* Nude Bruce Review was founded one wintry night when there was too much scotch, too little clothing, and a certain stretch of road. NBR is co-edited by Andrew A. Mobbs and Timothy B. Snediker * The amazing Jason Flack produced the cover image for our issue (finally, the internet has something to talk about). You can check out his art at his personal blog http://www.jasonflack.tumblr.com/ and his burgeoning art collective at http://jebkennedy.blogspot.com/ * Heather Cox’s poem, “This town is a photograph” was previously published in Issue 3 of Midwestern Gothic. Check out the poems and stories at http://midwestgothic.com/ * All of the poems herein are the sole property of the people who wrote them. We’ve only borrowed them for an instant. The Nude Bruce™ logo on the cover belongs to us.
(&) Poetry is essentially erotic. This doesn’t mean that poetry is always sexual; rather, poetry probes, it dilates and contracts, searches and explores. Poetry folds the past, gathers the present, and unfolds the future. Poetry is precipice, deep rift and cleft; to read and to write poetry is to leap, to fall, and to fly. Poetry is dreaming with each other. With Stanford we dream of the moon and bloodstained knives; with Carson we dream of glass; with Rilke we dream of God; with Rumi we dream of dreams. We believe that experience is a book, or else it is of a book. So, without further adieu, we humbly present this first patchwork of poetry, bursting (for better or for worse) at the seams. What began in jest is now manifest, though there’s nothing funny about it (except, perhaps, our shameless mascot). Still, feel free to laugh and to cry with the poets and poems represented here. We were, and still are, overwhelmed by the initial response to this germ of a journal. Our contributors deserve every ounce of praise for their exceptional work which we have the privilege of disseminating. Thank you for joining us, even if by lucky accident.
Andrew & Tim, Editors
Table of Contents This town is a photograph – Heather Cox Lipstick Crosses – Carrie McGath Hard to Get – Carrie McGrath 2 Poems – Lee Petray Erasure Poem of Forgotten Source – Mike Lambert * Mythology of the Terrible Green Gowrow – Mark Spitzer Waldman’s Wisdom – Derek Mobbs The Battle of Vicksburg – John Andrews Pollux – John Andrews Chime – Adam Flemming * The Same is Done to Harvested Fields – M.E. Riley Kings Pomegranate – M.E. Riley Stray Dog America – Pavel Rubin One Thing – Daniel Brinker Land of the Brave – John Russell
This town is a photograph by Heather Cox Not even the sheets change. The same colors on your mother’s windowpanes are painful. Dust hangs around like washed up football players washing down pot with two dollar beer. Isn’t it clear you’re a film reel on loop? Play back the homecoming footage: guzzling girls and vodka kool-aid like the night before prom or the night after everything else. Isn’t there anything else to cover all these acres? Isn’t there something other than a horse to ride out of this town?
Lipstick Crosses by Carrie McGath for Grandmother Alice Woods-Kirtley A five-letter word for Joy? Bliss, you think. It fits. You sit down the crossword puzzle and re-apply red lipstick. Lawrence Welk will be on soon. You think of your husband, gone. You wish he was here with you, complimenting your lipstick, rouge, and aristocratic vocabulary. I am a little girl sitting in your bedroom. I see a photo of your husband, my grandfather, staring into me. I never met him. Two weeks before my tangible existence, his heart exploded and it woke you. He gasped once more next to you in bed. He was young, good, and compassionate. Patient. A soldier. My fingers covered in pink smudge color onto my little girl cheeks. I feel beautiful and make a canopy. Bedsheets tent me inside, the ends of the sheets tucked inside a drawer. They tent. I sit. The sound of sequins calls me to the living room. Yes, Mr. Welk is here. I want to be those women who live in gowns and makeup, 8 Â Â
and so do you. Our envy tenses in the room, shaking the knick knacks.
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Hard to Get by Carrie McGath for Grandfather Fred McGath You sit in the smell of bacon. A cigarette leans inside your long fingers like an expectant majorette. You can hear Connie Francis singing on a nicked record player. Little skips reminding you she really isn’t there. But you pretend. Tight rope dancers, baton twirlers, and a voice like an angel. Who’s sorry now? You manage whisky now. It no longer manages you. It’s a good gift, a fair gift, after hours in factories. Tight ropes line your potato crop and you see a girl dancing on them. She blesses them. She blesses me. You grab your bucket and gloves and head to the creek. Tonight you will catch snapping turtles and make a luxurious soup for your wife who cries over her crochet needles.
