October 2016, All Chapbook Edition
Bill Yarrow, ed.
Trace Particles by Allison Joseph
Backbone Press, 2014
11 poems, 23 pages
1. Ignore the woman in the sad shapeless dress,
wispy hair fine as a widow’s last breath,
skin saddened by unmentionable griefs
that purse her lips and twist her uterus.
You don’t have to seek the black marble of
her toenails, or the words she hides in this
black hymnal: Matterhorn, blister,
2. Disney wanted you drawn as a plump little girl full
of adolescent cuteness, no more than fourteen,
blanched and innocent as a foundling.
Thank goodness his animators talked sense to
him or their first full-length animated feature
would have been nothing more than an advert
for pedophilia, that eager Prince swooning for a girl
half his age.
(from “Snow White”)
3. Black-bordered handkerchief to show my grief,
black squares of white within the darkened edge,
dark borders growing lighter in relief.
Full year of mourning—that’s a widow’s pledge,
the weeping veil to cover up my face.
My squares of white will keep their darkened edge
(from “Widow’s Weeds”)
Pleasure Trout by Gloria Mindock
Muddy River Books, 2013
33 poems, 43 pages
1. Young Jose was a man
of tedious karma.
A scholar lost.
Among corridors, among hills,
he argued with his father:
(from “To Be Born Jose”)
2. I need not untie any secrets
It is your doing
Christ, magnetic, Christ,
I will continue plucking water
with my hands
wondering if the starchy nuns
have any hair
(from “Aaaaah Life—Brick Me!”)
3. I’m tired of being demanded.
Don’t you know every day
is a speck the size
The Lunatic Ball by Margo Taft Stever
Kattywompus Press, 2015
21 poems, 26 pages
1. Furious dancing gives way to screams;
five men stare, ghoulish, at the wall.
This is the lunatic ball.
The best student Yale had ever seen—
three months after graduation, typhoid—
brain swelled inside his skull.
They dosed out Calomel—five ghosts appeared
in a mercury dream, headaches unbearable.
This is the lunatic ball.
(from “The Lunatic Ball”)
2. Along the wasted avenue
of roots, curling vines
undress in half-dark, unfold
toward the promise of moonlight.
(from “Dance of the Jackrabbit”)
3. For a year he trains in Brazil,
studies the seven bells of the body,
how the pockets ring and ring,
how the pockets sing out
when he touches them.
Meat Machine by Susan Swanton
Exact Change Press, 2012
Winner of the 2012 Exact Change Press Chapbook Prize
25 poems, 43 pages
1. Petroleum used to be sunlight, back when it was
alive. We were all made of sunlight, but I don’t know about
now. Now, what does a man know of now? What could 10,000
tons of pankton know of now?
(from “Garbage Barge: The Masculinity of Industrialization”)
2. Butcher’s brain been extraterrestrial for fourteen months. He fits in mittens and formaldehyde all up and back the Hollywood coast. He’s a reindeer baby and he wax papers disease and brain disease and ET disease, and he slips on slick tiles under his blood feet, and he gets his hands dirty, and he farts a little.
Visits surgeons for his hybrid brain. Told he has outerspace disease. Cure in meteorites and rocketship toilet, refrigerate the internet, been told to chemicalize blood and brain and make it cut make it chemical but he doesn’t have the right blood, he don’t live on the right planet. There’s not enough Hollywood to go around and he just need new meat in his skull, more greys in blood.
3. I know this place, I mutter as I play piano and Curly Howard is my boyfriend. I climbed three ladders and was alone the whole time. When they wake me I’ll scream and scream and roll around on the floor. Everyone here wears the same sweaters. I came back from WWII hopped up on goofballs, barbs, bluebirds, blues, dolls, downers, tooties. I am so elastic. I handle those pills in my elastase, and that’s in my pancreas you know. It’s juice that digests elastin and that’s like elastic. yeah? that’s what I am. My pancreas digests me. I am easily digestible, a collision of limits. In my dream a bee stung me, but in truth no bee stung me.
Stone Bride Madrigals by Nicolette Wong
Corrupt Press, 2013
11 poems, 17 pages
1. These drapes wrap us like contortions
a branching white on the wall:
mass inlets narrowing, fleeting
(from “Sky Well (II)” )
2. On the sauté border: a bridge,
cars branded with last night’s lava
from unfinished permutations. That wants
to skew my ammunition, center of dome.
3. I have no memory of gold
carvings for a dance
but under a corallite dusk
(I am charade)
the shredded poise
of your voice hardening
in a vignette
(from “Stone Bride Madrigals II”)
Comment on Blue Fifth Reviews #8, October 2016.