Sam Rasnake, ed.
I Ate the Cosmos for Breakfast by Melissa Studdard
Saint Julian Press, 2014
39 poems, 70 pages
1. There’s no mother’s milk
the second time around,
just a crescent moon
floating in a goblet bigger
than your own head, or
maybe it’s really the world
in there, shimmering and
dark, ready to be consumed.
2. Watching your mouth as you eat I think
perhaps an apple is the universe and your body
is an orchard full of trees.
(from “We Are the Universe”)
3. I was ketchup
on my own sleeve, a rash on an otherwise
clear face, a tainted, defiled disaster,
stained by life, soiled and damn near effaced
by that often unrecognizable prankster,
my troublemaker, my doppelganger,
that saucy vamp, grace.
(from “Integrating the Shadow ”)
4. You are the corpse in this off-key song.
And my words are a pilgrimage
bearing gifts. I brought you flowers.
(from “I Dream; Therefore You Are”)
5. And what is death to the dead
when art gives wing to the living,
when what was gauzy and frail
presses its form to imagination’s
human shores, there to be held,
foam swept through quick passing days,
there to withstand the turning of seasons?
(from “Killing the Moth”)
Rubbing Elbows by DeMisty D. Bellinger
Finishing Line Press, 2017
20 poems, 34 pages
1. This is how a crow is beautiful—
kaleidoscopic colors, all concentrated in black.
This is how she is beautiful—
decaying bit by bit like a magic show.
(from “Woman Slowly Dying”)
2. I think she says to not call her lady or Lady aloud or in
her head or in my head and I say aloud—maybe too
loudly, “to your right, Miss Holiday,” and she does.
(from “What Did You Mean To”)
3. Monk’s goatee pointed somewhere over my shoulder
I turned and looked where it was directing me and saw
floating in the café
half-tones and tritones and seconds bleeding through the air.
I didn’t think they’d look like that.
I had imagined music to look as it is notated
(fat balls with erect tails)
but music is fuller and amorphous and polychromatic.
4. Do not talk of awards or the coolness
of bathtubs, the porcelain ungiven, the water
hot as blood, the bubbles
dissipating before the bath is
(from “Conversations with Whitney over Colas”)
5. I know enough to admire the beauty of:
uneven spaces on a page; punctuation creating patterns, creating ways, creating
paths; repeated words, implied sighs, colors contrasting on screen, on printed
page, between the white of the eye and the rest of it
(from “A Treatise on My Ignorance, in which I Wallow Happily, Blissfully”)
Hourglass Museum by Kelli Russell Agodon
White Pine Press, 2014
56 poems, 96 pages
1. Be lost.
Be the howling stars or the quiet
coyote. Arrive to the roadway
without a plan, without knowing
where you will go.
(from “Surrealist Angel”)
2. To create is not enough.
We must live with our hearts
in our hands—like Mary.
We must hold the blood-
red heart and not be disappointed
when others look away.
(from “Self Portrait with Reader”)
3. I asked about joy and you gave me
wasp in a wine glass
lost chalice and planet sickness
pocketwatch left on a grave
(from “in the middle of predicting my life”)
4. Andy tells me not to settle—
we should have assistance when assistance
is available, find our best kiss
for a luxurious life, better
than the satisfactory breakfast
of nothing or none or no one.
(from “Shadowboxing Andy Warhol”)
5. To suffer beautifully is still to suffer
on a bench, an unseen fog in the cracks
and wings of the owl flying to the end
of the sea.
(from “Meaningless Consequence”)