Categories
Poetry

The Maria Magdalena By Angela Gabrielle Fabunan

The Maria Magdalena | By Angela Gabrielle Fabunan

The Maria Magdalena

for Rayji de Guia

The procession of backs turned is a sea of red
anonymous in the enormous crowd.

Turn to face me, tell me is this all the change 
we will ever see, these coins, scattered at Your feet,

for Your penitencia, in this march, on our way to 
Your crucifixion. I drop the coin, know

Nothing now, not even the things I write about
that I have seen. The likes of Peter will never honor

What I’ve written. In this world, what is texto
but the persuading chronicle of the Papa, while

We progress down the streets, the signs we carry
las palmas scattering in careless winds.

It’s impractical to transcribe, what I scream—
words I copy from You. But I still do it: 

There is no absolution in this world but the next,
We must love one another or suffer.

Underneath it all, I array myself in red, 
as memento, as imagen, as woman.

About the Author:

Angela Gabrielle Fabunan is the author of The Sea That Beckoned (Platypus Press, 2019) and Young Enough to Play (UP Press, forthcoming 2021). Herwebsite is angelagabriellefabunan.com. She lives in Olongapo City, for now.

Categories
Poetry

Half of Klimt’s Water Serpents II By Moriah Bray

Half of Klimt’s Water Serpents II | By Moriah Bray


The painting was a reproduction, only half
of the original depicted and the colors somehow wrong
not enough green, nor yellow. And only one of the four
water serpents, the third girl with ginger hair
at the bottom of the painting, her right breast
barely in frame, her eyes watching the artist or maybe
me. She had wildflowers in her hair,
two blushing on her cheeks, spine and right
hand distorted in the water. She hung
in your dining room slitted eyes cut
toward us. I sat in a wooden chair
sipping tequila and you stood, black hair curling 
past your shoulders, blue eyes 
wide and asked, Do you feel the sexual tension?
I did and I asked you, Are you a fan of 
Gustav Klimt? But you had never heard
of him. 

About the Author:

Moriah Bray is a PhD student at Georgia State University working on a manuscript of poetry in both English and Spanish. She also serves as the poetry editor of Exhume Literary Journal. When she is not writing, you can find her in a yoga flow or petting her cats.

Categories
Poetry

Disintegrate By Wendy Thompson Taiwo

Disintegrate | By Wendy Thompson Taiwo

First the legs will go, then the hearing.

_____

I’m not sure who needs to hear this, you announce 
loudly to no one in particular and everyone in the 
room, but getting old really sucks.

_____

At 38, your stomach began to bulge and droop after 
your third C-section. You ignored your mother’s 
advice to exercise after giving birth likening it to 
the fit religion of hyperactive ponytail yoga 
moms. But then your breasts shriveled to an A 
cup and your body began to sag
like an old couch
like an abandoned truck.

_____

Of course I think you’re still attractive, your 
husband says, his mouth moving like he’s
chewing leftovers
charred brisket
cardboard.

He’ll probably leave, you tell yourself angrily and 
begin wearing house dresses outdoors, 
braless.

_____

Was that mole there two months ago?
Why does it burn 
in your chest
in your throat
in your labia
in your heart
every time you _____?

_____

When someone calls you from the other room:
Do I want eat what with the leftover fish?

You saw whose cousin at Costco?

Why did I leave what running?

Go ask your dad what he said, goddamn 
mumbling ass.

_____

For a long time, all through your forties, you 
insisted that it was other people. 

It was young people 
who were being prioritized in a society 
drunk off their youth while middle-age people like 
you were becoming obsolete. 

It was the city 
attracting too many techies and gentrifiers who 
were over-saturating your beloved downtown 
haunts and sanitizing the sketchy streets where you \
and your girlfriends got your first citation for driving 
buzzed from a tall, dark, and handsome officer 
who gave you his private number 
J Scott (602) 537-XXXX call me

It was this new wave of medical students turned 
feckless doctors too scared of a lawsuit to actually 
diagnose pain, leaving you with a non-answer to 
your, What’s wrong with me? or a, We’ll follow up 
with you in a few weeks, 
after all those tests.

