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ouroboros review

Featuring poet Michelle McGrane poet Collin Kelley’s interview with Vanessa Daou Iain Britton Allan Peterson Rebecca Gethin Robin Reagler Julie Buffaloe-Yoder and more...

Issue 2, March 2009

Poetry and art


Contents Issue 2 Features South African poet Michelle McGrane Collin Kelley talks to Vanessa Daou

Poets

16 28

poets & artists

Robin Reagler Julie Buffaloe Yoder Rebecca Gethin Amy Unsworth Rachel Mallino Jill Crammond Wickham January Gill O’Neil John Borcherding Deb Scott Liz Flint-Somerville Andrew Erkkila Dick Jones Jennifer Delaney Paul Stevens Christopher Hileman Robert E Wood Blake Leland Allan Peterson

5 6 8 9 10 12 13 13 14 15 21 22 24 25 25 26 26 27

Dustin Brookshire Joseph Milford Jay Arr Carolee Sherwood Holly Dunlap J. Michael Wahlgren Angie Werren Tammy F. Brewer Christian Ward Scott Owens Steven Nash Hannah Stephenson Marchell Dyon Chris Major Kelly Cokerham Iain Britton Amy Pence & Hunter Ewen

32 33 34 35 36 37 38 38 39 39 40 41 42 42 43 44 47

Artists Meg Pearlstein’s work appears on pages 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 17, 18, 32, 39 Ernest Williamson III’s work appears on pages 20, 36, 41 Michael Doyle’s work appears on page 27 Nikki Devereux’s work appears on page 33 Any unattributed images are from the editors’ personal collections. EDITORIAL Editors: Jo Hemmant (London) and Christine Swint (Atlanta) Associate editor: Marie Doyle website at http://www.ouroborosreview.com. Please read submission guidelines at our website. Submission address: ouroborosreview@gmail.com Cover art: ‘Atlanta Moon’, courtesy of Meg Pearlstein. Meg is a documentary video editor and photographer from southeastern United States. She paints, works with collage, and roams antique shops and thrift stores in search of magical objects to place strategically in her home. She can be contacted at megpearlstein@yahoo.com


From the Editors Since last December when ouroborosreview.com went live, we’ve had close to 3,500 visits to the website hosting the magazine (http://issuu.com) and 16,793 page views. That’s a lot of readers – which is not only great news for us as editors but a big pat on the back for all the wonderful poets and artists who featured in that issue: huge thanks to them all. If the magazine were only available in print, we probably wouldn't have had more than a hundred readers, isolated in space and time. There’s no doubt that the web is a liberating medium. From the outset, one of our primary goals has been to bridge the gap between print and online publishing. There is still negativity about online printing out there -- people believe standards are lower simply because it is 'easier' to publish online. We hope that the quality of the work here at ouroboros will demonstrate otherwise. If you have good content, people will read it. And readability is key. Issuu is a fantastic platform which we believe has set new standards for online publishing. When we decided we wanted to start a journal, we researched and cherry-picked aspects of both online and print. Getting a good look is central to our vision. There's no denying that it's not as easy to read online as it is to read on paper, so we searched for a way of replicating the printreading experience as closely as possible. We hope that Issuu is the rabbit out of the hat. It's simple to use, can be embedded in facebook, websites, on blogs and it reads like a book or magazine. Plus it looks wonderful! Speaking of the magazine’s look, we want to extend a heartfelt thanks to photographer Meg Pearlstein for allowing us to illustrate our pages with her expressive photographs. Her cover image of the full moon over the Atlanta skyline echoes the eternal theme of circles embodied in the alchemical symbol of the ouroboros. And we are grateful to artist and poet Ernest Williamson III for offering us his vivid, imaginative paintings. Thanks, likewise, to talents Michael Doyle and Nikki Devereux. Of course, much of the success of the first issue has been down to our online presence as poets. We're part of a wider community and have not only been able to approach people we admire, but have spread the word far and wide about ouroboros. We had a very high unsolicited submission count for the first issue and the second issue has exceeded our expectations too. There’s no doubt about it, an online presence strengthens the individual voice: online publishing is a force to be reckoned with and is the way forward. But if we’re honest, the goal of most writers is print, which is why we are also publishing ouroboros as a print magazine, available through a new company called Magcloud, a print-on-demand service that avoids waste and unnecessary expense -- so many magazines end up sitting in dusty piles in offices when there's no need. We’ve already sold some library subscriptions, so if you’re interested, drop us a line. You’ll love the quality of the paper and the vibrant colors of the print edition. Copies can be purchased by following the link on our website. And other news: last month we established a small, independent poetry press called Pindrop Press and we’ll be working with chapbooks (or pamphlets as we call them in England) and collections. Our first poet, Michelle McGrane, is the featured writer in this issue. Her book, which will be her third published collection, is slated for launch in early 2010 and we’re very excited. We will also be holding a chapbook/pamphlet competition in 2010 – watch this space. A huge thank-you to everybody who has been part of this.

Jo Hemmant

Christine Swint 4


Robin Reagler Ouroboros After the echo a sister uncurls.

I believe her to be saying Fear the invisible. There is no such garden and yet broad

banana leaves redden and gold blooms screech into vertical. Seedlings spit and wrestle. Photosynthesis stalls in the blonde afterlight, and a smoldering emanates from the wild. I am the flagging of the desire to self-preserve, unrolling, untolling. After the echo there's the echo after the echo.

Leaves, by Meg Pearlstein

Robin Reagler works full-time as the Executive Director of Writers in the Schools. She loves her job at W.I.T.S. because she truly believes that writing can change children's lives for the better. Her poems have been published in dozens of journals, including Ploughshares, American Letters & Commentary, VOLT, and Pleiades. She earned graduate degrees at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Houston Creative Writing Program. One of her essays on lesbian parenting appears in Confessions of the Other Mother: Nonbiological Lesbian Moms Tell All (Beacon Press, 2006). She keeps two blogs, Big Window, an inspiration portal featuring cool art, poetry, and photography, and The OTHER mother, letters from the outposts of lesbian parenting.

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Julie Buffaloe-Yoder At Attention In the hum of a room wired up like a puppet, the man who was once over six feet of muscle lean commander of a fleet, decision maker freedom leader is supported by machines beeping, compressions on his chest.

Intentions Alligators have them. Silent, surfacing slow searching for dens in winter, forgetting water, food, breath.

We wait for suction, study the fluctuation of a thin blue line, try to find stars in his eyes, listen

I have them, too. Salt-blue, suspended, closing the lenses waiting for winter to take me down low, shifting black water trails

for the rhythm of what remains. We taste the salt of waiting, strain to see his numbers, feel the thumping drumbeat of our hot, closed throats.

between sweet cypress knees, creaking pine, sky split open, red, where you and I will dig deep

Our hero reduced to bodily fluids, wet gurgles baby's breath.

then sink soft into a muddy bed of bubbled swamp past sleeping snakes through dark roots, one half-moment of slow beats, so warm, gone.

Once again, he commands attention.

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Julie Buffaloe-Yoder A ten cent raise & a fat boss man staring at my boobs. I write poems so I won't act out the day when I finally give in to my desperation tiptoe into the big office where he sits, put my boobs in his face, slide my pink fingernails around his red neck and squeeze til his eyes bleed, fall out & roll across the desk where he keeps the file that says I am worth

Vampire Killing Kit, circa 1900, Meg Pearlstein

Meg Pearlstein is a documentary video editor and photographer from southeastern United States. She paints, works with collage, and roams antique shops and thrift stores in search of magical objects to place strategically in her home. She can be contacted at megpearlstein@yahoo.com

ten pennies and two boobs.

Julie Buffaloe-Yoder has work published in various journals, including Calyx: A Journal of Art and Literature by Women, The Panhandler, Pemmican, The Wilmington Review, A Carolina Literary Review, storySouth, Clapboard House, Grain, Muscadine Lines: A Southern Journal, and Side of Grits. She has poetry forthcoming in Shoots and Vines, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Poiesis #2.

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Rebecca Gethin Frontier i.m Petronila d 1947 She inherited the licence to sell salt from her war-widowed mother. Customers asked for a kilo, or a half; when money was tight – fifty grams in a twist of paper. She scooped grains of sea from a sack brought up by mule, measured the trickle of crystals whispering into the pan tipped in enough to make the scales balance. Her salt was on every table, preserved meat and fish, blanched sheets. She reared eight children during two wars heard when wind blew thunder in their direction. She kept soup on the stove while husband and eldest worked the land until the boys were called up. Over time her fingernails whitened. Ezio never returned from the Russian front; Sabino walked home, died in his own bed the next night Matilde – piccola fiore – died of tuberculosis. When she woke she found more and more sleep-salts in the corners of her eyes – couldn't lick away the salt taste from the cracks in her lips.

Rebecca lives on Dartmoor in Devon, England. She visits her Italian father's family regularly in north west Liguria where these two poems are set. Her poems are published in various poetry magazines and she reads at local events, and at Ways with Words literary festival in 2008. Her first collection, River is the Plural of Rain, has just been launched by Oversteps Books (http://www.overstepsbooks.com). She currently teaches creative writing and journalism in a prison.

Statue, by Meg Pearlstein

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Rebecca Gethin Chestnut trees In memory of Franchetta and Isotta who were tried for witchcraft by The Inquisition, 1588. They turned our lives into some document we can't read, black scrawls on white. They claimed I grew claws, caterwauled at night. They said we tossed babies for amusement, cut the rain in slices, spoke snake words to blight our neighbours' crops. For five hours they stretched Isotta till she dropped dead. They first pulled all her teeth to make her speak. I sat astride their tripod, weights tied to my feet, its spike through my core. Sometimes I whispered, I have told you what I know. After twenty one hours my tune changed, Wind is not good for chestnuts. They were so ravenous for any truth my little grain, though spotted with ergot, set me free.

