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Poetry Project: Spring 2007 Selections

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Spring 2007 Poetry Project Selections

Ann Killough
Snowman

1

It was the inescapable quality of the manna that eventually got on our nerves.
Everywhere you looked, squishing underfoot like locusts, even out on a date you would
open your mouth and there it would be, quivering like a new tongue.  We asked Moses,
but he was never much help.  He was always too busy trying to get next to Jahweh.

2

In the springtime it took the form of bulbs.  Everywhere you looked, tulips, tulips, that
old thing about Beauty as some kind of orifice.  Dandelions, the earth's idea of a bad joke
on the subject of relatives, a child in the sandbox making cake out of stones.

3

I'm not even going to tell you about the mothers.  Pasting it into scrapbooks, rolling it out
into heart-shaped biscuits and cramming it down our throats while we were asleep,
waking us with their squeals as it began to dance on the countertops.  Stomping on it, in
their orthopedic shoes, making a helluva noise.

4

Theology is no help.  Theology is more interested in the exception, in the way
somebody's dachshund made a shrine out of it in the back yard, pasting it together with
dog spit and sheer hope.  And psychology, give me a break.  Here we are in the middle of
a raging field of the stuff and all psychology can do is squat down and have a you know what.

5

Me, I'm getting used to it.  I go out in the mornings and roll in it until I look like a
delicious snowman and then go to work and stand next to the Xerox machine and sing.
People walk back and forth, ignoring me, but my boss has just offered a huge reward for
my hide.  He knows how to appreciate a good thing, and he's hungry.

About the Author: My work has appeared in Fence, Field, Mudfish, Poetry Ireland, Salamander, Sentence, and elsewhere.  My chapbook Sinners in the Hands received the 2003 Robert Phillips Poetry Chapbook Prize from Texas Review Press, and my book Beloved Idea is forthcoming in January 2008 from Alice James Books.


José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

They come in droves like refugees, fleeing a colder sun. They brave our crooked, cratered roads, they offer dark, red coins. We welcome them, for their eyes are as blue as the sky, their skin as white as the sand. Listen: even the coral reefs sing them lullabies at night.

Their forbears bestowed upon us out-of-style hand-me-downs and broken cowboy dolls. We repay the debt with our hospitality. We bring them fresh pineapples and crabs, speaking only when spoken to. Though our feet will never feel the burn of their country’s snow, we will not be the first to say goodbye.

When it is time for them to leave, we pray that they will remember our seas long after the sand between their toes is washed away. We have nothing more to offer: everything else that was once beautiful is now in ruins.

About the Author: José Edmundo Ocampo Reyes was born and raised in the Philippines, and holds degrees from Ateneo de Manila and Columbia Universities. He was featured in the most recent New Writers issue of The Hudson Review, and his poems and translations have also appeared in Caracoa, Circumference, Michigan Quarterly Review, Natural Bridge, Philippine Studies, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Rattle, and other Philippine and U.S. journals and anthologies.


Jamey Hecht
Exposition of the Contents of a Cab

Remember the statue elephant not yet liberated from the marble?
Deep in chalk downs there stands an army of white sentinels
Undemarcated, unnamed, guarding nothing, still merely possible.
A giant dog made of borderless water is drifting in the ocean depths.
High in the Burgess Shale the uncarved taxi sleeps in oblivion,
Rife with teeming calcified ghosts of primordial snails. Its seats
Of solid mineral sit out the years, unconscious; windows
Totally opaque with crystallized guts of flatworms, trilobites
And undiscovered blastocysts whose heirs were never born.
I see the steering wheel that never turns, I see the four dead wheels.
Inside, a cell phone on the floor, a couple kissing, her scarf:
Forms all foreign to their matter, matter foreign to the moment,
Yet all of it subsisting in my stalled imagination where I wait
For this impossible ride to break from the unmanifest and move.

About the Author: Jamey Hecht’s work in poetry, criticism, politics, and the history of ideas has appeared in periodicals including The Black Warrior Review, River City, The Sycamore Review, and The Massachusetts Review. His first book, Plato's Symposium: Eros and the Human Predicament, (Macmillan, 1999) is about ancient Greek philosophy; his second book is Sophocles’ Three Theban Plays: A Translation with Notes and Commentary (Wordsworth Editions, 2004).


Margaret Hepp
You Were Born to be Mine, See, Why Even Fight It

Last night, to rid my mind of You,
I slept with Death.
His fingers remind me of a coiled silver bracelet I’d had and lost,
delicate and cool, gently malleable, just fitting round my wrist.
He rouses me in the limbo between night and early morning,
breathing a soft legato I’d not heard before.
Pure exhalation: I part my lips to be filled with mortality,
to not be Yours.
Death comes over me in the pause before I rise.
In a cramped washroom: the unfamiliar reflection of a girl
gliding her open palm along her bare skin,
immersing her two hands in water from a corroded spigot.
I feel suddenly chilled. There, in the bed: a body,
sinewed, thin, grey, wrapped delicately in a sheet.
I dress myself and tiptoe quietly down the narrow stairway.
When I reach the bottom, I am naked again.
I knew, then, that I was in Your house,
grieving deeply for a feeling of nakedness I’d had and lost, long ago.

