You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2007.

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Other notable works by Mary Molinary, Paul Hunter and Heather Dobbins.
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Corey Mesler-

How the Hero One Day Sat

On this side of the page
the hero waits like a dog under a tree.
He knows something horrible
is just around the corner.
It must be so if he is to continue to be
the hero. Yet the shade
draws him as sweetly as pure evil.
Inside the tree he can hear the mechanics
of life, the click and buzz of the
élan vital. The hero sits. He sits for
the first time in his heroic life, or at least
that’s how he feels. He thinks, I
can just sit here. I can
be as still as the tree, as still as its
shadow. And it was then that
he gave up on being a hero.
It was then that he became a poet.
Now, on this side of the page he
writes his first words of poetry. He
still feels like a dog under a tree
but now his eyes widen, his
heart opens and he, rightly or wrongly,
lets his head yawn into song.
_______________

Father, Daughter

“His arms are tattooed in blue and lifted
to the skies, in testimony of their useless strength.”
~Pierre Reverdy

With arms made thick
from heavy work
the man picks up his daughter,
her lightsome body
floats upward so quickly,
ah, the man almost loses her.
_______________

My Father Again

A picture of my father
in leather jacket,
dangling cigarette,
Belmondo cool.
It’s 1930something. He
leans on the back
of a newspaper truck.
His friends leak
the same élan
Somewhere, deep in his
eyes, which look
directly at you,
there is the future man.
The one who
spoke little,
the one who picked me
up time and again,
the one who
hurt when I floundered,
the man who
died of a heart
despoiled by that
cigarette. Even now, when
I look at him, so
slim, so tough, dark
like wood burnished,
he is my last lesson
in walking the world.
He is a simple man,
template and symbol.
He is masculine wisdom.
But, no, he is not these
things, not these
things alone. He is Father.
He is my father.
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Iris Murdoch

“How nice objects are—I’m glad we live in a thingy world.”
     Iris Murdoch, in conversation

Iris Murdoch collected stones on her walks. This was before her mind took its unexpected turnings, into alleyways both dark and merciless. Around her disordered house she placed the stones as if they were décor, as if they were more than found objects. Occasionally the stones worked their way into her stories as talismans, jumpstarting some narrative necromancy. The books and stones live on. Iris Murdoch returned to the great forgetting, an angel of thought, adamantine and infinite, really, another world, ours but not ours.
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Scrawl

Drawn by a lovely word
as a rivulet of water
is drawn by rock
I made my ablutions for the
tinny god who sits
near my wavery sheet
and never answers, never answers.
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The Box

Every day I put the box out in the sun.
I expected the gods to place there
the final instructions.
Every morning I visit the box and
every morning I am disappointed.
The box remains empty and my life a
a torturous track to nowhere.
I see now that there are more boxes
in the sun. I see now that almost
everyone has placed a box in the sun, a
line now as long as death’s logic.
This does not diminish the necessity of
my own box. It shines like a star!
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COREY MESLER is the owner of Burke’s Book Store, in Memphis, Tennessee, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He has published poetry and fiction in numerous journals including Rattle, Pindeldyboz, Quick Fiction, American Poetry Journal, Thema, Mars Hill Review, Adirondack Review, Poet Lore and others. He has also been a book reviewer for The Memphis Commercial Appeal and Memphis Flyer. A short story of his was chosen for the 2002 edition of New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best. Talk, his first novel, appeared in 2002. Nice blurbs from Lee Smith, John Grisham, Robert Olen Butler, Frederick Barthelme, and others. His 2nd novel, We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon, came out in January 2006. It garnered praise from George Singleton, Marshall Chapman, Steve Stern and others. His latest poetry chapbooks are Short Story and Other Short Stories (2006), The Hole in Sleep (2006), The Agoraphobe’s Pandiculations (2006), and The Chloe Poems (2007). His poem, “Sweet Annie Divine,” was chosen for Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. His first full-length collection of poetry, Some Identity Problems, is due out in 2007. He also claims to have written “Gitarzan.” Most importantly, he is Toby and Chloe’s dad and Cheryl’s husband. He can be found at coreymesler.com.
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Mary Molinary-

Decembering

A migratory angel of autumn folded

into the much

misunderstood

genome of its organza

wings and perched atop the dusty corner cupboard:

Tell me your last thoughts

it said.

