhaps best be seen in a compare-and-contrast review of two of his published collections: Mead Lake, This (Centennial Press), and State Sonnets (sunnyoutside press), which I offer here to The Centrifugal Eye’s readers.
couple of provinces in Canada. There are some great tensions created in this collection, but perhaps none so masterfully balanced as that between the sheer carnival of sensory images and the steady restraint of being cooped up in a car for hours and hours on end. Oh, but what a carnival it is, as our senses roam from St. Louis, with the “coffee-brown mississippi letting flat illinois know where it stood,” to a wide-open patch in “Utah,” “red and mottled with stones.” Traveling from poem to poem and state to state, Best led me from sleeping in a tent to a motel room with green shag carpeting, and from climbing out of the depths of a cave, where
we sat apart in the rubble when the cave went dark, the void precluding even our breath. we wouldn’t talk, couldn’t move, this blankness as strange as a cavefish
State Sonnets State Sonnets is a full-length book encompassing a wide variety of excursions across the US, as well as Puerto Rico and a
to gazing up as meteors trail blue light above a wooded lake in “Wisconsin.”
~ 73 ~ This collage of images — like shuffling through travel postcards or family photo albums — is counterbalanced with tinges of realism. Best uses the car and the road as recurring characters to create a narrative thread that stitches the collection together and sharpens the feeling of otherness that happens outside the car. This contrast is heightened all the more as the car itself seems out of place in some of the unfamiliar landscapes, as, for instance, when the “rusty, insect car” cuts its way across gravel roads where dust fogs the stars, or travels along the highway surrounded by kilometers of wheat. The car even becomes an actor, in a way, by crashing in a little mining town out west. No experience captures both sides of the car trip, though, quite like the one in “Kansas:”
on the eighteen-hour drive from albuquerque to des moines, this state was flat and dark as the bottom of a grave. since amarillo, your head was of cotton, addled and hissing with a host of narcotics. along the specious turnpike you slept and swooned. the radio squawked through galaxies of static: dust in the wind. just another manic monday; let it be. a dingadongding blue moon. in kansas city you finally awoke. —where are we? kansas city. —do you want me to drive? the streetlights dazzled round your head like a tiara. you’re sleeping again. here, all the buildings look like broken sunflowers. the route on interstate thirty-five is immutable and lonely, ad astra per aspera.
In “Florida,” I glimpsed white beaches and caught a few names, and I had the same kind of feeling I get when I read one of those superficial tourism brochures that pretend you can know a place by skimming the surface. Such a feeling is at once both odd and yet evocative of real vacations. From the time you step out into the heart of old San Juan until you finish up eating raw cukes and tomatoes at a roadside stand on Cape Cod, Best shows such a strong grasp of scene and mood that it will resurrect the ghosts of every car trip — with college friends, with lovers, even with your family — that you have ever taken. At the same time, it might just make you a little anxious to start planning another one.
Mead Lake, This Best creates a very different kind of adventure in Mead Lake, This (MLT), which is a smaller collection of poems rooted in his semi-annual retreats to a small, wooded lake in northern Wisconsin. On this journey, Best takes us deeper into one place and helps the reader to reconnect with nature. While State Sonnets (SS) represents one of the great
~ 74 ~ archetypes of escape: the family driving vacation, MLT is the archetype on the other end of the scale: the cabin in the woods. One of the most compelling things about MLT is the way Best manages to capture the sense that the natural landscape, even as it expresses its changing moods, is still unavoidably haunted with some of the characters we carry with us. Anyone who loves nature, or used to love nature and has lost the connection along the way, will feel a sense of renewal from this collection. Best weaves together his reflections on nature and his love of a woman, so that sometimes the reader sees them both cast in a shared light, creating an interesting effect. A great example of this effect is found in “Mead Lake, This Night:”
when I call to the bay the echo says something new. when I asked do you love me, you said yes that was something new too.
And then again, in “Mead Lake, This Morning:”
thin blue january sky burns above ice fishermen reading their entrails of ice for whatever might be found there. the lake is growing stronger, booming beneath our feet, while the woodsmoke from a distant cottage thins into the denuded trees. the crows are kvetching as usual. the island is doing whatever it is islands do, an embodiment of islandness, and i miss you. i miss you.
