Clementine Poetry Journal Editor: G. F. Boyer This volume collects the poems published on the Clementine Poetry Journal website from January 2015 through June 2015. www.clementinepoetryjournal.com On the cover: “Snowmelt” by Sarah Rehfeldt www.pbase.com/candanceski Cover design and layout: Bruce Fleming and G. F. Boyer Clementine line drawing: Meredith Regal www.meredithregal.com
© 2015 by G. F. Boyer ISBN: 978-1-312-98090-7 All rights revert to individual authors upon publication. Published by Clementine Press. Printed by Lulu.com.
Clementine Poetry Journal Volume One: January - June 2015
Contents Tim Suermondt Corey Mesler Jenya Doudareva Yu-Han Chao Scott Starbuck Kim Zach Denise Umans Jeannine Hall Gailey Ann Lees Lois Marie Harrod John Rowland Lynne Handy Carolyn Stice Erin Wahl Patrick Tiernan Christopher Mulrooney Elizabeth Vrenios Elaine Handley Helen Mazarakis Bruce Fleming Anne Britting Oleson Ashlie Allen Travis Poling Laura Winkelspecht Susan Tally M.J. Iuppa
The Drone Selective Service I Awake Nothing Surprises Us Anymore Has science gone too far this time? Welcome to the Circus Linnaeus Freak Show Wasting Sea Stars Love Apple Pierrot Bird-Photographer Introduction To Husbandry Dimmer Switch Another Note to My Dead Mother The Soul Selects Her Lamborghini Echoes Doodling Zeus Mélange Calgary Sisters Are Hard to Love Physics is Complicated wicked Scarfskin Diagnosis: Alzheimer’s 5:20 Third Age Comments in the Dark Her Last Year in Lindsborg The Border Sixteen Solstice Green Corn Dance Winter Tracking The Drone Heavy Historical Marker Song from Next Door Gray Sea, Gray Ship, Floating
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 v
Melody Mack Steve Klepetar William Doreski James Croal Jackson Robert S. King Sandra Anfang Joseph Murphy Matthew Morley Rodney Nelson Gerard Sarnat Meghan Sterling Gina Williams Sharon Scholl Erin Redfern
Sophie Johnson Beth Konkoski Irene Honeycutt Lois Levinson Jonathan Travelstead Moriah Erickson Thomas Zimmerman Matthew Ulland Contributor Notes About the Editor
Carry Me In a City by the Sea She Said Three Doors R+X A Waterfall Whispers the Way Trees in Boxes Unbound Cezanne Still Life What Joins Us Metaphors Boyhood The New Patriarch Unmade An Education The Last Fight He Has Left The Fall Unblocking the Fifth Chakra in a Dream The One Where Youâ€™re Naked, and Late for a Test Birthday Aubade Balance Beam When Your Daughter Leaves Home Flocked Days Inn Motel, Kankakee Apocalypse Thread Dogwalk Our Gang I Woke in The Green Light
40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 64 66 68 69 70 71 73 83
Tim Suermondt The Drone I remember when it was merely a dull sound and no one walking down the road sitting on a park bench or dancing at a wedding had anything to fear The drone wasnâ€™t warlike merely a nuisance triumphantly brushed aside by beauty like an apple tree in winter a parade of women in summer dresses and yes the poet droning on far too long
Corey Mesler Selective Service After the war we found new ways to be afraid. We were young and full of dung and we only wanted enough time to sleep with Sherry and Lynn. As adults we were poor students. As Americans we thought we had seen the worst. In the morning it all seemed lit by amber light. It all seemed preserved. We were often still afraid, especially when one day bled into the next. One day always bleeds into the next. We are still studying, lying and lying low. We still want to sleep with Sherry and Lynn and Robin.
Corey Mesler I Awake I awake in a tired country and outside my window the reconstruction disturbs my peace. I live in lines, I write once, and then cross it out. I lie. But I cannot write on the paper that I lie. Nor can I hear you call me home.
Jenya Doudareva Nothing Surprises Us Anymore Nobody batted an eye when he tried on the elephant head. After all, it was a thing to do. The smell of rotting flesh was constant and therefore Unnoticeable. Some pulled it off better than others, So we were all curious if heâ€™d be the one to do it best. He was not, So we moved on to other attractions, Rendering his bloody face unremarkable, Familiar, and therefore Unnoticeable. We began recounting the story of a lady whose spine was shaped like a bonsai.
Jenya Doudareva Has science gone too far this time? Look, broken down into segments This apparatus looks less menacing, Simpler, and almost approachable. Don’t be afraid of it. One day— One day it will be used for porn and cat visualizations. More powerful and more capable than ever– Better porn, better cats. This is not the death ray you were looking for. You are only afraid because it was made by someone just like you, And she is a proud woman. Her watering can is made of steel And is used exclusively for the undead orchids Left by not just one, but two—no, three, plastic men. She’s nursing the orchids back to life Because it’s the right thing to do. You can’t help but respect that And therefore, respect this machine. Don’t be afraid of it. She could have killed those flowers with her bare hands had she chosen to.
Yu-Han Chao Welcome to the Circus Linnaeus Freak Show Ladies and gentlemen girls and boys Come see the salamander with two cocks the smacking fish with none the naked bird with heart-shaped rump the brainless, earless, nostril-less: mail-coated insect skipping on dry ground hermaphrodite worm crawling moist and mute
Scott Starbuck Wasting Sea Stars Tide pool consciousness means you donâ€™t know about bacteria, viruses, or coal-fired plants making sea water acidic. Instead, you focus on gathering succulent mussels for a dinner written in your genetic code. You crawl, mate, leave offspring, protect your territory under ledges of barnacled rocks. And when stars begin to drop around you, your arms melt and unhinge, you merely move along as you always have.
Kim Zach Love Apple You offer me a tomato, still warm from afternoon sun where it hung globe-heavy, a vibrant splash of lipstick red against the vine. The summer I turned nine, my mother gave me a tomato. My childish taste buds revolted—oh, slippery glob, oh odious mucilaginous lump, I gagged. Now, I hold it for a moment, relish its seductive plumpness, the smooth new-car gloss of skin, inhale earthy saltiness. The encyclopedia in my fourth-grade classroom informed me the tomato was once thought poisonous, a fact I didn’t doubt. I take the knife and slice through soft flesh, crafting two heart-shaped halves, revealing tiny seeds and light jelly pulp, smiling to remember my surprise that the Church christened it the devil’s fruit— Eve may have tempted Adam with a harlot red tomato, rather than the apple!—
But this summer, I bite greedily. Zesty flavors meld on my tongue, a juicy rhapsody of spicy and sweet. For adults only, I say, offering you the other heart-shaped half.
Denise Umans Pierrot I watch my children watch his face with awe and fear that clings like silence to the airâ€“ this gentle man, his eyes and face and hands ablaze with silent words that laugh at us, but only to himself, because he cares to make us laugh Who is this man who moves behind a mask of white as balls dance up and round and sometimes down and he in step and we in turn wait?