2 Poems by Lee Petray 01I want my skin touching your skin becoming one skin slowly dissolving into itself a working cohesive unit we could be a tessellation of revolving doors I jumped backward into a lake once felt the water filling my ears and nostrils and the small spaces between my teeth it felt so good to feel a part of one thing and not be ripped apart by it— I want our mouths to fold together into one mouth carefully and quietly expanding the circumference of every other feature a mouth that doesn’t talk or spit or shape sound or receive food or—I don’t know— maybe we could be a 17 minute silent movie where all I am doing is running my hands over every part of you
02right now I am thinking of all the different ways to say “fuck” like by putting my mouth on you or re-arranging all the furniture in the house
Erasure Poem of Forgotten Source by Mike Lambert In a very short time I have become quite old You remember what we put together on that occasion No longer a fine mass I will leave it as it is I will because it will show you You have pushed the matter Squeezed out the attraction I find no difficulty in this end Make this red-hot in the fire; We become soft, just as sealing-wax Ah! But what does soft mean?
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Mythology of the Terrible Green Gowrow by Mark Spitzer Throughout the Ozarks there are tales of cavern-dwelling lizards reaching lengths of twenty feet carrying their young marsupially and laying eggs the size of kegs while terrorizing communities back in 1897 Little Rock businessman Bill Miller formed a posse in Searcy County to catch a pesky reptile responsible for slaughtering hogs dogs cats and cattle on the outskirts of Blanco near Calf Creek Township following tracks with Winchesters they discovered a cave filled with grinning skulls and then it erupted from the river: “a huge body of a sickly green hue” with “two enormous tusks” webbed feet complete with claws “enormous scales” spined stegasaurously and a “sharp bone” sickling forth from its tail
“GOWROW! GOWROW!” roared the horrible green gowrow of the goofus family as it stomp-waddled toward the men shaking the terrain like a stern-wheeled steamer or in other accounts “the San Francisco earthquake” Miller took a photograph which was published as an illustration by Elmer Burrus and written up by Elbert Smithee in the Arkansas Gazette recalling how the farmers fired on its “ponderous” man-shaped head & how it lashed its dragon tail slicing down trees plus the leg right off “a poor fellow named Tom Brennan” then hitting the monster with another volley they sprang upon the beast and chopped it into chunks Miller proclaimed it a pachyderm hybrid fused from a hyaenida and rhinnocerotidae dating back to the Miocene so sent its skin and skeleton 16
(Jan 31, 1987)
on to the Smithsonian —but guess what? it never arrived shades of Vance Randolph’s folklore of the Missourian who captured a gowrow by enticing it to eat a wagonload of dried apples which caused it to swell up in its burrow the Missourian pitched a tent over it and charged 25 cents admission but before the paid-up patrons could enter a shredded showman staggered out bleeding and screaming “THE GOWROW BROKE OUT! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!” then rattle of chains and banging pans women screaming, tent collapsing and the crowd took off and nobody got their money back (see Nobody Lies to Strangers, 1951) shades also of the Devil’s Hole near the village of Self in Boone County where landowner E.J. Rhodes (no date known) lowered himself into a fissure dropped 200 feet toward a commotion but refused to spelunk any further Clio Harper and co. of Little Rock, though picked up where Rhodes left off circa 1924 lowering a flat iron into the hissing hole something happened at 200 feet they pulled up the rope 17
the handle was bent so they lowered a stone and something snapped severing the line they tried it again same thing bite marks “discernable” (Rayburns Ozark Guide, Summer 1949) so I went to the storied Devil’s Hole clearly marked on Google Earth got onto the farmer’s land and found a sinkhole stuffed with the stuff of dumps: bald tires, window screens exercise bikes, washing machines kitchen sinks, brush cuttings and a bright pink bowling ball in other words: a giant pile of irrefutable but colorful Arkansas garbage.
Waldman’s Wisdom by Derek Mobbs By a hank of hair And a piece of bone She appeared Standing in Oriental Black and orange attire “No one compels you To be a poet” she said And with that she rebuked The institutionalization of the path of poetry Preaching feminofestos She exercised her Surveillance: The power from under Terry chuckled: “Nothing says ‘themepark’ like plutonium” And Spitzer released A short cusp of satisfaction As I was left wondering “Does anybody notice the speed of our times?”
