Bill Yarrow, ed.
Alloy by Jan Bottiglieri
Mayapple Press, 2015
56 poems, 78 pages
1. I love how the sky doesn’t murder us,
how even daffodils, with their big dumb
faces and skinny necks, will get a chance.
I understand it all: your igneous
skin; your melancholia, the tide
that brings boats in. With me, you’re not alone.
(from “Dear Atlas”)
2. Today I practice making kolacky. Outside, the turning leaves.
Poring over my mother’s recipes, I cried while turning leaves.
I fold two points of each square to the middle: small crossed hands.
Colors of apricot, berry, darken inside, like turning leaves.
Like my mother, I make kolacky, and I want to get it right.
Waste, a bitter taste: the sugar-scorched underside that burning leaves.
(from “Baking Ghazal”)
3. The boy nearby pretended
to be poisoned by berries
so everyone would laugh, but no one did.
She thought the boy was beautiful
as a bowl-eyed pony.
(from “Persephone of Maple Street”)
4. And suddenly I want to know how turquoise
is mined, I want to see the river of rock supple
beneath the earth, I want to bring water
to the ones who freed it from stasis,
polished it, brought it to the light.
(from “Squash Blossom”)
5. But if there were time or world only
for one more bite of this
soft-spilling flesh, this gold
I would eat
from the bottom of the pear
where gravity has pooled
( from “The Pear”)
Brief Nudity by Larry O. Dean
Salmon Poetry, 2013
32 poems, 82 pages
1 Her eyes toggle
like a clock’s second hand
in a synchronized spasm of deliberation;
blinking, she straightens herself
and resumes walking westward
when a sudden breeze flips Tweety
up and over, underside a bright white
against colors corroded by sunlight
(from “$8 Towels”)
2. She crossed her legs and smoothed the skirt she bought.
She babysat for change and for the chance
to learn the things that girls could not be taught.
The stockings that she wore were torn but taut.
She thought that she might wear them to the dance.
She crossed her legs and smoothed the skirt she bought.
(from “Pulp Villanelle”)
3. My penis doesn’t get what all the fuss is about.
My penis is financially irresponsible.
My penis likes quiet nights at home,
and long walks on the beach.
My penis is bona fide.
Cogito ergo penis.
(from “My Penis”)
(from “New Age Baby Names”)
5. Enough already. We get it:
You’re a badass. Your reputation
precedes you, your fans need you
to flex that steroidal muscle, but if
you didn’t, would they love you any less?
(from “Hey, Hercules”)
Letters from Aldenderry by Philip Nikolayev
Salt Publishing, 2006
99 poems, 122 pages
1. Time to recount the sparrows of the air.
Seated alone on an elected stair,
I stare as they appear and disappear.
2. In this modern age and style
everything is crocodile:
crocodile purses, crocodile tears,
crocodile sized chandeliers.
Purse me something crocodile,
weep me something crocodile,
light that candle and redial
something likewise crocodile.
3. Local cries for local, distant for distant.
Oven of knify long phosphorescent
testimonies, the soul in common parlance,
whenever thus touched blends
the Syracuse of your presence
with the ports of my syzygy.
4. Don’t ask. I can’t explain. Roses stream forth deciduous
froth. Smoke exacts its toll, celibacy or not.
Lucid, we grow to grief, faltering past invidious
symmetries still unwooed, battles as yet unfought.
(from “In a Hospital”)
5. Snow is a cad. The phlox-plucking
snow. Rude lips whisper
more than the mind knows,
yet it is by whispering
that the mind learns to know
how to whisper
and the body how to understand.