Who is this man? We almost know and yet he seems to know us more
Denise Umans Bird-Photographer a heron knew the pond had turned to marsh, somehow, silently as a reed standing spindly i spied her, stiff against the wind no song to stir her concentrated poise with neck outstretched i could not see the fish she saw and in a flash, there was a reed once more and as i paused to make this pose eternal, she circled in a blue-gray cloud and elegantly was no more
Jeannine Hall Gailey Introduction to Husbandry Definition of Husbandry: To take care of things, of a farm or people; a careful management of resources; to care for.
Here is my introduction: your attitude when you took my brother to the hospital and helped him do wheelies in the waiting room. You shepherd my unwilling shape towards the future, the husk of my body in your hands. The rustle of hyacinths in the bedroom. Every hurtle one more thing for your hands to tear down. The hyaline blue of your eyes, the color of the seaside towns we move to. I swear your hydromechanics keep my blood from leaving. When you shook me out wet with lakewater and hustled me to bed with a towel and hot tea, did you know the spirit of the undertaking, the hybrid nature of your chimeric bride?
Ann Lees Dimmer Switch At the edge of a brilliant blue sky, a cloud appears, slowly grows bigger until it shuts out the sun. You stand in front of your drawer, your eyes open. The shirt you need is there, but you don’t see it. Your car keys disappear into a black hole. We can’t find them anywhere. The phone company threatens to cut off service. You haven’t paid the bill in four months. What cruel hand controls the dimmer switch that eclipses the light in your brain?
Lois Marie Harrod Another Note to My Dead Mother Today we met Doug’s thirteenth girlfriend, skinny as the rest. She was blabbing on, as I used to do, about what she couldn’t say in her family. The substitutions– gee, fudge, heck, gosh rankled her preacher father as they had Dad but Doug was watching her mouth with that gaze old Shep wore when we held a bone above his head. Seems sucks was especially offensive, as in that sucks–or as it seemed, she sucks him off, though I imagine you asking later when we wash the dishes sucks? what in tarnation is that? as once in your sixties you asked about two women: I don’t get it. Just what is it they do? Other than the obvious, we are not sure, Mom, what Doug is doing with this rawboned floozy though we suppose in a month or two he’ll sop up another one just as sapped. And maybe that too sucks.
Lois Marie Harrod The Soul Selects Her Lamborghini The soul selects her Lamborghini— Then slams the door— On her divine—episteme Impose no more. Unmoved—she notes the hitchhiker In her rear-view mirror, Unmoved—the husband stipulating He must steer. I’ve known her from an ample lot Choose one And from that—moment drive on—alone.
John Rowland Echoes It’s late, guests and family gone. The lights from the tree reflect In the amber liquid of my glass. All is quiet, save the echoes. The sound of children’s laughter, Voices of the adults they’ve become And of those who share the empty chair: All resonate in the empty room. Ordinary people, sustaining each other; Each laying one more block In the ever-stronger castle wall Behind which the new arrive. My voice will join the echoes Of the Legion of the Ordinary– Those whom history will never know, Yet upon whose backs the load is carried.
Lynne Handy Doodling Zeus black bully clouds stalk the sunshine zeus rumbles at his children and scratches imprecations on the skyboard with golden fingernails
Lynne Handy Mélange Old fiddle wind strums doodah bawdy firs kick high, flash thigh dead leaves scat— half-notes on a staff. wake up, cymbal moon, and crash dawn’s orange-throated trumpet blares while clefted pears strain against chains lily pods hit high C and ivy fists loosen their clench on the fence. bebop jump con fusion! the felonious sun pedals into a cloud bank and riffs new notes for the day. Who’ll tell? Tiger lily: Not me.
Carolyn Stice Calgary Today there is ice fog on the river and the echo of ravens quorking overhead. I cannot see them but I know they are tumbling together and apart on the updrafts, playing kings and queens of this scrub-brush park while the trees stand solitary watch, leaning into the burn and buckle of winter gusts rolling across Alberta prairie. Just now, the cold is tucking itself heavily into the corners of the prairie. I can hear the highwayâ€™s hum in the near distance. I want to press my face against the cold bark faces of these nameless trees, to inhale and exhale the song of resin and wood, to be alone with the deep alone.
Erin Wahl Sisters Are Hard to Love and together they burden the silence with private giggles. We are meat and cheese people. They are cotton candy. In our circle they fishline each other and hold on tight; bobbin and ball aloft, we dangle. Sisters are hard to love and they know it but wonâ€™t share their shining bracelets with us. The sky is pink and they wear calico dresses rimmed with lace. We sit in the grass, drink wine and talk about mosquito repellent. They quiver the sunrise gelatin. Sisters are hard to love. When the end of the night looms and we consider washing wineglasses and picking up napkins, they huddle in close like begonias.
Patrick Tiernan Physics is Complicated It’s me again, following thunder around like it’s my job. I’d rather focus on you, the companionable, moon-eyed optimist. Yours is the prettiest protest: don’t do anything crazy in these crazy hours. We both want the same thing, but meanwhile I’m choking on radio static. You’re the let loose I can never be. Luckily, you overestimate me; what if my innocence is specific to you— a bond that centers around pockets full of more pockets? I’m well-versed in the gravity of branches: I know that they proliferate (upside-down lightning), but they never escape the tree.
Christopher Mulrooney wicked the formal statement of the society was read aloud in the marketplace on the something of something in the year of our Lord something something and something else we heard it of course couldnâ€™t help everything else hearing it as well flora or fauna it went in all ears and in the stillness we waited for a response there was none
Elizabeth Vrenios Scarfskin the outermost layer of the skin —Webster’s New World Dictionary
I hold the opaque skin to the light, striated, papery, colorless, an ephemeral wing of a ghost. The creature who inhabited you, an undulating river of muscle, grown beyond the skin you knew, now curving into the earth’s crust. Brittle remnant of memory like the husk shucked off the walnut, the rind peeled from the fruit. How easily you cast it off and disappear, kissing the earth with your soft mouth. All that is left of you is the fragile skin I hold in my hands, leaving my longing: a deeper hunger than your instinct to shed.
Elizabeth Vrenios Diagnosis: Alzheimer’s Forgetfulness means to be full of forgetting like a glass forgetting to hold the wine. First a name, then a date and finally a world slips under water, like a Titanic drowning slow and ponderous, into the frigid sea. And my words and ideas, like submerged icebergs slowly sinking, piercing the surface deeper and deeper down, passing memory. I know I’ve sunk too far when not even the night, a tottering lifeboat, rocks me back to sleep. And I wake in the morning not knowing whether I’ve filled or emptied my own body, without ceasing to be.
Elaine Handley 5:20 The clock’s plain face timed the torment. The midwife’s mouth moved but made no sound. Your father’s encouragement a distant bell clanging. That minute was only the pain the clock the tearing breath the singular shock of letting you go.