The Battle of Vicksburg by John Andrews If you pass a metal detector over the walls a house can sing. The cistern hums us to sleep. I swore it was a fire fly, pressing its face into the window. There’s nothing we can do but sleep. A boy in a confederate coat, statue in the sheets, he sleeps all day through the bullets, cannon fire raining on our house each night: song of lack.
Pollux by John Andrews To give up means kiss. There isn’t a garden, just a street lined with Bradford pears that don’t yield pears, just flowers. It’s deceiving. Flowers on flowers on flowers, you said love looks like this. What we pile on graves means everything. Repetition, like supermarket mirrors, infinite temporality. I want a real pear, 2 for a dollar and tender, gritty against teeth, space between wake and sleep.
Chime by Adam Flemming Water’s low, current’s weak And cold. Man in a sailor’s tuque Grizzled, blonde bare. Gentle wisps of the fly line Inherent stare Forgetting. The river moves along Will find you here again And remember how you were young.
The Same is Done to Harvested Fields by M.E. Riley Woke up with the shower head pointing towards my neck a firing gun she was sitting on the toilet seat I lifted numb head She was staring flipping a lighter between thin fingers The bullets were cold must’ve been in there awhile release time for three green bars tumbling one after the other a schoolyard game the blade Skin softens when wet felt tight when I tried to stand Slipped on bullets still rolling down my back sides of the white tub Skinny arms the width of a coat hanger she lifted me flung me over her still dripping bullets and blood from thighs down All of naked me in air for a few seconds her arms weakened released a moulted barn swallow through a closing window frozen toes slipped off the tub’s lip fell on soft carpet bird’s gnawed foot bones caught on sill as inner sash descended sealed shut as grass caught the bare bird She covered me with a towel dried blood on cotton brown mud freshly hardened Fell asleep with her cigarette breath burning home.
Kings Pomegranate by M.E. Riley after David Halliday’s “Pomegranates” What has power done to you? Spotted splotches on your plump heads and sides beneath your crowns now just a warm lamp’s glow keeping you alive. Folks are embarrassed. Even P quit telling the myth She left it to porch talk outside Eatonville or somewhere in Yoknapatawpha County. Stories change. First, it was just a few seeds, the Persecution diet. Then it was someone placing you in a basket, sending you floating down a muddy river to nourish a barren land. You must understand the shock, seeing you in a 9 x 9 cell with a tuft of your own leaves behind you. You look like prisoners.
Note: Ekphrastic poem based upon David Halliday’s photograph displayed in Ogden Museum Spring 2012. “Pomegranates,” 2000: Sepia toned silver gelatin print, 9 x 9 inches. View here: http://arthurrogergallery.com/exhibition/david-halliday-at-the-ogden-museum-of-southern-art/
Stray Dog America by Pavel Rubin The Stray Dog The brown stray dog Stray dog America Stray brown dog America, Chipped fangs on puppy smiles Stray dog Brown dog America Panting tongue tired eyes Starry snouted Brown dog America Stray, uncharted Old brown dog America, Shitting on the lawn The neighbor’s Brown stray Lost dog Rotten toothed America Malnourished, Stray America, Brown, deep brown Stray, Mangy fur, brown Stillborn puppy Brown dog
One Thing by Daniel Brinker Surely you can find a way, to move softly over the skies, And when you die, you will flow, A million times over the rivers and the oceans of earth Into the writhing clouds filled up and down, and shift and within, and for and behind, Lift up the hood of the wild black space, Time is not an answer, Another day, another radiance Another walk on the moon,
Away from my knowledge, There isn’t a way to tell the next from the lost, the nexus amor too chill too soft too far behind and it fades All the places, all the names, all the walls, and the exits
All that was One cloud is left. 27
Land of the Brave by John Russell Headlights are helpless here: thin yellow needles, and the night swallows them up. For a moment you perceive them—dwindled into one—but blink and they’re gone and left you just the stars. You wonder if one could plummet to the steppe, bounce a bit, skid to a stop, and burn out. During the day, space does not simplify. You walk and walk and walk, and nothing gets closer. Mountains stand like men gathered at a funeral, blued by the distance. Grasses, flowers, weeds recede and advance, a world throbbing in and out of focus. On the crest of a faraway hill— yards? miles?—a man walks. His torso does not move, but his legs billow like sails, now closer, now farther away. Ask me if he comes or goes, and I will have no answer.