Amy Unsworth Interviewing for Spring The robins are willing to chat, Mexico was good to them: a few worms, a roost near a nice batch of agaves and sun on the feathers all winter long. The sparrows are intent, they'll tell you about mates and nests, magnetic fields spinning behind their eyes like a compass needle they'll point the way to the old barn, the apple trees in a clump beside. The buzzards will mind, stingy with the minutes. It's their carrion and they've a schedule to keep before maggots bloom in the meat. They'll tell you, pointing a grizzled claw It'll be here soon enough – your turn, spring.

Foot, by Meg Pearlstein

Amy Unsworth earned her M.A. in British and American Literature from Kansas State University. Prior poetry publications include Sojourn, Tar River Poetry, 60 Seconds to Shine: 221 Monologues for Women, and The Briar Cliff Review. She lives with her husband and three sons in Leavenworth, Kansas.

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Rachel Mallino Post Beyond. How Abel was bludgeoned then martyred. Do not be fooled-there is no acquisition of courts, no souls to scalpel, mend, offer. After, as in, what happens next. The clichÊ is a lie – no one escapes unscathed. An ostrich's eggs stolen: the jackal's yolky fix. Here is a bird too large to undo the wind, too dumb to guard her nest. In the field, a loud cackle shocks the blood back up through the earth. Some call it resurrection: watch the gawking ratite, the forced abortion.

Traumatic There's an ER somewhere filled to its ribs with unintentions. If the doctor is a savior and you're the stoned child, what then, is the mother? A portal from the downed intersection of a dysthymic womb. Passing through is nothing like a wet tongue to the wound. Between the iced white walls of any hospital are stomachs knuckle-full: the quick blow, the brimmed-fist gale. No bruise is left unpurpled. The mashing of blue and red is a hemorrhage of the heart.

Route 66, Meg Pearlstein

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Rachel Mallino Stress The average adult mouth holds thirty-two teeth. I have four surgically removed and housed in a Ziploc bag for safe keeping. Twenty-eight enamel nails remain in this house. My grandmother died toothless, the result of rancid marrow running to a liquid destination. Hide the cigarettes. Hide mother's determined fist. There are damaged apertures strewn all over this place. I think of blenders, how z in Elizabeth cuts right through a name's soft tissue. The rot is my bone and the air coughs up hypoxia.

Disorder Episodic: twenty-four hours of every day -- the century is loaded with war-torn shifts of the world's atmosphere and the turning in one one/infinities worth of multiverses. Epicenter: glandular connection and I'm not talking quantum physics. Depressed cells swell like rain soaked wood splitting into shards of useless fence. The neighbors watch hard and chat amongst the dogs. There is shit in my yard. Epidemic: I died once beneath the coffee table but was diagnosed asthmatic. The first failed drug I ever try is prednisone, a perfect example of everything to come. The lot of missing hair means nothing. My thirsty skin means nothing. I must be a hysteric. Epistemology: if the swollen hand imprint on my upper thigh matches the size of mother's swinging arm, who did it?

Rachel Mallino lives in Charlotte, NC with her husband, daughter, and various lovable animals. Her work is forthcoming or has appeared in 42opus, Weave Magazine, BOXCAR Poetry Review, Pebble Lake Review, Stirring, and others. Her chapbook, Inside Bone There's Always Marrow, is slated for release in April, 2009 by Maverick Duck Press. She is the founding editor of Tilt Press.

Epiphany: when a prisoner of war, use a convincing voice, form a friendship with your captor and never, never admit you are the rabid animal who willingly climbs into her own small carnival cage.

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Jill Crammond Wickham So, Marilyn Monroe and Jesus Meet on an airplane. It could happen. Jesus, as all regular men are, is moved to quote a famous poet. I send out red signals across your absent eyes that move like the sea near a lighthouse.* Leaning into the afternoon, Marilyn pretends to swoon. She has an idea the man doesn't own these words, they can't even see a lighthouse from this height. There's just something about this guy. Lonely. So lonely, says Marilyn. She wipes her eyes. A sliver of blue lands in her hand. Absent. Yesterday the pair met at Starbucks. Voted best place to meet singles.

The Sushi Master Slips Up, Makes of His Wife a Work of Art It was a culinary feat, how he steamed his wife, rolled her into a knobby white ball, flattened her with the palm of his hand, smoothed and pressed her to the edges of blue black seaweed. Pure artistry as he pulled her glistening arms from the display case, swiftly sliced two pink tendrils lovingly layered them, one atop the other.

Same thing all over again. Red signals. Absent eyes. The sea and a lighthouse. Lonely woman leans in.

Such surprise when he removed the lid of the beckoning cat, drew out his wife's head and pop, pop pulled out her red eyeballs, added them to his signature dish.

That's eternity for you. * Lines from Pablo Neruda's Leaning Into the Afternoons.

With just the tips of his fingers, he wrapped his beloved into a tight, neat roll. And with the flick of a wrist, a glint of silver, she became four perfect pieces.

Jill Crammond Wickham is a poet/artist writing and teaching in upstate NY. Her poetry has been published in Blueline, damselfly press, Literary Mama, mamazine, qarrtsiluni, and Thema.

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January Gill O’Neil Old Dog Sounder! Here girl. Come… He shouts to me like I’m a coon dog chasing possums out in the fields. The school’s back lot became a small country where names were given but not deserved and I took it and took it, even laughed with everyone else at my own black self, suffering like most of us suffered—

Jon Borcherding Sometimes the Sea

quietly. The laughter so loud you forget homework, the blue and white uniforms, red veils worn in church, Jesus on a beaded noose in our pockets. Today, on this purgatory of a cloudy day, I stare blankly into an open meadow from my desk as wind kicks up dust and memory; more so, the chance to recall a small morsel of a boy and his big mouth and my harsh resolve to talk back, even if it’s nothing more than this, a romp through a few stanzas. I am grateful for that old dog of memory— for what it lets you keep and what it lets you throw away.

January Gill O’Neil’s poems and articles have appeared or are forthcoming in Drunken Boat, Crab Orchard Review, Callaloo, Babel Fruit, Edible Phoenix, Literary Mama, Field, Seattle Review, Stuff Magazine, Read Write Poem, and Cave Canem anthologies II and IV. A Cave Canem fellow, her first poetry collection, titled Underlife, will be published by CavanKerry Press in October 2009. She is a senior writer/editor at Babson College and runs a blog called Poet Mom (http://poetmom.blogspot.com).

Sometimes the sea ignores my questions and hands me a clam, a mindless mollusk with no answers, nothing to offer but a bite of food. I eat, then wander down the sand of this great beach where we spread her ashes in November. I wonder when I'll go and where, and why so many questions carry the sound of water. The weather wears these whys like cheap carnival costumes, while rain and wind rise and subside; leave the ocean rolling with its own rhythms. I ask where it finds such wisdom awash in so much foolishness. Sometimes the sea ignores my questions and flings me a fish.

Jon Borcherding has penned pop lyrics for ephemeral idols of the Scandinavian rock scene, worked as a boat builder, bartender, and carpenter. He currently lives in Tacoma, Washington with his wife, his dog, and a ridiculous number of acoustic guitars and small watercraft.

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Deb Scott Straddling an Open Window A preacher's voice crackles and spits and lifts an open window skipping beats it bounces over a rutted gravel road striped with a line of flowering green – weeds, he would say – broken glass glints a jeweled sparkle of waves catches light in the wind with soft round teeth she crawls climbs hurdles hurtles she straddles the sill balancing on the beam of between babble and bubbling of ranting voices berating the chickadees chittering out, she kicks a rock with shoes dirty scuffles to chase a grasshopper hears clicking wings bearing him sideways she rounds the corner faces groomed hedges and staked specimens she slows she steps lightly on the painted porch brushing dirt from her skirt and slides through an open door to hear the gospel choir sing rhythm and blues.

Muffled Boundaries She can't hear him over the rush: blood pounds and crashes advancing waves shudder — low pulses, ears useless, only flesh senses — as if a grouse had thaharummpphed in the mountains far away. Time arrests and still there is no escape from an advancing harvester sending murmurs and threats ahead in the field where mice run like her logic loosed by fear a heart will burst.

Deb Scott (Stoney Moss http://stoneymoss.org/) is a middle-aged tomboy living in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and pets. Her poetry and fiction is published in qarrtsiluni; her poetry can be found at MReview, Tonopah la, Asphalt Sky, A Handful of Stones and VoiceCatcher. She manages Read Write Poem, an online poetry community.

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Liz Flint-Somerville The Picking Cherries, a basket of pursed lips emptied into stainless steel, harder than their plumpness suggests they escape the colander thomping like swaddled marbles, echoing, twenty-two years late him reaching through the boughs too far. Among tin pails, handles lifted like arms, buckets half full of red infant mouths screaming, he landed on shady earth sticky with rotting cherry flesh. I am swept into the house by the brooms of the aunts' skirts, through the window I watch them scurrying, swarming the site, drawn to the sweetness dropped to the dirt. My small hands clutch cherries forgotten, mashed fruit oozes slow as the blood in his veins, his heart still as a cherry on the branch. Dreamscape of panic rent by sirens' report, my ears chart their course to us, my eyes reflect flashing red light, the wheels of the ambulance steamroll over fruit and pits, push aside pails, rush to Poppy who has slipped from me faster than cherries falling and spinning down the drain.

