Page 1

Centripetal

5 th Edition

âœŚ

Spring 2003


C E N T R I P E TA L E DITOR Daniel Singer M ANAGING E DITOR Cara Losier S ENIOR L AYOUT E DITOR Tracey L. Smith A DVISORY E DITOR Paul Rogalus A SSOCIATE E DITORS Dave Commins Crystal Lavoie Sara Lewis A SSISTANT E DITORS Robby Binette William Brasier Krystina Hajduczek Nicole Lambert Paris Landry Robert M. Masse Lydia Prudence Perry O NLINE E DITOR Rebecca Poulette B USINESS M ANAGER Paris Landry D IRECTOR OF M ARKETING D. James McLaughlin A DVERTISING A SSISTANTS Mariellen MacPherson Jed Howard C OVER E DITOR Benjamin Aufill G RAPHICS M ANAGER Rick Schlott C OPY E DITOR Jason McKenzie P RODUCTION A SSISTANT Jen O’Donnell W EBMASTER Joshua Breault

CENTRIPETAL: [(sen-’tri-p∂-t∂l), adj., (New Latin centripetus, from centr- + Latin petere to go to, seek) 1709.] The semi-geological force that directs a not-for-profit journal dedicated to promoting literary excellence in the state of NH and beyond in curvilinear motion toward its rotational crux. The creative literary fervor proceeding or acting in a direction toward the center, tending toward the afferent axis of language and all the mighty world of words. SUBMISSION GUIDELINES: Centripetal welcomes unsolicited submissions of poetry and short fiction from September 1 through May 1. All manuscripts must be typed: fiction (up to 3 stories) should be no more than 750 words, double-spaced; poetry (up to 6 pieces) may be any length and style, single-spaced and should appear individually on a page. Please do not send previously published works. Submissions may be sent electronically to poetswriters@mail.plymouth.edu or mailed to 19 HIGHLAND ST✦ SUITE A14 ✦ PLYMOUTH, NH 03264.

All manuscripts must contain name, contact information, and prior publishing credits. Mailed submissions unaccompanied by a S.A.S.E. cannot be returned. Rights to individual pieces revert to their authors upon publication. Cover art based on sculpture installation “Chairs” by Phil Lonergan, 1998

19 Highland St ✦ Suite A14 Plymouth, NH 03264 ✦ (603) 535-2236 poetswriters@mail.plymouth.edu oz.plymouth.edu/~poetswriters


C E N T R I P E TA L

C ONTENTS 5th Edition

Spring 2003

5 6 7 8

MATT O’BRIEN SHAWN LAMPRON

DANA LOGIUDICE

RICK AGRAN

10 12 13 14 15 17 18 19 19 20

BEN BACOTE AMY BONDESEN

ANGELA RICCIARDI

MEREDITH VICKERY TRACEY L. SMITH MIKE LONGO GABRIEL JEWELL DIANE T. PADILLA CHRISTOPHER SZATYNSKI

JACK MCCARTHY

22 24 25 26 27 28 29 30

NIKOLE SNOVER JASON MCKENZIE RANDY BROOKER

CARA LOSIER DAVID EVANS

BOB KELLEY

ANGEL WHITE

Halfway Home My Heart Thinking

LYDIA PRUDENCE PERRY

If I Were a Metaphoric Madwoman

31 32 33

JESSICA DUNN DUDLEY LAUFMAN

Daughter Hollywood Seaweed

JOSEPH MONNINGER

Sayornis Phoebe ✦ Under the Hay Bale

34

CRYSTAL A. LAVOIE

Blending In ✦ “I Hope Crystal Meth

❖ ❖ ❖ ❖ ❖

❖ ❖

Untitled Fields of Wheat Shadow Goddess After a Winter of Extreme Cabin Fever

✦ I Like the World’s Mark on You Bed Hog ✦ In the Back Gesture Secret Swing Set The Dump and the Alchemist Analyzing Grimm ✦ Blue Stars Rooftop Eulogy The Dogs of War Blue Collar Brown Boots Tangled Dreams Old John’s Blessing on Erotic Poetry Night Wishing for Oz ✦ Laughter Skinny Dipping ✦ Roadkiller The Midnight Lake Saccharine ✦ Cataloguing My Bed in Cornfields

✦ Untitled ❖

Gives You Gonorrhea”


La Sólucion Perfecta (The Perfect Solution) Non-Duelism

36 38

MATTHEW ELIJAH HOBERT

DAVID HAIGHT

39 40

ROBERT M. MASSE TARA CONNOLLY

41 42

SCOTT COYKENDALL

JON LINK

45

MICHELE N. TUCCI

46 47

ANGELA HARTMANN

KATE DONAHUE

48 50

SARA LEWIS KRYSTINA HAJDUCZEK

51 52

JESSICA HOYT

RAMSEY ELIASON

Building a Dam in a Small, Quick Stream with my Father

54

WILLIAM BRASIER

55 56 58

REBECCA POULETTE

Father Sweet Bird of Paradox

ED DOUGAS

CAITLIN WALTZER MEG PETERSEN

Denial Trip Untitled ✦ Palette

Peer Response

61 64 65

MATT KMIEC JULIE PASSETTO

Riding With Whitman

AMANDA PORTER

To Be Saved Untitled ✦ Crash On Ice

66

JEN O’DONNELL

Frustration of the Loins

68 70

JEFF BICKFORD

✦ I’ll. See. You. After. Sunday. Untitled

PARIS LANDRY

Post-Structural Synthesis

72 73

DAVE COMMINS

MARIE FAVALORO

74 75

NORA TOOMEY DANIEL SINGER

Work, Damn You Untitled I Found You Walking at 5 a.m.

Feast of the Mescaline King

77 88

NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS ACKNOWLEDGMENTS & CONTRIBUTIONS

The Red One Clean Sin Little Bear Creek I Have No Poetic Voice ✦ Take Care of the Hamster Farm while I’m Gone

60

Untitled Silver Tears I—Still Love—You Barefoot Solace How Far? How Deep? My Sacred Place

✦ The Necessity of Geckos’ Nobility


C E N T R I P E TA L

M ATT O’B RIEN U NTITLED angels fell a single white feather delicately tapered.

5

O’BRIEN


C E N T R I P E TA L

S HAWN L AMPRON F IELDS

OF

W HEAT

Bales of bruises line dusty and Hammered roads, remnants of Cunning cowardice; this was all in Younger days, days that bow and creak. These days, they trickle like wine for me; I beat my wings and seek a sun that perspires. The past sweats down my back and I feel What could have been feed and fester. Fate begged for fields of wheat, Flocks of crows to feast on fortune. Robins roost on rusted roofs, so Crows fast hard in winter’s breast.

LAMPRON

6


C E N T R I P E TA L

D ANA L O G IUDICE S HADOW G ODDESS I must play the moment of a thousand mothers crying white moon spray suit like sad void need to trudge on Scared it was the men The lie you worship Storm of tiny dresses Knife at rain deliriously fall away blue It was a show with a shine Just a crush

7

LOGIUDICE


C E N T R I P E TA L

R ICK A GRAN A FTER

A

W INTER

OF

E XTREME C ABIN F EVER

a freckle-spangled, blue-eyed woman turned her boyfriend with a bad attitude into a rather handsome bullfrog large enough so she wouldn’t squish him if she rolled over onto his side of the bed but not so large that he couldn’t sit comfortably in the palm of her hand, his once-human pelvis on the pulse in her wrist and legs astraddle her freckled arm. He was much more manageable as a boyfriend then: reflective, smaller vocabulary, smaller grocery bills, no penis, better singer. Spring, she lay in bed and playing in the comforter he would jump to her and trill in her ear like an amorous peeper. She put him out in the grass and he played till the dew dried, came home happy speckled in grass seed and dandelion fluff. Summer, she took him camping by the rivers of the White Mtns., and cool evenings, a breeze in blue spruces, she sat by a crackling fire and he sang her throbbing notes from the river’s mud: the sound of a smooth stone dropped from the window of a covered bridge into deep water, echoing chorus.

AGRAN

8


C E N T R I P E TA L

Fall, he grew woozy and luminous as leaves reddened, his eyes growing golder in the chilly evening air. She put him to bed for the winter folding him into a large bowl of mud like a secret ingredient into the batter of a cake she never baked.