Elaine Handley Third Age Lushness about to turn brown-spotted, webs in every corner, some birds clearing out as flowers pull back to pods. The sky takes on new clarity, leaves curl, contemplate becoming dirt. Soon, smoke will embroider the air, frost edge each blade crystalline. Scarves will hold our breath in their folds, and we will walk tenderly on ice.
Helen Mazarakis Comments in the Dark “I hear a dog bark, And comets in the dark,” My daughter’s poem began – But I thought she said comments, Which made me think Of summer nights on the farm with the windows open And the sound of grownups talking On the porch below the bedroom windows; Stuffy, airless evenings. Talk of dogs and horses: “It’s called a hound, not a dog.” Careful what you say – Be sure of what you know or think you know. To those who care, Dog or hound makes all the difference. Voices float, alighting on their marks, Stinging while I fluff my sheet, Hearing dogs bark, And comments in the dark.
Bruce Fleming Her Last Year in Lindsborg People have been known to fall asleep on this road, eased into the shallow ditch by the ticking of their tires on planes of pavement and the bob of telephone wires. It’s twenty miles to McPherson and forty back. Mornings, you race the freight train down the track and save ten minutes if you beat it to the crossing. Coming home is lazy: you’ve retrieved the lost adolescents of three surrounding counties, and for tonight they’re better off than you are. At least they can share the household chores. You, you’ll go warm something from the store, and at the table you’ll trace the whorling circles in the grain then wake him up for work, the graveyard shift he’s held since God knows when. You always went for certain types of men: reclusive, paternal, the roped-in ranger with a foggy past who circles you like a dog narrowing in. Having found religion and a steady job, this one won’t be led to higher ground, nor does he hear your loud unweeping, only registers some shifted shape, a timbre or color that approached another, subtler tint so slowly that he never felt the bolt that could have jarred him from his sleep.
Anne Britting Oleson The Border The wood is haunted. Dead children play there, and you hear them laugh, —but not in fun—as they flit through trees: girls in floating white dresses, boys in short pants. In the background, a cello in a minor key, bow scraping— or perhaps it’s the wind. Below, the lonely houses huddle together, cold and dark, trying not to attract the attention of the ghost hound at the ridge. This pathway is forbidden, foreboding, and at the crack of a branch, you whirl, eyes wide, breath harsh, looking for that one thing you will not see over your shoulder.
Anne Britting Oleson Sixteen (for Sharon)
We knew nothing, the pair of us in that moment of teenaged joy, speeding up onto Tukey’s Bridge in the blue Mustang—vintage ’65, just like us—the car your father rebuilt for your birthday present. Windows down, we belted out “Brown Sugar,” doing our best Mick Jagger, which wasn’t very good. Over the bridge, Back Bay glittered in the sinking sun, the skyline beyond golden— the only metropolis either of us knew. We owned it all: this evening, this speed, this song, this big city in this big wide world. Wind in our hair, we didn’t recognize that sunset for what it was: and isn’t that what sixteen is about, speeding along the highway in the car of our deep blue summers?
Anne Britting Oleson Solstice The night is long and oh, so quiet, leaning down over the farmhouse on the hillside as it has for two hundred winters, indifferent, crystalline. Somewhere the Oak and Holly Kings circle each other warily, then bow and back away, the only violence symbolicâ€“ that of a cold heartâ€” which is violence all the same. On this night of all nights the stars keep their secrets, hanging silent overhead, withholding judgment. This is the time of doubt, of fear, in the longest hours when nothing will ever be right again, when light and warmth will never return, when sleep will not come and all you can do is lie staring beyond the frosted glass to the skeletal arms of a tree reaching, in vain, for the ghostly sliver of moon.
Ashlie Allen Green Corn Dance We chased spirits and held their hands We ran to the pow wow and danced in our dirty jeans and torn T-shirts We kissed mouths we didnâ€™t know, then laughed at our shyness We drank blood and got sick We combed our hair, trying to look like handsome Hollywood Indians We dreamed on the roofs of rotting houses and smiled when the rain fell on us We skipped school and ran into the red sun, went home, made parents out of our shadows We passed bottles and ate fleas from our skin We swam in the contaminated pond and were reborn as damned reservation kids who had no desire for themselves, only for the best friend drowning at their side
Travis Poling Winter Tracking Two coyotes found where a mouse was snatched by a hawk: tiny tracks, wing print, a bold red spot in the snow. We were the first folks to find those marks. A farm dog watched us quietly, a long way off in the field.
Travis Poling The Drone flees the hiveâ€™s darkness ahead of the swarm to follow a queen flying past in the sun. He lands midair on her back, wraps his legs around her belly, thrusts inside until his hook catches hold; then she rips from his body his seedâ€”a part of her majesty as she flies off. And the drone falls away: dismembered thing, twirling, like a leaf set free, wings whirling. Before he can ever learn what falling means, a robin, drab as his death, closes around him her dark beak.
Laura Winkelspecht Heavy I am cautious as I walk across the ice of this day. At each step a small web of impotence spreads out from my foot, yet I canâ€™t help but provoke the world to collapse.
Laura Winkelspecht Historical Marker I stop for a flat tire at this wayside scattered with purslane. Something important happened on this spot a long time ago. Now itâ€™s forgotten except for the brown sign with white letters telling its tale to the fencerow and the cedars.
Susan Tally Song from Next Door My neighbor, social butterfly with a monarchâ€™s wing, is singing in Italian. She soars on universal librettos of love that descend into longing. Here, ruminations at dusk drift, moth-dust into bedroom corners. I cannot see the golden ankle bracelet she wears or smell the roses her lover brings. Her crimson soul fills meâ€” as close as we will ever be, sharing this bedroom wall.
M.J. Iuppa Gray Sea, Gray Ship, Floating After Anselm Kiefer (German, b. 1945), Naglfar, 1988
This scene is not a place I should share. It’s cold, waiting for darkness to fall. The air’s tissue thin—breath slips beneath the slosh of water against the ship’s starboard bow. The bell rings right once every thirty seconds. The dead have no sonar. To speak of the sea’s mass grave warrants a cruel imagination. Shut your eyes. Now open them. * Look at these clipped fingernails, rimmed with dirt and flecks of rust stuck in the anchor’s line, like crescent moons, sharp as sickles, ready to shred the soles of feet that climb its ladder to nowhere. You know what this feels like to have your feet knocked out from under you. You can’t, no you won’t, believe this is happening to you. * This sea is a mirror of sheet metal. See your face wedged among the others, floating on a scratched newsreel’s lens. Every frame lives in shadows—forgotten zygotes of fear. Shut your eyes. Now open them. Don’t blink.
Melody Mack Carry Me The water is rising— Or is it draining? I am draining the last bottle Over ice and tonic. The afternoons got hotter, Then stopped coming. So did you. Blank pages and stairs— Unanswered prayers. From my chair I said: Keep moving. But I was paralyzed; Couldn’t even stand. You kept moving.