Walk signal

Liz Flint-Somerville lives in Portland, OR with her husband and their dog, Sisquinanamook. She recently won 2nd place in the Oregon Writers' Colony's Elizabeth Bolton poetry contest, and her poems have been published in Pointed Circle and VoiceCatcher3.

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featured poet

Ouroboros talks to Michelle McGrane, a prize-winning poet who was born in Zimbabwe and now lives in South Africa. Michelle is the author of two previous collections of poetry, Fireflies & Blazing Stars, (2002) and Hybrid (2003).

Michelle McGrane

I

that he encouraged your early writing. Would n his postcard life story about you, author you expand on this? Michael Kimball* says that when you were seven you “wrote, illustrated, and Trying to get published is a challenging and often covered with glitter (your) first book, a disappointing experience for fledgling writers. I think Christmas story". Has your attraction to too much emphasis is glitter changed over the years? What do ‘I do think poetry can make a difference in placed on publication you remember most people’s lives; it’s made a difference in instead of improving one’s craft. I was very lucky to about the making of mine, but I’m not sure poetry “should” be receive early affirmation your first book? anything other than what it is. I write to from established poets in Not only glitter, but beads, discover and explore other worlds, to put the form of acceptances. brightly coloured tissue myself in another person’s shoes, to make Four South African editors – and poets – encouraged paper, feathers, lace, sense of things.’ me by publishing my first ribbons, shiny material few poems in South African journals: Vonani scraps, paints, and stickers – I loved them all. I drew, published me in Timbila, Mxolisi Nyezwa published glued, painted and created collages with magazine me in Kotaz, Kobus Moolman published me in pictures. I’ve always been enchanted by colours – Fidelities, and Allan Kolski Horwitz published me in their mysterious personalities and names – amber, Botsotso. jade, saffron, cerulean, amaranth, azure, carnelian, magenta. And I wrote, and later bashed out stories on Now you do a lot to promote South African an old manual typewriter. The letter C key was writers. From your perspective, how has living missing, so I would end up with a bruised finger after in South Africa influenced your writing? an hour. The Christmas book was smaller than A5 size and I haven’t done much to promote local writers, but I’ve handwritten. I remember cutting the paper with enjoyed conducting interviews with a few of the many blunt orange-handled kitchen scissors; the edges talented writers in South Africa. weren’t straight, but every second page was It’s hard to say how living in South Africa has painstakingly illustrated. Characters included Father influenced my writing. I find it difficult to think of Christmas, an elf in a Peter Pan green tunic, a “influences”; so many things combine to create voice reindeer and a dog. And a lilac fairy in a gossamer and writing style. If anything, I’d say direct influences gown with puffy sleeves – and a wand. I didn’t have have been contemporary Northern hemisphere poets: anything to bind the pages so I used a hairclip. American, Canadian, and English. In my early twenties, I fell in love with Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton’s work, The PoetryNet interview you conducted with South African poet Vonani Bila mentions 16 and I adored Erica Jong’s chutzpah.


featured poet

I admire the poetry of Louise Glück, Margaret Atwood, Marge Piercy, Pascale Petit, Vicki Feaver, Mary Oliver, Ted Hughes, T S Eliot, Mark Doty, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Derek Walcott, Pablo Neruda, Sharon Olds, Adrienne Rich, William Carlos Williams, Billy Collins and many more. There are some wonderful South African poets: Isobel Dixon, Rustum Kozain, Kelwyn Sole, Karen Press, Finuala Dowling, Joan Metelerkamp, Fiona Zerbst and Gabeba Baderoon, among others. In a previous conversation about writers and the writing process, you observed that "we all want to capture moments for posterity". What moments have you captured recently?

who you are married to or who your children are.”I believe this is crucial to the creative process. Many of your poems deal with tough subjects like aids, anorexia, self-harm. Do you believe poetry can and should make a difference? Four or five years ago, I would have answered without hesitation that poetry can and should make a difference, but with time I’m less sure ... I do think poetry can make a difference in people’s lives; it’s made a difference in mine, but I’m not sure poetry “should” be anything other than what it is. I write to discover and explore other worlds, to put myself in another person’s shoes, to make sense of things. AIDS, eating disorders and self-mutilation are subjects I’ve written about because I want to understand them.

My father died on the second day of this year; I wrote the three short poems, “Father”, “Grief”, “Grace”, which comprise “January Triptych”, Your poetry speaks for women, in the two weeks following his death. for how society shapes us and In February, last year, I wrote for how we in turn shape “Where butterflies go” when a friend ourselves and each other. Do was stabbed to death and left lying on you think that feminism has Stained Glass, by Meg Pearlstein the kitchen floor of her home in been forgotten with the new Pietermaritzburg. Her baby girl was ‘freedoms’ (though of course we don’t discovered, crying, in the pool of blood next to her experience these freedoms equally, mother’s body. I couldn’t be at her funeral, but something you must be acutely aware of wanted to remember the peace that filled me as I sat living in South Africa)? in the garden and watched a butterfly flutter over the wall. I consider myself a feminist, but times have changed and there’s a new generation of young women who Your poem “This is the space”(Hybrid, 2003), equate the word “feminist” with irascible spinster is a wonderful description of a room of one’s aunts. Ariel Levy’s Female Chauvanist Pigs: own: “This is the place of easy breathing: of Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture (Free Press, filling up and letting go.” Talk to us about 2005) provides an interesting critique on a skewed this “filling up and letting go”. twenty-first century feminism. Levy examines gender politics, stereotypes, role models, female In order to fill up and let go, one needs to have space, sexuality and the pornography industry. Many a quiet place, and time to dream, to write and revise. young women today, she believes, are compliant in I read a quote by American mythologist and writer their own objectification. She writes: "The Joseph Campbell, some time ago, which sums it up proposition that having the most simplistic, plastic perfectly: "You must have a place to which you can go, stereotypes of female sexuality constantly reiterated in your heart, in your mind, or your house, almost throughout our culture somehow proves that we are every day, where you do not know what you owe sexually liberated and personally empowered has anyone or what anyone owes you. You must have a been offered to us, and we have accepted it. But if place you can go to where you do not know what your we think about it, we know this just doesn't make work is or who you work for, where you do not know 17 any sense. It's time to stop nodding and smiling


featured poet

I wish peony moon did reflect who I am as a poet – whoever that is – but I’m not sure it does. I like the name. It’s joyful, magical, shimmering. The nouns combined sound beautiful. Blogging and social networking are great ways to communicate, interact and express oneself, to meet writers and kindred spirits, to learn and share knowledge, and to debate ideas.

uncomfortably as we ignore the crazy feeling in our heads and admit that the emperor has no clothes." In many respects, it’s an empowering book. Would you speak about your love of books and reading, how you find the contemporary works you read and which classics have stayed with you the longest?

What projects are you working on at the moment, is book number three brewing?

My mother instilled her love of books in me and, as children, my maternal grandmother would tell us fantastic tales. I remember two larger-than-life sailors, Billy Piecan and Joe Biggs. I’ve always been a passionate reader and loved listening to stories, particularly fairy tales. I have a great affection for Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, Joanna Spyri’s Heidi and several Enid Blyton series: Malory Towers, Famous Five, Secret Seven, The Wishing-Chair and The Magic Faraway Tree – books I read as a little girl. As I grew older I read eclectically, everything from Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart to C S Forester’s Mr. Midshipman Hornblower, Clive King’s Stig of the Dump, Paul Gallico’s The Snow Goose, John Steinbeck’s The Pearl, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, Charles Kingsley’s The Water-Babies, The Lord of the Rings and Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl … I remember sneaking Lace and Valley of the Dolls out of my parents’ bookcase to read the racy scenes. I don’t know how I knew they’d include sex … . From my teenage years: The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights, Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Vanity Fair and The Man in the Iron Mask … As far as my current reading goes, the internet is an endless source of information. There are online book sites, journals, reviews, interviews, newsletters and blogs covering many genres. And I haunt local bookshops.

In the past year, I’ve written a number of narrative poems with magic realism elements to them. I think they might loosely come together under the theme of “myths”. At this point, I’m less concerned with publication than with developing my writing, growing and savouring the process. Everyday, there’s something new to be learned. That being said, there is something exciting in the pipeline, but I can’t make it public just yet …

Since this interview took place, ouroboros review has established a publishing company called Pindrop Press. We are delighted to announce that Pindrop will be releasing Michelle’s next collection of poetry in the spring of 2010.

In 2008 you started a blog called peony moon, where you have gathered a large number of literary journals, websites, and links to poetry and creative writing. How does the title of your blog reflect who you are as a poet? What are the benefits to having an internet presence?

Peony, by Meg Pearlstein *Quoted from the blog Post Card Life Stories, “Michelle McGrane will Love and Be Loved,” by Michael Kimball, November, 2008.

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featured poet January Triptych 1. Father The coffin is unvarnished pine with six rope handles, tawny resin beading a seam. The viewing room is empty. You are gone, striding out across the veld heeled by our childhood hounds. Someone should have warned the undertaker you would never agree to lie in this box.

2. Grief It arrives in the mail with a licence renewal wearing the thin grey socks you never returned. It curls up, settles in where you least expect – a note slipped between pages, a bald head in a supermarket queue.

3. Grace The day she brings your ashes home, my mother cradles the box to her breast before placing it in a cool, dark cupboard. In a kitchen, miles away, I unsheathe long-stemmed roses – removing thorns and leaves, trimming stalks – the creamy green guard petals beginning to open. Rising, then receding, her voice wavers through the telephone – and, here, in my fingers, the cellophane label, 'Esperance' 19


featured poet

The Bee Man Just before the old man died, his honey bees deserted their hives among the lacy white almond trees, swarming across the cottage roof, the electric charge heard for miles. A single bee flew through the window, a winged emissary navigating shutter and cream curtain, to hover above the keeper's cheek, then alight, anointing him with a golden streak, protection in the underworld. * In the ancient Near East and throughout the Aegean world, bees were believed to be a bridge between the natural world and the underworld.