About the Author: Margaret Hepp has recently moved to South Africa, where she works as an Editorial Assistant with A. Magazine. She is a graduate of Boston College, with a B.A. in English and Philosophy.


Nonnie Augustine
Snowman

As frozen climbers shiver,
dig a cave from the mountain, are beset
by helpless dreams of warmth, nourishment,
fight the sick demons of oxygen-thin air,
so do I freeze, hallucinate, battle chimera.

As the arctic fox pales in polar winter,
the penguin starves until his cue to feed,
a grizzled bear hibernates against the blizzard,
so do I lose color, substance, alacrity.

Your arms abrade, scratch like sticks
grown sharp and knotted.
Your chest freezes mine
 as if I sought solace from snow.

You kiss with lips of small gray stones
deep-set, blinded eyes, pitiless
black pockets of unfired coal.
Terrifying snowman, I will watch you burn.

About the Author: Nonnie Augustine was a modern dancer with a degree from Juilliard, a special education teacher, and now writes full-time. Her poems and fiction have placed in contests and she has been published online and in print. She has written a novel and is seeking, in her haphazard fashion, a publisher.


Jane Satterfield
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

. . . the requiems & rusted tanks. We leave the windows shuttered, shoving off to summer
further south, geraniums’ blood blossoms explosive
in our wake, window boxes & hanging baskets left to the dim blessing of intermittent rain--
We leave the beaches for tourists mostly, the requiems
& rusted tanks & if the memory of Overlord’s aubade, well
let them have their post-arrival screw, their aperitif at dawn.
We leave the beaches for tourists mostly, the citronade
in sad cafes, the low land along the Channel, small fields &
high hedges, the meanders of the Seine . . . We leave
the tourists memory, geography, domains scraped flat
by wars. Let them learn how Michelins can’t account
for closings & car trouble, all kinds of discontent. We leave Alencon,
Rouen, Caen, Coutances, Bayeaux, our villages’ heraldic chain,
trois chats & tapestries, Calvados by the bottle, the resinous
tint of its tide. To the tourists, mostly, Camembert, moules, Boursin,
brioche, roulettes, bourdelots, tripes a la mode de Caen, andouillises and andouillettes. We
leave the beaches, the squad reunions & brass
bands, museum shop battle mock-ups, paper dolls in regimental gear—
--To the tourists, mostly, firing positions, machine gun nests, the first wave’s struggle to
shore. We leave film footage, rows of numbered &
Old-Gloried graves. To the tourists, the rifle jams & sunken Sherman
Amphibious tanks, the Sergeant—
they’re leaving us here to die like rats. We leave the rock-ridden beaches to the tourists
mostly, the cold & ebbing tide. To the tourists,
the ghost-cries sleep can’t shut out, history’s true torch song.

Note: The quotation in line 24/5 is attributed to Thomas A. Valence, Veteran of A Company, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Division. Interview courtesy of Eisenhower Center for American Studies, New Orleans, LA.

About the Author: Jane Satterfield, a 2007 NEA Fellow in Literature, is the author of two collections of poetry: Shepherdess with an Automatic and Assignation at Vanishing Point. Recent work has appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Marginalia, and Elixir.


Alison Apotheker
Snowman

Yesterday, in snow's rare visit to this city,
my son and I raised his first snowman.
As we rolled the white boulders of its body,
my pregnant belly nudged up against them like kin.
By evening, its body leaned to the left so impossibly,
I kept checking the window for its collapse.
In the morning, even more so, its body straining
groundward as if to grasp its carrot nose
that had fallen and lay now half-covered in slush.
My son, who hasn't yet been around the block
with gravity, suspects nothing. I remember
last summer when he skinned his shin on the sidewalk.
I watched his eyes register the body's betrayal.
Yet he seems not to notice the snowman's state,
the degree of recline, how little it would take
to return it to an idea of itself.
All over the neighborhood,
snowmen assume such inspired angles,
splayed skywards as if in appeal to their place of origin,
kneeling for their own beheadings,
canted in prayer, tipsy
with the song of their own slow-going.
The relief obvious in their frozen hulking masses
to rejoin the fluid grace of ground waters.
The truth is: before I became a mother,
I knew the body's longing to be lost.
An untrustworthy lover bound
to forsake us, I'd rather do the leaving
than be left.
But now, as we walk home in the dusk,
my two-year old riding my hip,
patting my cheeks with his mittened hands,
I never want to leave this earth.
Inside the baby tumbles and reels
already knowing where the body will take us,
that we have no choice but to follow its lead.