Steve Klepetar In a City by the Sea We limp in gathering dusk through unfamiliar streets. It seems we’ve walked all day, looking and looking. Sometimes we stopped to eat doughy food served in this city by the sea, or drink the boiling brew they love. We talked for hours about paintings we saw: huge, bright canvases exploding with light. Some were filled with cats and birds, others probed places where land gave way and water stretched in gray-blue wonder or swirled beneath burgundy clouds. In some, faces of old men burned until our skin scorched and we had to turn away. But now we are silent, talked out and nearly worn off our feet. Sky appears strange in its gray calm. Something has enveloped us, not a song or a breath, but a kind of gelatinous breeze, and now we are afraid. It’s not the footsteps we hear, though those do not seem kind, nor the way buildings on this street begin to sway and crumble and dissolve. More the way our faces shine in one another’s eyes, as if, so far from home, we’ve shrunk to the size of beads, delicate in high wind, all our edges gone.
Steve Klepetar She Said I’m tired of writing memorials on the skin of my arms tired of carving sweet names with the tip of my knife I’m tired of countries that die while the Dow soars I’m tired of racists on TV fat ones with red faces twisted into sneers pretty ones who like being hungry blaming the poor for being poor for eating the wrong foods for spending too much on the right foods for speaking too fast or too slow for using the wrong words for saying the right words too loud for wanting to vote for wanting their kids not to be sick tired of the sound of my own breath struggling up three flights of stairs I’m so tired of the endless cold black-edged snow crusting my street I’m tired of funerals and churches and cemeteries out in the New Jersey sticks and stale food and organs and shuffling around with sad faces and nothing to say
William Doreski Three Doors opening into each other, clumsy as wallflowers at the prom. Wood panels, porcelain knobs, antique enamel chipped and peeling. A hallway lit by bare bulb directs you to a kitchen where an ancient gas range stares down the long dark distance where thousands of meals have gone. Pass among, not through, these doors not to get anywhere but to sort yourself phonetically, alphabetically, and by height, weight, and right or left preference. The doors stand around waiting for someone like you to acknowledge that the space theyâ€™ve divided still accommodates the human, with no remainder to parse.
James Croal Jackson R+X the pharmacist in her white coat behind the coffin counter instructed me to call the oneeight-hundred number but one plus eight equals nine and nine is the first number in nine-one-one and there are two zeroes in one-eight-hundred and two ones in nine-one-one and if you rotate the number it’s a four-story building crooked at the hollow nest and what of the four zero floors– the barren families, pine and needle. They scrape and dial my throat’s frigid tones, white shell. I chewed my gum and thought, what a pleasant sound ducks’ feet must make when they waddle. soft-boiled trampolines.
Robert S. King A Waterfall Whispers the Way I camp on frozen ground where nothing grows and no one knows where to go from here. A cold place of fog that never lifts or changes, but a safe plot without hoot or roar, where I feel at home but lost, alone but haunted. The vapor of my breath rises with the dawn but hovers near. A shroud of river mist cocoons me in ghost rags, but still a dream of light not from here brightens a path through old trees. Through the haze a waterfall whispers secrets of how ice becomes water, becomes steam, becomes fog, and how in a miracle of blindness my ears can see the way. 45
Robert S. King Trees in Boxes Unbound Outside the wooden box of roots, the trees rise above the clouds in a mindscape of open space. Yellow leaves tumble down like butterflies or shredded kites, brittle and light but slave to gravity strings pulling them down. Fall trunks, shed of wings, stretch higher and higher into something we might look up to, where context and roots are weightless and treeholes in the box below shine starlight in the eyes of hatching moths.
Sandra Anfang Cezanne Still Life Pears and apples dominate spilling from a heavy plate. Nicked and scarred a butter knife languishes like last yearâ€™s model her mirrored finish hatched and stippled. Drapes, white in past lives backdrop for the ratty table symbol of quotidian time. Wheels of gruyere strangely absent skulls usurp their places grin among the lemons lick their bony lips.
Joseph Murphy What Joins Us We’ve crossed the shallows; dressed A spate of wounds. Sand no longer breaches our upturned eyes. But what will we make of what we share? A huge room, Warmly lit? Or a paste, hardening As the years pass? Will our keel hold, Heady with what we’ve reclaimed From torn pages? Or regret weight down our opened hands? We must relearn how best to speak; renew The wealth of our lungs. Come. Step forward. I’ll do what must be done; there’s no undoing That swath of luster Linking your lips to mine.
Matthew Morley Metaphors Lucky shit, I am, for getting lucky. I feel sick– these vertigoes are tunnels of skin; a serpent’s sheath that I might escape, unchanged, until the next shedding. A clock is chiming: 3 AM. Insomnia is a meat-grinder, shredding my body. See the holes it creates? Listen to what falls through them: hitting the pavement, the ping of my self emptying sounds like the quiet crunch of cicadas’ shells leaving trees, their essence– their bodies– long gone.
Rodney Nelson Boyhood in the grove where you hid you could hear them come people the wrong ones into the farmyard slamming a door and soon another to add to the unrest laughter from the grove you looked out on a field quiet where the badgers dug and saw a fox running the right one which would not come to the yard or you
Gerard Sarnat The New Patriarch Going through their closet before moving Mom out of her condo, I kept Dad’s jazzy fedora and smoking jacket and turquoise belt buckle (one notch let out), and loafers (lifts removed) it looked like he’d never worn. Back at my family home, alone after dinner, I asked Mr. Coffee, purchased for $19.99 on Amazon, to make four cups at 6 a.m.—though truth be known, Mr. C. never beat me up in the morning. Then I put on those shoes to break the leather in, now that I was supposed to walk in them.
Meghan Sterling Unmade There is no chorus of weeping. I do not Beat my breast for something so unmade— The shoe too small for the foot, the sound too faint For the ear. Those front-heavy bodies I sought, Stretched full to burst as milkweed pods, know things, Feel things that I have not. And yet. Small bud, You took me for a moment, fluttering, a moth In shadows. For an hour, I knelt before the fire, marveling At your curious ache. Gripping myself in newness, Flowering in secret, moon-round and simple. Assured of the cauldron of my body, my eyes watchful, The night protecting us in tissue folds of darkness. You were so quiet. The dripping tap, The house’s quickening heart. I dream-walked into bed, Alive and somber—cradling a microscopic flame. At morning’s break, the sudden end. I tried to hold on, dam the flood. As if I could. Strange bud, you hadn’t time enough to land. Between worlds, not home in either one.