Said I

Tell me your first.

That’s easy

I’m flying.

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Spring Song

4 April, Memphis

Trees really do fill with birds in early

April   The surrounding air really does

murmur with innumerable bees   Really

does thicken with flying insects   Small

globes of moisture   The surrounding air

really does ripen with one million petals &

their smells   The ground & all available

surfaces including water as in a puddle or

coffee as in a cup are covered (covering)

in these rust-tipped petals

Dove here perch on pinky-vermilion feet

These blooms these diminutive white

clusters really do smell like sex:   semen,

sweet sweat

Perhaps dove-feet are more of an orange

terra-cotta

Dove do drink from the puddle   You could

think only of this & the blue honey-water

of new moons & planets

You could sing only of this & the amorous

flutter   of new green leaves, the sleepy

dog at your side catching morning on his

tongue as if everything were normal   You

could tell only of this & not strategic plans

for warm weather warfare the murders

genocide historical tortures the inevitable

repercussions of injustice & empire

You could But the world is not yet set

right upon its axis
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Pictures with no regard for space, depth, or perspective

in Darfur the children who live

live as tumbleweeds   they draw

pictures in small notebooks:

stick figures on horseback

outlines in black

scale skewed

figures all teeth wielding

weapons   humans scattering:

a body in each place where a tree

was    and will be
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Mary Molinary is near completion of her manuscript, “The Supine & Other Burials”—the third and final book manuscript of her trilogy, Humanesque. Poems from the first two manuscripts have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, spork, River City, Pindeldyboz, and Poetry International. Some have re-appeared on Verse Daily and Poetry Daily and are forthcoming in the next Poetry Daily Anthology.
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Paul Hunter-

What You Never Touch

Though at first what you care for
finger into the ground feed and water
in the end gather up and carry off
that draws your fullest attention

so your fields in season come to be
every spare moment what you
dream of where you roam at large
even at rest cultivate
shiver out of bed return to see
around the edges worry even so

toward the end of making up a life
of small lives in their myriads
every now and then will reappear
clippings and leavings let be
brambles a mind of their own
stones from the field down a gulley
brush without a thought accumulate

corner of woodlot let go
not a single useful sapling flung
up in the narrow sunlight
worthless impenetrable thicket

till at last you find practically
all you ever crave
is what you never touch
leave well enough alone to tend itself
the end of each field and fencerow
among weeds you never troubled
these faint rustling presences
come late gone early who knows
perfectly at home without you
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What is Left

   In memory of Martin Wampler

You asked me over to dinner
one time where you had
boiled a chicken in a pot
just like I would and

while we talked in the sunlight
in that bright narrow kitchen
no room for nonsense
rickety table two chairs

about writing throwing out
most of the words
some the best ones
to get the rest exactly right

your hands dipped in to strip
skin away pull the meat off
gristle and bones all of that
a model of efficiency

tearing the bird apart
just like I do then
spooned some fat up
to save in a tub with a lid

then took the knife to
potatoes carrots celery stalks
then in the middle knelt down
at the fridge rummaging

for whatever else you might find
just like I get down
to look to throw into it
kind of a prayer with the sound off
all the while talking writing
hard starts and false starts
the gift in a slip of the tongue
cutting and endless revisions

over this mess on the table
where you sit to write every morning
skin and bones peels and whatnot
where we will eat what is left
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Afterlife