I L IKE

THE

W ORLD ’ S M ARK

ON

Y OU

A single silver hoop glitters and dangles from your left ear as you retuck your bangs that fall forward as you read this: the page colors your eyes green and speckled as the single duck egg we found alone by the river the perfect bell of the porcelain cup settles into the ring of its saucer and the cat creaks in her wicker basket of clean linen my body purrs and hums around yours perfumed by jasmine and the lingering cold of the winter air in your hair late evening’s purple velvet words trail off in your sigh, tickle your eyes closed with snuffed candle smoke laziness tonight I imagine we have forty-two unmatched silver spoons, the two we use to stir the cream into our tea lay on the table cheek to cheek

9

AGRAN


C E N T R I P E TA L

B EN B ACOTE B ED H OG My baby lies next to me With her eyes closed in sleep. Yet there is something Graceful about her, With her ass in the air And arms akimbo. Asleep and dreaming she spoons me Complaining it’s cold and then No more. Dreaming of Flowers, unicorns, and world peace; She is a bed hog But I don’t mind. Her hair is wild and her breath foul But on her face is a smile. It wrinkles her nose, dimples Her cheeks. Even while sleeping I think she is beautiful, But then again she is asleep.

BACOTE

10


C E N T R I P E TA L

IN

THE

B ACK

Somewhere near the back of the church, In between the shadows of shoulders, There sits a burned out old man. In the pauses of the pompous preacher And the silent drama of secret sinners, You can hear him say, “Eat shit.” His random banter turns uneasy ears And wary, watching eyes, “Eat shit, eat shit,” he only replies. His mind is scarred and wounded, His tired tattooed body wavers As he stands and shouts, “Eat shit.” Now the pious preacher pauses in stunned silence With the secret sinner hiding an inner smile, Together they turn to the old man and his final words.

11

BACOTE


C E N T R I P E TA L

A MY B ONDESEN G ESTURE

T

he young boy struggles to sit in the chair at his table in the back of the room. He is different from the other kids in the classroom, but they don’t mind. His hands and feet don’t move the same and his voice sounds funny to them. He has to concentrate hard to put the words into sentences. The other children are patient with him. You can see he had help dressing this morning. His white t-shirt is neatly tucked into his blue jeans and is barely noticeable around the collar of his green sweater. His short brown curls have been combed to define, and someone tried to fix the cowlick on the back of his neck. His sneakers are tied in perfect rabbit ears and neatly hidden under his pant legs. The only thing that doesn’t look perfect is the drool that silently slides out the corners of his lips. The assistant wipes it off gently, as she quietly takes her place next to him. A few years back he could not even form the words he tried so hard for. The assistant used to hold the pencil in his hand as the teacher was showing the class how to write. Now, he knows how to use one hand to force the other fingers around in a way that the pencil will not slip out. The assistant has to remind him to take it slow. She tries to focus him so his words don’t slur together, as he is excited to tell her about his weekend.

BONDESON

12


C E N T R I P E TA L

A NGELA R ICCIARDI S ECRET S WING S ET There’s a swing set in my room, like the one in the neighbor’s yard. Hers is rusty: parts all squeak when we play, blue and white paint peels away under picking nails. “Don’t do that!” but I do it anyway.

My secret swing set, fresh and new, soundless. After kisses and prayers, the lights go out. I pad across the carpet, perch in my swing, rapt as an owl.

I push myself up, legs pumping mid air. Night lights of streetlamps and moon glow the structure softly, spread through me: a silent hum under skin, like hot bath water.

On a magical apparatus no one else can see, I fly. Nobody knows. The walls melt away, fade into the night outside, and I swing through the sky.

13

RICCIARDI


C E N T R I P E TA L

M EREDITH V ICKERY T HE D UMP

AND THE

A LCHEMIST

Gulls fly above shrieking, Picking through Heaps of disregarded treasure Littering the sky Mirroring the ground. A pungent smell like, no other Dirt, diapers, death Yet still I find refuge From an unappreciative society. Mechanical sounds Bounce off piles of rubble. They spin up from the place Where I thought robots were made As a child. Pit of sparks and metal. While sitting beneath Skyscrapers of literature, Car parts, old furniture. If I only had enough room For it all. I grab as much As possible, bearing myself down As though I was in a cave of diamonds Never to be returned to. I am my child self here. Wanting to save What no one else will use. I leave this place Pockets full, dirt under nails, gull shit on shoe. Underneath all that, An Alchemist.

VICKERY

14


C E N T R I P E TA L

T RACEY L. S MITH A NALYZING G RIMM My mother used to read me fairy tales. I’d say my prayers, she’d tuck me in (thick wool blankets scratching my four-year-old bare neck) and sit in her rocking chair she’d inflect, infect, emphasize word upon word, story after story. She’d tell me how Snow White was a Jew and the wicked Queen was Germany. She’d lament that the Seven dwarves were the countries of the alliance, United States, Russia, England just to name a few. She’d say that Snow White was taken in out of the good graces of the dwarves heart but the Queen was out for blood. She’d tell me how the poison apple was the embodiment of gas chambers. She’d tell me that when Prince Charming woke his bride-to-be with a kiss, it was like Nuremburg giving recompense to those who suffered, just not as cozy-like as kissing. Then I learned the truth. And now, I don’t read fairy tales anymore. I don’t say prayers. I don’t lay in bed because I fear suffocation from blankets. Snow White was a Jew. Cinderella was an Irish immigrant. Sleeping Beauty was a woman’s suffragist. The miller’s daughter was a slave. I chopped up the rocking chair and used it for kindling.

15

SMITH


C E N T R I P E TA L

B LUE S TARS He is a gladiator, a hero, a champion, fighting off the monsters and demons of another man’s nightmare. He is surrounded by clones and decoys of tan and green. He is alone. (I carry his blue star) He is the safety, the protector, the procurer, The tools of man: the hammer, the nail. He welds the armor of a decaying country soaring steel over fire. He is the architect of the Master’s House. He receives no praise. (I carry his blue star) They are battlers, the warriors. They are forgotten. They are our fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins. . . They are dismissed. They fight the monsters and demons of a dangerous chief’s vision. They are alone, without praise. Forgotten. Dismissed. The blue stars I’ve carried have rusted to gold.

SMITH

16


C E N T R I P E TA L

M IKE L ONGO R OOFTOP E ULOGY Bushwick Battlegound Of broken businesses Battered lonely souls and potholes A rare destination for subway moles Lofted on a concrete corpse Treehugger beholds the cold jungle Old man palindrome Soon passes the black flame A baby born to rubble Ahead New Rome rumbles Bright lights testify A ball falls All witness and rejoice Baby cries, his bed of lies New Rome, post Babel Silence sewn throughout the rabble Below in squalor, all the cattle Neon nectar drowns the battle Inside the paper cage he rattles

17

LONGO


C E N T R I P E TA L

G ABRIEL J EWELL T HE D OGS

OF

W AR

A

lone they stood against ten, no twenty times their number. The best of the best, they were called The Dogs of War. Above them their banners proudly flew. In holes men peered out over their guns waiting for the enemy. They had been told to hold, and they would hold til the last man among them was dead if necessary. The battle raged for hours as the enemy came in wave after wave. At last the ammunition was gone and the enemy prepared for the final assault. As the enemy advanced, the commander stood up. “Cry havoc!” he yelled. “And let slip the Dogs of War!”* The cry came back from his men with a sound like thunder. The commander threw back his head and let lose a howl. In seconds the howl was taken up, up and down the line. The howl turned the enemy’s blood cold and froze his legions in their tracks. The dogs leapt from their holes and were among the enemy before they could recover. With knife and bayonet and rifle butt and even bare hands they fell on their enemy, who fell back in confusion, disarray, and fear. Eventually they broke and ran, but at great cost. Of the many men who had stood there that day, few remain to celebrate their victory.

*Quoted lines from William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

JEWELL

18


C E N T R I P E TA L

D IANE T. P ADILLA B LUE C OLLAR B ROWN B OOTS

Three o’clock sun on my anvil skull Salt pours out in liquid pain piercing Flesh burned black and gray from A whitesmith’s rod Building ships sailing in dreams Of past regrets forged in molten anger In my uniform of blue collar brown boots My hopes are colored green

C HRISTOPHER S ZATYNSKI T ANGLED D REAMS The images we see growing up, Big strong men, sweating men Showing no emotion, always right, They brought us as young boys into this world Told us that big strong men were the American way But when it came time to show any emotions We were null and void of tears We watched as friends and family Shed tears for the dead we buried As us, the young men, stood by Stood, strong faces like granite Believing that this was a part of the dream

19

P A D I L L A /S Z AT Y N S K I


C E N T R I P E TA L

J ACK M C C ARTHY O LD J OHN ’ S B LESSING ON E ROTIC P OETRY N IGHT Adam was a prototype, Eve was a work of art. A young man seeking praise volunteers that he has taken up with a woman he does not consider physically attractive. He believes she might deliver “undiscovered wonders.” Old John draws wetly on his cold pipe, admonishes, “Son, God made them beautiful to us for a reason. If you can’t see the beauty in her, get out of her way. A woman is entitled to someone who can.” The young man asks (not the same day, but another day), “When you were young like me, and the juice was running strong, was there any line that worked particularly well for you?” Old John nods. “It’s passing strange,” he says. “But every time I admitted to a girl that I wasn’t very good in bed, but I was fun, we would be making the beast with two backs before the clock struck one.” The young man ponders, then suggests, “The Cindy Lauper effect?” But Old John has no idea who Cindy Lauper is—or was.