About the Author: Alison Apotheker has poems published in or forthcoming from Prairie Schooner, North American Review, Mid-American Review, Crab Orchard Review and many other national literary magazines. She teaches at Portland Community College in Oregon.


Monica Raymond
SNOWMAN

To be made all
of one thing

my apple mouth
both fruit and eater

a mind of winter
in winter

and in spring
a mind of water

three-pronged branch
for gesture

could mean
vestige of sandpiper

dowsing hand tuned
beyond, beneath

but when wind
whips it from me

agency I
never owned

I've no
regret--

arm, baton
what I conducted

was anyway
its own

pigeon
cacophany

cumulus
oompah

of cloud
make more of me

of what I'm
made of

packed  
like down

on a breastbone
some wit

banked me
solid

I rest in it--
February

say
June, July

messiahs I won't
live to see

About the Author: Monica Raymond is a poet and playwright based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She has taught writing at Harvard, Northeastern, the Boston Museum School, and the City University of New York, published in Sojourner, Heresies, Iowa Review, and has poems forthcoming in the Colorado Review this spring. She was the 2005 Nadja Aisenberg Fellow in poetry at the Boston Writers Room.


Cass Dalglish
Exposition of the Contents of a Cab

Where is Camilo Cienfuegos?
  
We slide into the cab on a rainy Havana afternoon looking for a santero in La Regla, for a
small white house near the cathedral where gods move into the bodies of saints,and our
cab driver says he remembers the temple on Cienfuegos Street, on Calle Camilo
Cienfuegos, the one named for the revolutionary, not Fidel or the Che,but the other one,
the one whose small plane disappeared suddenly, who was lost before his time…before
the revolution was won…before new rules were set…
  
So we circle ‘round the barrio, turn signals blinking right and left – tap blink,
tap blink, tap blink – but our driver has lost his memory and he asks at every turn, “Donde está
Camilo Cienfuegos? Donde está Camilo Cienfuegos?” A man tells us, “Turn right… a la
derecha… a la derecha…” And a woman says, “Go left… a la izquierda… a la
izquierda…”
  
Our taxi snakes through the rain and I wonder what happened to Camilo Cienfuegos,
where has he gone? To the left, around the blocks of short adobe houses, to the right, over
stone streets, to the left, behind the Church of the Regla, to the right along the edge of the
sea?
  
And where would he be now, that third man, would he move into the body of a saint?
Would he lead his people down this slippery street? Would he turn to the right or to the left?

About the Author: Cass Dalglish is a former journalist whose first novel, Sweetgrass, was nominated for a Minnesota Book Award. Her second, Nin, was published by Spinsters Ink. Her poem, “Comfort,” was recently featured as part of the “What Light: This Week’s Poem” series on mnartists.org.


Miss Terri Ford
! Snowman  ________________________________

 
You in Hawaii who dream of the deep and the white, as we in Minnesota dream
of plush volcanic cinders on which to sit. You in Petaluma, fantasizing
that you arise to view the newfallen snow, that you must in all urgency help
the townspeople below. You in Tucumcari, you of Sedona, you
on the shores of Bali (hi!): you do not know snow nor the angels
nor men of it; you never saw how my maternal unit in Duluth in the bitter
months forced us out to play for at least half an hour, though you no doubt heard
my bleat and plea against cruel Mom, in my nonbendable snowpants,
dragging my mittens in drama in woe down the screen door. Iffy
I wasn’t. We dream too: not of you in your bikinis and Speedoes, but of
ourselves at least in shorts, perhaps coatless. We too
like a clean snow, but you face the yard in March dwindle, its wet sludge
of dirt and lint and the dying snowman, his mutable head half
slid off. You see what he’s made of: prut and crud, sticks and
dreck and slushed up flint. Yours to launder, the ruined hat. You walk
in its grit. I’ll be you. Bitch, don’t call.

About the Author: Miss Terri Ford is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.  Her second book, Hams beneath the Firmament, is due to appear from Four Way Books, like, pronto.  She lives in Minneapolis, where she laughs at the weather.


Elizabeth Ann Socolow
You Were Born to be Mine, See, Why Even Fight It

Stubborn this man’s love,
his humor, his woman’s challenge
to caromb a rock from the shore
onto a curved ledge of a dam.
Dinner she’d buy him if he did the impossible,
made the weight stick, flat enough
to edge on and stop moving.
The curve concrete, graceful,
no level place to catch the toss,
the match of surface and stone.
Dozens of rocks, hoots, laughter
breaking out again. She wanted
him to stop when we came by,
but he wouldn’t. We watched, left,
down the path minutes later
heard them thump the ground
behind us, jogging out of their way,
toward us, their love generous.
He said he’d done it, And we laughed
again and congratulated them,
and thanked them for coming after us
to tell us. Love like that can last
from the sheer lift
of challenge, rocks on a concrete
curve, the timing of it, the joy.   