Sown in their jostling millions
growing all the same height
till greengold the plains undulate

in unison sunflowers track
dawn to dark their namesake
through the night swing around

so upturned they wait
as if outside kindergarden
facing the door of first light

which goes on each head swiveling
east to west through the south
at dark ratchets back a slow dance

beloved of redwing blackbirds
who splash about sunset colors
upend their calls liquid crystal

all summer long till at last
swollen blackened faces tucked
out of west winds come to rest

each still facing the footsteps
and crack of the coming dawn
with nothing more to learn

from a gaptoothed afterlife
spilling dry tears from the battered
blind satchel it’s become
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By turns poet, teacher, performer, playwright, musician, instrument-maker, artist, editor, publisher, grassroots arts activist, worker on the land, and shade-tree mechanic, Paul Hunter for the past twelve years has produced fine letterpress books under the imprint of Wood Works—currently including 23 books and 50 broadsides. His poems have appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Bloomsbury Review, Iowa Review, North American Review, Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Raven Chronicles and The Southern Review. Recipient of the 1998 Pym Cup and the 1999 Nelson Bentley Award, he lives and works in Seattle. His collection of farming poems, Breaking Ground, from Silverfish Review Press, was reviewed in the New York Times, the Home News Tribune, the Small Farmer’s Journal, and the Raven Chronicles and is a recipient of the 2004 Washington State Book Award. A second book of farming poems, Ripening, is due in April.
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Heather Dobbins-

Exercise in White: Snow and Bone

for my grandfather with thanks to Janina

the pallid of foot on white ground
color a cotton from back home
you chart the degree of crimson
the warmest part: 19-year-old curly red hair
under a helmet they didn’t want
German soldiers needed your boots
blue foot blood before it hits air
what you kept inside a foot locker
from then on Why talk of the bad things
days of snow-walking
some in wooden Dutch clogs others none
you covered Belgium
Battle of the Bulge to prison camp
yield as weight is applied
spring back weight lifted
shock absorbed in white
had you ever known such defeat existed
at 12 you had saved money for a bicycle
wheel barrows full of aluminum fortune
Memphis street cans
only to have your father steal it
his paycheck on whiskey instead
your paper route for hours longer
you pinned him for hitting your mother
went to the capitol to scratch his name from yours
support of talus keystone in your own shoes

two arches of leverage
Tennessean and Belgian bridges
an ideal distribution of weight and balance
hard and soft tissues without oxygen
cooled in confusion
6 months at a POW camp after hypothermia
a fragile heart in your future
with men who stole eggs to live
hid wedding rings under tongues till set free
after a promise of Florida winters and no more planes
weighing eighty pounds you returned to your bride
walking
White is the combination of every color
just as defeat is worn all over
the war “won” medals framed
until the next one in Vietnam when you promised
you’d take your son hide in the woods if drafted
to provide a father’s safety where you had none
where things were clear rain and ice not yet snow
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Exercise in Sound, Independence Day

awning’s rain
on a porch step
gray pebbles
grainy and hard
loosen
like all things broken
or unreturned
keys phone numbers
crayons pencil lead
holiday fireworks
a tongue’s lingering
on an envelope
what we lose
light time and water
a kiss goes on to speak
eat drink or hum
a scent in my lungs
for months and months
a body print into jeans
sofa desk and seatbelt
we can’t very well wash
everything as others leave
as a father’s DNA to daughter
jewelry for anniversaries
to heirloom to pawnshop
melted and re-set
for another
what sustains
I’d cut his hair
over the newspaper
covering the sink drain
black lines on blocks
of local tidbits
it grew too fast
just as land national borders
and the seas reclaim
our levees temporary
sight too goes with distance age
as Eva Hesse’s sculptures
her latex our children will not see
an image is not a museum
hours from now
truck tires blown
on the expressway
will cause us to swerve
claim us
days and decades
I’ll say yes till it’s my turn
“Did he die too soon?”
I was asked
9 years ago today
on a Greyhound
7 hours of miles
sound travels in any
solid gas liquid
through us at 3, 450 mph
ending
voices bounce
a dozen times
for loss continues too
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Light Exercise in Accidents

Necessities
we can hardly live
this life without:
an accident’s beginning.
We choose love
as we choose necessities.
Theories advanced,
our twenties passed—
none acceptable.
We believed
the air was blue gas
until chimney smoke
in a brunette sky’s
carbon, dust, unburnt
particles proved light:
It just couldn’t be that easy.
Air, too, is dust, skin,
water vapor. Sun transverses
through other colors,
longer waves, angstrom units,
frequencies, millionths
of inches.
With no reflection
of vapor or dust,
#5 in the spectrum:
blue, everywhere.