MCCARTHY

20


C E N T R I P E TA L

A famous atheist once dismissed the book The Prophet as “a book that college students use to get laid.” Old John considers this the standard against which all books should be measured. Old John offers, “Our willingness to contradict ourselves on their behalf is very near the heart of what they want from us.” And, “Whenever two people lie down together for nothing but sex, inevitably, when they arise, one and only one of them is in love.” The stakes are high; many opt out entirely. This karma keeps them reincarnating until they learn what the best reason is for coming to this planet. The young man asks, “Have we then been talking about sex? Or about love?” By way of answer, Old John nods. The young man asks, “When is sex the best?” Old John says, “Now. Always now. That is its blessing.” And all that it requires is two people with an utterly uncomplicated will to please each and a room.

21

MCCARTHY


C E N T R I P E TA L

N IKOLE S NOVER W ISHING

T

FOR

OZ

he waitress walks away with a pile of menus in her hands. I notice her nails are painted a candy apple red. It looks cheap. My sister sits next to me. She holds my hand under the table, nervously looking around the restaurant. My other sister sits between my two brothers across from us. They all look at the items on the walls, the old guitars, record albums, a poster of The Wizard of Oz. I think we all want our own ruby slippers to tap our heels three times and get the hell out of here. My father sits next to me smoking a Newport, sipping on his White Russian, and staring at the waitresses. He looks at me and smiles. I smile back at him. He turns to the rest of the group. “You guys know what’s going on with me and Mum right?” We all slowly nod. “Well I wanted to take you guys out and let you know that I’m going to leave for a while. I made a mistake and Mum needs to be alone so I’m going to give her space. That’s it.” I’m slightly reminded of Nixon’s resignation before the impeachment. My dad goes back to sipping his drink and staring at the waitresses as they pass by. Looking away I close my eyes and tap my heels three times under the table. Opening them, I see a tear trickle down my sister’s cheek. I’m still stuck in goddamn Kansas.

SNOVER

22


C E N T R I P E TA L

L AUGHTER The rolling of the waves Is an epitaph to your passing A song sung by the birds the only sound Because these sandy shores No longer ring with your laughter These rocks, smoothed by time, Rolled through the ages, Caressed by generations Soak through with your absence and I hear you laughing at time. I stand at the mouth of the bay Wishing I could sense you Feel you in the wind Or see you again in the warm sun Laughing at the iridescent god You swore would never take you

23

SNOVER


C E N T R I P E TA L

J ASON M C K ENZIE S KINNY D IPPING Makes me wish I was water, cohesively connected to your dermal nerve endings like a mouthful of milk around a tongue My blue ripples tiny manuals of touch, eager for revision lingering in the folds of sweet butter flesh, displaced by the contours of hip, thigh, elbow & breast Lapping at the edges while you lie suspended, density is more than an indexit is my protocol for interaction: Symbiotically contained like that which is & negative space, we would exist for as long as you were wet.

MCKENZIE

24


C E N T R I P E TA L

R OADKILLER a dark eyed stranger, rose petals on her breath sits in the brownest bar in town whose beer & teeth & window could all attest to her thoroughly out-of-placeness she drinks the hardest booze, does the hardest men no favors/maneuvers about the crowd from the midsection down flaunting her disenchanted gift through smoky noses & first sips, She wears her soles numb on a serenade of promise— release

â?–

R ANDY B ROOKER T HE M IDNIGHT L AKE Silver burns the midnight moon On black waters dozing In a secret mountain cradle. Cloudshadow pulsates, beating bright my riparian perch, Then fading to solitude. . . Numinous mists rise, Sweeping softly over her reflected face. Weeping softly, she leaves this place. 25

B R O O K ER


C E N T R I P E TA L

C ARA L OSIER S ACCHARINE Brown sugar, three grains. They clung to the slippery surface of the mug like castaway shipmates as I sipped away at their ocean of tepid tea. Pondering the possibilities, I touched my tongue to them, let it explore. They were harsh, as grains of sand imbedded in an oyster’s vulnerable heart beneath the safeguard of his shell and they tasted of your elusive kisses— Sweet, with a twist. Spicy. They melted under my tongue’s Coaxing caress. They left sticky fingerprints On their faded, chipped vessel, Like a luminescent snail-path, Luminescent— Not unlike the mark I plan to leave On your heart, strong and silvery— Although not sweet, but like the scales Of the most resistant fish That refused to go hook, line and sinker.

LOSIER

26


C E N T R I P E TA L

C ATALOGUING I’m watching, as you peruse my mind like library shelves. Pages fluttering like ruffled feathers of a Times Square pigeon. I let you fumble over the pronunciation of my favorite script, and I’m not afraid like you are. The covers that flank your thick green binding are stiff with age and lack of use. The pages stick together and I cannot make out the words Anymore.

D AVID E VANS M Y B ED

IN

C ORNFIELDS

Lost among a thousand pines: The ebb and flow of the tides; Blue cloudless skies mock me. Among these trees I search For the soft crash of the surf; The cruel night sky darkens me. A soft light in the east, Forever the sounds of oceans cease. I wake in Kansas.

27

E VA N S


C E N T R I P E TA L

B OB K ELLEY H ALFWAY H OME You used to fall asleep warm, in the basket, with the perfect moon out the window somehow following you home. And if you awoke during the trip, stirred by some curve in the road, mom and dad would be up front, eyes fixed on the dim highway, ensuring all was safe. And the cool blue numbers of the clock in the dark told you not to worry, you can rest your eyes again. You’re only halfway home. But its been a lifetime since a moonlit car ride was so relaxing, because now it’s you who stays awake, fighting the rhythm of the tires and the heat on your heavy eyes as they try to drive you back to sleep.

KELLEY

28


C E N T R I P E TA L

You still can see the moon only now its not so perfect, and instead of following it stays cradled in the trees. And as your eyes grow heavier, mom and dad grow farther away and so do the memories of worriless sleep in warm backseats And the safeness in knowing you’re only halfway home disappears with the moon around the next turn.

A NGEL W HITE M Y H EART T HINKING In moving over the years I left my box of writing and my heart thinking in my mom’s front closet. Tired of carting a one hundred pound box of books and thinking. But I do need to have it with me again. And besides, both my shrinks want to know what’s in that box.

29

WHITE


C E N T R I P E TA L

L YDIA P RUDENCE P ERRY I F I W ERE

A

M ETAPHORIC M ADWOMAN

If I were a metaphoric madwoman A sick simile-loving sister I’d tell you that my hair is as woolly as a sheep’s Bristly as a Brillo-pad Tell you that My eyes are clearer than the morning sky My skin—pale, translucent—is so thin you can see right through it My fingers look like they should be nurturing the Earth Writing poems with pen dipped in an inkwell I’d let you peer into my life like a voyeur, like a Peeping Tom If I were sadder— To tell you that love makes you a widower when your heart dies If I were madder— To tell you that I was as angry as a firecracker when my heart died But I’ve been pacified by the man that loves me after three long years Peaceful like the sea Cool like a cucumber Rosy as a romantic

PERRY

30


C E N T R I P E TA L

U NTITLED i have stood tall firm resolute & listened to all the words you shouted you screamed at me: how i wasn’t good enough thin enough smart enough pretty enough. . . i found that i could only punctuate your accusation with tears & rub sore my bruised appendages

â?–

J ESSICA D UNN D AUGHTER H OLLYWOOD All dolled up and smudge proof. Cover girl, are you a brave girl? Cheap thrills lead to the buzz of trauma. Celebrity party dolls can relate. Who knew?

31

DUNN


C E N T R I P E TA L

D UDLEY L AUFMAN S EAWEED Hollis lived in an old hunting lodge Near Keene, edge of the woods, Windy view of the mountain To the northwest, High enough to look down on geese Flying over the lake below. Weathered shingles on the outside, Smoky timber framing inside, Plenty of books, silver tea service, Copper and bronze decanters. Oh we have insulation, he said. Took the pickup down to Rye Beach, Brought home several loads of seaweed, Spread them out on the lawn, Dried them into battings. Pulled the shingles, Tacked up the battings, Nailed back the shingles. Have seaweed insulation. And on cold winter evenings Can actually hear The sea roaring.