In striking contrast to the way the landscape and the wildlife were sort of background scenery in SS as I passed through, here those things are brought to the foreground. However, the real beauty and grace of this collection is created by an abundance of fine, fine writing. In one passage, Best writes: your laundry is slowly crawling out of the hamper and back to your body just to smell you again.
There’s no other way to fairly describe it; that’s a spark of brilliant writing. In addition to the details of nature — including mosquitoes, caterpillars, the buzzing of bees,
~ 75 ~ water striders, and spiders weaving icicles under the eaves — the whole mood shifts with an occasional splash of surrealism. And then, as in “No Wind from the North,” for example,
i’ll walk through the green twilight of canopy, naming each insect by its wings, building a shelter of bones from a tree i’ll drink sap thick
the poet himself begins to stand as a commanding element of nature. Not unlike a Walt Whitman or a John Muir, he becomes at once a thing of nature and yet unable to be wholly contained by it. By the time we have watched the change of seasons come over Mead Lake and listened in on the poet’s conversations
with lovers and various winds, I cannot help but be amazed by the breadth of his writing ability. Best both brings the reader back to earth and trims the imagery with surrealism through something so simple and human as a phone call to his wife or girlfriend, in which it is not he but the lake — the ice — speaking. The next time you get restless or bored and feel like you need an escape, a chance to step out of bounds of ordinary days, but can’t fit in a real vacation, I highly recommend either of these collections. Whether you find yourself in the mood for a cross-country road trip or a quiet retreat to the woods, Best’s sensual, image-laden writing offers a collage of scenery and a sequence of shifting moods that will leave you feeling like you have, indeed, been somewhere.
Erik Richardson is a freelance writer and school teacher with a number of published articles, essays, and poems. Some of his recent work has appeared in Verse Wisconsin, Sein und Werden, and Chiron Review. In addition, he is a two-time winner of the Joseph Gahagan prize for poetry, and is the editor of a journal for young poets, Signs & Wonders. Erik is a regular contributor to The Centrifugal Eye.
“Roadside” (Missouri) by Keith Moul, 2011
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“Oklahoma” by Keith Moul, 2011
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The Centrifugal Eye’s Last Details: More than Discards & Detritus
Back Issues The Centrifugal Eye has been around for nearly 6 years and much of the work published during that time is still available in our online archives, or is currently being collected into an anthology. During the past 2 years, all but one of the issues has also been made available as a print-on-demand edition through Lulu.com. If you’d like to peruse our archives or pick up print copies, please visit these sites: Archives http://home.earthlink.net/~centrifugaleye/index.html
Centrifuge/Special Projects http://home.earthlink.net/~centrifuge/
TCE Storefront/Lulu http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/centrifugaleye
Press Releases Phil Gruis’ On the Road to Limbo is just out from Finishing Line Press. http://www.finishinglinepress.com
From FootHills Publishing, Schroedinger's Cat, a chapbook collection of poetry by Wanda Schubmehl. http://foothillspublishing.com/
Laury A. Egan’s collection, Fog and Other Stories, will be out in 2012 StoneGarden.net Publishing, http://stonegarden.net/
and her first novel, Jenny Kidd, will be issued by Vagabondage Press. http://www.vagabondagepress.com/
Submissions If you are a poet, essayist, reviewer or artist, and you think that your work may be a match for us, please visit our guidelines page on TCE’s website.
Karla Linn Merrifield’s collection, The Ice Decides: Poems of Antarctica is forthcoming in January 2012 from Finishing Line Press. http://www.finishinglinepress.com
Available from Flutter Press is Harry Calhoun’s The Insomnia Poems. http://www.flutterpress.webs.com/
Submission Guidelines http://home.earthlink.net/~tinyviolet/thecentrifugaleyep oetryjournal/id5.html
or at his website http://harrycalhoun.net.
Ken Pobo’s Contralto Crows is now available through Green Fuse Press. http://www.greenfusepoeticarts.org/
Catherine Chandler’s Lines of Flight is now available from Able Muse Press. http://www.ablemuse.com
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“Empty Road” by E. A. Hanninen, 2011
Published on Nov 2, 2011
An online poetry journal of literary force to experience — poetry, essays, interviews, book reviews, and illustrations of an exhilarating na...