Poetry Special – Five Poets (June 2018 / 18.2)
Lines from an overheard phone conversation: “Sam Rasnake has written a few things. He’s published a few. Once he saw a whale swim past a wrecked steamer just off the Outer Banks. He’s fairly certain – though I can’t prove it – the whale saw him. The wreck was unconcerned. But the cloud was happy.”
In Tai Chi Class
Remember me as one who woke up.
the tiger who crushes the basket of my heart
my eyes rubbing salt from the wound
bird’s tail grasped and missed
my hips square to the green wall
silk threading my bamboo trunk
my shattered wings like lotus lanterns
silence approaching the bearded mountain
my torn chi as the white stork
bouquet of my chest, now wilted, now open
my missteps at the mirror
my hands like clouds
Appear to close the ancient entrance,
for the night, oh the night is coming.
how we crossed purposes, regret/no regret
our separate homes, red maples touching
the pearls we caught though deaf and blind
time given in first hope, ending in second hope
our sorrow passed in frail teacups
all we lost and found, willows yielding
all we are and are not, willows unyielding
none is blameless, none is burdened
Strike the tiger as she naps on the mudbank.
Will she wake in Full Thunder Moon? Will I?
Linda Parsons is a poet and playwright and formerly an editor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She is the reviews editor at Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel and has contributed to The Georgia Review, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Southern Poetry Review, The Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, American Life in Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. Her most recent poetry collection is This Shaky Earth, and her newest endeavor is writing for The Hammer Ensemble, the social justice wing of Flying Anvil Theatre.
Pilot Episode Clip
You must never forget me.
Even though I fear you shall,
my hope is that you please don’t.
These are the words I speak to my more
talented lover on our last night together,
the night they depart to a better city
where acclaim and new romance await.
I admire my speech’s slightly
archaic syntax absorbed from re-reading
Hardy and George Eliot all summer,
yet the whole scene is delusional
because there is no lover,
and there is no better city.
There is only me in the shower,
rogue energy posting sticky notes
for a production meeting inside my head.
Early humans were such good Buddhists,
always in the moment from constantly
having to kill or skin something.
But once they learned to preserve meat,
winter’s supply all stacked up, why not draw
on walls, point to the stars, say I’m Orion
up there chasing Ursa across night skies,
the dawn of invented worlds innocent,
while my daydreams reek of indulgence.
I am not on the meditative path.
I vow to start doing better. Be present.
Just one more thing though before I reform –
why did I cast myself as such a nebbish?
And how can interest ever be sustained
(in my ten-part auteur cable series)
if I’m clearly not on the hero’s journey?
I will need a personal assistant
(Yale drama school but LA savvy)
both for the casting and to help decide
if my lover forgets me or not.
I can see it going both ways.
Rupert Fike’s second collection of poems, Hello the House, recently won the Violet Reed Haas Award and was published January 2018 by Snake Nation Press. His stories and poems have appeared in The Southern Review of Poetry, Scalawag Magazine, The Georgetown Review, A&U America’s AIDS Magazine, The Buddhist Poetry Review, Natural Bridge, and others. He has a poem inscribed in a downtown Atlanta plaza, and his non-fiction book, Voices from The Farm, chronicles life on a 1970s Tennessee commune.
North Dakota Highway 46
The longest straight highway in the United States,
it stretches 120 miles without a single curve or wobble.
I traveled that road once with my father,
dragging a swather with a top speed of 25 miles per hour.
We took six hours to cover what should have taken two.
Still, it was not a bad way to spend a summer day,
like insects marching slowly down a yardstick,
one of us occasionally making a beeline
for the trees on the side of the road,
then sprinting back to the pickup,
which had been left coasting
with no foot on the gas pedal.
When I think of you and me, I think of that afternoon.
Sometimes we slow down or speed up,
and one of us may take a break to stretch or scratch an itch,
but I know that we will be eternally traveling together
on a highway that unwinds before us like a spool of wire.
Marne Wilson lives in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Her poems have appeared in Poetry East, Atlanta Review, The Texas Review, and many other journals. She is the author of a chapbook, The Bovine Daycare Center (Finishing Line, 2015).
The Contents of Joseph Cornell’s Boxes
Arguing about the contents
of Joseph Cornell’s boxes
threatens to electrocute
parts of us we each admire.
The bit of netting in Homage
to the Romantic Ballet suggests
entanglements in deeper waters
than the dance usually plumbs.
The paper moon in Soap Bubble Set
tingles my astral projections,
the goat head in Hôtel du Nord
and the thimbles of Thimble Forest
domesticate instincts I’d feared.
You disagree, and find sinister
implications in the coiled spring
William Doreski’s work has appeared in various e and print journals and in several collections, most recently A Black River, A Dark Fall (Splash of Red, 2018).
blazon: elevation of fragments
to positions of central significance
dedicated to maurice scève’s blazons
for his lover’s neck tears forehead sigh and eyebrow
1536 a good year for blazons
your once flowerpowerflowing locks
fill a sweetly perfumed
dreaminducing seagrasswoven cushion
a la victoria yours and mine entwined
no longer self conscious
after you climbed the tower
getting up in the world on my work
I learned the liberation of snip-snip-snip
now ages on I like our skinhead look
two eggs and a dreamfilled cushion
whereon our samson and rapunzel worlds entwine
your defining orbs that saw your world
spread out as far as eyes could see
your continent your animals your bookspoemspaintingsme
seized now in my hand
only two onecontinent globes in a scarlet sea
now without their backup troops
not so powerful after all
your claiming eyes that saw me yours
I who now see clearly know were bent
only mirrors backward reflections
your belly and ribs
gymmadebonehills around a pool in a concave
could be breakfast in a highway diner
purelywhitelymarbled belly bacon
lean stacked meaty ribs
that tantalizing eve-y word
richly redolent of southern sun and beer
because I love you so much I could eat you up
sweetly dripping suntanoil barbecue sauce
your peau des bourses
once an old-fashioned softly convoluted basket
a quiver full of pleasure’s arrows
now an embroidered souvenir for precious stones
reliquary for the liturgy of the feast of sated souls
softly tanned pierced and beaded drawstring added
what’s worthy to carry in you
now that you’re emptied of fine children
gold dust ambergris viagra