LAUFMAN

32


C E N T R I P E TA L

J OSEPH M ONNINGER S AYORNIS P HOEBE The phoebe carries one diaphanous insect wing to the nest above my shed door with translucent swallows the babies take nourishment from darning needles locust feeding on flight gulping the air

â?–

U NDER

THE

H AY B ALE

A June wind tipped over the hay bales at midnight. this morning, in the daisy light, I set them back one another. The bull’s eye target, the yellow arrow dot we had aimed at all spring hung like a disc of sun on the side of the damp timothy grass. Underneath, albino roots sent feelers out and up, searching for sunlight, one tentacle reaching for the baling wire as if its will could set the blocks of dead grass free. 33

MONNINGER


C E N T R I P E TA L

C RYSTAL A. L AVOIE B LENDING I N In an attempt to blend in she bundled her paper-thin veins and grapefruit bruises her eyes sunk into their own the bags under her eyes carried their own baggage and upon arrival upon receiving her inoculations she would gain control rolling up pantlegs pulling down socks finding new veins because treatment never seemed to work and then Sunday nights she would reboard the train 5 pounds lighter but 10 grams heavier holding junk inside her pussy stoned and strung out fall into the last seat of the car close her eyes and blend in.

L AV O I E

34


C E N T R I P E TA L

“I H OPE C RYSTAL M ETH G IVES Y OU G ONORRHEA” The other night you saw an old man dying in front of you and that same night you made drug-induced love to her over and over in the same bed where you made drug-induced love to me over and over and I wondered if you thought of me when you shoved your happiness up your nose because when you’re rubbing my name all over your face I’m pretty hard to forget.

35

L AV O I E


C E N T R I P E TA L

M ATTHEW E LIJAH H OBERT L A S OLUCIÓN P ERFECTA En la isla encantada mi vida nunca temblaba. El caribe me ofrece paz las hembras son de capaz. Para bailar y gozar por las noches en Puerto Rico no necesitas un coche. De todos los sueños cristales despierto siempre a cosas familiares. La familia, la escuela, la novia a los Estados Unidos sin fobia. El corazón debe ser llenado con gente y sentido afirmado. Pero al fin la solución perfecta es contener los demás a mezcla. El sol, la arena, mama y papa sin peña mi arroz y habichuelas para cena. Por el mundo de buen alcance insisto en que haya balance.

HOBERT

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C E N T R I P E TA L

T HE P ERFECT S OLUTION On the enchanted island my life never trembles. The Caribbean offers me peace the women are of efficiency. For dancing and enjoying the nightlife in Puerto Rico you don’t need a car. Of all the crystal dreams I always awake to the familiar. My family, my school, my girl to the United States without fear. The heart must be filled with people and feelings affirmed. But at the end the perfect solution is to contain them all in a mixture. The sun, the sand, mother and father without worry my rice and beans for dinner. And for the world within reach I insist that I have equilibrium.

37

HOBERT


C E N T R I P E TA L

D AVID H AIGHT N ON -D UELISM Avert the danger before it comes. Win first, then the fighting will not be needed. Transcend first, and live without fear. No fear, no war. Fear is born from duality. We die in the end because We cannot transcend to begin with. The end is in the beginning; We perish when we cannot make ends meet.

HAIGHT

38


C E N T R I P E TA L

R OBERT M. M ASSE T HE R ED O NE

I

wasn’t sure it were free, so I took the red one. Lucas, who live in a house, got ‘im a green one and bring it to school the day I took Daddy’s old wallet. Said he got it at the tooth doctor. Got to pick outta a big bucket o’ little thangs. He threw it at the ground then it came back up that tiny rope he put on his finger. Ricky and I just watched it keep fallin’ down then goin’ back up. We wanted to git one, but didn’t know no tooth doctors. We asked Mama but she said we don’t go to no doctor unless we dead or dyin’. Ricky got the idea to make my tooth start dying, then we git one. He took Daddy’s rake from the tomata garden and swung it at my mouth. The tooth doctor had music playin’ and was wearin’ a tie. He took my dead tooth and showed me that bucket, bit like Mama’s wash tub. That red one was just sitting on top.

39

MASSE


C E N T R I P E TA L

T ARA C ONNOLLY C LEAN S IN We wade into water, Holding hands above our heads Slowly at first because Although it’s July The lake is still chilled From last winter’s ice. Pinching noses with Fingers: thumb and pointer— We finally let our heads go under. We soak our bodies Until we know that Not an inch is dry. Surfacing from the large puddle, We climb our way up to the top— The sand dune seems miles high. We lie on our backs at the peak Head to head, and touch fingertips, Laughing at simplicity. There are no words spoken Before letting ourselves fall. We roll, releasing control, Letting gravity take over the game. We scream, afraid we may collide And become one. At the bottom, we stand. Bodies are sand-speckled, Hair is coated, Like flour on dough. In our mouths, we taste salt, And bite loud crumbs.

C O N N O L LY

40


C E N T R I P E TA L

It is only mere seconds that We lavish in sandiness— We must be dirty Before becoming pure again. But we enjoy the sin Before cleansing. Our hair tangles behind us As we race again into water And the lake rinses away sand. Feeling new and clean, We emerge and begin again Our walk up the dune To wash the clean away with sand.

S COTT C OYKENDALL L ITTLE B EAR C REEK The second we lowered the burden of sandwiches, canteens, and conversation, I knew that even a poem overwhelmed with aspens brushing cedars, with droplets rising in thin white flocks from the stones, and in each of those stones the slow ease of cracking, breaking down and rebuilding… even such a poem could not say what part of us, eroded by sheer joy, drifted downstream, and outlasts us still in sediment and loam.

41

COYKENDALL


C E N T R I P E TA L

J ON L INK I H AVE N O P OETIC V OICE so the sun was seamless this once— and i was thinner than usually, hardly even solid. there was a rumor i was dead. i believed them but didn’t understand how i could still walk. these are the times when home is best location so i asked the bus driver to take me home, roy, i said, take me home— he did not take me home, roy, i said, are you listening— but he was not listening or his name wasn’t roy, he did not take me home, he did not know where i lived, looking at him his face did not glow like a Chinese lantern— and then i knew i had lost roy, but more importantly i had lost all things roy, without roy there was no royness in my world, whether roy had gone or was taken was anyone’s guess— there was only the simple obvious linen of his absence. the silent bus driver was a stand in,

LINK

42


C E N T R I P E TA L

not roy, not listening, not taking me home, not acknowledging my need for a royness about the bus, i got off at the next stop royless and walked across the city hoping to recapture in the streets what roy had given me, but the night was quiet with more of a bronze kind of air, roy had been more of a copper or maybe aluminum. at home i dreamt of seagulls carrying baskets, i woke up afraid that if i had waited i could have lifted the cloth, and held the shining voice of roy, or worse seen everything roy— for once hearing the purpose of his calculation.

43

LINK


C E N T R I P E TA L

T AKE C ARE OF THE H AMSTER F ARM W HILE I’ M G ONE don’t feed them carrots, tom— it makes them incredibly strong if they bite, make them sit in the corner, and feel the courage of electric light when they tell you about mobile homes don’t listen, it only takes them five minutes to find your center string and from there you are helpless make sure they do not get a hold of a watch— if they learn to tell time we are all ruined every time they stand on two legs yell “harold is coming”— this will make them terribly afraid at 3:12 a.m. flip the lights on and off for two minutes, whispering “air raid” make your heart steel, tom, i will be back in a week

LINK

44


C E N T R I P E TA L

M ICHELE N. T UCCI U NTITLED It was like everyone’s ship had come in but his He sat there alone Eyes fixated on the poor television reception Tweed coat patched more than ten times She had used colors to stitch the holes They were so bright against the brown She always wore colors She always shone He tugged the bright red thread at the bottom hem Closed his eyes and sipped the last drop of whiskey Static ringing in his ears Transformed to a hum, her hum He could hear her speak softly Suddenly “What’s your poison?” Eyes open Haggard sandy blonde, yellow teeth Short skirt “You waiting for someone doll?” “No… uh… I mean yes, she’s running late.” Thank god she left He pulled the red thread out and tied it on a button Left the bartender a few bills In his car the gas gauge laid in the middle Half tank Not nearly enough to find her Change enough in his pocket for a Twinkie He’ll never find her, never see her colors Never feel that warmth again Never

45

TUCCI


C E N T R I P E TA L

A NGELA H ARTMANN S ILVER T EARS Moonbeams spill Across the glassy water Sporadic stars Pierce through the blackness And I think of you Memories embrace me Like aquatic melodies And simple fire trails of shooting stars I can’t escape Sunrise will soon explode Bits of light will attack darkened corners Tides will shower over the cement barriers And the moon and her sister stars will go into hiding I crave this moment as soon as it disappears Just like I crave you After I let you go After I gave up

HARTMANN

46


C E N T R I P E TA L

K ATE D ONAHUE I–S TILL L OVE –Y OU I recall your still love asking me, with fiddlebeats of woodland moontime, to part our black picture shadows. We finger purple lust together—behind white lights lathered in wine-red storms wanting to cry—to knife skies open; none could scream through a chant shine. I have a phantom of you emerald-licked; only when you breathe diamond mist and exhale honey’s light, I tongue frantic moments their madness a blue aching. You swim by water: your coarse winds whisper for me when ripful— tempt me to your garden bath. Your flowers are smooth near my skin; they cool the highway fluff. We make tiny road love beat stop—pant lazy pinkness and pour our yellow-stained light out into the raw forest morning.