_____

Bitch, we’re old, you say to your friend over a 
glass of wine and laugh. And like in a commercial, 
she turns to you and says, No way, bitch! The 
forties are the new twenties. 
You narrow your eyes.

But then the skin begins to thicken and your odor 
changes and the discharge becomes normal and 
you break in so many places while your doctor 
keeps telling you, It’s normal. 

That area of pain
That creaking sound
That brown spot
That fleshy sore
That dry patch
That blurry effect
is normal.

It’s supposed to fall off, 
fall out,
tense up, 
curl back, 
heal rough that way.
Call and make an appointment if anything changes.

_____

These days, hiking feels like dragging your 
bagged body behind you while the trailhead looks 
as wild, healthy, and abundant as ever. Each bend 
in the road, your hips and ankles click and rotate 
like a child’s model robot. On the way back to the 
car, your ankles swell up and you can’t bend over 
to tie your shoelaces that are always coming 
undone. So for the rest of the week, you resort to 
wearing sandals without socks until the skin on 
your feet begin to chafe.

_____

You stop shaving.

_____

Your saving grace is that you still haven’t gotten 
gray hairs yet, your friend tells you, her own 
baby face framed by wisps of dark clouds, a pale 
sky that looks like rain. But you also still have 
your sense of sight and it disappoints you to have 
to look at yourself every day when being alive 
and getting into your car to drive to work both 
ways in traffic is already a kind of afterlife:
interstate is to stasis
as intubation is to interred.

_____

In your fifties, you know you won’t be able to 
retire in ten years because your grown kids still 
call you for money despite graduating from law 
and business school and marrying into 
upper-middle-class suburban life.
Los Altos. Blackhawk.

You feel like the thread has been pulled at your 
good edges and all the stuffing is billowing out. 
Like I’m just all over the place, you say and your 
coworkers nod thinking that this is just you 
multitasking during a fiscal budget crisis. 
But Tim in HR who is always inappropriate, 
knows there’s something up. Why else would he 
tell you, You still look good for your age when 
you go to his office to return your benefits 
form? And in that moment, you wished you could 
follow him to his Volvo after work and sit on his 
face just so you can call his wife and tell her he’s 
cheating.

(That shade of lipstick she will eventually find 
on his shirt is called Nude Fatale.)

_____

Your physician still can’t tell you why your feet are 
always cold while the rest of you burns white hot.
So hot that your best friend has to wear two 
sweaters while riding in your car because you 
always have the AC on full blast. Yet night 
sweats keep you up at night and now your 
husband sleeps on the couch. Just for the time 
being, to give you space, he says. 

He’s probably already cheating, you tell yourself 
angrily and begin an email draft to Tim:
“For a long time, I’ve been longing for…”
“I just want to feel something, be something different to somebody…”
“I’ve never done this before and hope you understand…”
You decide to hold off on words like “sensual,” 
“discreet,” “fuck buddies,” and “lucky.”

_____

A few days later your physician messages you. It’s 
just a symptom of menopause, nothing to worry 
about, and you wonder if she means the anger or 
the cheating husband or the sweats because 
inside you feel like you’re dying.

_____

You used to enjoy dancing and trivia nights.
You used to take global cooking classes with 
your friends.
You used to keep the numbers of strangers and 
exes in your phone just for moments like this:
Hi, I know we haven’t spoken since that 
night/week/month 
in 
Istanbul
Manhattan
Luang Prabang
Chicago
D.C.
Berlin
New Orleans
but I thought we could get back in touch.
You had plans to travel the world well into your 
seventies.

Now you nurse your bruised and aching heart and 
back and hands with Netflix and DoorDash and 
wine and heated pain relief patches and icepacks.

_____

No one will ever use these words again to describe 
you: 
dewy-eyed, cute, kissable, artsy, fiery, delicate, 
sweet, adorable, bubbly, intoxicating, athletic, feisty, 
skinny, young.

_____

You no longer remember your first love or what 
you had for dinner last night. And I’ll probably 
die tomorrow, you tell yourself angrily despite 
data saying your husband will likely go first. But 
damn this earth and all upon it if you don’t get to 
taste the last few drops and enjoy the good life first.