About the Author: Elizabeth Socolow, twice the winner of a New Jersey State Council for the Arts grant, is the author of two published volumes of poetry, Laughing at Gravity: Conversations with Isaac Newton (Beacon 1988) and Between Silence and Praise (Ragged Sky Press 2006).


Mary Molinary
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

mostly we rummage through
their leavings
mostly we call them
snowbirds
we etch other
names for them in the sea-
glass and sands of other
languages on other
shores
(seems some days we were
born to be theirs,
see, why even fight it)
mostly the sun rises and sets like coral
reef fires
and the tides
shift in and out like mass
migrations of ancient travelers
then can we be
found combing the strand, mostly

About the Author: 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.


Margo Berdeshevsky
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

[BEACHFRONT—Aceh—Sumatra—the epicenter—2005]

*

It's too hot not to swim. But in their dissolved cry?
or is it only the insects? or it begins again because
the world only ends in one place, & not in another.

When it begins again, one guitar in the shadows whose
darling died in December water. A cat, blind in one eye. 
An inchworm, bursting.

A funeral tea with green sweet-cakes where only women
in jilbabs come, knees to the left. A man we could not save 
with the laying on of hands.

High blood pressure, leg sores, the heartbeats like
hummingbirds,    the deep-voiced equator reciting 
Allahhhhhhhh, Allahhhhhhh,    her twelve toes, curling.

A fever & a yellow cur, hunting. Crazy-woman who is 
not crazy anymore, praying &     praying,     & praying.

*

The reel of bulldozers moving shore-washed & its bloated
broken :  garbage & ghost & ghastly in loops, repeating.
In verses of the truth    down     in a monsoon dawn.

When it begins again, an old heat, white, imploding.
There were rebels, but not in the open green. Was horror under
a head-scarved sky.     Laughter, under the roofs before they

ruined,     breakfasting.     Horror is not made by any
hands that can be seen, here. Nor by silver monkeys, staring.

There are children who were hung in trees in a mother's
sarong, to be safe. Motherless, safe & staring. Old
women, softened with cotton yearning. A wise-man of 
a village with so few to be wise for, any longer.

Pickaxes, ready for their ditches. Who knows these feet?
God. Incantation, for the stagnant, the breeding. The waters & who
stands beside them. Sediment. Mercy, not really in sight.

For tomorrow, the heat & a free moon. Golden. Exaggerating.
For tomorrow, the tired, left, for the strong. A star, one star, falling. 
All that loves, loving.     Even then.

About the Author: Margo Berdeshevsky lives in Paris. Her new book, But A Passage In Wilderness, will be published by The Sheep Meadow Press in November, 2007. Four Pushcart nominations, The Poetry Society of America's Robert H.Winner Award, Chelsea Poetry Award, Kalliope's Sue Saniel Elkind Award, places in the Ann Stanford & the Pablo Neruda awards, Border's Books/ Honolulu Magazine Grand Prize for Fiction. Her works are published in The Southern Review, New Letters, Runes, Poetry International, Nimrod, Chelsea, WSQ, ACM, Traffic East, Kalliope, Many Mountains Moving, & more. Her Tsunami Notebook– photos and incantatory poems – was made following a journey to Sumatra in Spring 2005, to work in a survivors' clinic in Aceh. A collection of short stories, Beautiful Soon Enough, waits at your gate.


Jeni Rinner
SNOWMAN

leave the cab
leave the beaches
we were born
to
fight

we leave the fight
mine for the why of the were
                 exposition

leave the contents
mostly mine

the tourists were born
the tourists were of a
the tourists leave

we were mostly for it
   even snowmen
see contents, mostly

the tourists were you: see?

fight for it
mine for it
even beaches
even you

About the Author: I'm a graduate student at the University of Denver finishing a Masters in Digital Media Studies, with a thesis on collaborative poetry methods using networked media. I enjoy long walks on the beach, which is unfortunate in my currently landlocked position. Sometime this year, I will own a dog and a ridiculously overpriced ticket to a bluegrass festival.


Jennifer Richter
You Were Born to be Mine, See, Why Even Fight It

I’m good at making hearts. Seven years ago inside me I made yours. Bedtime tonight, you pull me close and whisper; you ask me how to spell “admirer.” You don’t ask why I wipe my eyes or why your father’s out again or why each night we think our voices rising down the hall don’t keep you up. A boy your age once hid this in my desk: “Now I’m positive I love you.” The first time you wrote “love,” you handed it to me. But this new word, in your careful printing, I know I’ll never see. Once I held you in my lap and showed you how to cut a heart. You tried and tried. Yours looked like a little mouth, surprised. You held mine in your hands. Yes, I said, You can have it.