47

DONAHUE


C E N T R I P E TA L

S ARAH L EWIS B AREFOOT S OLACE

T

he last thing I remember is fondling a bottle of vodka lover-like. Now I lay here half-naked on the damp floor of some shitty loft apartment. My Tommy Hilfiger jeans are across the room, bunched up in a corner. As I attempt to get up, incessant waves of nausea cause me to cease my effort. Suddenly, I realize I am freezing. The place reeks of booze and vomit. Not surprisingly, my bare feet are splattered with what I hope is my own. Lying here, I contemplate the blurry events of the night before. I remember the phone call from Daddy—He’s sent another check… just another pay off so I’ll forget him… Oh well. Who gives a fuck? Pathetically, I once again struggle to get myself off the floor, but can only muster enough strength to get to my knees. My knees. Bony, white, pasty. The beginnings of more bruises are starting to show. “Must have been a wild night,” I think to myself with a wry smile. I am up on my naked knees, my head practically still on the floor. My previously ten pound skull has ballooned to two hundred. There are no sounds coming from anywhere. I am alone. What else is new? Shortly, with a newfound strength, I am up on my feet, shaking and dizzy. I need some more “X”, I realize. There should be an extra tablet in my pocket, which is, ironically, still across the room. Closing my eyes and slowly creeping over, I reach my now-ruined two hundred dollar jeans and slip them on. Something reddish on the right leg could be blood, but it’s hard to say. Could be anything really…

LEWIS

48


C E N T R I P E TA L

My pockets are empty except for the ticket stub from the rave last night. With the option of more ecstasy ruled out, I regrettably settle for what’s left in the bottom of the tequila bottle sitting in the orange Formica counter next to me. It burns going down, but it soothes and warms me. The curtain (just a torn brown sheet), dances in the remaining darkness of dawn. It mocks me… that damn sheet… teases. My inner thighs are slightly sore, an indicator of a little post-party nookie. I wonder what his name was? Now fully dressed, I figure that it is time to go. There’s a pack of Newports sitting on a crate in the middle of the room. Hmmm… I think to myself… breakfast. I grab it and retrieve one cancer stick from the half empty pack. Using the purple Bic lighter also sitting on the crate, I light a cigarette and take a long, slow drag. The thick smoke fills my lungs and calms me a bit. I have no emotion anymore, just raw primitive emptiness. I walk out of the apartment and onto the streets of early morning New York City, barefoot and alone. My sadness has, for one night, been forgotten—and left—in a rundown, shit-hole apartment and remains only in the dried-up puke puddles on the hard wood floors.

49

LEWIS


C E N T R I P E TA L

K RYSTINA H AJDUCZEK H OW F AR ? H OW D EEP ? It’s a brimming day, One of those you Wondered how you ever missed. It’s hard not to notice the darkness. I fight inside, On well worn ground My desire To be a phoenix. I don’t want to live by dying. Rocky shores Will welcome later. Where is home? I’ve gotten used to lamplight Substituted for starlight. I haven’t been alone in a while. I feel a million miles away. Like my mother’s smile As she folds my left-behind laundry.

H A J DU C Z E K

50


C E N T R I P E TA L

J ESSICA H OYT M Y S ACRED P LACE When I feel threatened I withdraw to my sacred place And with my sword of avoidance I butcher my attacker This place is a zoo Where emotions are caged Animals screaming to be released With eager senses lusting for blood My place is full of red buttons With thousands of thick thumbs Hesitantly hovering over destruction Always waiting for one more pointed finger On the verge of destruction This place welcomes solitude A time to bask in its comforting logic And soothing knowledge of me This sacred place wraps me In a blanket of security Blinding my soul from frustration Harboring my aggressive desires My sacred place is a jar That holds a universe of thought And feeling that can not be harnessed By the weak

51

HOYT


C E N T R I P E TA L

R AMSAY E LIASON B UILDING A D AM IN A S MALL , Q UICK S TREAM WITH M Y F ATHER The stones moved because of our hands. They piled up systematically, rocks on sand, sand on rocks, until, in any season, the trickles were hidden. Muffled by the complexity of finding direction through dangerous rocks. Our progress on the dam was marked by the water downstream completely fading into the sand. Leaving a new world of suffocating fish, and putrid muck. The world above the dam collected our reflections in the swirling water pool. We smiled into it as nervous gods of our creation. Something so temporarily strong. I never learned the importance of sand between the rocks, the glue. Only of the weight of stones. The water built and built, the pressure unbearable, I asked fast before the mounting inevitability if a dam could last forever. Then checking upstream and downstream quickly, the instant would arrive, where horizons met and small droplet escapees would turn to gaping pour and rush. Arms flailing wildly

ELIASON

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C E N T R I P E TA L

we’d run with it, jumping and screaming, dead fish coming back to life. Muck feeling at home again. A wonderful sense of defeat. Then, my father would lose interest, turning his back for me to follow. We returned after the light began to fade to the hermetic house with no release valve. Walking away young, I would look back at the weight of the stream pushing in the darkness. Our dam now a useless defense of scattered rocks, wanting to be built again. Back to normal. At night I dreamed of swimming in clear liquor with fish in our living room. Feeling comfortable in the dirty world that was ours. Understood by only us fish. Then waking startled, the words from below my bedroom, salmon, jumping upriver, never making it home. The bottom of streams so hard to see. Alcohol’s drip began to soak me. It corroded my father’s coarse veins. He floated lifeless and thick in the stream, a drought creeping upon his wet head. Asleep, he would breathe heavy, dreamless night after night for decades. I awoke every morning with new knowledge. The fresh slap of difference between building a dam and living inside one, having a dream and wanting one. Now years later, instead of asking quickly, before the known break of the dam, time and I walk slowly all the way upstream. Safely passing the ancient nooks and crannies of missteps that couldn’t be seen from any dream.

53

ELIASON


C E N T R I P E TA L

Forever forgetting on the way up, how to build something so fragile to catch my own reflection. We’ll find the source of the stream and its history and viciously destroy it. Cover the origins with a hundred bulldozers and a billion rocks, Tearing through screaming black smoke, gears ripping. After it’s done, in the silence that follows, there will be brown dirt, soaking wet with influence. Out of breath, I’ll slowly spread an infinity of seeds.

W ILLIAM B RASIER F ATHER He plants the seed on fertile ground. Prayers follow that the seed will survive and grow into a tree that he can be proud of. Not realizing he has to be around to help the tree grow and become rooted. The young tree struggles to survive, weakened by neglect because he was not there to water his tree. Without nutrients the tree will not Survive; slowly out of neglect and starvation the tree that was once so special as seed will wither and die.

BRASIER

54


C E N T R I P E TA L

R EBECCA P OULETTE S WEET B IRD

OF

P ARADOX

My Dream is that That one-day the World will be as One. Voices in the streets come together. Power to the People today! Throughout all this we didn’t realize Life is what happens to you While you’re making other plans. Stop the war; stop the fighting! Fighting for a better tomorrow? Well I don’t want to be a soldier mama, I don’t want to die. Dear Yoko; Beautiful boy Don’t mourn for me, Remember my dream and Find your own. Look for love, Love is free, free is love. Mark David Chapman They say you made me a legend. They grouped me with Kennedy and King, who said, I have a dream I too have a dream, But I’m not the only one.

55

POULETTE


C E N T R I P E TA L

E D D OUGAS D ENIAL T RIP

I

’m fourteen years old and I’m walking around with my parents at the annual town fair. My father drags us to see the pigs and sheep and cattle-pulling competitions because he grew up on a farm. My mother makes me look at stained glass figurines because she wishes she’d gone to art school. We begin to walk again, but suddenly and without warning everything around me becomes blurry. The lights are fuzzy, reflecting intense slow motion, and all the colors I see have melded together like evening New York City traffic. I quickly turn to my father only to discover that he’s now a giant and on fire. Horrified, I look to my mother for comfort but find her now only three feet tall. My parents begin to argue in complete silence. I look up from the ground and notice a glow coming from a circus tent. I follow it intently, hypnotically, until I realize my parents have disappeared. I don’t really care all that much, so I walk into the tent. Inside, a man with a fluorescent white suit is sitting behind a metal desk in an otherwise pitch black room. The man tells me he’s a doctor and that he knows what illness I’m suffering from. I tell him I’m fine and that nothing is wrong. He says I’ll never see my parents again and that my sickness can only be cured one way. With that he reaches behind his desk and calmly pulls out a gun. He says I need to kill myself. I get very angry at this notion, telling him he’s crazy and to leave me the hell alone. I storm quickly out of the tent to look for my family. I search through the blurry colors and sharp lights of the fairgrounds, but my parents are nowhere to be seen. I ask random people if they know where my family is, but instead of answering in voices their replies are muted trumpet noises.