Meghan Sterling An Education Shadowy, the tree branch rubbing against the fence, I remember again. Love, or what it meant, to my body, Housing a dormant flower, a sleeping sickness Cast over it by a selfish pleasure, The pain resting again on my leisure. There is also anger. Privilege made me solitary, poetry—yearning. I lean back into the memory of men, Men who desired beauty like burning, men Who forced it like a forsythia in winter. I watch myself, a water lily shifting with the waves. Asleep. And hiding–childish, childless. The shadowy tree branch raking the sunlight raw, The water growing green in the unmoving swamp. What was each and every morning for the muse? The flowers curling brown-tipped toward the sun, the breakfast to cook. A sleeper to rouse. Hair to push back from a furrowed brow. Help the needy And show them the way. Books gathering dust On the shelves, poems storming beneath the skin, Water at a simmer. The tea kettle always whistles when it’s done. But here’s the truth: there was no tree branch, no memory of water. That was a photograph in a book Left open, hurried by as I ran to still the kettle’s shrieking Like my own voice telling me to quit.
Gina Williams The Last Fight He Has Left I don’t mean to listen, can’t help but overhear. I’m just the help tidying up. The daughter’s strained whispers are as desperate as wind across the plains. I hear her pleading with him to repent, please dad and it’s not too late—hear her dying father’s gruff, you know I don’t believe in that crap and leave me be. The furnace turns on, drowns out the rest. When I pass by the sick room on the way out with my bucket and rags, he is sleeping. His daughter has gone. He looks like a saved man to me, the way the afternoon light caresses one bare foot exposed at the edge of the sheets, the way the windmill across the dusty yard spins, turning and turning in spite of itself, the leaves in the trees not moving at all.
Sharon Scholl The Fall She was never the same after falling â€“ never walked right, never thought right. In her mind something rattled, shook apart like loose-leaf pages from a wind-borne book. We watched her go from someone easily familiar to someone strange, that fall marking the border between life and death where she hurtled to earth as though to be let in.
Erin Redfern Unblocking the Fifth Chakra in a Dream clogged drain rusty and dank my throat grown pipe-wide I can reach inside, pull out dead-blonde hair in clumps, caught pencils and flapping, back-bent books, then the red ribbons float up, luminous against clotted dark, rippling through what blocked the way all that crap that wouldnâ€™t go down no matter how many times I swallowed
Erin Redfern The One Where You’re Naked, and Late for a Test But does it rain in Seattle like it rains in my bed? Water darkening the sheets and pounding the pillows like clouds, a fall so heavy all my old dreams rise up in a mist– the one with tadpoles in a styrofoam cup, the one where I smeared my fried chicken fingers all over her dress, the one where my mother wouldn’t stop cooking our dog, the one where my veins turned to roots that kept coming out when I pulled, endless as a magician’s silken rope of scarves. Even the real one where I lived with house centipedes long as my arm– they’re all here, rising like water from the face of the sea, bumping the ceiling, associating, gathering charge, making a place they can rain from again. Perhaps you want to know this, that dreams are your ecosystem and your resume written in invisible ink. That we are more cloud than sieve, more pour than fall. That all the dreams we have had and done leave watermarks on the bed of our being, even if we can’t see them. That in the daily runoff nothing is lost– not petals, not leaves, not dirt, not what we’ve forgotten or meant to do. Dreams are a make-up quiz. We career toward what we have failed to understand. Everyone passes; nothing is ever left undone.
Sophie Johnson Birthday I baked a cake. It collapsed, crumbled in fragrant quarters. The frosting slicked in the heat. I picked a fly from the crumbs. Do you feign your innocence? Last night you slept. I listened to your heart striking warm blows as you fell deeper within yourself.
Beth Konkoski Aubade Once my legs might have wound like sapling roots around yours, our radar senses seeking just the breath of distance. Like swooping bats through gray, we could swing and hover, echo-locate and attend to one another for hours. Waking bunched in sheets and blankets, the best of us lay strewn like dandelion seed. But now, most nights, only my side of the bed peels back and opens like a tulip. Your half remains unblossomed, a field clear-cut, left fallow. I have worn out your soil and you will not consider what we might plant to bring you back.
Beth Konkoski Balance Beam How do her toes know to grip the beam? Her hands hold varnished wood, while I hold my breath. Wonder again about this body, floating once in the fluid of my body and now able to kick itself upside down on four inches of wood. Her fingers tether her. Suspended and holding, holding, holding down. Feet again planted, her very cells balance in this twist against physics and sense. Now she must tuck, knees to chest, leap and land again, no strings, no cord. My fear paws at the ground, ready to charge, but she stays upright, regains her feet and glides to the dismount. I clap, call her name, cheer for this stranger, this daughter, so balanced and sure without me.
Irene Honeycutt When Your Daughter Leaves Home It is okay to weep in the aisles wiping tears before touching grapes, sampling wines. Red or white? Just choose. Your heart won’t know the difference. No matter that the woman with the chic side braid—her child pushing the cart, training to become a customer— stares at you as though you’re out of line, then quickly turns and squeezes lemons. We all have our seasons. She can’t know what you know—not yet. It is okay to weep in the aisles.
Lois Levinson Flocked I am being watched by a flock of birds. From above I hear the high tinkling bell sound of bushtits, tiny grey birds who zoom in inches from my face, then stuff themselves into the suet feeder by the dozens, oblivious to my outsized presence. I can feel the small wind of their wings. Red-breasted nuthatches swoop down, one, then two, tooting like toy trumpets, then an array of chickadees chattering to each other as they snag their food—over here! It’s better on this side!—they snatch seeds and bounce off to cache them in the ponderosas. A downy woodpecker joins the foragers, his red nape aflame
in the sunlight, close enough for me to touch. And for a few perfect minutes I am part of this frenzied flock.
Jonathan Travelstead Days Inn Motel, Kankakee I barely remember my friends then, or how we got to the Chicago Blues Festival, fumbling through endless cornfields toward drunkenness, praying for the oblivion of Buddy Guy’s nickel-strung wails, tin-can walkdowns, the fistful of quarters we saw freight-train the glass jaw of the man who said this music ain’t even cold shit. What boys jet-fueled on hormones and PBR, their orange needles quivering in mineral oil at pressure’s upper limits, don’t love witnessing an assault? After the festival’s last fuzzed-out chord we drove south to the first hotel that didn’t require ID, and collected our wallets we buried with our belts and crushed beer cans in the crease of the car seat. I had just shouldered my backpack when a door whammed open. A shriek spiderwebbed memory’s glass when the nude woman flailed by, clothes spilling from her arms not unlike money, or prize winnings. An emaciated man who could have been my grandfather wrapped a towel around his skinny black shanks, wilting pud, as he emerged, then sprung after. I remember he caught her in what must have been only a few seconds, and his fist ham-handing her neck was the gnurled pop of chicken bones pulled apart. I didn’t know to laugh or puke. Open my mouth and turn to those faceless friends, and force breath through, or run. The things I didn’t know you could’ve filled a burlap sack with and thrown off a bridge.