About the Author: Jennifer Richter is a former Wallace Stegner Fellow and Jones Lecturer in Poetry at Stanford University.  Her poems have appeared in many national publications, including Poetry, Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review, The Carolina Quarterly, Puerto del Sol, and A Fierce Brightness: Twenty-five Years of Women’s Poetry, published by CALYX Books.


Claudia Carlson
Snowman

When I was
twenty and in love
with the son of a shrink,
whose parents
cared
about upholstery patterns and
hosting wine tastings in their upscale kitchen,
I rolled the new snow in their backyard
into a gigantic           snow Aphrodite:
her icy nipples     as big as loaves,
naked ass cleft and packed hard.
I was rolling her a snowman,
muscled thighs as high
as my waist, when they called me in.
Don't do any more. O stop. The neighbors...
My lover and his father went for a walk.  My snow
goddess was nine feet tall and topped their fence by three feet.
I looked at my ruined leather gloves, a gift from him as the
mother of the man I loved shook her head, just so. I knew
this wasn t going to last past spring, even before
he came back and looked at me with
his father's coal black eyes.

About the Author: Claudia Carlson's first book of poetry, The Elephant House, is being published this spring by Marsh Hawk Press. She is co-editor of the anthology, The Poet's Grimm: Twentieth Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales. She is a senior book designer at Oxford University Press and lives in NYC. See claudiagraphics.com.


Barbara Paparazzo
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

and bring our tiny stones
to the kitchen table.
Round ones – white, yellow, and brown,
like baby toes, and flat gray one
in the shape of lima beans.
I’m making flea-sized cairns,
homage to the rolling, seething,
and tumbling of
a long journey.

How small we all end up,
you on the red couch,
me on the white,
Sky and Telescope open on your chest,
The Illiad on mine –
do the gods still interfere
with our lives,
I wonder –
Jupiter in the south last night,
a gibbous moon overhead,
the long sepulchral grinding
not over yet. 

About the Author: Barbara Paparazzo is a writer from Conway, Massachusetts and has published poetry in the Atlanta Review, Cincinnati Review, Runes, Rattle and other journals.


Joshua Hostetter
Exposition of the Contents of a Cab

Andy Warhol on the floor dripping canoe
      mud, & atop, ash is a forgery of travel.
There, bag of the messenger & the strenuous take
      back of myth. Captain Cook is mere skin product.
There is a story of high mountains & post-colonialism;
      all I want is 62nd & Park or a formal, evening lover.
Product of the strenuous ether lands; Karl Marx
      is in the thralling leather, theorizing mahogany.
Glass depth: the thicket between solitude and
      loneliness. Ezra, dear Ezra, just pay the fucking fare.
The current of Thoreau interacts with birdsong
      and no more qualm girds the girl’s pulsing heart.
She is the final contact, rallying those among Har Megiddo
      to abandon dust for flower. Truth no longer in bone.
Christianity tears seat with flint. Recompense
      dull flames within the coarse mulberry tree; bear
A kiss under some mistletoe. The canon lawyer has
      placed the King in the pocket; the Vatican is next to
Your face of Arabia dated to June expire. Heart goodness
      against Herod’s romance: timed shock and awe aster.
A father—seated forward—flecks his heart’s crust with
      love: awe, my child, toward the affluent forestation.

About the Author: Joshua Hostetter is a student at The University of Chicago. He is majoring in English, Philosophy and Linguistics. He is originally from Pittsburgh, PA.


M.B. McLatchey
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

and the history of tourism --
a history of our shadow selves
like the open wings of angels
that they leave in the pearly sand;
beautiful, sweeping lines like cartilage
of the wings that trace their carefree
flapping; their spines a tentative print
between the wings; their mouths
an upturned string of shells
opening to a vast and mythical sky.
These are the things we leave behind.
Or a paddleball court etched out
in the ground where a ruddy turnstone
makes his nest-like scrapes, a place perhaps
for the female’s eggs; and seagulls dive for bits
of nacho chips and funnel cake.
And the sanderling’s soft song --
wick, wick - is the echo of a mother’s
plea, that day, to her children out too deep. 
These are the songs we hear in our sleep.
Or, the black-bellied plover’s plaintive call
as he circles the shore for a sandworm
or a crab -- for something, something to eat --
and absently darts toward a sand castle made
from plastic-cup molds and a child’s
plastic pail, pink or lime green or gold.
And a wave with a biblical thrust catches
the tourists off guard: a torrent of coconut oil
and ocean spray, a sandal, a drugstore romance,
then the bright, shallow meadows and plank.
These are the things we find and give away,
offerings of those who know they cannot stay.

About the Author: M. B. McLatchey's poems have been published in The American Poetry Journal, The National Poetry Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Poetry Review, The Anthology of New England Writers, and several other journals. Recent awards include the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry and the Vachel Lindsay Poetry Award.