DOUGAS

56


C E N T R I P E TA L

Frustrated, I begin to walk home because I know it’s so close. After a few hundred feet through that narrow road through the woods, a large black car with tinted windows slowly pulls up to me. A window rolls down and I know it’s the doctor even though it’s too dark to make out his face. His arms extends and I see the same, shiny, elegant gun from the tent in his hand. Fiery with rage and denial, I tromp away from the car and begin back down the road home. After fifteen feet or so I stop and look back. The black car hasn’t moved. Exhausted, I stagger towards the driver’s side window, and taking the gun from the doctor’s hand, I slowly put it to my head. I tell my therapist the dream ends there every time, just before I pull the trigger. He tells me I need to stop doing drugs. I tell him my parents need to stop living in the past.

57

DOUGAS


C E N T R I P E TA L

C AITLIN W ALTZER U NTITLED My day starts with a familiar —stranger— Flowing purples and greens clothe the exterior while the inside remains naked and —full— —grasping— absorbing newness So many different facets of spirit That intellect seems a trivial component *Coconut Coffee Jump Start* my gay friend thought about sleeping with me Not the first time That’s happened But true love is too afraid to be True Love My growing place has lessened The gentle water rocking of my former crib —too small now— her revering arms push me off in a paper boat to the cavernous —carnivorous— places and now, though my mind and my soul bloom it is with bloody lilies as honey-coated knives rip open the spaces for growth.

W A LT Z E R

58


C E N T R I P E TA L

P ALETTE images of images your fingers sliding deftly over the least explored parts of me with intuitive accuracy acute awareness one to the other pressing alpha writing our identities on each other’s body walls root to limb bark to leaf the rain washes away the water colored world outside inside oil permanence two distinct worlds of color blending together

59

W A LT Z E R


C E N T R I P E TA L

M EG P ETERSEN P EER R ESPONSE “I like your hair,” said the boy who’d frosted the top of his head lime-green with peroxide, to the girl whose locks were dyed the exact color of one of those vibrant orange-yellow crayons in the familiar green and yellow 64 Crayola box. The hair matched her sneakers. Exactly. The boy read his paper into his hands. They poised on his belly like wounded birds. When he concluded, the other girl with the blue eye shadow, thick mascara and the skintight shirt, asks for more detail. In her commentary she uses the word “awesome” six times. She takes her turn to read, and the other group member, looking suave in American Eagle cap and matching shirt says he thinks she might need a comma, or something, somewhere… She adjusts her shirt over her bare midriff and runs her eyes over the paper again. The white noise of air conditioner swallows up the sounds of their breathing. All is still until peroxide boy leans forward. “If you write from the heart,” he says, “You can’t go wrong.” She nods. “Really,” he continues, “I could feel it— all of it.”

PETERSEN

60


C E N T R I P E TA L

M ATT K MIEC R IDING W ITH W HITMAN

W

alt and I, we ride off up the road, with the sun on our backs and the wind at our fronts. Walt, he wanted to stay at home and watch the unplugged television looking for God, (again) but I wouldn’t let him. When I tried to get him to go on a bike ride with me, he tried to change the subject and talk about stars. This went on for an hour and a half. Finally, I convinced him to come with me. “We’ll see a lot of cool stuff, I told him. Rocks, trees, God, and so on.” His eyes brightened. “Does God live on our road?” When I shrugged, he asked again. Finally, I gave in, and told him “Yes Walt, God does indeed live on our road. We’re sure to see him. All you have to do is go get changed and we’ll go find him.” Upon hearing this, he hugged me, hands firmly on my buttocks. I had grown used to this sort of thing from Walt. So Walt, he goes into his bedroom to change. After about 5 minutes, he comes out naked. Not a stitch of clothing on the man, I kid you not. I ask, “Walt, you did know we were going for a bike ride, right?” He replies, “I’m going to meet God naked.” With that, he spun in a circle, arms extended. After talking to him, at great length, about public decency laws, I was finally able to convince him to, at the very least, go put some bike shorts on. He said he lost his, can’t remember where they went. “Maybe they got old and died,” he says with a shrug. I sighed, and grabbed him a pair of my own to wear. He took them from me, thanked me, held my hand in his for a minute or two, then walked back into the bedroom to put them on. All of this, mind you, took place with Walt completely naked. A few minutes later, he emerged from the bedroom, wearing only the bike shorts and socks. The socks, I guess,

61

KMIEC


C E N T R I P E TA L

were his idea. His wrinkled skin hung loose around the spandex shorts, and his enormous beard touched his chest. The shorts were black, shiny, and he kept rubbing them. “Like ice,” he kept muttering, apparently referring to their smoothness. Finally, I got him to fill up his water bottles and get on the bike. It took a bit more convincing to get him to put on his bike shoes. I tried explaining to him that he would need to wear them in order to clip into the pedals, but he kept insisting that he would wrap his toes (he kept calling them “citizens of his foot”) around the pedals, and it would be secure enough. When I made note of the fact that God would likely see Walt’s bloodied feet as an insult to His son, Walt quickly changed his mind, and thus energized, quickly put on his shoes. We set off. On flat ground, Walt shifts to the highest gear his bike has to offer, the gear normally reserved for steep downhills. Though only going around fifteen miles per hour, Walt elects to use this gear almost all the time, standing up on the pedals, pulling mightily with his arms, straining. He smiles while doing this, and almost never looks down at the road. “The clouds are pulling me,” he always tells me, when I ask if his legs get tired. Once, I persisted, and asked him again. He stopped pedaling, pulled over, and started to weep. “You scared them away,” he told me. Despite his love for the high gear on flats, as soon as we approach a hill and the road tilts skyward, he immediately shifts to the absolute lowest gear possible. This gear he pedals furiously, as fast as his legs can go, bouncing around on the seat, his huge beard waving back and forth like Spanish moss. Since the incident with the scared-away clouds, I have been reluctant to ask him about his hillclimbing style. One time, however, he just said, out of the blue, “The ants do this. Their legs move in fast circles, and they have six of them. I only have two. I don’t want to let

KMIEC

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them win.” Having not the slightest idea how to respond to this, I shifted into a higher gear, stood up, and sprinted away from him, leaving him churning that tiny gear. On our ride, Walt starts to get impatient, asking when we’ll see God, how far to where He is, and so on. Being not in the right mood to properly deal with these questions, I say “Didn’t you see Him? We rode right by Him, and He waved to you!” Walt grows puzzled, then seems to cheer up. He smiles and says “So that was him. I thought it was.” We say nothing more for the rest of the ride. I pass him my water bottle when his runs dry, and he passes me a handful of leaves, green and new and lush, which he had apparently pulled from a bush as we passed. “God,” he whispers.

63

KMIEC


C E N T R I P E TA L

J ULIE P ASSETTO T O B E S AVED Until 4 a.m., We discussed what it meant To be saved. Apparently, you thought I needed To be. 16 years of half-swallowed Catholicism— No chaser Would make anyone’s soul Ripe for the picking, Just aching to be enjoyed. At 17, I saw Paganism smashing Through the stained glass illusion Of “Equality,” To reveal sexist Catholicism. Gods and goddesses manifest The life blood of self-made miracles. Right or wrong, I dance to its rhythmic palpitations, Too dizzy to think about the many meanings Of consequence. Now, I am God-starved. According to you, Paganism is not exactly a one-way ticket To the Promised Land— And the devil is so close to seeing That my soul is not fully insured. Now what to do— Become a once-a-week Catholic, As the Bible burns a cross through my bed? Maybe you’re wrong though, And you’re in need of salvation. We’ll just have to see.

PASSETTO

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C E N T R I P E TA L

A MANDA P ORTER U NTITLED late night sheets soaked like riches. smoke lingers clouds lies slows breathing. finger nail scratches tell stories.

â?–

C RASH O N I CE Wind blows me Leaves, Like silence stirred. Do not be reckless, Driver, Like a crash on ice. Tread light Dirt, Like loosely packed when impacted. Do not anger Sweat Like it drips from the lips of a lover.

65

PORTER


C E N T R I P E TA L

J EN O’D ONNELL F RUSTRATION

OF THE

L OINS

An innocent touch Graze Entertains no no Pulsates no entertains my thoughts. Infests. Like a thrust. Bite scratch yank me. Cause I kinda like it. when it hurts. Tell the boy that writes the Pretty poetry With the pretty mouth That I do take cold showers. Everyday.

In-between classes.

I kind of touched A piece of man- the hand Of a victim of non wash After a warm release of expulsion. I want that slippery smooth soft Penetration

Of the brain? Just another dirty thought she thinks. Laughing. With her ear against The wall. Giggles of innocent pleasure. She lives vicariously but that’s all that she can do For now.