The unbelievable violence so unlike how a boy of eighteen imagines in his strangely hopeful dreams of conflict and ensuing vindication where, days after on the news it’s his finger that squeezes the ten-gauge’s crescent, his shotgun that sponges that midnight intruder’s face with buck-shot. I only stood cemented to her scream and cracked asphalt like one of the fifty in the New York courtyard years ago where the woman was murdered, everyone looking on, sure everyone else was phoning for help. No one phoned. He turned to me, smiled, and I knew that I was no better than any accomplice. He turned back to her and the second mash of knuckle on flesh was lead hammering into my bankrupt crucible, and it hardened in the arc-sodium lights, and my shadow, and the shape my body cast.
Moriah Erickson Apocalypse When you throw a handFul of lawn darts into the air Because a voice in your head Tells you to–shout Heads-up! Watch everyone at the BBQ Geegaw skyward, & then after Cleaning up the mess, start collecting Bottled water, SPAM. From then on, Nothing in your life will ever be Dire, but, sorry to break it to you, The end is coming soon. So, drive With no hands, charge into oncoming Traffic. Eat those eggs that were best By sometime last year. You are One of the chosen—don’t think Too much about what’s happening Around you. Listen to me, now— Let me in. There’s a tremendous Amount of untapped energy In staring straight ahead. Hold on To that. Be positive. A very famous Person once said that anyone can Quit smoking but it takes A real man to face cancer. Buy Truck nuts & attach them To your belt. The last days Will be vivid—practice For the end by wrapping, again & again, the cat in Saran Wrap. Booby-trap the yard with spikeSharpened wooden spoons. Sit
Like a pretty little lotus, reading Survival manuals. It doesn’t Matter if it’s in the basement Or you’re spear-fishing at the Bottom of the pool—you’ll no Longer hear the naysayers & their ugly living. Don’t waste One tear on all those meatsacks You called friends. You’re only About the good shit now— Bring on that everloving jelly.
Thomas Zimmerman Thread That thread of fate down through my mind and spine still dangles, jangles me, a marionette erect then limp, just smart enough to get a cosmic joke. It’s tugging at my wineskin heart, that rind half-split with needs, tonight. A kitchen fire, a dog that’s bit a man, a supper tantrum fit for Calaban: calamities in minor key that might erupt like Mahler’s Ninth, that’s playing on, unless I cool the warm detachment that I’ve cultivated. Garden not yet gone to weeds. Potatoes snug. Bell peppers fat. And when my thread is cut, will I see God? Wake screaming? Or return to rain and sod?
Thomas Zimmerman Dogwalk The cottonwoods have left their lint along the neighbors’ walk, and I’m with Percy, black as Cerberus, invisible against the grass. There’s no one here but us. A song is what I should be writing, but I lack the ear. And we should both be muzzled, fenced: Who else but one demented dog and his befuddled dad would wake up barking mad at 3 a.m.? Millions, probably. I contemplate the stars, he takes a whiz. Perhaps I have that backwards. Always bad at getting home without a map, I see we’re heading west, last whereabouts of day. Percy snorts. Or laughs. I don’t have a say.
Matthew Ulland Our Gang In the bucket, the turtle’s jaw clicks like undead castanets, bled-out body nailed to the oak upside down like Peter. The boy across the street sports a cap splattered with bubble gum logos to hide the gash where the rusted nail ripped his scalp. His sister’s silhouette glows as she runs the scales—backlit by evening’s bronze piano light, sheet music splayed like maps to the coast. She taught me how to dance, fast, like running away, pressed her boyish chest against mine. The snake the boys slung around telephone wire sheds its scales one-by-one, dangles like a burnt quarter note above the street where we lie to the troubled man in the cop uniform—the one we tell no one ever fled this way.
Matthew Ulland I Woke in the Green Light Saturday morning. The crows and jays are staking their territories, those noisy narcissists, from their perches in the mossy elms. The grass ignores them. It has never heard of advertising. + I want to build something durable and exact but I am so lazy. I watch the coffee foam dissipate and wonder at the waspâ€™s meticulous ambition, how the bee inspects each purple bell. + You are still dreaming your metaphors while I scribble and revise with a superhero pencil Carlos gave me a year ago. He wanted me to teach in East Harlem but I am not good at despair. + You are full of energy and plans, your mind a spreadsheet of tasks. But that trench in the mud is one I dug, red-knuckled, while you called from the other side, Come here. Come here.
Contributor Notes Ashlie Allen writes fiction and poetry. Besides writing, she would like to become a photographer one day. Her work has appeared in Squawk Back, Burningword Literary Journal, The Screech Owl, Jet Fuel Review, and others. Sandra Anfang is a lifelong poet who writes daily. She hosts Rivertown Poets, a monthly series, and is a California poetteacher in the schools. Sandra has published four collections of poetry. Her poems have appeared in many journals including The Shine Journal, Poetalk, San Francisco Peace and Hope, West Trestle Review, The Tower Journal, Mothers Always Write, and Unbroken Journal. In 2014 she won two contests, including a first-place award in the Maggi Meyer 35th Annual Poetry Contest. Sandra is inspired by the natural world and the common threads that bind us together. Yu-Han (Eugenia) Chao was born and grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and received her MFA from Penn State. The Backwaters Press published her poetry book, and Dancing Girl Press, Imaginary Friend Press, and Boaat Press published her chapbooks. She is at work on a mystery novel, Karaoke Girls. Her website is yuhanchao.com. William Doreski lives in Peterborough, NH, and teaches at Keene State College. His most recent book of poetry is The Suburbs of Atlantis (2013). He has published three critical studies, including Robert Lowellâ€™s Shifting Colors. His essays, poetry, fiction, and reviews have appeared in many journals. Jenya Doudareva likes precision, which is why she is both a poet and an engineer. Her poems have appeared in Vending Machine Press. Additionally, she has published a paper on algorithms for safe irradiation of brain tumors. Jenya works in healthcare and is an editor for Weird Canada, a blog that celebrates DIY and grassroots Canadian art. 73
Moriah Erickson is a writer and a sleep tech. She lives in Duluth, MN. She holds a BA from the College of St. Scholastica and an MFA from Fairfield University. Bruce Fleming makes a decent living as a graphic production artist in Seattle. He also lends his design, production, and photographic skills to local nonprofits that help some of the city’s poor and underserved communities. Online, Mr. Fleming is best represented by his Flickr stream (www.flickr.com/photos/ brucedene). Offline, he loves his wife, a cold vodka tonic, and a good joke. You can find him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ brucedene. Jeannine Hall Gailey recently served as the second Poet Laureate of Redmond, Washington. She is the author of four books of poetry: Becoming the Villainess, She Returns to the Floating World, Unexplained Fevers, and The Robot Scientist’s Daughter, out in 2015 from Mayapple Press. Her work has been featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac, Verse Daily, and in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Iowa Review, and Prairie Schooner. Her website is www.webbish6.com. Elaine Handley is a poet and fiction writer who lives in Middle Grove, NY. She is also a professor of English at SUNY Empire State College. Currently, she is completing an historical novel, Deep River, about the underground railroad, and an ekphrastic poetry project. Her latest poetry chapbook is Letters to My Migraine. Lynne Handy is a member of the St. Charles Writers Group, Chicago Writer’s Association, and Sisters in Crime. She has selfpublished a novel, In the Time of Peacocks, and her work has been published in Memoir Journal, Lark’s Fiction Magazine, and Pegasus. She lives in North Aurora, IL, where she is editing poems for a chapbook.
