Poetry Special (March 2011 / 11.5)

gutter, new orleans by Cricket

Artist, Cricket: Cricket is a plain clothes undercover clown with a website: jimidcricket.


W.F. Lantry

Rien de Rien

I’ve never heard a nightingale sing.
I’ve never seen the northern lights
illuminate our sky
or felt the light caress of foreign hands
that I once saw across a room
of Catalan design.

I’ve never tasted Ovid’s unmixed wine,
or seen undraped processions dance
with woven ivy boughs
into a forest clearing, chanting praise
of huntresses and deities
filling the solstice air.

But I have watched a tiny wren prepare
dry straw, and weave it at her loom.
I’ve heard hatchlings’ demands
fulfilled, and I have wandered through a maze
of granite manzanita, dry
and filled with unknown song.

I’ve seen lost flocks of purple ravens throng
coast limbs, I’ve known the small delights
of sacred whispered vows.
And I can recognize the Pleiades
among all stars, or read the glance
of hidden promising.

W.F. Lantry, a native of San Diego, won the CutBank 2010 Patricia Goedicke Prize and the 2010 Lindberg Foundation International Poetry for Peace Prize. His work has appeared in Prairie Fire, Literal Latté, Asian Cha, protestpoems.org, Istanbul Literary Review, BLIP, and Aesthetica. He works in Washington, DC, and is a contributing editor of Umbrella Journal. You can find him online at W.F. Lantry.


Leonore Wilson

Sweet Substance

for Do Gentry

Perhaps feminine wisdom starts in the gall,
in that benign tumor, scrub-apple,
Eden to the wasp, shelter and elixir,
where she sits like a crystal queen
drunk on the sweet substance
of thought as Eve
was drunk on the snake’s plum
tongue, the knowledge
he gave her, so that she swayed
in her garden cradle,
as does this very insect
fixed, hidden in her soft chamber
until fall
when she emerges head-first–
bruised flower, winged Sophia
birthing the layers
of her own bright soul, before
each female egg,
unfertilized, drops from her slowly,
prophetically, black spark
of gold.

Leonore Wilson’s poetry has been featured in such magazines as Quarterly West, Pif, Laurel Review, Third Coast, 2RiverReview, Magma, and Madison Review. She lives on her family cattle ranch in Northern California and often teaches at a nearby college.


Mark Reep

I Am Not Here

The road never ends, only narrows until. When did the wheelruts ease, this thicket close? Surely you remember no turnaround, nowhere to say not this way, turn back. A thorn tugs your sleeve. You pull free.

Mustn’t somewhere mercy come a clearing? Unmown, green, sunlight slanting through trees: A bench, decaying, doubtful- No, sit, sit, it’s alright.

When the wind finds you again it’s kinder, only stirs leaves from a stone at your feet. A stone to kneel at, to brush off, words to read:

I am not here
but not far
and I wait for you

Whose words, for whose comfort? It’s too much to ask. You trace letters, wonder if you’ve dreamt this. The sun warms.

I love you, someone says. A hand on your shoulder. You stand blinking. The light’s waning. No one’s there.

Turn up your collar, find the way again, another, no matter, all the same. But far and faint, a bell, or someone singing- Hurry now, don’t think, go on.

Mark Reep is an artist and writer and the editor of Ramshackle Review. His work has appeared in numerous online and print publications including American Art Collector, Endicott Journal, Gloom Cupboard,Word Riot, Prick of the Spindle, Metazen, A-Minor, Moon Milk Review, Smash Cake, and Used Furniture Review. You can find him at his website and blog.


Susan Terris

Park Rapids, MN: Sorting through an Old List

On an index card in a coat pocket along with a stub from
a London play. London to Park Rapids, MN—
(1) Monika’s
(2) Leeches
(3) Dillys.
For each, some explanation:
(1) the craft store on Main Street in PR,
(2) what we fish with at Potato Lake,
(3) what we buy at the Dairy Queen so the children can
savor them on hot summer afternoons.
The play: A Doll’s House,
a different sort of craft, one the English would say needs
sorting. No Lavender’s blue, dilly-dilly with a way
to be queen. Nora’s children didn’t have Dillys
yet might have fished summer ponds like mine,
might have skated winter ice and dressed clothespins
in scrap-silk with button hats.

And what would her
pocket notes have said? Money spent or paid in
interest. Nora had no gold choke-chain, more like
a child’s tether. Be a good girl, don’t chatter, don’t
prance, don’t spend.
Still, the house
is too small for the doll; and payment is
more than she (I) can afford. Some skin peels off
each time she pays (I pay). I was never happy,

Nora says, merely cheerful. She’s leaving now,
pockets empty, and her curtain will drop.
But my pockets sag with detritus of the everyday,
endless summer with some rain moving through.
What if you wake up one day and find yourself in
the wrong doll’s house?
Turn around. Find a pole, and go
early when there are shadows in the shallows.
Watch leeches undulate, fish snap their bony lips.
Make an outside list. An inside list. Walk
through every room. Write it again—dilly-dilly—stay in
the shadows. And beware, little dolls,
for here, even the cheerful shadows have shadows.

Susan Terris’ poetry books include The Homelessness of Self, Contrariwise, and Eye of the Holocaust. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Field, Colorado Review, Blackbird, Prairie Schooner, The Southern Review, and Ploughshares. A former editor of RUNES, A Review Of Poetry, she is now editor of Spillway and a poetry editor for Pedestal Magazine and In Posse Review. Her poetry was included in PUSHCART PRIZE XXXI.


Changming Yuan

Single Last Sale: A Parallel Poem

You’ve long since sold out
Both your sweat and blood
Now you try to sell your heart
Though nobody wants it

Some say the blood is not red enough
Others find the chambers too narrow
Still others think the coronary arteries
Stained with too many feelings

You peddle around, chanting aloud
From street to street
With your heart still fresh
Beating like a frog in your hands

You hope to sell it for a glass of water
Just to cool down your burning voice
So you do not have to sell your soul
Like all other hawkers in the market
Well satiated, but hardly heart-felt

Changming Yuan, author of Chansons of a Chinaman (2009) and Politics and Poetics (2009), is a two-time Pushcart nominee who grew up in a remote Chinese village and authored several books before moving to Canada. Currently Yuan works in Vancouver and has had poems appearing in Barrow Street, Best Canadian Poetry, London Magazine, and more than 300 other literary publications worldwide.

About bluefifthreview

Blue Fifth Review, edited by Sam Rasnake, Michelle Elvy, and Bill Yarrow, is an online journal of poetry, flash, and art.
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4 Responses to Poetry Special (March 2011 / 11.5)

  1. Pingback: Haunting « BestNewPoemsOnline.com

  2. Great poetry issue. All of these are truly great – especially like Susan Terris’s and the references to A Doll’s House. Very nice.

  3. roberto garcia says:

    Lovely and moving poetry.

  4. Pingback: 2011 – All Blue Five Notebook Issues, Special Issues, Features, Quarterlies, and Broadsides | Blue Fifth Review: Blue Five Notebook Series

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