O’DONNELL

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C E N T R I P E TA L

I’ LL . S EE . Y OU . A FTER. S UNDAY . Closed daffodils With yellows and whites Gleaming strategic shadows Expecting testimonies From grass The dirt and your words like the wind Existing on a shrinking universe Looking up Mouth agape—it’s the only way to do things Around here Twirling like a skirt Being lifted to her thighs With all of the purity and naivete sickened And diseased like The sounds like the shapes Spinning together into a blur of consistency. Or consistency thriving for Its place in the cosmos. Like thoughts Not focused on her-legs. Fragile-lady-knees. Smooth-firm-thigh. Instead. On her skirt that continues to spin Like the constant trip in my head But eyes soon open Prying like the sunrise Peeling back the moon and the stars Let my brain catch back up with my weak calcium rods Intake this impure. Induced. Perfect. Beautiful day.

67

O’DONNELL


C E N T R I P E TA L

J EFF B ICKFORD U NTITLED

W

e walked in a line, only a few feet in between. We were close enough to talk but for the first three days, everyone was solemn and quiet. We found things every day: a shard of tile, half of a wheel, twisted chunks of metal we couldn’t identify. Each time we stopped, took a GPS marking, and tagged the piece. On the fourth day we found an earflap of a helmet. “I wonder whose helmet it was,” I said quietly to Sara, who was on my left. “I know whose it was,” said the man on the other side of her and he said the name. “How do you know that?” she asked. The man on the far side of the man next to her gave us all a dirty look; we were profaning the place and the situation by speaking. “I’m in charge of outfitting new crew members,” he said, “making sure everything fits right.” We walked a while longer. Someone down the line found something nobody could guess the identity of—a long and twisted piece of metal. The air smelled like rain and woodsmoke and it was a misty, humid, early spring day. By noon I was sweating through my fleece and Sara had taken off her hat. We stopped for lunch near a patch of woods. A few groups of people formed; we were starting to become a social organism, this line of searchers. The man who had been walking next to Sara sat and did not eat and I ventured over to him before the end of our break. “You should eat something,” I said. “We won’t exactly have paved paths through those woods.” “I still can’t keep anything down,” he said. “I have a lot of water, and we walk slowly enough that I will be all right.” I stood about five feet away from him. I looked at Sara, at the trees, and at the crows in the tree closest to us. I put my hands in my pockets and checked the sky for any change in the cloud cover.

BICKFORD

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“Is there anything, well, that we could, um do for you? Or help you with?” He took a drink of water. The two slices of lemon in his water bottle knocked against each other and were splashed against the sides of it as he tilted it back and put it back down. “No,” he said. “This is my way of trying to grieve, I guess. We never covered it in training.” “Oh.” His water bottle made a hollow sloshing noise as he took another drink. “What brings the two of you here?” “We’re both in search and rescue back home, up north.” “Plenty of one, not much of the other, huh?” “Guess so.” I looked back over to Sara. She was sitting on the ground, stretching and then she stopped and took the knee brace out of her pack. I caught her eye and she said, “Hey, we’re forming up again. Same places?” “Sure,” I said. We stayed two weeks and found pieces every day, a sideways-moving centipede eating up every obstacle. The GPS satellite helped mark our start points, our end points, the direction we went in, and the location of all the little pieces that fell here from space.

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BICKFORD


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P ARIS L ANDRY P OST -S TRUCTURAL S YNTHESIS

I have been labeled my entire life to facilitate a social need to classify and categorize in order to understand they’ve called me a lesbian straight a slut a prude a misanthrope antisocial AND flirtatious but I’ve never had sex never really think about it before it’s brought up this confuses them they’ve called me violent an angry feminist man-hater confident Aggressive ASSERTIVE POWERFUL controlling of women and acrimony but I’ve never registered gender to premeditate action

LANDRY

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this confuses them my body defies categorization a round peg sticking out of every square frame of reference my being will not be cut down formed or made pretty to be shipped out pre-packaged advertised as something more appealing than real a green hostess cupcake that that could never be as good as grandma’s I am grandma’s cupcake with all of its imperfect measurements of perfect ingredients stirred round spinning and colliding with exploding neurons synthesizing in a chemical copulation

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LANDRY


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D AVE C OMMINS W ORK , D AMN Y OU Anapestic Iambic hybrids mix well as long as the beats agree with each other from line to line However thumbtacks do nothing to ease diplomatic unrest when it comes to an insatiable vagina dentata vs. an impertinent penis who happens to be me. My words will never ring in euphony to those who see my phallus as a swastika Stand to attention! Hail Erection! burn the pagan negress and her frail asian girlfriend is that what you want me to say to justify your neo racism? well okay, but only if you promise to spank me one last time, mistress of the labian dentures But mind you don’t sharpen those fangs too much lest you sever the tender tongue of your supple lover in rapturous post-coital spasm.

COMMINS

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M ARIE F AVALORO U NTITLED So I made out with your Link. of the literati. Luscious lips I liked to * kiss.* Little did I know of the l e t d o w n to which it would l e a d . Though my night he l i v e n e d , L u r e him I did not. Then I learned Of your love For his <little mouth> and lovely lips. And still my lust for him has l i n g e r e d. Not largely regretful yet not entirely insolent, I will try not to flaunt the deed of my delectation.

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F AVA L O R O


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N ORA T OOMEY I F OUND Y OU W ALKING

I

AT

5 A.M.

t was early, sunrise early, and there you were. You were counting shadows when I happened to walk by and excite a moment. As Jupiter swirled out of sight above us, you stole my hand and placed it in yours. I taught you sounds, you taught me words. Round, full, naked, words. And we whispered them; two children crouched down by a steeple. We spoke a new language; alphabet of hands and feet. And when the moon was gone, when the sky split and poured on us, its yellow pink hues, we spelled â&#x20AC;&#x153;here.â&#x20AC;? Through a looking glass we found knees and ears, necks and elbows. Fast then slow, loud then soft we experienced the elation of our auditory orgasm. Many lazy vowels later, we rose. You went back to counting shadows, and I begged the sun to sleep so we could meet again. You trailed off like a run-on sentence, and I watched you walk away.

TOOMEY

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D ANIEL S INGER F EAST

M ESCALINE K ING For Schopenhauer

OF THE

Enter the servers spooning his wares into their waters. The party raises its glasses in toast: hypnogogic delicacy, ripe and timid to each: A virgin mouth and the hussy gram. “To the Plate bastard and his mathematical travesty. To his arrogant pupil—the pupate objective-bitch. May he be thinged. May Huxley see flowers. Down with the Iris, ermine, and the eye that sees worms.” Enter the king. Enter the mad follicle, Jacobite Jester with his purple, indolent Will to Live, fleecing the eaters for the mouth that needs weeding, annulment, his nourishing hardness. The party orgasms his name in thanks. They have their bodies and thank him with them. Enter, on plates, the tongues. Some have been flayed, most are boiled. The party sinks quiet, listening. The King guffaws. The party recoils. Their bodies are manifest. The king is beautiful. His hand is raised. The party is afraid. Enter the servants to take them. Some scream or wail. Others do not move at all. Sit, wait for the fork and blade, the fires to rend their voices from them, be cooked, feasted upon. At supper, when Christ invented Jazz and saw it was beautiful, he desired only to survive the day, but history is vindictive and the King’s invitations are sent. A party is cooking in the fires, on the water, by coitus.

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SINGER


C E N T R I P E TA L

T HE N ECESSITY

OF

G ECKOS’ N OBILITY

Fundamental is my inconsequence. I am this fool who charges the Pemigewasset River— altar of the world—calling: let me be the poet of my people! Let me irrigate their fancies with the bilge of my fantastic. Let me teach them to forsake the mammary and suckle instead at the marrow. From it, let me give them to each other in pieces. Let me give them away. Let me call upon the grouse, the meta-orchid, Nineveh and the Scriptures to tell them of themselves, not as they are but as they have themselves never been. Let it be left to mere history to record. Let it be left to Herodotus, that great prude, to tell of what happened. Leave him to history. Grant to me geckos’ patents of nobility. Make me a gift, not of dawn or stupefying sunset, but the midafternoon. Donate me the idle hours with which to apply myself to work, for I will fight no wars, till no earth. I shall give rise to no great houses, and my name shall be a seed of no king’s contestations, nor those of any peasant nor wheatblade or god. Beside a litany of scholars believing solely in the greatest loves and hatreds of this world, I would mold for you a readership of such trivial fools as shall be worthy of questioning your banks, or skipping the smoother stones above your currents. Let me be this, the poet, that I may so disprove your waters properly and speak on the taste of the earth before you