Lois Marie Harrodâ€™s 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press), appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching, was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011. Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State). She is widely published in literary journals from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches creative writing at the College of New Jersey. Read more of her work on her website: www.loismarieharrod.org. Irene Blair Honeycutt has won awards for her poetry and teaching. Her most recent poetry manuscript, Before the Light Changes (Main Street Rag Publishing), was one of two finalists in the 2009 Brockman-Campbell Book Award Contest. Her work has been published by journals that include Nimrod, The Southern Poetry Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. Her love of writing and traveling are often combined. She has studied in the Czech Republic, Ireland, and Iceland. She enjoyed being on the faculty for the 2015 San Miguel de Allende Writersâ€™ Conference. She lives in Indian Trail, NC, and is working on her fourth book. M.J. Iuppa lives on a small farm near the shores of Lake Ontario. Between Worlds is her most recent chapbook (Foothills Publishing, 2013). Recent poems, flash fiction, and essays appear in When Women Waken, Poppy Road Review, Wild: A Quarterly, Eunoia Review, Andrea Reads America, Canto, Grey Sparrow Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, Avocet, Right Hand Pointing, Tinylights, The Lake (U.K.), The Kentucky Review, and more. She is the writer-in-residence and director of the Visual and Performing Arts minor program at St. John Fisher College. You can follow her musings on writing and creative sustainability on Red Rooster Farm at mjiuppa.blogspot.com. James Croal Jackson dips his feet in the waters of music, film, and poetry. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Glassworks, and Oxford Magazine. He was born in Akron, 75
OH, but he currently lives in Los Angeles. Find more of his work at www.jimjakk.com. Sophie Johnson lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. When she isn’t writing, she is painting. Robert S. King, a native Georgian, now lives in Lexington, KY, where he edits the literary journal Kentucky Review. His poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, including Atlanta Review, California Quarterly, Chariton Review, Hollins Critic, Kenyon Review, Main Street Rag, Midwest Quarterly, Negative Capability, Southern Poetry Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review. He has published eight poetry collections, most recently Diary of the Last Person on Earth (Sybaritic Press, 2014) and Developing a Photograph of God (Glass Lyre Press, 2014). His personal website is www.robertsking.com. Steve Klepetar’s work has received several nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His latest collections include Speaking to the Field Mice (Sweatshoppe Publications), Blue Season (with Joseph Lisowski, mgv2>publishing), My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto (Flutter Press), and Return of the Bride of Frankenstein (Kind of a Hurricane Press). Beth Konkoski is a writer and high school English teacher living in Northern Virginia with her husband and two teenagers. Her poetry has appeared in numerous literary journals, including: The Potomac Review, Gargoyle, and The Aurorean. She has forthcoming work in The Saranac Review and Gyroscope Review. Her chapbook, Noticing the Splash, was published in 2010 by BoneWorld Press. Ann Lees is a retired physician scientist with an interest in writing poetry that goes back to her high school years. Her poems have appeared in various publications on Martha’s Vineyard, in Minerva Rising, and in her book, Night Spirit. Lois Levinson is a retired attorney, a former French teacher, an avid birder, and a student at Lighthouse Writers Workshop in 76
Denver, CO. She has recently had her first poem, “Migrations,” published in Bird’s Thumb, and she looks forward to more literary journals accepting her work. Melody Mack resides in her native home of Denver, CO. She runs a small diagnostics company and specializes in intraoperative neuromonitoring. In her free time she volunteers with a local animal shelter and is a devout yoga student. She hopes to finish her first chapbook in 2015. Helen Mazarakis lives in Montclair, NJ, and writes poetry and children’s fiction. She spent many years working for nonprofits and government on community and economic development. With an empty nest looming on the horizon, Helen hopes to travel with her husband and spend more time with family in Virginia and Greece. Her poetic works-in-progress can be found on her blog, “A Desk Of My Own” (helenmazarakis.com), and she is currently working on a trilogy for middle-grades readers. Corey Mesler has published in numerous anthologies and journals, including Poetry, Gargoyle, Good Poems American Places, and Esquire/Narrative. He has published eight novels, four short story collections, numerous chapbooks, and four full-length poetry collections. He’s been nominated for many Pushcarts, and two of his poems were chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. With his wife he runs a bookstore in Memphis. He can be found at coreymesler.wordpress.com. Matthew Morley holds a BA in History and English: Creative Writing from DePaul University. He currently works at DePaul University’s Special Collections and Archives. Christopher Mulrooney is the author of toy balloons (Another New Calligraphy). His work has recently appeared in Law of the Jungle, Three And A Half Point 9, Zoomoozophone Review, Poetry Ireland Review, Communion, and Tipsy Lit.