Asia, Emmanuel, Africa, Completion, by Ernest Williamson III

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Andrew Erkkila The History of Armor It was a new June in Paris when I discovered that I was a boy who met lovers in cafĂŠs and not a boy who blasted Rick James. Around synagogues and playgrounds I felt age like cramping muscles: my opinions were narrowing like the alleyways of the fifth arondissement. Andrew Erkkila is a graduate student at I knew I was destined to be the uncle New York University, majoring in English. that no one talks to any more He has previously been published in the and for this, the crowds went wild. Siren, the Lion's Eye, and has forthcoming I thought I was a big shot work in Arsenal. His interests include ordering red wine in French visual culture, Paris, and Situationist Now even older, I grip politics. that June like a desperate fish. Do you breathe harder when you can't breathe or during moments when you're aware of how deep you need to? In paintings I spot the memento mori first and in the drawing-nearer future I look back on Paris on time spent chasing women in jean jackets on the alphabet of woes. The hotter it grew, the more the roses sweated. Now, between searching for videotapes and waiting for laundry to finish I watch the street as dusk falls. I still hope, I am still thankful. At night I dream of getting closer Kaddish: 14 Adar to the action: removing my left arm to get a handicapped space and Uncle Mordecai dreams of Esther, when I wake up, behold! of gaily colored ballrooms. My left arm slumbers without me. At the dining room table set for Kaddish he talks to tears, calling out Aunt Ginny's name. At the American Legion he often sits alone, covered in sweat, on the brink of an old story. He drinks and drinks right into a stupor or he cries, searches the rooms of the painted faces and punch bowls. Awake in the middle of the night with a throbbing head and some familiar ghost, he rips plates out of the pantry and drinks, talking to himself. In dreams he's sometimes buried alive. 21


Dick Jones No Horizons

Pennine Lead Mine

(for Reuben at 2)

This hole is a clean wound in the hill’s skull. Turf whiskers the rim, bedding

I covet your knee-high world, down there inside

stitchwort and herb robert. Wordless, we hang over the broken wall, staring

the reek of ragwort and fennel; where fugitive cornstalks rattle and scrape

into the bleak disc that is deep space trapped. Suddenly you shift

and surgeon grass cuts clean. You know the names of nothing and are

like a sleeper woken. The stone slips from your grip, turns once,

fearless, keeping company with forgotten denizens in wings and armour.

pedalling the air, then drops dead straight down the shaft.

You drink the cuckoospit and breathe the ashen dust. For you there are no horizons;

We share the steep rush, falling with the stone, sucking air until silence

there is no curvature to bring you back to where you started from.

catches up our breathing. Only the broad voice of the moorland wind at our backs, talking with the gorse. And then, from the gullet of the earth, at the edge of hearing, a chuckle, deep and rich, coital, celebrating congress, stone on stone in a secret place. Echo into stillness. Wordless, we scatter down the hill, tuft to tuft, heading for home.

Shop window

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Dick Jones Up The ice is melting. It pinks and shivers like thin music. Black windows in the ground go soft and vanish. Cobweb dewdrops glow like moonstones in the dark blue before dawn. You wake. You breathe deep. First light, bright like spray across the ceiling. You’ve slept and dreamed beneath this cracked map of an inverted world too long. You’ve read your fortune in its one-lane highways, nowhere roads too long, looking for compass north. Now the ice is melting. Breathe deep. Rise into light.

Initially wooed by the First World War poets and then seduced by the Beats, Dick has been exploring the vast territories in between since the age of 15. Fitfully published in a variety of magazines throughout the years of rambling – Orbis, The Interpreter's House, Poetry Ireland Review, qarrtsiluni, Westwords, Mipoesias, Three Candles, Other Poetry and others. For fun and profit, he plays bass guitar and bodhran in an Anglo/Celtic dance band. If anyone would like to follow up the poems published here, please check out his blog, Dick Jones' Patteran Pages.

Winter light

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Jennifer Delaney last rights tubed up and swollen bound by agony a simple nod indicates he wants more drugs denied because it would inhibit breathing it’s their job to bring him back from the brink sucked up the tunnel yanked from the light into the overhead bright of hospital drama what is life at the threshold of death when the body refuses to sweetly fall asleep but instead suffocates by surprise stealing air as violently as it slaps a newborn with breath in gasps and strains he turns purple when he coughs an act so simple becomes a nightmare I wet a cold rag, fold it and lay it across his forehead red as raw meat radiating heat in a fight with infection he defies the odds writing the book: my body my war zone his only tool a nod or squeeze of the hand but I can’t understand or find the right question helplessly grasping at straws or copious tubes of fluid if only his eyes could tell us his wishes I guess and assume project and surmise all the things humans do to divide us from animals that don’t analyze but crawl into the bushes to die peacefully or get put out of their misery in a humane society who am I to decide the time is right ripe for death although I stomp when I see a bug writhing it is what it is and I will make the most of these final weeks with the man who has been a father to me.

Jennifer

Delaney’s manuscript, Stealing Monkey, won Colorado University’s Jovanovich Imaginative Award for best graduate thesis as well as receiving finalist status in the Nidus Literary Journal competition. A chapter from her narrative non-fiction work, Coyote Heart, was published in the Sojourn Journal. Her poetry, nonfiction and fiction have been published in literary journals, newspapers, magazines, ezines and blogs. Most recently, an essay and review appear online for Sol Books/Skywater Publishing. She teaches poetry online, and is a writing coach and cofounder of The Writer’s Arbor: www.thewritersarbor.com

Smithfield Market, London

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Paul Stevens Woman eating a chicken Bend forward to engage the chicken's flesh, delicately position your white teeth to mark and execute their first incision.

Christopher Hileman

Your fingertips clutch the carcass steady; your mouth moves to its target with politely paced precision. Softly lift and rip

A Master Thief You call me, the sounds Of you dive deep underground Into my living Stream of dreams, poems, Then to rise into my view, Appear here as if I write my own words, As if I'm alone In this work, a master thief So good I steal light.

the tender muscle fibre: let no drip of oil or marinade slide out to stain your breast. Poised on his picnic chair, your friend bends likewise to his fork, a gentle frown of focus as he steers his payload home: he consummates the passion of the bird, the twists and spirals of its rendered life. A third, a woman, sprawls at ease across the spread blanket, hand stretched reaching for her glass of Beaujolais. The barbeque a dying fire, a scratch to irritate the weight of white sun pressed ponderous upon the landscape's bones. Beyond, against the skyline, a cool lake of forest shade where trees, enraptured, wait

Christopher Hileman, 63 years on the planet now, in the Engineering trades since 1973, serves as a mechanical designer. He has another life where he chases God and tells true stories and tall tales on himself and on life. He lives in Gladstone, Oregon, in the south part of the Portland metro area. His blog, where he posts the poetry he writes, is View From The Northern Wall.

the dinosaurs' long-overdue return. Sometimes gods saunter here in worldly guise.

Paul Stevens was born in Yorkshire, England but lives in Australia with his wife and numerous children, dogs and citrus trees. He has an Honours degree in English and teaches Literature. He has published poems in print and pixel, most recently or imminently in Shakespeare's Monkey Revue, The Literary Bohemian, Soundzine, Mannequin Envy, qarrtsiluni, The Barefoot Muse, London Poetry Review, Abyss and Apex and Umbrella. He edits The Chimaera and The Shit Creek Review.

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R o b e r t E. W o o d Early in the Game Everything has been arranged with the careless rectitude of an English garden. She can’t imagine changing things. Tiffin at noon, dinner at eight simple alimentation nothing to fuss about.

Blake Leland

Authority is garden variety theology cut and dried without apology.

Snooze-Control Go back to sleep; there's no new story here, nothing novel. That image of yourself, fatter, with something a bit more mortal around the eyes, waits in the bathroom; on the porch, by the door, the paper in its plastic sleeve links its likeness along the length of your subscription; radio announcers with wind in their throats repeat the weather – disaster, catastrophe, distant scores.

The fruit that will never be overripe dangles. Temptation the only way out.

Robert E. Wood teaches in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at Georgia Tech. His poetry has appeared recently in Poetry Midwest, Quiddity, Quercus Review, Blue Fifth Review, ouroboros and Umbrella, and is forthcoming in War, Literature, and the Arts, Jabberwock Review, and Blue Unicorn. A chapbook, Gorizia Notebook, has been accepted by Finishing Line Press.

Go back to sleep. You will trace the hit-man's map of your daily day no less punctually for one more turn of the pillow; you need only forego a piece of toast and the vagrant dream, shuffle-eyed and shifty, returns to you the scene of perfect crimes being covered up by falling snow, a white wide field of it, with nothing there but a drift that grows and breaks about this black and blissful button.

Blake Leland has taught in Georgia Tech's School of Literature, Communication, and Culture since 1988. His poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Epoch, Indiana Review, Atlanta Review, Commonweal, Maryland Poetry Review and other, more ephemeral, venues. He has collaborated with Atlanta artist Deanna Sirlin on Into The Blue, an artist's book, and has provided poetic texts for the work of a number of digital/multimedia artists in the U.S. and Europe.

