All posts in “Poetry”

Two New Poems by Joe Jiménez

In the Time of Hog Death and Rogue Masculinities

There once were some hogs, a horse, a little well with some water.
The hogs wanting hunger satisfied, or knowing rage, chased
the mare, the livid tusks tearing at the sturdy legs. She bled.
Gashed, she limped. And my grandfather like my father
said, Here’s a gun. Boy, tie this rope. Stand there, hold this end.
For days, after, I heard the hog dripping. From the oak.
The hog strung up—there is a photograph—by her hooves, soaked.
The ground damp with dark heat and hog shit. Friend,
I smiled big and held my breath. We sat on the tailgate.
In my grandfather’s truck on a tarp, the sow lay leaking.
My ankles dangled. From the bed: a wispy tail
like a lie I was learning then to tell.

All night the tusk peak glared from her jowl meat.
That day, how I must have made them so proud.

§

Parable of Pillow Talk with a Chupacabra

Is there anything more lovely than a creature
who loves itself
when the whole world tells it, No?

In the dark
I am glamoured: the marshlands, like the rifeness
of spoiling marigold

whispering to aguanto, and I whispered
about the pelican, its idea
to slam its face full of want
into the dark sea

For a fish, won’t we do anything?
For a man.

But I want to show the pelican, in its brown
kingdoms of air and its spiraling,
how to save itself

for a fish, it doesn’t have to die

the tlaquache, the javelina strung from a tree,
my tattoo
on my belly of all of Aztlan

my lover
who offed himself used to sleep in this bed
the spot that you’re in

But then it wouldn’t be a pelican
any more, a pelican, you said

About Joe: Joe Jiménez is the author of The Possibilities of Mud (Kórima 2014).  Jiménez was the recipient of the 2012 Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Prize and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles.  He lives in San Antonio and is a member of the Macondo Workshops.  Click here to learn more.

What I Think

Doesn’t matter what I think
or why, or when, or about the gentle
race of yeti. I think buckeye trees
are reckless every early spring. I think
Canada deserves a last name,

like Flynn. I don’t pay
too much attention to either
actuarial tables or walnuts,
one I consider a crime, the other
entirely comical. I can be
conniving, I can be prissy,

but my mind, the dynamo,
kicks off ideas like plump sparks
like fireflies into a summer night
all their own and when the light

of my genius fritzes out,
I’ll stand dumb in the dark,
fingers wet in my mouth.

JohnMorrisonphotoAbout John: John Morrison’s book, Heaven of the Moment, won the 2006 Rhea & Seymour Gorsline Poetry Competition and was a finalist for the 2008 Oregon Book Award in poetry. He teaches poetry as an associate fellow at the Attic Institute in Portland, Oregon.

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Tree Time

The past boasts a long line
of cheese graters, sewing machine pedalers,
washtub rollers, wielders of wooden spoons.
The family tree runs deep
in arcane arts, manual skills,
aching joints, silent tongues, weary feet.
Look at the old musty photographs,
man and woman in Sunday best,
frilly hat, gray suit, fruity dress, cocked brim.
You just see the stillness, the pose,
never the work.
Life goes upward and ever more upward.
It won’t collapse because
the efforts been taken,
the time’s been put in.
To live then was harder than anyone can know.
Sure, for the camera, they’re flowers.
But for the offspring, they’re roots.

John GreyAbout John: John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Chrysalis and the science fiction anthology Futuredaze with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Sanskrit and Fox Cry Review.

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Michelle Obama Kicks Ass

And we all know it and not only because she built the coolest President this side of JFK but she rocks the high/low wearing those J.Crew flats at the DNC.  It’s obvious that they went at it in the presidential suite after his speech, his blue tie, the blue of the flag setting off his tall drink of water grace that’s hers, all hers (never ours). She staged that surprise birthday party for him at Camp David, lured him to the Laurel Lodge under the guise of an important phone call.  She knows how to trick a President! And oh the children, her children, in their taffeta and grosgrain and we really believe that they are well adjusted and that when Malia got her period Michelle was right there and gave Malia her great-great-grandmother’s beaded hoop earrings, Malia, sitting there on the toilet, frozen, looking at her underwear, hearing the door open, the “honey?”.  We know that she took Malia’s hands and squeezed, that Malia met her mother’s eye, exhaled, smiled that white-teethed Obama smile, that Michelle pressed her cheek to the Center Hall wallpaper, gave herself a star for getting them all, Barack, Malia, Sasha, her mother, the whole race, for getting them all here, landed.

erica bodwell picAbout Erica: Erica Bodwell is a poet and attorney from Concord, New Hampshire. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Stone Highway Review, The Smoking Poet, Scissors & Spackle, Cactus Heart, Crack the Spine, Red River Review and other excellent journals.