About the Author:

Wendy Thompson Taiwo is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at San José State University. Her poetry has most recently appeared in the SantaFe Writer’s Project, Rappahannock Review, Jet Fuel Review, Waccamaw Journal, Hey, I’m Alive, and Typehouse. She is the co-editor of the forthcoming collection Sparked: George Floyd, Racism, and the Progressive Illusion.

Categories
Poetry

August Hymnody By Caleb Nichols

August Hymnody | By Caleb Nichols

Growing up in August Country
August light, the golden twilight
Eucalyptus crowned the canyon
Blue gum towers lit like lampposts

August feeling on the waters
Calm and quiet in the harbor
Past the sun-baked oyster farmers
Past the open estuary

From the dunes an august silence
Toward the inlet tidal marshes
With the stillness of an egret
With the hush of pending autumn

There’s a stand of hollow cypress
With the likeness of a graveyard
Where I sit in august wonder
At the gently lapping waves.

About the Author:

Caleb Nichols is a queer poet and musician from California. His poetry has been featured in Redivider, Perhappened Mag, Cypress: A Literary Journal, and elsewhere. His poem, “Ken,” won an Academy of American Poets University Prize, and his first chapbook, 22 Lunes, is available from Unsolicited Press. He tweets at @seanickels.

Categories
Poetry

I Check the Moon By Caleb Nichols

I Check the Moon | By Caleb Nichols

Lulu writes me
into a poem,
as if I were the moon,
messages it to me.

Night spiders down,
glides along,
spins Santa Anas,
whips the bleach
blonde hills,
the frosted tips of
late spring.

I dream drift back
down the tracks.
A teal discourse
on a rain rusted rail car
reads, momma didn’t raise
no ho
and, more mysteriously,

                  c     
                c o r n
                  b.


Hampsey emails a dream:

                1976
                East Berlin…
                it is night and i am trying to figure
                the street signs up on a low stage,
                next to a dingy curtain,
                you are singing by yourself


Noah texts a new song,
sings like seraphim,
an ode to kissing cousins
then says check the moon.
I pocket my phone.
I check the moon:

                the moon is full—
                slung low
                above the suburban frame
                of trees and children howling.

Morning worms out,
casts threads,
canvases the void.

My eight legs spin
silk, weave a God’s
eye, a dream catcher.
The pitch of these dreams,

                Grandpa’s booming bass note;
                Grandma’s dulcimer lull; sounds
                bounced off yellow stucco; afternoon light


shells I hermit into,

found texts,
tide pools
spilling over,

lunar surfaces
mirroring
moon phases,

veiled in swell, then
revealed in ebb—
and that’s when

the gulls wing in,
to break me out
of my wonder.

About the Author:

Caleb Nichols is a queer poet and musician from California. His poetry has been featured in Redivider, Perhappened Mag, Cypress: A Literary Journal, and elsewhere. His poem, “Ken,” won an Academy of American Poets University Prize, and his first chapbook, 22 Lunes, is available from Unsolicited Press. He tweets at @seanickels.

Categories
Poetry

And the Earth Flows Translation By Gabriella Bedetti and Don Boes

And the Earth Flows | Translation By Gabriella Bedetti and Don Boes

and the earth flows
it is blood
the words
are completely mixed
in it
since
we mistake them
for the living earth
the laughing earth
which is always there in us
each hand
I look at us
each passerby
as I walk
since the time
that passes us
is
sleep
watching
for us
and the cries are silent
since a cry
smothers a cry
and the words 
now
are blood coming out of mouths
and when we want
to speak the day
it is the night
that speaks to us
and when we believe we drink eat
it is earth
that we spit out
the one that flows
with all this blood

– – – – – – – –

et la terre coule
c’est du sang
tant les paroles
sont mêlées
en elle
depuis
qu’on les passe
pour la vivante
la riante
qui est là toujours en nous
chaque main
je nous regarde
chaque passant
que je marche
puisque le temps
qui nous passe
c’est
le sommeil
veille
pour nous
et les cris font du silence
puisque un cri
étouffe un cri
et les paroles
maintenant
sont du sang qui sort des bouches
et quand on veut
parler jour
c’est de la nuit
qui nous parle
et quand on croit qu’on boit mange
c’est de la terre
qu’on recrache
celle qui coule
tout ce sang

from Et la terre coule (And the Earth Flows), Arfuyen, 2006
by Henri Meschonnic

About the Authors:

Gabriella Bedetti studied translation at the University of Iowa and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her translations of Meschonnic’s essays and other writings have appeared in New Literary History, Critical Inquiry, and Diacritics. Meschonnic was a guest of the MLA at her roundtable with Ralph Cohen and Susan Stewart.