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Allan Peterson The Horse the House Reading is writing with its mouth shut, an extreme of creation. Heron, a non-reader, turns to a noise and I swivel and look up to the insight that everything has its fly: the horse, the house, like eccentric and careening berserk moons, mine around me now, the deer and the dog orbiting, outnumbering. The ordinary in isolation is mysterious, a field, a clock with one hand, an assassin arriving silently, a heart on a chain that opens with a fingernail.

Karma A radio distantly plays music from the dead Telleman Scarlatti and the names linger like a luxury of braid hawser laid satin indigo and layered gold words sisters to a kiss fit for a decorated bar sometimes a king's heart enlarging as I walk sometimes rose hips waiting my turn to live as another name I recognize

Allan Peterson's latest book is All the Lavish in Common (2005 Juniper Prize). Recent print and online appearances include: Gulf Coast, Boston Review, Northwest Review, Perigee, Press 1, and Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry. Recent awards include the 2008 American Poet Prize from American Poetry Journal.

Moonshine, by Michael Doyle

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The Daou of Poetry: A conversation with musician and poet Vanessa Daou By Collin Kelley

I

first heard the work of Vanessa Daou at the dawn of the 90s with the release of an album of jazz/funk called Head Music. It spawned a Billboard hit with a remix of the single “Surrender Yourself.” But it was in 1994 with the release of Zipless that my total devotion to the words and music of Vanessa Daou took hold. Zipless, a cycle of songs based on the poetry of Erica Jong, included the slinky hit “Near the Black Forest” and the video received heavy rotation on MTV (when MTV still aired music videos). Daou would go on to release four more albums, both on major labels and independently, and my admiration for her hybrid of spoken word, jazz and pop continued to grow. She became a muse when I was writing my own poetry, and even features in my forthcoming novel, Conquering Venus. When it came time to pick a title for my chapbook from MetroMania Press in 2006, I decided to tip my hat to Daou by naming it Slow To Burn, after her 1995 album of the same name. After a seven-year silence, Daou re-emerged in late 2008 with a new record called Joe Sent Me. Released on her own label, she continues to explore the confluence of poetry and music. Like many artists these days, Daou and I first “met” through e-mail, then on MySpace, and eventually Facebook. When I was in New York, she came to my reading at Cornelia Street Café, and the next day we met for lunch on the Upper West Side for this conversation. I’m happy to report that the old adage about never meeting your idols is completely unfounded. I’ve never met a more centered and grounded artist in my life – poet or otherwise.

Collin: Let’s start back at the beginning of your life as a poet – who inspired you? Vanessa: When I was attending Columbia University, I studied poetry with Kenneth Koch. His class was amazing and he was such a communicator for his vision and idea of poetry. He shattered the notion that poetry is something unapproachable and obtuse. I became interested in spoken word because of him and I often read at PostScript, the poetry spot at Columbia.

Vanessa: I love listening to Sexton performing with her jazz band, Anne Sexton and Her Kind. She was straightforward, cut right to the chase, and the way she intoned her poems over the jazz riffs inspired what I’m doing now. Collin: So did the poetry come first or the music, or did they arrive together?

Vanessa: I met Peter [Daou, her ex-husband and former musical partner/producer] when I was in Collin: What were you reading then? college and was introduced to the underground electronic music scene. This was before the genre Vanessa: John Ashbery, Wallace Stevens, William “electronica” even existed. We got our first record deal Carlos Williams and Pablo Neruda. as The Daou, and Columbia Records wanted an Collin: It’s interesting that they were all male poets. album of poetry driven lyrics with an underground Vanessa: I had more of an attraction to the male poets, music sensibility, so that’s where Head Music came from. because I wasn’t finding what I wanted from female poets. The men always had a more rugged sense of language. But then I fell in love with Anne Sexton, Collin: The Daou was a band, but then you went solo Anne Carson and Anne Waldman – my trinity of Annes. for Zipless. How did the collaboration with Erica Jong come about? These were the women who were writing with a sensibility that spoke to me. Vanessa: Erica is Peter’s aunt, so I had an inroad 28 there, but our collaboration was based on our mutual Collin: I would be nothing without Anne Sexton.


Collin Kelley talks to Vanessa Daou love of poetry. She knew that I came from a strong poetry background and felt comfortable with me while I was working with her poems. Erica is a woman whose work fits into my idea of great writing. The essays, the poetry…and Fear of Flying is a masterpiece. Collin: Was it a collaborative effort between you and Erica?

I studied Diego Rivera in my art history classes, but Kahlo was a footnote then. Her art blew my mind. Bettie Page was a revelation, too. Her idea and approach to sexuality was shattering in a good way. Slow to Burn was a chance for me to read and think about all these women and honor them. Collin: Plutonium Glow and Dear John Coltrane were indie releases outside your major label albums. They seem to be a little more freeform and rough around the edges.

Vanessa: It wasn’t collaborative at all, actually. To make the poems fit the music, I had to pare down the poems, and I was hyper-vigilant about keeping her meaning and the essence of what she was saying. It took Vanessa: I've always admired artists like Picasso me back to an exercise Kenneth Koch had us do where who go through different phases. He went through you wrote a poem in the style of another poet. I kept periods of exploring these very finished textures and that in mind while I was reinterpreting Erica’s poetry. then there were times when he would express a more raw sensibility. Plutonium Glow was inspired by the Collin: Obviously she loved it. rise of the Internet and how electronica was moving Vanessa: She did. She didn’t ask for any changes and out of the underground. This was around 1996. I she wrote “Smoke” and performed it on the album, so it wanted to explore this new realm of sounds and possibilities that the Internet gave us; merge acoustic was a great feeling. instruments with electronic ones, add layers and Collin: How did reinterpreting Erica’s poetry influence different dimensions to the songs. Dear John Coltrane came after deep immersion into his work your own writing? and researching him like I did with the women for Vanessa: I enjoy the process of taking a poem in its Slow to Burn. I wanted to wrap my head fully around long form and honing to find its essence and meaning. his music so I was outside of it, inside of it and it was That’s when the music starts to come. The words come all around me. I wanted to infuse the essence of first, and I still write them in notebooks. My poems are Coltrane into the work. usually long, but once I have a melody or a riff I think will fit the words, I start thinking about how to make Collin: I’ve read that the album Make You Love was the poem a more direct communication and how entirely influenced by a friend of yours. listeners will receive it. Working with Erica’s poetry made me start thinking about the differences between Vanessa: That’s true. She’s still my best friend. I saw a poem and a song. I think you can get away with a lot her as the quintessential American woman and I used more in poem; you can be more obscure in a poem, so her as muse. I wanted to explore the dichotomy of women – the vixen, the virgin, the femme fatale, the I’ve been trying to find that middle ground. goody two-shoes, heroine and heartbreaker. Collin: Talk to me about the songs on Slow To Burn. Collin: So after Make You Love, you disappeared for They are all sketches of women like Billie Holiday, seven years. Where did you go? Josephine Baker and Camille Claudel. They read like prose poems to me. Vanessa: I was in New York during the September 11th terrorist attacks. Make You Love had originally Vanessa: I did a lot of research for that record. I been released first in France on EMI, I had toured decided to dive in and read more about them. I wanted with Etienne Daho and was back here getting ready to to explore the legacy of women like Frida Kahlo and start promoting the album when the attacks Claudel who had lost their way because, until relatively happened. Like a lot of people, it just made me start recently, there had been no prototype for a “successful” rethinking everything. At the same time, my husband female artist. There was this whole idea that a and I were moving in different directions, and we’re “masterpiece” could only be attributed to a man, and the still good friends because we were able to take that dearth of information about some of these women time to understand our differences. After 9-11, I shocked me. I really only learned about Frida Kahlo in wanted time to be quiet, reflect and see where I 1992, and she was a revelation. 29 wanted to go next.


Collin Kelley talks to Vanessa Daou Collin: I was surprised when you told me you were scared of flying.

sexual, thought, emotion. I wanted the website for the Joe Sent Me project to reflect that idea of layering.

Vanessa: It is ironic. I’ve always had a fear of flying, and 9/11 exacerbated that, but I forced myself to get on airplanes because I wanted to travel.

Collin: What I love about the Joe Sent Me project is that it dovetails all your interests: poetry, music, art and technology. The artwork inside the album and on your website is amazing. Were the images and poems coming to you all at once?

Collin: And you wound up in some interesting places.