Lynn Veach Sadler
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly:  Life in Cirques

The French colonized with
mutineers exiled in malarial St. Paul.
They cultivated coffee, spices.
The French responded with plantations.
When cyclones destroyed coffee and spices,
lost a hot spring never found again,
the French answered with sugar plantations,
sent slaves to work upon them.
Madagascar slaves were thrust into
volcanic land, place of cyclones.
They ran away to cirques, old volcanic cones;
slipped back to the coast for tools and women.
The colonials hired slave hunters
to return them, lop off hands as warning.
The slaves not caught
organized in tribes with chiefs.
Some of their issue have never yet
ventured from Mafate.
In the highest point of the highest cirque,
an escaped slave took refuge,
made a life reporting on pursuers.
From a twelve-year-old Creole slave—
sweet-sweet-sweet vanilla.
Réunion’s myriad orchid varieties
went barren until young Edmund
pollinated Mexican orchids by hand.
When slavery was abolished,
Chinese and Indians
came to work in French Réunion.
Today, Tamils fight back.
In their temples, in brightly-colored
clothes, Tamils fire-walk on steaming coals,
then find respite in foot baths of milk.
Tamils pierce the skin of their backs with
arrow-sized pins; use heads of
goats and chickens in ceremonies,
prepare for their insurgency.
Today, the poor whites
have been moved to cirques
to clean up the coast for tourists.

About the Author: Former college president Dr. Lynn Veach Sadler has published widely in academics and creative writing.  Editor, poet, fiction/creative nonfiction writer, and playwright, she has a full-length poetry collection forthcoming from RockWay Press.


Julie Marie Wade
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

Brody did not want to believe in the great white any more than the Mayor did. This is the part the history-makers always seem to miss, whenever someone is watching from a crow’s nest for land or calling out from a pulpit over the furrowed sand: EVERYBODY, OUT OF THE WATER! We want to justify these actions as insight, something we don’t have because we are too ordinary, too trusting, like children still singing Que Sera Sera in glee club and eating white-bread sandwiches with all the crusts cut off. 

But Brody had seen the girl, what was left of her, and in the raw terror of that mangled scene, he understood the Cartesian split better than any philosopher. Renouncing it, he might have murmured something, retching into his handkerchief on the lonely drive home to the beach house, where his wife and kids were waiting. (In these stories, they are always waiting, as if they never move between frames or step off the stage into someplace unscripted...) Brody might have murmured how the girl did not have a body, how some of her parts were not merely missing. In fact, Chrissie Watkins was a body, the same way his wife was, and his sons, and also himself, which is the hardest moment—the Everyman moment—when the hero understands that flesh is truer than fiction and profits, more trustworthy than any ephemeral soul. And faced with that prospect, what would anyone do? We’d pay the bounty hunter; we’d face our fears of the water. Blood-thirsty, like the enemy, we’d seek our flailing revenge.

About the Author: Julie Marie Wade was born in Seattle in 1979.  She completed a Master of Arts in English at Western Washington University and a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry at the Univerity of Pittsburgh.  She has received the Chicago Literary Award in Poetry, the Gulf Coast Nonfiction Prize, the Oscar Wilde Poetry Prize, the Literal Latte Nonfiction Prize, and a Pushcart Prize nomination.  Currently, she resides in Pittsburgh and teaches Women's Studies at Carlow University.


Michael Meyerhofer
SNOWMAN

Not a snowman—a snow sculpture.
That’s how friends described it afterwards.
The Buddha in repose, smiling,
hands folded between his bare knees.
It was two years before Armageddon,
according to televangelists. I was trying
as the millennium wound down
to reevaluate my beliefs and get laid.
The anonymous sculptor gave the Buddha
a snow-dais, holding him aloft
in the middle of that blank frisbee field
across from Mayflower, our dorm.
I thought I was in love that weekend.
Southern Iowa, dead of February
where some of the drifts reached my belt.
The river stopped, a petrified ribbon.
The redhead I wrote poems for
had a three-way with my roommates.
That night, I tried to distract myself,
reading Bashó over Jack Daniels.
Even his fingernails were perfect.
Bulge of the femur when his knees bent.
Closed eyelids, smooth as silk,
concealing the pupil of some mystery
it would be years before I understood.
All my poems rhymed back then.
The redhead I was in love with,
whose breasts jostled when she walked,
said once she wanted to read them.
When no one would answer
the door, I eventually found himself
outside, my gloved fist erasing his smile.

About the Author: Michael Meyerhofer’s book, Leaving Iowa, won the Liam Rector First Book Award. He is the author of two chapbooks—Cardboard Urn and The Right Madness of Beggars. His work has appeared in Arts & Letters, North American Review, Green Mountains Review, Fugue, National Poetry Review and others.


