Poetry midwest - fall 2005 - issue 14
Spring/Summer 2005, Number 14 (Volume 5, Number 2)ISSN 1536-870X
Copyright 1995–2005, Poetry Midwest. All rights reserved.
is published electronically three times a year (Spring/Summer, Fall, Winter) by Poetry Midwest. Office at Poetry Midwest, 5915 West 100th Terrace, Overland Park, KS 66207, USA. This publication may be freely distributed in its entirety, provided it is not modified and no party receives compensation for the transfer. Excerpts from this publication, including images and/or code, may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner(s).
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Gary Beck. 7Nautilus :
Tony Brewer. 8The Day Death is Forgotten :
Michael Meyerhofer. 9Black Noise :
Charlotte Bishop.10radio :
Kiersta Recktenwald. 11Regarding the Swan :
Thomas Hyland.12Live Music :
Andrea Jackson.133 Poems :
Kevin McLellan. 14old heroes :
Peter Schwartz. 17Freon :
J. Patrick Lewis.18Three from the Viagra Falls Diaries :
Harvey Goldner. 19I’m Her Tattoo :
R.V. Hughes. 22Walk :
Mark Rich.23The Snake :
Kate Sweeney.24Chimney During Hunting Season :
Robert Wynne.25Among These Hills :
Mark Thalman.26Even Without Hills :
Miriam N. Kotzin.27Ellen on a Tall Note :
Millicent Borges Accardi. 28
Links to Other Quality Online Journals.32
Puzzle this creation,things mergebreeding change,come together,part againon a weak earth,listless and sedate,( an old prim ma’am,eyeing a child’s soiled fingers )waiting for man’s departure.
The world grows young around mein its constant renewal and my own eager forgetfulness.
This is how I am able to sharethe nightmares of my forefathersand still enjoy indoor plumbing.
Advancement is illusorywhen the planet won’t stop spinning—each step forward another fraction of Earth turningbackward beneath my feet.
This no longer depresses me, though I think that, too, is part of the preparation—the welcoming of darkness.
The bough that sways and the sunbacklighting it—I could neverhold them still and sameanymore, even if I tried.
Some days they are the only wayI know my eyes still tell the truth—that the world is not completely unhinged,that no matter what, some things persist.
The Day Death is Forgotten
he’ll trade his hoods for Hawaiian shirtsand fly first class to some Caribbean beach,inviting Zeus along for a dry martini—scythe and libido laid aside until talk turns to the good old days
, then Death’s mind will drift:he will remember the carnival of his boyhood,riding a Ferris wheel towards the cloudsthrough red and blue floodlights. Again,Death will find himself beside thatflaxen-haired girl who can’t stop laughing.
Laugh, Death will tell her, but hold on.
If being black means being beaten proud,Then I’m a drum-throbbing bruise.
I’m the blackest screwed-up sound.
Black’s the tobacco in your jowl,The rot everyone ought to choose.
Being black means being spat proud,
Taking what you can get and how.
It makes life special to be used,Heard like a whore, blackest screwed-up sound.
They say it can’t be allowed— The void with every color soaking through,But being black means being proud.
Being black means being cowed
And trying not to whisper too loud, too.
the blackest screwed-up sound.
Believe me, being black means being screwed.
And it’s something to be black now.
If being black means being beaten proud,Then I’m the blackest screwed-up sound.
dot dot dial deepto true umbragefull fierce the fine lineyon party singsseem soon sweet singseem sleep rest highthe kept get sweptwe’ve known them well
Regarding the Swan
Only the green glow of the radio dialin the long night, only a signalbecoming sound—a pizzicato violin, a high ampguitar, a preacher’s impassioned speech
about the evils of one apple—crackle beneath the cloud cover.
I am nearing sleep, tethered by a breath.
The woods creep to the window. The leavesglisten and are gone in spinning storms.
And autumn is ice at the edgeof a pond where a singleswan revolves through brown reeds,and I see the swanbeneath what’s strummed, plucked, or spoken.
The vestiges of a dead emblempeel away to something essential like the seasonlayer after layer to the bone whiteand brutal. The mute swanglares through the falling snow.