Vanessa: I went to Brazil with a group of scientists Vanessa: They were. I stared writing the lines to and artists from Columbia University, who were “Hurricanes” on Joe Sent Me with pens on canvas, and it went unchanged onto the record, which is very studying the natural flora and fauna, and then I had rare for me. The words just came in a straight line. the amazing opportunity to go inside the Biosphere in Arizona. It’s a massive terrarium with a man-made “The Hook” and “Love Lives in the Dark” were originally written in French. I love the softness that ecological system and it’s not open to the public, so I words in French can take on, and I love the felt incredibly lucky. At the time, I was considering angularity of the English language. In French the getting my Master's Degree and was interested in exploring the intersections between art and science, word hook is 'hameçon', which is a very soft and nuanced word. In English, the word hook creates a and I helped interpret the visual data for one of the harder and more forceful biologist's research projects. It was during those started “I'm working on creating a “portable sound. Right after 9/11, I writing the poems, creating the exhibit” where people see the art was writing poems and sketches and music for Joe inside, with speakers attached to the paintings and sketches Sent Me. briefcase so people can hear the came out of this writing. When we had the big words and music.” blackout in New York, I was Collin: Joe Sent Me is amazing. living on the 27th floor and had to leave the building The music reminds me of Miles Davis’ score for and I had that momentary panic where I couldn’t Elevator to the Gallows, and the spoken word figure out what to take with me. So, I found this element is really strong here; much more so than on metal briefcase to put all my artwork and poems in, the other records. and I called it my go bag. I'm working on creating a Vanessa: Originally, I conceived of Joe Sent Me as a “portable exhibit” where people see the art inside, with speakers attached to the briefcase so people can soundtrack of sorts to my own life, perhaps a hear the words and music. projection of it, as a kind of sonic document of my experience through time. I have a background and interest in research and one of those interests is in Collin: You really are a tech-head. Your website it code, with respect for words and the kind written for one of the most intricate and layered pieces of work a computer. Joe Sent Me is an old speakeasy I’ve ever seen. There’s video, song, the artwork and I password from the Prohibition-era. You said those love the coding that allows people to remix your words at a door and suddenly you were in this hidden, lyrics and create their own. That’s still such a big mysterious place. That idea intrigued me. On the no-no to so many poets and musicians; the idea that digipack for the album there is a quote from Lawrence you’re letting people have too much information or Ferlinghetti’s Poetry as Insurgent Art that reads, that you’re exploring outside what is considered the “Words on a page of poetry are a code for human “norm.” emotions.” That idea is the heart of the album. Vanessa: It's the same concern with jazz purists Collin: You mentioned that the poet Stanley Kunitz who haven’t been able to integrate the hip-hop also inspired Joe Sent Me. esthetic – that resistance has created a stunted art form. It's a museum mentality, and there’s the same Vanessa: The working title of the project was resistance in poetry. I think about the artists and originally “The Layers,” which is one of my favorite musicians of the time, Mingus and Basquiat, who poems by him. It was one of the guiding forces behind were coming out of the raw New York Art Scene; the album. I heard him read the poem and I loved the they were making art and not thinking about Lincoln word layers. The word has so many connotations: 30 Center or Sotheby’s. It’s a toxic mentality.


Collin Kelley talks to Vanessa Daou Collin: I agree. There are still many poets who refuse to recognize online literary journals, don’t want to have anything to do with websites. I cannot tell you how many poets I’ve heard say that unless its printed in a book it’s not “real.” It boggles my mind.

The Hook We learned all the pleasures of the tongue before we knew each other's names, long after the pain had come.

Vanessa: I always like to think that if Allen Ginsberg were around today he would be all over the Internet. I think there are many poets who see the Internet as a new kind of anarchy and it’s threatening. But history proves that poetry does not emanate from pristine palaces, and the purpose of poetry is to be transmitted to future generations. I just don’t get how poets can say if it’s not printed in a book, it’s not real. Poetry came from an oral tradition, and what’s more intangible than that? You can’t hold it in your hand.

Imagine the shock of a fish when the hook finds its mouth and pierces the roof then the sigh it heaves when it shakes it loose. Our first kiss was like this. I used to swim in open waters like a lazy cod without a thought of your delicious bait. But time lets our fears loose and they drift with no logic like a cork on the sea a role both sad and comic.

Collin: You’re setting the bar when it comes to interaction with poetry and music on your website. Vanessa: I'm drawn to the vastness and expansiveness of the web. I plan to keep adding to it, so people can keep coming back and discovering new things. I want the site to be a time capsule, a living document and something that keeps growing. I think the website is a way for people to dig deeper into the music and poetry on Joe Sent Me. The thing that intimidates some people about poetry is that if they look at it once and don’t immediately understand it, they won't try to decipher it. With the website you can take it slowly, take your time to find out more, and that helps with understanding.

I twisted like an unruly marlin so I could love you this madly. And so today I am lucid as a shark that all the world is afraid of. I used to think that life would be frightening if one's eyes were so haunted by seeing everything.

Collin: To bring this around full circle, you studied dance at Columbia University and with Erick Hawkins, and now Mercer County Community College’s Mercer Dance Ensemble in New Jersey is turning Joe Sent Me into a dance performance.

But I still dream, even if I don't sleep, and my thighs get wet at the thought of my head between your legs.

Vanessa: Yes, they are calling it Joe Sent M.D.E.

((With you my lips act stupid as a grouper's and I make no excuses))

Collin: Which is very clever. Vanessa: It is, and the whole project feels organic. It’s an extension of my desire and hope for this album to be expansive and collaborative, and to keep pushing the boundaries even further.

Vanessa Daou

For more about Vanessa Daou and to purchase her albums, visit www.vanessadaou.com. They are also available to download on iTunes. Mercer Dance Ensemble will present Joe Sent M.D.E. on May 16 and 17 in the Kelsey Theatre on the campus of Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, New Jersey. Tickets are available at www.kelseyatmccc.org 31


Dustin Brookshire Wanting to Come Out Thirteen, in the bathroom, with my brother's razor, the door locked, drawers pulled out to barricade, I sat not wanting to bring razor across flesh, not wanting to live a life explaining a scar even though, now, I realize that's all we do, explain our scars to one another and hope for understanding. I sat slouched in the floor, back to wall, feet against the cabinet avoiding my reflection as they avoided the obvious. I sat with razor in hand. I can't be more honest when I say I never wanted to bring red to surface, only to drive them to say, We love you. Instead, I heard What the hell are you thinking? We never spoke of that night again.

Memo She tells me her soon to be ex husband is complaining to mutual friends about her wanting half of everything – to sell the mountain home and condo in Key West – to split it all evenly like a baker halving a loaf of bread. I can't pity him. He's fucking his secretary, so man-mid-life-crisis-typical, which only means a convertible is next. I want to call him, tell him she deserves more than half, and if I were her I'd send his mistress a memo: his balls in a Ziploc bag. But my friend insists he isn't worth the time, swears the secretary will get what she deserves the day she says, I do.

Dustin Brookshire is a poet and activist. In 2008, Dustin founded Limp Wrist and Quarrel. In 2009, he is launching Project Verse, the selfproclaimed Project Runway of the poetry world. He has been featured at poetry readings in Atlanta as well as Savannah, and his work has been published in numerous online magazines as well as in Atlanta's DAVID magazine. Besides writing poetry and 'cooking up' poetry projects, Dustin enjoys serving on the Atlanta Pride Committee, Atlanta Queer Literary Festival Committee, and keeping elected officials on their toes.

Lion, by Meg Pearlstein

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Joseph Milford Bibliophile I dreamt we made love in a library books kept falling from the shelves There was thunder in your voice Reading passages from books As they fell and I fell into you And you made my body into those Letters stuck all over us Leopard-skinned in runes The leaves spread and bifurcated Spines like bird’s backs in flight A poem with every gyration and whisper And I wondered if I would survive

Joe Milford currently resides in balmy rural Georgia, with his beautiful wife, daughter, and step-daughter, where he teaches full-time at Georgia Military College. Joe's work has been published or is forthcoming in the following journals: The Canary, The Eclectic, Blaze/VOX, The Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies, First Intensity, 360 Degrees, Shampoo, The Wisconsin Review, The Brooklyn Review, Action, Yes, Offbeat Pulp, O! Tempora, The Kennesaw Review, canwehaveourballback.com, mud luscious, and The Wild Goose Review, just to name a few. His collected works, Cracked Altimeter, Volumes I, II, and III: Collected and Selected Poems, 1990 - 2005, have recently been published by BlazeVox Press. He hosts a weekly radio show, The Joe Milford Poetry Show (http://joemilfordpoetryshow.com) where he hosts poets, such as Bob Hicok, Gregory Orr, Forrest Gander, Ron Silliman, Tony Hoagland, etc.

The avalanche of knowledge and you Made me safe in your center and made Me alabaster and ardor was my lyric On that floor of the earthquake archive Which page of the novel (The last page of the book)

No voice but drifts, by Nikki Devereux

Which last page should we read, (Which last page, scoundrel? Your histories, your novels, your arcane Marvels?) the forests falling ash the floor

Nikki Devereux is a photographer, artist and poet living in St. Petersburg, FL. She has works on display throughout the area, including coffee shops, galleries and restaurants. Even at the tender age of 11 years old, Nikki could be found in adult oil painting classes until 10 p.m. once a week. While other children were outside playing or even sleeping, Nikki was bent over a canvas trying to capture the perfect light and color with a brush. Her recent discovery of a passion for photography has furthered her ability to communicate with people through her art. Nikki is also a poet pursuing a timeless love affair with words.


Jay Arr knowing why water became sacred here in the well the bucket is falling, it has always fallen this way, it knows the rope, the knot about the handle, the hollow thwack on water, the cool cool water, brimful, lapping, lifting up up into the air black with midnight, where the cicadas have all but stopped singing to the moon, long since bedded down with clouds, the water, the cool cool water has waited patiently while she walked with starlight and the bucket has felt her warm hands let it drop, and the rope's haul hand over hand her hair unwound falls with her sarong and she bathes, first her hands cup water, tiny rivulets of well water that have longed for this moment: to finger her face, to caress her neck, to taste her breasts, to become her second skin. grasping the handle she pours the water, the cool cool water, all over herself. Its glow enters her as it rushes down over her hair, her shoulders, water billowing within the thin cloth on her belly and legs she repeats the mantra of gestures, again and again; knows this is why water became sacred, this why; bending beating the water, the cool cool water, out of her hair.