Rebecca Dunham
Exposition of the Contents of a Cab

Am taking stock, am prepared to
vitrine every item on this list of things
you’ve lost (an infant’s crenulated
smile, all pink gum, & the four sun-
yellow bedrooms you’ve lain in & left
for a next one that’s no brighter).
Many vinyl seats have you settled upon,
drivers thridding city streets
you never tried to learn. Insatiable
crevices billfold-thin & as desirous.
Many must I slide my fingers down now,
feeling them up only to lift out
loose change, hard gray cuds, a lipstick
or two. There lies the instant you
first let yourself question, first asked
if this was love. Find it. I can
I must flay & number it, must record
its precise anatomy, its traitor’s form.

About the Author: Rebecca Dunham's first book of poetry, The Miniature Room, won the 2006 T.S. Eliot Prize and was published by Truman State University Press. She teaches at the University of Northern Iowa.


Jeremy Voigt
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

The philosopher likes to think he lives on the beach made 
mostly of glass, tucked behind the island’s waste management 
facility, where locals only come on New Years, or Memorial 
Day, or some such holidays allowing for a work-free Monday,  
and mostly the beach thrives as novelty—its worn shards  
compact and shiny waste which tourists love to search in old- 
American-greed style, squatting near or in the water, cupping  
edge-of-palm to edge-of-palm sifting away—the sun drops 
into its green flash—the economics of beauty ragged, cutting. 

About the Author: Jeremy Voigt has a MFA from Bennington College. He edits the online journal Arbutus. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Poet Lore, RHINO, and Arabesques Review, Tiger Tail.


Sage Cohen
You were Born To Be Mine, See, Why Even Fight It

object and subject lost relativity.
 
The canvas framed your return
in an embarrassment of green.
More art than truth, our windows
groomed exposure. The bed
through which our bodies rushed:
portal of blood. Impermanence of skin,
our separation wove the wound together.
Unconsciousness could be mistaken,
in its ferocity of completion, for peace.
Our thirst for visibility was the night’s inhalation.
Often I stood, looking out
for what might save me.
In the letters we wrote I strove
for a moment of authority
as you rearranged
my papers into a pattern
you could tolerate.
You blamed me for my loneliness.
Exhilarated with the danger
of inauthenticity, appetite
precise as a knife, we divided
with each departure
the possibility of the seed.
It happens like this.
The years settle below the bridge.
The words slowly learn to trust
the turbulence from which they rise.
Undisguised, you shuffle in –
radiant, surprised.

About the Author:Sage Cohen’s poetry has been published in journals, including Poetry Flash, Oregon Literary Review, Blueoregon.com and San Francisco Reader. In 2006, she won first prize in the Ghost Road Press poetry contest.


Thom Ward
Snowman

All winter globs of snow lived in his belly and ate light from the sun that dared
penetrate his snowskin. Yet, on days when the heat was not enough, he would
choose fences, trowels, pop cans, carburetors, and occasionally, weather vanes.
His powers grew. Soon, even the strongest mailboxes broke from their hinges,
cruised over snow and entered his white stomach. Of course, he was never
completely sated. The sharp edge of metal is addictive. Snowman kept busy.
One morning, after forcing down six pitchforks and a basketball rim, he exploded.
The children looked up from their oatmeal, paused, and then returned to spooning
the warm, heavy drifts.

About the Author: Thom Ward is Editor at BOA Editions, Ltd. The author of four poetry collections, his new book of prose poems, The Matter of the Casket, is forthcoming in early May from CustomWords. He believes that by then, all of the snow currently burying his Upstate, New York will be gone. Maybe. Perhaps. Then again...


Metta Sama
You Were Born to be Mine, See, Why Even Fight It

Your letter reveals nothing, courier-shaped words
typed in your adopted language, more articles
than ripe nouns, prepositions plenty. You are home
now, back with your wife and children, a life
no longer on hold. You say it’s expensive to write,
each letter a second, each word costs you a dime,
a sentence a minute; you reveal nothing. I wonder
what language you speak when you shake hands
with the clerk, innocent-eyed and smiling. Perhaps
he’ll ask after your wife. You’ll respond dutifully,
bountifully, words costing nothing & more. Will you
pay to print the eleven words I lustily typed for you,
arial, rounded, fleshy and desperate; will you push
those words into the folds of your pocket, push them
deeper than ink, thread, the wound of a gum wrapper?
Will you stuff your hands far into your pockets’ guts,
fondle my words, and recite a mantra to the expectant clerk:
my wife is well. Love is well. All is well. Inshallah.

About the Author: Metta Sáma (previously Lydia Melvin) is author of South of Here. She has poems and reviews in Crab Orchard Review, Paterson Literary Review, Verse, Sojourn, and Torch among others. A horrible titler, she finds this project poem-saving.