Months later out walking I see spring has traced the limbs of the trees with fierce green leaves, and a cygnet rests in a nest of weeds,while two swans patrol the reeds, risingfrom time to time on wild wings.
The swans endure after the sermon has ended,and the guitars lie in black caskets,and the music is nothing but notes,which are not swans though they move, at times,in stately pairs across the staves.
During a performance of the Packard Hills Neighborhood
Band my Aunt Sadie’s accordion suddenly began to play “Oh Susanna!” while the rest of the band was plowing through “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.” It was obvious that Aunt Sadie was as surprised as the rest of us. Sadie is six feet tall and buxom, with generous shoulder muscles from years of working the accordion bellows. The other musicians stopped playing and we all watched her struggle to subdue the accordion, which, despite her efforts, segued into a very competent rendition of “The Beer Barrel Polka.” Eventually she wrestled it to the ground, from where it continued to emit a strangled version of “Summertime.”
The end ( the end ofmy face ) is in my face—I brush my clean teeth.
As you scour dishwarethe way your words skirted the hard mint in your mouth.
On a Fresh Sidewalk
a Genuflecting Cement Mason
trickles water as if wetting baby hair; andthen gently parts it.
I have been is’sand I have been am’s I have had ifsand I have had ands
I was of’s true lovenever above becomingI had what as has and so I have nothing
I was a to done with froms I used throughs like ones
I have made that out of every this I have been at the back of each with
I had a during before the between and plenty of aftereven after the dream
J. Patrick Lewis
This is your job: screwing small black plastic tits onto the ends of six-gallon freon canisters. It isn’t easy. They oil them, you must wear gloves. So often the threads are defective but instead of using your waste-waste bin, you pick up another and crawl along to the bitch whine of the conveyor, forcing the thing, thinking of your idiot boy rotting with those head-cases in Pennsylvania. For capping a million canisters, the company awards: a gold- plated tit and the twenty-year shakes. The thumb and forefinger of your left hand can still pulverize stone. But the dog-faced boss asks, “Have you ever considered knitting for a living?” In the oven-heat of the company yard, the line crew takes a break at four a.m. You pull on a Grape Crush listening to lies: all the ass that Wilkerson never got.
Three From the Viagra Falls Diaries
The farm smell of your platinumcornsilk hairwakes up my rooster.
The swan curve of your neckbegs me to slobber.
Why do you fear me as ifI were a poisonous watersnakeslithering on the Suwannee River?
All winter night, cold and starlit,I’ve longed to romp like a SaintBernard up and down the longsnowy slope of your back.
All summer night, hot, honey-suckled, I’ve longed to flop andsplash like a fat black porpoise in theswimming pool blue of your eyes.
O my Hollywood starlet, let’sget naked and slop the blanket.
May I circle your twin tits, sippinglike two swarms of thirsty Japanesebeetles around a double dip of icecream spilled on a Tokyo sidewalk?
O my Zen, my vanilla, can youhear the sound of one handslapping your ass?
I’m Her Tattoo
I’m her tattooI got under her skinI was the eventShe wants to forgetThe blue manmoon for a mouthstars for eyesI can’t be erasedI mean somethingbut I’m fading
Two crows caw as I walk through town.
Something clicks and chirps, near a house.
When I walk then by the riverI hear no birds at all, my bootscrunching alone through crusted snow.
My thoughts turn to epic heroesand how so often they must walkto defeat the machinationsof villainy. Movie villainsspeak with voices like truck engines.
The soul forced to walk merely speaks.
My boots in the ice-crusted snowspeak, too: I hear the soft vowelof the heel pressing down whitenessand the toe’s lifting consonanthard and final. I walk alongwondering what word my feet say,when it comes to me how clearlythey speak. “Walk,” each one says. “Walk.” “Walk.”
We found it parting the blue-eyed grass and it coiledaround your left wrist, for a moment conducting the lifefrom your heart to your fingertips, its tongue pitching redfrom eating the cardinals at rest in your garden,and until your father said to throw it into the brushbehind the shed or he would cut it in half with a shovel,the rings on its belly were the ladder its musclesclimbed to its jaw, opening and closing, as ifasking, like all creatures, for understanding.