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Wild Blueberries

You look like wild blueberries
and my mouth is a sunflower.
My teeth are shells
and I can no more eat you
than I can pick you
with my delicately-boned leaves.

I want to swallow you whole
for all the ways the metaphor breaks down.
I want you to stain my petals
for all the beautiful colors blue-on-yellow
don’t make.

I want my mouth to turn gallon bucket for you.
My mouth, yawning unbaked pie crust.
My mouth, pinkish orifice through which
I consume sustenance, you look like the stranger
across the coffee shop scalding your own mouth.
The teacup across the table asks if I have
ever been to Mount Rushmore. Brooklyn.
The Washington Monument. I lick
sweet juice from my gums. I don’t remember.

Hillary Kobernick PhotoAbout Hillary: Hillary Kobernick  holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from Emory University, meaning that she has, in fact, mastered the Divine. She divides her time between home and places like home. Her work has appeared in literary magazines in the U.S. and Canada, including Paper Nautilus, Third Wednesday, and The Mochila Review. She is also a three-time member of the Art Amok Poetry Slam Team. Her work can always be found on Tumblr.

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Cattle

I was terrified to hike over a rise
into a herd that thought
I brought salt like a ranch hand.

The burden of their bulk limped
toward me like the dead
with tongues filthy as oven mitts
and moist eyes crowded with flies.

JohnMorrisonphotoAbout John: John Morrison’s book, Heaven of the Moment, won the 2006 Rhea & Seymour Gorsline Poetry Competition and was a finalist for the 2008 Oregon Book Award in poetry. He teaches poetry as an associate fellow at the Attic Institute in Portland, Oregon.

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five poems from The Year of What Now

By Now

asleep your fingers twitch
in syncopated rhythm
to a dream   flex and
relax   they grasp at
something I can’t
see   something you can’t
quite hold   it kills me
to know this is only
one of a million things

I never noticed
when I loved you too
easily   when time was a
glass of water the waiter
refilled without even
asking me   I was too busy
with sleep to see you
had already boarded
the train that was taking
you away   one hand waving
the other reaching for
what I was already too far
away by now to see

Physical Therapy

please   you say   don’t look at me
I’m disgusting   emaciated
by the treatments   you swear
they gave you the wrong
body to bring home   here’s something
you’d like to know   who
is this woman wearing your clothes

they don’t even fit her   look at her
she’s a complete mess   lays in bed all day
it’s pathetic   get up   you scream
at her   get up   come on I say   that’s enough
she needs to rest

bullshit you say and grab her arm   pull
her to her feet   walk   you demand
but she can’t   you shove her
a little too hard   she pitches forward
like a wave toward the shore
and shatters across the floor

now look what you’ve done

carefully I piece her back together
from memory

The Royal Society

born from smoldering
Rome came crawling
the wretched infected
swarms   installed by hunger
behind the heavy plow they bowed
before benign and
malignant kings alike and
ate what molded bread came
their way by moon or dying
fire light   their mysterious ailments
gradually abated with equal
doses of accident and circumstance

those who lived were not yet a testament
to the inoculation of infectious agents but
rather to the faith in the impulsive
unknown who seemed to revel in choosing

you but not you
you but not you

it’s a given we’re not living in the dark
ages anymore but a measure of the unexplained
remains as we sit together in the examination
room while you shiver in your open
gown   the unplugged electrodes
attached to your bare back
like leeches

Apollo the Healer

the idea is the ideal
a young man
in the sunlight
of his days
a good boy
falls out of the tree
but doesn’t fall
far   he’s an apple
in the grass   his red
delicious skin   the sun
reaches down through the
clouds as he drifts
to sleep   the sun runs
its fingers down the length
of his thigh and sighs
but lingers too long
the earth begins to burn
everyone wants to be
the sun except the sun

Acceptance

it’s a beautiful thought after
all   to think   with just the right
sense of distance   we’re nearly
nonexistent   that the fingers we use
to count the people who love us
unconditionally will slowly
fold into a fist in which we’ve
caught a drowsy firefly   when
we let it go   a long moment passes
in which it’s lost in the night sky
unconsciously we hold
our breath in the dark and wait

Brian Russell Author PhotoAbout Brian: Brian Russell is the author of The Year of What Now (Graywolf, 2013), winner of the Bakeless Poetry Prize. He lives in Chicago with his wife and dogs.