Jay Arr is a Wiltshire Poet who has been writing poetry for the past two decades. Jay is a founder member of the Swindon Writer's Cafe and, along with three other local poets, has recently launched the BlueGate Poets Society. His poetic pre-occupations include love poetry (he's given Valentine Day workshops on the subject) and an interest in using mathematics and scientific themes in his poems. His work has been published in Pulsar, The Bristol Omnibus and Swindon's Festival of Literature annual, CommonHead. Earlier this year BlueGate Books published his first collection, A Machine for Measuring Blue. Now retired, as well as writing poetry, he designs websites for fellow poets and artists. You can find his website at www.thepoetryexchange.com

The Thames and St Paul’s Cathedral, London

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Jay Arr because and what do I call you? because I don’t see you in the mirror so often now, I’ve given up scanning passing faces and places where you might be, longing for even the briefest sight of your back, you slowly walking away, the sway of your, must be now, silvered hair catching the light. because I used to see you in my sons, that slow turn of the head, instead of the knowing quick thought, their easy laughter, now I see you all the time in my granddaughter. because it’s been almost sixty years – biological sounds so detergent, as though you’d washed me clean away. I retell myself I was the gift you gave away, for whatever reason. so I prefix you with the important my: am easy with natural, refer to you as first. know you as unknown. love you, not because I was unloved, because now, I can call you mother.

Carolee Sherwood What Humpty Dumpty told his therapist before the incident with the wall Yes, I’ve been walking along the parapet again, but don’t worry. This time, I’m not afraid of falling or jumping. I’m a long way from breaking apart. I have figured out that somewhere inside me I know how to fly. Already, my feet are changing, and my elongated toes grasp railings quite agilely. Up there, I see things so clearly. I’ve been thinking about my blessings. It comes to mind to be grateful my kids aren’t made of egg shells. I bet my wings look like ordinary arms to you. It’s alright. I know feathers will grow in soon. Maybe I can show you next time.

Carolee Sherwood is a painter, mixed media artist and poet. She blogs about the creative process — sharing free-writes, draft poems and exercises — at “I am maureen.” Her poetry has been published online at qarrtsiluni and Literary Mama and in print through Ballard Street Poetry Journal and The Tipton Poetry Journal. A member of The Poetry Collaborative and a contributor to Read Write Poem, Carolee is in the process of assembling her first poetry manuscript.

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Holly Dunlap All Creation measuring up used to mean that the universe of my body should have stars the size of planets, planets the size of stars, rings around them perfectly measured to belt in the waist pulling the equator in nice and taut tiny and fragile, I thought I should be a sliver of chocolate cake have skin that is brown, smooth, unlittered sand on a quiet beach be the sparkle of ocean waves or meteorites in the night sky but now, I realize my pores, my pocked skin, are black holes my bitten fingernails are chipped, slabs of rock in the ocean of my mouth my hips are tugboats on a massive river, floating healthily my oblong breasts are unsymmetrical planets my cosmos is real and to measure up I need to feed this universelook in my mouth, and you'll see landscape skyscape, microcosm, and macrocosm (skyscraper mountain star planet meteor bird fig tree ocean river forest moon)

A Peak Into My Imagination, Ernest Williamson III

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Holly Dunlap little discovery ritual we need garlic (cloves upon cloves) spears to pierce skin to rub that pungent bulb into skin is to keep from losing so we'll smell what we have eyes ears mouth apple (that chewed core) slowly pinch off the stem in a circular motion face a mirror a picture frame laugh at the wrinkles the pores mine that shaft of a mind that reflection in water (doubled, quadrupled)

J Michael Wahlgren Between Us I love maps. The gaps between plateau & sow. The fields filled with comma, & music. Each arpeggio dictates with space, an empty chord, strong & stringed. You sting me with you. With a breath, you ring in the new year, a reign, each kiss, between semi-colon & colon, each space memorizes its light, like a damp corner under street post. I'll keep you posted, she says. You are here, beneath the rain, umbrella-like laughter, holds in, & droplets off. I only hope to roll this up in the attic & come forth, like a king, once kissed, he cherishes only breath & whatever else comes from the sea of you.

drink to find it in a glass of rainwater find that horribly beautiful place mushrooming like an atom bomb in our heart of hearts

J Michael Wahlgren is the author of two chapbooks: Chariots of Flame (2007) & Pre-elixir (2008) both on Maverick Duck Press & the full-length poetry collection Silent Actor (BeWrite, 2008). He was influenced early on by the fiction of Hermann Hesse. He resides in Boston, MA, where he edits Gold Wake Press. J Michael studied philosophy for two years in upstate New York & returned to Boston to pursue other interests. He can be found playing guitar for his gray & white feline or reading an array of modern poetry.

Holly Dunlap is a teacher of all things writing, and enjoys writing poetry. She lives in Watkinsville, GA with her dog Ophelia, and her cat Ernie. She likes to buy nail polish when she's feeling low. She found her first gray hairs in 2008, under some hairs she dyed pink.

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Angie Werren eggs a nightmare of breakfast dishes caked and parched hardly testify to halcyon days

T a m m y F. B r e w e r We Don't Disturb As my 3-year-old son & I leave the sandwich shop, a man holds the door open, smiles

yet

while in the corner booth a heavy-set girl cries alone, tattoos on her August

a fragile finger of sunlight teases me transcendence through the frosted window warm steam

arms. I remember seeing him last week, in this same parking lot, on a bicycle riding circles in the vacant spaces. An exchange of hands and eyes that seemed to fly

rises if I close my eyes I can just about see a pair of tree kings nesting calming the undulating water their legendary eggs hatching in halcyon bliss

across the street. A drug deal, I thought until the light turned green and then today I'm wondering who broke her heart? Is it the drug-dealer man who seems to be a perfect gentleman? As he holds the door open for my arms that carry too much as I try to navigate my son onto the sidewalk & away from a line of ants.

Angie Werren lives in a tiny house in Ohio with two daughters, a husband and a dog. She writes poetry with salt and a dash of pepper. She has recently had poems published in Breadcrumb Scabs: A Poetry Magazine and Bolts of Silk.

Tammy F. Brewer (formerly Trendle) was born, raised and still resides in Atlanta, Georgia. She received her BA in English from Georgia State University and is employed as a litigation paralegal. Her poems have been published in many online and print journals, including: The Pedestal, storySouth, Wild Goose Poetry Review, MiPOesias Best of Cafe Cafe Edition, Concelebratory Shoehorn Review, Broadsided, among others. She is recently married to the poet Robert Lee Brewer. She can be reached at tammy.trendle@gmail.com

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Christian Ward Friday Afternoon at the Maternity Ward Hours scuttled across the walls of the reception like mice. Goldfish in the dilapidated tank lowered their heads like old women in heavy rain and drifted towards the comfort of their castle. Visitors came and went. The pay phone never emptied its secrets. Names of people I will probably forget were called out, the women walking towards the midwives as if they might be lighthouses; the men following far behind, like children afraid of venturing far in shallow water, uncertain of the depth.

Christian Ward is a 28-year-old Londonbased poet whose work currently appears in Sage Trail, Grasslimb and Wordletting. His new chapbook, Bone Transmissions, will be published in March by Maverick Duck Press.

Scott Owens Willy Marie As wide as she was tall, as wide as her voice, singing hymns, humming, calling dogs, pigs, chickens, as wide as any woman would need to be on a farm on the other side of Lake Greenwood, 10 miles from the nearest intersection, as wide as her name Wilhelmina Marie Frances Elizabeth, called after both grandmothers, rare Catholics in the Upstate, another 40 miles from the nearest Mass, as wide as her initials, eight straight strokes she sometimes joined into one like mountains, 3 peaks, 3 valleys, as wide as the smile she wore every day of her life, even the bad days, losing parents, grandparents, becoming the last in a long line to own 2000 acres of corn and hogs, even the day she understood what it meant to be born without a womb, rare genetic occurrence, less common than six fingers, conjoined twins.

Graduate of the UNCG MFA program, co-editor of Wild Goose Poetry Review, Chair of the Sam Ragan Poetry Prize for the Poetry Council of NC, and author of "Musings," a weekly poetry column in Outlook, Scott Owens is the 2008 Visiting Writer at Catawba Valley Community College. His first full-length collection of poetry, The Fractured World was published in August by Main Street Rag. He is also author of three chapbooks The Persistence of Faith (1993) from Sandstone Press, Deceptively Like a Sound (Dead Mule, 2008), The Book of Days (Dead Mule, 2009) and over 300 poems published in various journals. He has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of the Net Prize this year. His poem, "On the Days I Am Not My Father," was featured on Garrison Keillor's NPR show The Writer's Almanac. Born in Greenwood, SC, he now lives in Hickory, NC, where he teaches and co-ordinates the Poetry Hickory reading series. Fungus on Log, Meg Pearlstein

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Steven Nash January 22nd 2008 “Your world seems as far away as my mind” (Jenny Cook) I

III

Not that morning, the morning after – the tomorrow as it were – first there comes the waking, ignorant as a creature still asleep in a tree cut down.

That night seeking the familiar comfort of popcorn perfume and dark a performance to turn away academy eyes and though they look now it is no less deserved.

Then, following a shuffle through the detritus of spent party poppers, the name and face leaps onto the buzzing screen. The room smells of rain.

Each of us, breath held, longs to be nothing but him as he slides, with the fibre-optic elegance his talent allows, into anyone but himself.

Locking the door the morning dark requires stiff fingers to fish for a phone to guide the key. What used to be lighters are now mobile phones that’s simply the way it is.

Guaranteed is the award for the mimic that gets to show the world his young chess moves in the inevitable biopic being fought over pre-script in studio depths.

II

What used to be lighters are now mobile phones that’s just the way it is.

Still enduring Class A hangover from a declassified night stumble amidst the rain-cleansed grasses as the solemn dew curdles to a thick soup. The headache is painless so split a fifth of absinthe or worse. Clapping crowd ready; lift the heavy guitar (more axe than ever) and pause on the stairs. The stage awash with a week’s worth of sweat; one pair of eyes - filled with the knowledge of what happened - equally glazed beneath the orange glow issued forth from plastic palms aloft. What used to be lighters are now mobile phones that’s simply the way it is.