Chimney During Hunting Season
The chimney has begun raising doves, tired of the smoke, its one other child tip-toeing away so it can shove
clouds from the sun’s bright favor. The birds huddle in ash until they are styled like ravens, black as coal, ink, as words
their beaks can’t catch. Suppose you’re a nest of brick and fire—how do you call wild things to keep them alive? That’s the test.
Among These Hills
Walking the fieldsI might find their tracks.
In town an ambulance plays its siren.
Maybe someone having a heart attack.
Over the next rise, high pitched howls answer back.
Some nights, it does not take long for the pack to begin
intoning, one higher than another, so a few sound like a choir.
In the fall, when loggers burn slash and the crests of clear cuts glow,
they call to each other, letting everyone know there is danger.
Miriam N. Kotzin
Even Without Hills
Mostly I keep my hands on the wheel at ten and two, though
long stretches go by at four and eight. Either way, we stay on this narrow straight road cut through scrub pine. The mountain laurel is just beginning to bloom, and you tell me again how lucky we are to be together now, how perfect the two of us are. Nothing could be better, you say.
Shafts of sunlight fall through the upper stories of the trees
to spotlight the mountain laurel. You say you’re sorry that we don’t have time to pull over on the sandy shoulder of the road to take a closer look. I agree, but I know that even if we had time we would not be stopping.
Every so often we see an unpaved road cut through the
woods. Some roads are blocked with orange metal gates. All are private. I imagine a small cabin, a wood stove, a table with two chairs, fresh coffee, crusty bread and sweet butter with honey, a bright quilt on the bed, an old-fashioned wooden cradle.
“We can come back next week.”I nod. I always liked listening to your promises.
“The mountain laurel will still be in bloom. It will be even
“Yes,” I answer.
“Really,” you say in the tone you use when I disagree with
you. “In a few hours it will be all done with. Next week we won’t have so much on our minds.”
You tell me again how easy it will be, how simple it is. You
In the rear view mirror I watch the lines slide behind us, one
after the other, dash dash dash. I look for the dots, for something, even an SOS, to make sense of the random marks we leave behind.
Millicent Borges Accardi
Ellen on a Tall Note
I had a dream about you, Ellen,
Last night, although I am not entirely
Sure if it was a conversation or a dream.
Since being between jobs the wine has come in handy
More than I would like to admit. The dream was as
Vivid as a phone call in the hallway of the night
Can be. You returned my message and
Explained why you had lost touch
While playing-pretty with an amethyst ring and said so.
He was a playwright in your theatre group,
You explained. In the Bowery, off Spring and Third,
A curly-haired mop head who, unlike your dead
Husband, had a day job. Things were first-rate,
Moving fast: swang go, swang go, you said. The
Would be in April. I thought of Irwin. Always doWhen you’re on all sides. You explained you’d have to
His brothers in Oregon, didn’t know how they would
You’re green, still, though, I said; you have a claim to
Plus, he took off by way of his old Marine hand gun,Pointed and clicked with a boomAt his forehead, or at least that was how I imagined.
One last cryptic message, I guessed. Like his fucked upSuicide note in pencil. Hunter S Thompson shot himself
Hope he was peaking, we both noted. Hope he went out
Carrying an infinite black suitcase.
poetry has appeared in dozens of literary
magazines. His plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes,
and Sophocles have been produced Off-Broadway. He is a
writer/director of award-winning social issue video
attends Furman University in Greenville,
Millicent Borges Accardi
has received grants from the
National Endowment for the Arts, the Barbara Deming
Foundation, and the California Arts Council, as well as
residencies at Yaddo, Jentel, and Vermont Studio. Her work has
recently appeared in Nimrod
, The Wallace Stevens Journal
, Tampa Review
, and New Letters
. She freelances as a technical
writer and also writes art and book reviews for local newspapers.
has been published in Branches
, Bathtub Gin
, and A Linen Weave of Bloomington Poets
. Co-founder of MATRIX
<www.matrixmag.com>, he is also a professional editor, an adult
literacy tutor, and a renowned sound effects artist.
lives in Seattle. His poems have appeared in Arnazella
, Bellowing Ark
, Curious Rooms
, Exquisite Corpse
, 4th Street
, Puerto del Sol
, Shampoo Poetry
, The Sun
, and elsewhere. A chapbook, Memphis Jack,
recently published by Spankstra Press of Seattle.
holds a BA and MA from Old Dominion
University and an MFA from the University of Missouri at St.