Read an exclusive interview with Brian Russell.
Get your hands on the book.
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A Man Walks Home Followed by a Coyote

You tell me you think I will
never be happy.  But consider
this: the hush of the Scarlet Ibis,
my water breaking by the Santa
Cruz River, crying into the dirt.

We drive off the road, see if we
can name all the Indian tribes by
their footprints.  You tell me your
thoughts on fog, that I will surely

never be happy here with you.  I
tell you about the true – the way
the net of tarantulas played in your
hands, the scorpion we saved in the

jar, the birds that leave their pecks
and years by your eyes.  Joy is not
the way things are, the way
you say it as if I wish for urban chatter

instead of moon glint, instead of the
way your back bends to smell the
juniper.  How to say I love you when
it is more to say that you held my dark

in your fist, felt the heart of a little
bird beating and then found a good
place to let it go?  Consider that joy
has nothing to do with happy.  Happy

is just the oily swamp on the way to
a desert field.  Joy is full of leaves in
a gutter and you raking them out,
raking them out.  It is knowing the black

trucks are coming down the road
before they come down the road.
Joy is watching you capture the mice
in the house in small traps and then

placing the cages outside.  You tell
me you think I will never be happy
here or with you while I watch you
open the cage doors.  Consider

how much I love you then
watching you let anything go
just because it begged to be
released.

Heather BellAbout Heather: Heather Bell’s work has been published in Rattle, Grasslimb, Barnwood, Poets/Artists,  Red Fez, Ampersand and many others.  She was nominated for the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Pushcart Prize from Rattle and also won the New Letters 2009 Poetry Prize.  Heather has also published four books.  Any more details can be found here.

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Distance

The horizon is x.
Call it (0,0).
Stationary.

The horizon never moves
it only appears to move
because your feet are restless
and want to go to the bar
or collect a paycheck
or scream from the edge
of a rollercoaster
(in which case, technically,
the horizon receded for a moment
while you were skyscraper tall).

You have been the same distance
from the horizon since you were 16
and stopped growing. Unless
you have been below sea level since then.
But the horizon is still (0,0).
It is going nowhere.

It is equidistant to tomorrow.
Tomorrow is going nowhere.
x marks the spot where you will never be.
You are 4 cups of tea from tomorrow.
You are one Venus, one Mercury, and
one North Star from tomorrow.

(0,0) is the most uninteresting spot
on this plane.

Swallow hard and measure how
the distance doesn’t change.
The bitch of receding/magnifying,
she never shuts up.
You are always capable of quantifying.
You just can’t be bothered.

Hillary Kobernick PhotoAbout Hillary: Hillary Kobernick  holds a Master’s of Divinity degree from Emory University, meaning that she has, in fact, mastered the Divine. She divides her time between home and places like home. Her work has appeared in literary magazines in the U.S. and Canada, including Paper Nautilus, Third Wednesday, and The Mochila Review. She is also a three-time member of the Art Amok Poetry Slam Team. Her work can always be found on Tumblr.

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Opening the Book of Old Rockaway

Away from Manhattan, a small coastal suburb,
the grand Hotel Majestic on Rockaway Beach Boulevard.
The usual comforts — wrap-around porch, armies of awnings,
all designed to ward off the sun the patrons seek.
Just out of sight, an excursion in a horse-drawn carriage,
a tiny store selling candy apples and salt water taffy.

Opposite, a beach scene, the brave few in the water,
the crowds strolling up and down the boardwalk,
men in suits, women in ankle length dresses, toting umbrellas.
Only children risk the playful shape-shift of the sand.
Waves roll onto shore as they have always done,
oblivious to fashion, changing times.

To survive in books – some would say that’s merely death on paper.
I open to a page, I’d move in but somebody’s already living there.

John GreyAbout John: John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Chrysalis and the science fiction anthology Futuredaze with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Sanskrit and Fox Cry Review.

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