Bill Yarrow, ed.
Kohl & Chalk by Shadab Zeest Hashmi
Poetic Matrix Press, 2013
56 poems, 78 pages
1. Listen I am a paper kite in your hands
and this room is a star-gazer’s hill
Beyond these Dopplers and monitors
are the creamy shadows of passing moons
feathery comets with soft light funneling through
(from “Labor and Delivery”)
2. such as the long surviving flower
in a bottle of cream
soda, the strategy
of termites, song of melting ice
(from “Such as the Weight
of Salt on a Flame”)
3. King of clocks, king
of moving clouds
and of everything still
roaming, flint-mouthed, raw,
everything dribbling over the green
of birth, everything in the soft
(from “Writing to My Maker from the Café Between Afghanistan and Pakistan”)
4. There is a kneecap in the word diction
where memory collects
(from “Malabar Hills”)
5. I looked but did not find myself
under the desert’s back lit
piercing clocks, its lexicon of loss,
lures and winds
of woven fragrance
( from “It’s in Sleep a Soul Will Know Itself”)
Beast in the Apartment by Tony Barnstone
Sheep Meadow Press, 2014
50 poems, 90 pages
1. The wooden Buddha was wrapped in canvas
and buried beneath a certain spot
and there he dreamed abstractly
for twenty wild years while children
with red armbands cracked the cellist’s
knuckles with pliers, axed the faces
from statues, made monks kneel in dunce caps
and watch the temple whip the sky with flame
(from “The Buried Buddha”)
2. I wanted to write something about the shout
ripped out of the mouth by joy, the strangeness of being
a being channeled through time
pierced by the needle of right now, and the way
I kill my life by living it, and the song of
all I was unraveling behind me, the song that plays
as a record spins to its end, and the sorrow
of that, and how I still sing in the shower.
That’s the poem I wanted to write
(from “Why I Am Not a Carpenter”)
3. Small stars are shining in the sand light,
and here by me, skirt splashed like melted glass,
is beautiful you, Gwyneth, curled on the beach blanket
watching breakers fail to break the shore
(from “The Strangeness”)
4. The great oak, hollow as a throat,
emits the darkest sound when wind
unwinds invisibly, strange note
that summons nothing in the mind,
in a black rush of wings.
(from “Vermont Ghost Song”)
5. And so the cosmos wavers, scared by whys
(Yet still this poem would like to kiss your eyes)
(from “Rota Fortuna”)
between my eye and the light by Paul Breslin
Northwestern University Press, 2014
25 poems, 73 pages
1. So little to separate us
from the one the siren is for,
whose house flies into the air as cinders,
who lies on his bed turning purple and clutching his heart.
2. How do you plead?
Guilty. But guilt
preexists the crime.
We investigate crime, not guilt.
Solve the guilt, and the crime will follow.
(from “Police Interview”)
3. Grant us this breath and another, grant us tomorrow.
Hold us closely, lest we fly apart as we would in space;
Incline your full weight so that we feel you hold us
Just as you hold the dew before nightfall, the cloud before rain;
Kiss us as we wish a lover to kiss us, without forethought or purpose.
(from “Wind Rose”)
4. … as new minted stars climbed from the sea,
And shoals of fish leaped, shedding concentric rings of phosphorous—
To anchor, after prolonged delicious loneliness,
Where no one who was not a child could follow me.
(from “The Lanterns” from “Octets”)
5. How do you know you’re broken?
Because you know it, you are.
How do you know when you’re not broken?
Because you don’t know that you are.