ran and of the smell of it when you have gone. SINGER

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N OTES ON C ONTRIBUTORS RICK AGRAN, a Brookline, NH native, is the author of Crow Milk, a collection of poetry. His work has also appeared in Cimarron Review, Lowell Review, and American Poetry: the Next Generation. His children’s book, Pumpkin Shivaree debuts this Fall from Handprint Books. BEN BACOTE is a Plymouth State College English major from Siler City, NC. His work has appeared in The Clock. JEFF BICKFORD, a Plymouth State College Alum and Laconia, NH native, he teaches at the New Life Christian Academy. His works have appeared in The Clock and Centripetal. AMY BONDESEN is a senior with a Communications major at Plymouth State College. She has published work in The Clock. WILLIAM BRASIER is an English major at Plymouth State College. His work has previously appeared in Centripetal and The Clock. RANDY BROOKER is a senior English major, originally from North-Central Maine. He now resides in the White Mountain region of NH. DAVE COMMINS is a sophomore English major at Plymouth State College. He has been previously published in The Onion River Review and Centripetal. TARA CONNOLLY is originally from MA, she is a third year student of English Communications Studies and Women Studies. Her work has appeared in the Comp Journal. SCOTT COYKENDALL teaches Professional Writing at Plymouth State College. He received his MFA in Poetry from Bowling Green State University. His poems have appeared in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Quarterly West, Calliope, Poet’s On, and Centripetal. KATE DONAHUE IS Co-Director of the NH Young Writers Conference. Her work has appeared in Illuminations, That Fierce Embrace With Life and other anthologies , as well as The Midwest Poetry Review, Compass Rose, and Ex Libris. Her collection of poetry and photography, The Bridge of Tuesday Afternoons appeared in 1995. ED DOUGAS, a Falmouth, ME native, is a sophomore at Plymouth State College pursuing a BA in English. JESSICA DUNN is an English major from North Sandwich, NH. RAMSAY ELIASON is a 22-year-old native of Bartlett, NH and a fifth year English major at Plymouth State College. His work has appeared in Centripetal. DAVID EVANS is pursuing a BA in English at Plymouth State College. His work has appeared in Centripetal; he is serving on the Board of Editors for The Comp Journal. MARIE FAVALORO, from Northwood, NH, is a junior at Plymouth State College majoring in Childhood Studies.

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C E N T R I P E TA L DAVID HAIGHT is a Professor of Philosophy at Plymouth State College. He is the author of The Scandal of Reason, Einstein’s Dream Come True, as well as several poems and.articles on Philosophy. KRYSTINA HAJDUCZEK hails from Sutton, VT. She is a student of Medieval Studies at Plymouth State College. Her work has appeared in Janus and Centripetal. ANGELA HARTMANN of Kingston, NH is a senior English student at Plymouth State College. Her work has appeared in Parnassus, Centripetal, The Clock, and on Poetry.com. MATTHEW ELIJAH HOBERT, originally from Holyoke, MA, is a senior at Plymouth State College, majoring in Spanish. JESSICA HOYT is a senior at Plymouth State College, pursuing a BA in English. GABRIEL JEWELL is from Franklin, NH. He is a sophomore History student at Plymouth State College. BOB KELLEY, a Wolfboro, NH native, is a senior English major at Plymouth State College. His work has appeared in Centripetal and Granite State News. MATT KMIEC is a senior at Plymouth State College. A frequent reader at Biederman’s Open Mic, his work has appeared in The Clock, Centripetal, and The Way of Things Beneath The Snow. SHAWN LAMPRON is an English major from Wolfeboro, NH. PARIS LANDRY is a New Hampshire native and student at Plymouth State College. Her work has appeared in The Clock and The Wordsworth. DUDLEY LAUFMAN is from Canterbury, NH. He has published two trade edition books of poems: An Orchard & A Garden and Mouth Music. His works have appeared in Hanging Loose, American Weave, Abraxas, Prairie Schooner, Red Owl, Lillabulero, Yankee, Wormwood Review, Pudding, Skyline and Rivendell. CRYSTAL LAVOIE, originally from Tamworth, NH, is currently pursuing an English degree at Plymouth State College. Her work has appeared in Centripetal. SARAH LEWIS is a junior English student at Plymouth State College. She has been published in The Clock. JONATHAN LINK is earning his MFA in Poetry at UMASS, Amherst. Co-founder of Centripetal, his work has appeared in Slope Magazine and is forthcoming in castagraf and CanWeHaveOurBallBack. DANA LOGIUDICE is from Colchester, CT. She is a student of Theatre and Spanish language in Chicago, IL.

MIKE LONGO is a sophomore at Plymouth State College from Sanbornton, NH. He has been published in The Clock, Centripetal, and in The Comp Journal.

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C E N T R I P E TA L CARA LOSIER is a Berlin, NH native currently studying English at Plymouth State College. She is the Vice-President of PSC Poets and Writers. Her works have been featured in Centripetal, The Clock, and The Berlin Daily Sun. ROBERT M. MASSE is a senior English and Communications student at Plymouth State College. His work has appeared in Plymouth Week, Plymouth Magazine, The Wordsworth, The Clock of which he is the former Editor-in-Chief, and on air at NHPR. JACK MCCARTHY has been featured on two national slam teams and has produced three books of poetry and a CD. He is an engaging minor character in the film “Slamnation” and was a semifinalist for the Individual Slam Championship in 2000. The Boston Phoenix named him “Best Standup Poet,” the Boston Poetry Awards “Best Love Poet,” and the Cambridge Poetry Awards “Best Spoken Word ” and “Best Humorous Poet.” The Boston Globe says, “In the poetry world, he’s a rock star.” Poet Stephen Dobyns calls him, “one of the wonders of contemporary poetry.” JASON MCKENZIE, a lifelong New Hampshirite, he is a junior English student at Plymouth State College. He has been published in Centripetal. JOSEPH MONNINGER is the author of eight novels and has twice won Fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts. His short stories have appeared in Story, Fiction, Ellery Queen, McCall’s, Redbook, and Playboy. He has published nonfiction in American Heritage, Sports Illustrated, Glamour, Scientific American, and Readers Digest. Recently, he has been a columnist for the Valley News and Laconia Citizen. He lives in Warren, New Hampshire with his wife, Wendy, and his son, Justin. MATT O’BRIEN earned his BFA in Graphic Design from Plymouth State College. His work has appeared in The Wordsworth. He currently resides in CT and is hiking the Appalachian Trail. JEN O’DONNELL, a New Hampshire native, is a sophomore studying Psychology and Writing at Plymouth State College. DIANE T. PADILLA resides in Weare, NH and is currently the Editorial Assistant for Business NH Magazine, the premiere business publication for the Granite State. JULIE PASSETTO is studying English at Plymouth State College. She is originally from Great Barrington, MA and her work has appeared in Ruby Bayou. LYDIA PERRY is a first-year English Education and Political Science major from Colchester, CT. Her work has appeared in Centripetal, The Clock and on Poetry.com. MEG PETERSEN teaches English education courses at Plymouth State College. She is one of the editors of the Plymouth Writers Group anthologies of teachers writing. Her poetry has appeared in Concrete Wolf, The Leaflet, and several other literary magazines. In 1998, she was named New England Poet of the Year by the New England Association of Teachers of English. AMANDA PORTER a native of Springfield, MA is studying Environmental Planning at Plymouth State College. She has been previously published in Centripetal. REBECCA POULETTE originally from Manchester, NH is an English major at Plymouth State College. Her work has appeared in Centripetal and in The Clock.

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ANGELA RICCIARDI is a lecturer of Composition and Literature at Plymouth State College. Her poem “Security” published in Lynx Eye was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. DANIEL SINGER is the editor of Centripetal, The Way of Things Beneath the Snow, and is the Founding Editor of The Wordsworth. His nonfiction has appeared in The Clock and Business NH Magazine. TRACEY L. SMITH is a Nashua, NH native and a third-year English major at Plymouth State College. She has been published in Centripetal, a Creative Communications, Inc. anthology, a Poetry.com audio anthology, and The Clock. She received a Yankee Pen Honorable Mention for “Spotlight on Kevin Mercier,” published in Panther Prints. NIKOLE SNOVER hails from Milford, NH. She is majoring in English at Plymouth State College while pursuing a Women’s Studies minor. Her work has been published in The Spartan Review, Centripetal and The Clock. CHRISTOPHER SZATYNSKI, a resident of Campton, NH, he works as a police dispatch operator and firefighter. He graduated from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. NORA TOOMEY from Manchester, CT is a sophomore at Plymouth State College majoring in English. She has previously been published in Centripetal. MICHELE N. TUCCI is a senior at Plymouth State College majoring in Art and Ceramics.

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2003 CONNING TOWER YEARBOOK

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: PSC Poets and Writers would like to thank the following for their help and support on this edition of Centripetal: the contributors, Jack McCarthy, The Common Man Inn, The Biedermanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, PSC Student Senate, the Hartman Union Building Staff, and the PSC English Department. Special thanks to Phil Lonergan for his artistic generosity. Special thanks to Andrew Mannone and Rick Agran for their extraordinary involvement and dedicated counsel. Special thanks, of course, to Paul Rogalus, our advisor, without whom none of this would have been possible.

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Centripetal Fifth Edition  

Centripetal Spring 2003

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