Joseph Murphy has had poetry published in a number of journals, including The Gray Sparrow, Third Wednesday, and The Sugar House Review. He is also a poetry editor for an online publication, Halfway Down the Stairs. Rodney Nelson’s work began appearing in mainstream journals long ago, but he turned to fiction and did not write a poem for twenty-two years, restarting in the 2000s. See his page in the Poets & Writers directory: www.pw.org/ content/rodney_nelson. He has worked as a copy editor in the Southwest and now lives in the northern Great Plains. Recently published chapbook and book titles are Metacowboy, Mogollon Rim, Hill of Better Sleep, Felton Prairie, and In Wait. Anne Britting Oleson has been published widely on four continents. She earned her MFA at the Stonecoast program of USM. She has published two chapbooks, The Church of St. Materiana (2007) and The Beauty of It (2010). A third chapbook, Planes and Trains and Automobiles, is forthcoming from Portent Press (UK), and a novel, The Book of the Mandolin Player, is forthcoming from B Ink Publishing—both in 2015. Travis Poling is interested in how the human spirit and body interact with the wild places that surround us, especially through language and ritual. His poetry has appeared in Alba, CrossCurrents, DreamSeeker, and most recently in an anthology celebrating the poet William Stafford. He grew up in southern Pennsylvania and lives in central Indiana, where he teaches college composition and wanders the trails. He edits the William Stafford Online Reader at staffordreader.com, and keeps a blog at travispoling.com. Erin Redfern’s poetry has appeared in Zyzzyva, Red Wheelbarrow, Foliate Oak, and The Hamilton Stone Review, and is forthcoming in Compose, Scapegoat Review, and Blinders Journal. She’s taught literature and writing at Northwestern University and in the Bay Area. She led an introductory poetry series for seniors at the Campbell Community Center and a found poem 78
tutorial with Poetry Center San Jose. She served as poetry judge for the San Francisco Unified School District’s annual arts festival, and in 2015 she’ll serve as secretary on the board of Poetry Center San Jose and as assistant editor for its print publication, Caesura. John Rowland refers to himself as “a bit of an alien in the literary world.” He’s a mathematician by education and spent thirty years working in quality assurance and manufacturing systems, mostly in the automotive industry. He retired ten years ago, and he and his wife have spent those years on their sailboat in the eastern Caribbean. Gerard Sarnat, MD, received his education at Harvard and Stanford. He established and staffed clinics for the disenfranchised, has been a CEO of healthcare organizations, and was a Stanford professor. He and his wife of forty-five years have three children and two grandchildren, with more on the way, and they live in the room above their oldest daughter’s garage. Gerry is the author of three critically acclaimed collections: Homeless Chronicles: from Abraham to Burning Man (2010), Disputes (2012), and 17s (2014) in which each poem, stanza or line has 17 syllables. Read more at GerardSarnat.com. Sharon Scholl is a retired college professor in Atlantic Beach, FL. Her poetry has been published in Third Wednesday and Raleigh Review, and she has published a chapbook through Yellowjacket Press. As a musician/composer, she maintains a website to give away choral music to small churches. Her activities currently center on service with arts and education boards, her poetry group, a lifelong learning community, and being a mom and grandma. Scott T. Starbuck‘s Industrial Oz, a ninety-page activist poetry book, is forthcoming from Fomite Press. His “Manifesto from Poet on a Dying Planet” in Split Rock Review notes, “At the same time big oil companies are acidifying Earth’s rising oceans, drying up 79
rivers in China, Africa, India, and the American Southwest, melting Antarctic glaciers, causing global increases in hurricanes, storms, and typhoons, leaving thousands dead or homeless, creating huge oil spills, and causing a massive increase in extinction of animals and plants, people…are mind-locked by the wealthy and their political puppets’ 24/7 distraction machine.” Meghan Sterling’s work has been featured in the Chronogram, Stone Highway Review, and Freshwater. She is a marketing writer and writing teacher, and she lives in Asheville, NC, with her husband and cat. Carolyn Stice has a particular interest in the work of female poets, especially that which deals with the landscape of the body. She is also working on translating the work of women poets of Venezuela. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals, including Cutthroat, The Clark Street Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, China Grove, Antipodes, and Permafrost. It is also included in a new anthology titled Desnudas en el Desierto, which highlights the work of women from the US/Mexico border. Tim Suermondt is the author of two full-length collections of poems: Trying to Help the Elephant Man Dance (The Backwaters Press, 2007) and Just Beautiful (New York Quarterly Books, 2010). He has poems published and forthcoming in Poetry, The Georgia Review, Blackbird, Able Muse, Prairie Schooner, PANK, Bellevue Literary Review, Plume Poetry Journal, North Dakota Quarterly, Mudlark, december magazine, Ploughshares, and Stand Magazine in England. He lives in Cambridge, MA, with his wife, the poet Pui Ying Wong. Susan Tally lives in New York City and works with children. Her work appears in Birds Piled Loosely and Light. Patrick Tiernan is from a small town in Iowa. He’s been writing poetry since high school, where he was first introduced to the work of Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, W. S. Merwin, and James Wright, among others. 80
Jonathan Travelstead served in the Air Force National Guard for six years as a firefighter and currently works as a full-time firefighter for the city of Murphysboro, IL. Having finished his MFA at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, he now works on an old dirt-bike he hopes will one day get him to the salt flats of Bolivia. He has published work in The Iowa Review and on PoetryDaily.org, among others, and his first collection, How We Bury Our Dead, was released by Cobalt/Thumbnail Press in March 2015. Matthew Ullandâ€™s poems, stories, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Prairie Schooner, MiPOesias, Illuminations, The Inquisitive Eater: New School Food, Coe Review, The Meadowland Review, Border Crossing, LIT, caesura, Hanging Loose, The Rusty Nail, and other journals. He is the author of the chapbook, The Sound in the Corn, and of the novel, The Broken World. Denise Segal Umans grew up in South Africa and now lives in the Boston area. She is a speech-language therapist and linguist and has worked in the areas of language and literacy development and language-learning difficulties for over 30 years. More recently, she has focused on teaching English as a second language as well as consulting on projects in applied linguistics. She has published and co-published articles in professional journals as well as general-interest magazines. Her poetry has been published in Poetry Quarterly and Avocet. Elizabeth Kirkpatrick Vrenios has been a professor of music for more than thirty years. She chaired the vocal and music department at American University in Washington DC, and she serves as the artistic director of the Redwoods Opera Workshop in Mendocino, California, and the Crittenden Opera Workshop in Washington DC and Boston. As an educator, she has conducted workshops in opera and vocal production at many institutions across the country and was the president of the National Opera Association. As a performer, she has sung solo recitals all over the world. 81
Erin Renee Wahl’s work has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Sterling, Literary Juice, Blackmail Press, Spiral Orb, Cirque, and others. She lives in Fairbanks, AK, and teaches at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Gina Williams lives and creates in the Pacific Northwest. Her poetry, essays, and visual art have been featured by or are forthcoming most recently in Carve, The Sun, Fugue, Palooka, Boiler Journal, Whidbey Art Gallery, Black Box Gallery, and Great Weather for Media, among others. Laura Winkelspecht is a poet and writer from Wisconsin. She has been published in Flyover Country Review and American Tanka, and she is a contributor to the Wisconsin Poet’s Calendar. Kim Zach is a high school English instructor and has also taught composition at a local community college. She has written articles for a variety of magazines such as Woman’s World, Great Expeditions, American Secondary Education, Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) and Farm & Ranch Living. She has also published three YA nonfiction books and a play. Her poem “Weeding My Garden” appeared in the Spring 2015 issue of U.S. 1 Worksheets. Thomas Zimmerman teaches English, directs the Writing Center, and edits two literary magazines at Washtenaw Community College, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His chapbook In Stereo: Thirteen Sonnets and Some Fire Music appeared from The Camel Saloon Books on Blog in 2012. Read more at Tom’s website: www.thomaszimmerman.wordpress.com.
About the Editor G. F. Boyer is a freelance editor of both prose and poetry, a creative writing instructor, and the editor of Clementine Poetry Journal. Her poems have appeared in a number of publications, including The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, RHINO, and Heron Tree. She holds a vintage MFA from the University of Washington, where she was an assistant poetry editor of The Seattle Review, and she had the pleasure and honor of driving Denise Levertov to school each week. For more information about G. F. Boyerâ€™s editing and teaching, or to work with her on one of your projects, visit www.gfboyer.com (for fiction) or www.poetrycritique.wordpress.com (for poetry). To read current or archived poems, or to submit to Clementine Poetry Journal, visit www.clementinepoetryjournal.com.