Louis. He is an Associate Professor of English at St. Louis
Community College at Forest Park.
is a Reference & Instruction Librarian at
Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, Ohio. He holds an
MA in Creative Writing from Miami University, and his poems
have recently appeared in California Quarterly
, Poetry Motel
. He was also a finalist in 2002 for the Heideman
Award in the National Ten-Minute Play Contest from the Actors
Theatre of Louisville.
is an MFA student at the University of
Missouri at St. Louis. Her poetry and prose have appeared or are
forthcoming in Margie
, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review
, and the anthology New Harvest:
Jewish Writing in St. Louis, 1998-2005
Miriam N. Kotzin
teaches literature and creative writing at
Drexel University and directs the Certificate Program in Writing
and Publishing. She writes both fiction and poetry, and in 2004
her poetry received two nominations for a Pushcart Prize. Her
work has been published in print and online in, among other
, for which she is a contributing editor, Carve
, Three Candles
, Fiction Warehouse
, The Pedestal Magazine
, and 3711 Atlantic
. She also
writes fiction collaboratively with Bill Turner.
J. Patrick Lewis
has had poems and short stories recently
appear or scheduled to be published in Gettysburg Review
, Dalhousie Review
, West Branch
, New Letters
, Seneca Review, Mudfish
, The New Renaissance
, Sonoma Mandala
, Santa Barbara Review
, Sycamore Review
, Southern Humanities
, Able Muse
, and many
others. He also write children's books, including Please Bury Me
In The Library
(Harcourt, 2005) and Monumental Verses
(National Geographic, 2005), among others.
holds an MFA from Vermont College and
instructs free verse writing workshops at the Cambridge Center
for Adult Education. In addition, he volunteers as a mentor for
PEN International’s Prison Writing Program.
has work appearing or forthcoming in Margie
, Southern Poetry Review
, North American Review
, and others. His chapbook, Cardboard Urn
, won the Copperdome Poetry Chapbook
Contest from Southeast Missouri State University. He is
currently working on an MFA at Southern Illinois University,
where he also served as an assistant editor for Crab Orchard
Born in Farmington, Maine, Kiersta Recktenwald
mostly in east Asia. She attended Japanese public schools for six
years and holds two American high-school diplomas. Since 2001
she has been taking college courses in Maine. Her writing
consists mostly of poems, aphorisms, and short essays.
poetry has appeared in Poem
, Manhattan Review
, and Light
, among many other publications.
holds a B.A. in Literature and Creative Writing.
His work has appeared in many journals, including Anthology
, The Auroroa Review
, Barbaric Yawp
, Becoming Journal
, Curbside Review
, Lullaby Hearse
, Red Owl
, The Silt Reader
, Stray Dog
, Writers's Journal
, and Zillah
; with many more
pending. He is the editor of .
is in the M.A. English program at Kansas State
University. Her work has appeared in Scrawl
and the 2004
Eastern Central Colleges Literary Competition Anthology. She
recently won third prize in the New Poets division of the Oregon
State Poetry Association’s Spring 2005 Contest.
poetry has been widely published over the
last three decades. His work has appeared in Carolina Quarterly
, Chariton Review
, Pennsylvania Review
, South Florida
, Texas Review
, Wisconsin Review
, among others, with recent work in Perigee
, Natural Bridge
, and Lunarosity
. He received an MFA
from the University of Oregon and has been teaching English in
the public schools for 24 years. He lives in Forest Grove,
holds an MFA in Poetry from Antioch
University and is the co-founder and co-editor of Cider Press
, an annual poetry journal in its seventh year. He is the
author of five chapbooks, most recently Imaginary Ekphrasis
(2005, Pudding House Press), and his work has appeared in
numerous publications, including Solo
, Two Rivers Review
, Poetry International
, Grasslands Review
, a recent University of
Iowa Press poetry anthology.
Links to Other Quality Online Journals
The 2River View
The Alsop Review
The Blue Moon Review
The Cortland Review
The Paumanok Review
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