Steve Nash is a writer from York, currently studying towards a PhD. He is a qualified teacher but despite this earns his keep (just) as a musician playing to anyone foolish enough to stay in the bar.

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Hannah Stephenson Barre Exercises Eleven and twelve year old girls stand at the barre in ballet. They grip the banister tightly and bend, as if to say, I am no little teapot. No, champagne flute would work for some—that willowy blond whose leaps uproot her from the floor. Or that shot glass gymnast who hates the gentle turnout, the softly arched wrist like a raised eyebrow. Despite the piano’s trill, the teacher’s slim and muscled figure, and her shrill demanding voice, some of these girls are short and stout. One of them claims to have hurt her leg, and sits out. She leans against the mirror, watches them practice first and second position. In rows, slippered right feet burst from lowercase v's into a wider, bracket-shaped lines, ballet editing their feet and their spines.

Hannah Stephenson is a writer currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia. She received an M.A. in 20th Century Literature (from The Ohio State University), has been published in Ophelia Street and Design for Mankind Magazine, and is the Culture Editor (and book reviewer) for GLOSS Magazine. She also keeps a daily poetry blog, The Storialist, which you can visit at www.thestorialist.blogspot.com

Ernest Williamson III is a 31-year-old polymath who has published poetry and visual art in over 180 online and print journals. He is a self-taught pianist and painter. He poetry has been nominated twice for the Best of the Net Anthology. He holds the B.A. and the M.A. in English/CreativeWriting/Literature from the University of Memphis. Ernest is an Adjunct Professor at New Jersey City University and an English Professor at Essex County College. Professor Williamson is also a Ph.D. candidate at Seton Hall University in the field of Higher Education, and a member of The International High IQ Society based in New York City. Professor Williamson is also a chess expert with an internet rating in the 2000-2200 range. Currently he is rated 2010. View Professor Williamson's listing in Poets & Writers Directory. Moments and the Stage, Ernest Williamson III

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Marchell Dyon Chris Major

After Cancer Afterwards, I’ll put on my good hair. Tonight we are again teenagers, nervous before the "Big Date." Will tonight be the night when I lose myself into your body and you take me a willing prize? Huddle in the backseat cursing the need for condoms then forgetting about them. Tonight love, instead of caution. Tonight we will party like rock stars, and stagger in at dawn. Our teen children, now the parents pacing at the door. Tonight my breast will be complete for groping awaiting your touch. Your hands will not tremble or fear They will be shy and hungry. All the things I love about them and more.

Marchell Dyon, from Chicago, enjoys riding the wave of writing in a white heat. Sadly, this only happens in the winter months. She has taken various workshops, and is eternally addicted to audio books. Currently she is putting the finishing touches to her first chapbook.

Chris Major lives in Stoke, England where he works as a staff nurse. His poetry has appeared in 100-plus mags and numerous ezines. Concrete & Calligram, his e-chap, is free to download at www.whyvandalism.com

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Kelly Cokerham Spinning 1.

4.

Once my daughter grew inside me a like a pearl Tight against my belly and hanging on She grew round on me

Spin me Mommy Spin me Lucy’s tiny hand like a prayer holding mine And we spin spin spin A bright ribbon around a maypole

At four, her legs and stomach Are still as round as blueberries full of June

We spin across the playground Across the kitchen floor

I could swear I felt myself split open with this girl and spill out every gift

She spins across my heart and drags her feet 2. At my wedding I was thinking of her still a year away How I wished she could have been there So sorry she missed the party Shouldn’t we all see our parents’ marriage conceived See what their hope looked like their love when they fused tight began to multiply and divide I could see her there spinning with the bell of my dress Look at us Look at us I said to her We are dancing 3. What god-awful gift will come sliding down my rainbow dropping like a stone into your little sandbox You should know all things done even in love can unwind can come undone and I am sorry for all the frayed and dirty ends Kelly Cokerham graduated from the Bennington Writing Seminars. She lives, with much joy and gratitude, in Maryland with her husband and two children.

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Iain Britton Through the Black Window Through the eye of a window I tumble outwards like a sheet of newspaper, or a gymnast

A neon Aurora Australis electrifies the clouds – colouring Coca Cola on my clothes. Time to

cartwheeling into a starched-white star. Caught in the wind, I somersault over houses, plant

track back up the black beach. Somersault in reverse. I roll up the flag. There are gaps on the horizon wide enough for ships to fit through for albatrosses which look like people.

a flag on a black beach where the sand dunes nudge bones into the grass

On a cliff-top, there’s this house with a broken window and a solitary light moving shapes from room to room.

bones that once propped up sheep, that helped whiten hills. My flag wears a hat. The sun bends a shadow. The wind plays with lizards skittering on sand. A city, multilensed, like a camera-mad sightseer leans over the sea dripping contaminants. I paint the windows black. In this house, rooms survive on little light. When doors open, a fine line of gold separates the nights, the days, the seasons. It separates families from those who breathe, from those who can’t, from those who only cough in the waves. I work the landscape into a sheet of corrugated iron and paint it black. I let the yellowness of the moon run thinly.

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Iain Britton Hiroshima and Freely do I Sing We do it so well. After the laughter, the slaps on backs. The robust handshake. The kiss. We trip the wire that twangs the air electrocutes the soil disengages the soul and all the sticky stuff that surrounds it. I do it so well. After pushing the procreative business out the door drowning the instinctual urges for eating and sleeping in the water trough behind the house I step on my own disembodying gadget and freely do I play freely do I sing freely am I a man of many parts. I live in a cloud on earth with you and the children in this cloud white like a mushroom which rises above the earth by day and shines like a fireball at night. We live in this hanging lung of bright water continuously being gassed by our own impurities. We live close together and all around the colour of the sky changes daily from blue to brown to a fiery yellow. We close up the house as if it were a shop. We lock out the days the strangers who pass, who sometimes knock or peer through windows rattle tongues through draught holes who leer at us dressing in front of mirrors in front of ourselves. At night we consciously come out

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Iain Britton to reassure each other the constellations are still where they should be the Southern Cross hasn’t dropped into the sea, small trees are still making growth noises and the earth still sucks at the rain. We listen for the river which flows where our street used to be. The house creaks the land shifts like raw meat on a plate. The wind rubs against our legs. The cloud continues to bulge and flare. In paddocks the children look for food. In orchards they pick the uncollected, the bruised, the rotten. They squash juice into their mouths. I close the door of our home, as if it were a lid. We make up games. The children run around like animals which no longer exist. They bark and bleat howl and appear to tear off one another’s fur. We do it so well. We still can laugh. Hug and bite. Pretend to be what we’re not. Break bones but live.

Cinnamon Press published Iain Britton’s first collection of poems in February 2008 – Hauled Head First into a Leviathan, which was a Forward Poetry Prize nomination this year. Interactive Press (Australia) will be publishing his second collection in 2009. Poetry is published or forthcoming in such magazines as Ambit, Agenda, Stand, The Reader, Staple, Orbis, Magma, The Stride Magazine, The Warwick Review, Mimesis (UK), Harvard Review, Drunken Boat, Bateau Press, Slope, Nimrod International, Tinfish, Rattapallax, Fulcrum (US), Poetry Saltzburg Review, Poetry NZ and Vallum (Canada). Jacket, Cordite, Heat, Southerly, Meanjin, Island and Harvest Magazine (Aust).

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Amy Pence & Hunter Ewen Open Me: Song Cycle in Five Movements for Soprano and Piano Poems by Amy Pence/music by Hunter Ewen

I. Every soul says relinquish. The sky almost lucid. Stalks rise where trees once were.

II.

Bravery. No battlefield but the torn poem found in his pocket. A corporal, a lieutenant: the ash of his name. Our silence implodes. The sniper recoils into the grim bird where we do not know ourselves. 47


Amy Pence & Hunter Ewen III. Open Me: Song Cycle in Five Movements for Soprano and Piano poems by Amy Pence/ Music by Hunter Ewen

I.

Souls glide past the earth’s fierce and mythic wreckage. Stupidly, the eye regards what is lost.

IV.

Shiver that fits our eyes: cool stipples. Vehicular homicide: her breasts mullioned on billboards to charm. Your last mistake.

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Amy Pence & Hunter Ewen

V.

The gray of its being—the red sac torn open—at first just the spiraled homunculus of love, fins turned inward, then a rolling movement as of an eye turning to the seen—so infinitesimal the not seen. I place it near the water, next to its shell: such a thin separation from the rushing world.

Hunter Ewen is a second-year music composition technology graduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Ewen holds a Bachelors of Arts in Music as well as a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University. His work represents a quirky synergy between the artistic and technical. His past projects range from concert music, to multimedia works, video game scoring, to new advancements in electro-acoustic music. Ewen is published by Ken Dorn, Alfonse LeDuc, and Theodore Presser.

Amy Pence’s book of poems Skin's Dark Night is online at 2River.org; poems are forthcoming on Drunken Boat and in New American Writing. Stories are online at Sub-Lit and forthcoming in Silk Road and on blossombones. Her profile of poet Paul Guest was in the Nov/Dec issue of Poets & Writers.

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ouroboros review http://www.ouroborosreview.com

“An ostrich's eggs stolen: the jackal's yolky fix. Here is a bird too large to undo the wind, too dumb to guard her nest. In the field, a loud cackle shocks the blood back up through the earth” Rachel Mallino

“I am swept into the house by the brooms of the aunts' skirts, through the window I watch them scurrying, swarming the site, drawn to the sweetness dropped to the dirt” Liz Flint-Somerville


ouroboros review issue number two