Bios John Andrews was born in Sacramento, California and grew up in Sheridan, Arkansas. Currently, John is an MFA candidate at Texas State University and also an editor for the Front Porch Journal. His work has previously appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Stone Highway Review and Aim for the Head: An Anthology of Zombie Poetry. #johnnybegood
Daniel Brinker rides through time and space with Bill Brasky every Monday morning in lieu of working. Everybody hates Mondays. He currently resides in Conway, writing poetry, music and whatever else tickles his fancy. Fancy— ‘tis a fine word. #rideonwriteon
Heather Cox edits Ghost Ocean Magazine and the chapbook press Tree Light Books. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in PANK, Mid-American Review (Editors' Choice, 2012 Fineline Competition), DIALOGIST, Midwestern Gothic, Toad Suck Review, Columbia Poetry Review and Thrush Press, among others. Her poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and her chapbook Dream Seller was a 2012 Strange Machine Books finalist. Heather lives in Chicago with her partner and their two dogs and blogs at looklookhere.tumblr.com #wholetthedogsout
Adam Flemming describes himself accordingly: aged 25, Arkansas patriot, father of 2, husband of 1 and friend to many. Not only has he just begun writing on a semiconsistent basis, but his poem featured here is the first one he’s ever submitted. Indubitably, it won’t be his last. #americandream 30
Mike Lambert is an aspiring novelist who doesn’t really write much poetry, and who would like that to be kept in mind. He lived in Conway, Arkansas, and now lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. All other poems Mike Lambert™ poems will remain unpublishable due to nausea inflicted on the author upon reading them, unless he ever finds that one sestina he wrote as a freshman that was just awesome but lost to a broken notebook hard drive and file cabinet clean-outs. #drowninginmodesty
Carrie McGath’s first collection of poems, Small Murders, was released by New Issues Poetry and Prose in 2006. She has self-published handmade chapbooks including Ward Eighty-One; The Chase; So Sorry to See You Go; and Ohio Lonely: Poems and Collage to be released in late January, 2013. She appears on VIDA, Women in the Literary Arts List of Under-Acknowledged Authors. Her book release for So Sorry to See You Go at Quimby’s in 2011 was featured in Time Out Chicago’s Critics Picks, The Five Best Events This Week. She is currently at work on a full-length collection of poems and the creation of a press for unpublished women authors called ToGetHer. Aside from being a poet, she is a visual artist living in Chicago. #yougogirl
Derek Mobbs recalls that someone once said he is the embodiment of postmodernism, but whatever, man. He’s just looking for emotional honesty in art, and that’s what he tries to maintain in his works. He recently obtained his undergraduate degree in creative writing from the University of Central Arkansas, plays music with his band Ray Bridgemay and still uses the same e-mail address he created when he was in high school. #peterpansyndrome
Lee Petray is from Little Rock, Arkansas and currently resides in Richmond, Virginia. He writes things on his blog sometimes. He thanks us for our time and concludes with, “Cheers.” #awwshucks
M.E. Riley currently tramps through Louisiana swamps; the cigarettes burn, the whiskies sweat, and she’ll tell her stories to anyone who stops by for a spell. She is an Assistant Poetry Editor for Bayou Magazine, as well as a regular contributor to Bayou’s blog. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in Eunoia Review, Belle Journal and Tales from the South VI, among others. #nawlinsinthehouse
Pavel Rubin was born on a snowy January night in Leningrad (St. Petersburg), Russia. Over the course of his life, Pavel found himself living in Israel, Honduras and finally settling down in the United States. He graduated with a degree in creative writing from the University of Central Arkansas. He currently resides in beautiful Fayetteville, Arkansas where he spends most of his free time worshipping $@%*! and reading books on the toilet. #unabashedlyleavestheseatup
John Russell majored in creative writing and comparative literature at Oberlin College, but he seldom writes creatively, nor does he often compare literature. He grew up in Maine. This makes him proud. He lives in California with his wife, Kaede. She makes him even prouder. Professionally, he sells boats and tutors students for the SAT. Neither of these makes him particularly proud, but, fortunately, pride isn’t the only thing he values. #onepartmantwopartsocean
Mark Spitzer—a self-professed “Mofo”—keeps it real in Conway, Arkansas, where he’s the editor of Toad Suck Review and has not been indicted for your crimes. He’s got 18 books and a robot replica of himself that does all his dirty work. #savethealligatorgar