Roy Jacobstein
Exposition of the Contents of a Cab

           Dad gave me three gold pieces of advice:
            never eat at a place called Mom’s; never play
            poker with a guy called Guy; and never lie
   down with a body hauling more junk than you.
   So why this vexing with her auburn needs
   and needles, unpinnable wings of jade?
   One day we’re schussing the black diamonds,
            edging our slicked blades into the powdery
            slope; the next, we’re stifling in a rusted taxi,
            halted for a trunk search at the border
   of no return. Drogas, says Jorge the driver,
   dos equis etched into his eyebrow’s left notch.
   They lookin’ for drogas. But the guards just glance
            at her tangled mane, me sweating beside her:
            nothing here to confiscate, nothing to declare. .

About the Author: Roy Jacobstein’s most recent book of poetry, A Form of Optimism (UPNE, 2006) won the Samuel French Morse Prize, selected by Lucia Perillo. His earlier book, Ripe (U Wisc 2002) won the Felix Pollak Prize, selected by Edward Hirsch. His work will be appearing this year in The Gettysburg Review, The Michigan Quarterly Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere, and is included in LITERATURE: Reading Fiction, Poetry and Drama (Mc-Graw-Hill, 2006).


Katherine Soniat
SNOW MAN

Sleet. Sled with a broken runner.
Who’s out to leash the wolves at night?
Cloud-thin the moon scopes a patch of the earth.
Pale flesh
in the ivory incisors:
      Wolf trots off with a hand in its mouth.
The air’s molecular tonight. Vials of mandrake foam on the apothecary shelf.
      Torches on the outskirts of a village.
      Shouts split the atmosphere like atoms.
Where’s that old elixir—essence of dove and olive?
      Wrist torn off; this wolf’s run off by no one.
The sky’s a striated red and booming (hearts used to be like that)
      Our moon just another celestial rock above the slaughter.
Stray hand’s such a playful toy to toss, lifeline exposed in the snow.
      Morsel map of the cold world.

About the Author: Katherine Soniat's The Fire Setters is available through Web Del Sol On-line Chapbook Series. Poems are forthcoming in the Kenyon Review, Iowa Review, Southern Review, Poetry East, and Tiferet.


Doug Ramspeck
We Leave the Beaches for the Tourists, Mostly

We want to leave them our broken lives, too,
and the shape of the wind when it makes you squint
then flutters all the sails. Once, like Scheherazade,
we offered them a story rolled in a knapsack
to protect it from the rain, and another time
we donated whitecaps and their rabid foaming.
Then there was that secret we have kept from them
for all these years, mostly because we want it
for ourselves, which is the way of things
when you are sitting in your boxer shorts at noon,
when your life is a half-eaten tuna fish sandwich
growing moldy on a paper plate. Only once 
did they offer us anything, and then it was the word
wishbone, which we accepted like the short end
when you tug and tug and finally it breaks,
like another lost wave against the shore—
which they can have as well. They can have it all.
We are making one last sandwich, packing
our names in our knapsack, and getting out.

About the Author: Doug Ramspeck's poems have been accepted for publication by more than 150 journals that include West Branch, Rattle, Confrontation Magazine, Connecticut Review, and Seneca Review.


Matthew Frank
You Were Born to be Mine, See, Why Even Fight It

You say, art undresses life, shows us its nipples
and suckling pigs, exhumed from palm fronds
and leprosy. You say, it’s Easter Island
framed and hung with one gold nail in a beamless
wall. How does it stay up? How can the old man
with one leg not topple when the weather lights
his windbreaker on fire? He claps both hands
over his chest and mutters something about
the hierarchy of clouds. You misinterpret this
as thunder or ash, as the girdle that shapes
the trunk of the plum tree. Pluck one before
the blood shoots to its branches, before its eyes
fill with fluid and spill their quince. Be the giraffe.
I know it’s in you. Your mother had it. You bite
one side. I’ll bite the other. Meet you at the pit.
If the bomb rings while we’re eating, let the machine
get it. At our windowsill, the potted basil attacks
the potted thyme. The winner goes home with the pig.
It will tell us why we were born...
How dare we deny those whose function is to flavor?
Love reduced to oilpaints. Sex reduced to sculpture.
Remember what Giuseppe said? How Rubens created
his own fetish? He died with a stocking in his mouth.
If you unhook my belt, I’ll kiss you. You should
know this: My tongue has gone the way of the wind-
breaker, plum-skin. If you be the giraffe, I’ll be
the lioness, open my mouth as an asphodel. Go ahead.
Read me another chapter. Sing me to sleep. And this time,
be specific.

About the Author: I have work in The New Republic, Field, Tampa Review, Epoch, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, North American Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Creative Nonfiction, Pleiades, Ninth Letter, Rosebud, 6x6, Bat City Review, Gastronomica, Best Food Writing 2006 and others.