*

On my couch, my coral skirt stuck
to warm bare legs, I adjusted:
feet on the arm rest, heels in slumber
on the hardwood. Cotton. Air. Skin.
What you’re doing with your skirt
is that for me or for you? you asked.
“For me,” I said, an accident
you would admire my movement
at the party’s end, other guests in cars,
the last spoken before a kiss,
the mid-October morning light.
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Heather Dobbins’ poetry has appeared in The American Poetry Journal, twice in New Millennium Writings, and in an Appalachian anthology, All Around Us: Voices from the Valley. She has drafted a novel, The Architecture of Hesitation, and hopes to finish it within the year. Last summer, she received a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center, where she worked on a poetry manuscript. She is a literature and creative writing teacher for the gifted in a public middle school in Memphis, Tennessee. She says, “Hell, the poems are the true bio.”
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Masthead

Editor, Lisa Zaran

ISSN: 1095-732x

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2007

January - Roger Humes
February - Jimmy Santiago Baca
March - Graham Burchell
April - Ruth Daigon
May - Anne Fraser
June - Corey Mesler
July - Scott Malby
August - James Keane
September - Maurice Oliver
October - Robert Pinsky
November - Louis Daniel Brodsky
December - Bill Duvall

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2008

January - Kelley White
February - L. Ward Abel
March - Maura Stanton
April - Dr. Charles Frederickson
May - Peter Magliocco
June - Penny Harter
July - Gary Beck
August - Jéanpaul Ferro
September - Fish and Shushan
October - Kenneth Gurney
November - John Gallaher
December - Carmen Alexandra

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2009

January - Karen Rigby
February - A.D. Winans
March - Donald Illich
April - Stephen Ferreira
May - Tracee Coleman
June - Ernest Williamson
July - Sally Van Doren
August - Nanette Rayman Rivera
September - Gianina Opris
October - Judson Mitcham
November - Joel Solonche
December - Peycho Kanev

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2010

January - Louis Gallo
February - Buxton Wells
March - Labi Siffre
April - Regina Green
May - Howard Good
June - Carol Lynn Grellas
July - William Doreski
August - Sari Krosinsky
September - Ben Nardolilli
October - James Piatt
November - Robert Lietz
December - John Grey

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2011

January - Robert Philbin
February - iolanda scripca
March - Tad Richards
April - Katie Kopin
May - Jacob Newberry
June - George Moore
July - Rae Spencer
August - Jim Richards
September - Antonia Clark
October - Tannen Dell
November - Christina Matthews
December - Charles Clifford Brooks III

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2012

January - Anniversary Issue
February - Jim Davis
March - Ivy Page
April - Maurice Oliver
May - Lori Desrosiers
June - Ray Sharp
July - Nathan Prince
August - Robert Klein Engler
September - Jenn Monroe
October - John Grey
November - Andrea Potos
December - Christina M. Rau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2013

January - Maria Luisa Arroyo
February - Journal on haitus

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2014

April - Rebirth
May - Timothy Walsh
June - Brian Fanelli
July - Carol Smallwood
August - Elizabeth P. Glixman
September - Sally Van Doren
October - Sherry O'Keefe
November - Robert McDonald
December - Gerry McFarland

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2015

January - James Keane
February - Liza Hyatt
March - Joseph Reich
April - Charles Thielman
May - Norbert Krapf
June - Lynne Knight
July - Sarah Brown Weitzman
August - Tom Montag
September - Susan Palmer
October - Holly Day
November - A.J. Huffman
December - Tom Pescatore

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2016

January - Richard Perin
February - Linne Ebbrecht
March - Sheri Vandermolen
April - Molly Cappiello
May - Caleb Coy
June - Paul Lubenkov
July - Domenic Scopa
August - Adam Phillips
September - Timothy Gager
October - Bruce Lader
November - Holly Day
December - Al Rocheleau

Confirmed Featured Poets – 2017

January - Robert Lietz
February - Jocelyn Heaney
March - David Brinkman
April - Lana Bella
May - Kaitlyn O'Malley

Artwork

Image of bird by contemporary artist, Courtney Smith
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