Don Boes is the author of Good Luck With That, Railroad Crossing, and The Eighth Continent, selected by A. R. Ammons for the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize. His poems have appeared in The Louisville Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, CutBank, Zone 3, Southern Indiana Review, and The Cincinnati Review.

Henri Meschonnic (1932–2009) is a key figure of French “new poetics,” best known worldwide for his translations from the Old Testament and the 710-page Critique du rythme. During his long career, Meschonnic generated controversy in the literary community. His poems appear in more than a dozen languages; however, almost none of Meschonnic’s poems have been translated into English. His poetry has received prestigious awards, including the Max Jacob International Poetry Prize, the Mallarmé Prize, the Jean Arp Francophone Literature Prize, and the Guillevic-Ville de Saint-Malo Grand Prize for Poetry.

Categories
Poetry Translations

Mirror: Madonna de la Playa By Clare Bercot Zwerling

Mirror: Madonna de la Playa | By Clare Bercot Zwerling

Excuse me Lady
I’ve interrupted the path to the sea
halted the progress of your
hesitant footfalls
the child awaits in the
shallows of the surf
eyes on you
on this sultry, sunlit
beautifully clear-skied
summer morning.

He doesn’t see
your meatless limbs
clothed head to toe in black
the clouded eyes
near toothless gape
he doesn’t notice the sadness and shame
he sees Madonna, Mother
looking to know that he is safe
and I’ve stepped in your path
if only for this moment.

Disculpe Señora
He interrumpido el camino hacia el mar
detuvo el progreso de sus
pisadas vacilantes
el hijo espera en la
orilla del oleaje
ojos en vos
en esta mañana de verano
clima bochornoso, soleada
cielos despejados.

El no ve
sus extremidades sin carne
cubierto de ropa negra de cabeza a pies
los ojos nublados
la boca casi desdentada
no nota la tristeza y la vergüenza
solo ve a su Madonna, Madre
buscando saber que el estára salvo
y yo me he interpuesto en su camino
aunque solo por este momento.

About the Author:

Clare M. Bercot Zwerling is a newer poet with nine poems published to date in glassworks, Halcyon Days, Night Waves Anthology 2019, Red Sky Anthology 2020, Coffin Bell Journal, Horror Before it Was Cool, Gyroscope Review, The Purpled Nail and Odes and Elegies: Eco-Poetry from the Texas Gulf Coast. Her forthcoming poetry publications include The Oakland Review, Poetry South and Erosion Anthology 2021.  A retired CPA and transplant from Deep South Texas, Clare resides in Northern California and is a member of the Writers of the Mendocino Coast.

Categories
Poetry

Linoleum By Stelios Mormoris

Linoleum | By Stelios Mormoris

It is clear we all need flooring
in our lives–something to keep
our traction with a modicum
of decorum and alacrity from
one appointment to the next,    
from the procession of infant to
child to man, far surer firmament
than skipping on the lily pads
of strangers to lovers to friends
with not enough time to sink.

I approach this corridor of old
linoleum with mild trepidation, 
as if it were an oil slick, easy 
to slip in its black fluorescence. 
Brazen ship, I slip into it anyway: 
the linoleum recomposed from 
some malleable matter like wax 
or asphalt, remnant of liquid,
puréed, re-formed, jaundiced
with age, hardened by lack of use.

I notice the linoleum is sweating.
It feels indecent to traverse it
as if someone dead is pressed
inside its board. I lift one corner.
The underside looks baked like 
dried brown mascara, the top side
black with bits of mustard, matching 
our old fridge, abused and familiar.
I swear my mother is still breathing
through it, and touch the beads

of lanolin seething through its 
pliant surface, then lift to my face
the tacky moisture, and smell the
putrid summer when we cried
with her on a set of swings, 
away in the Catskill mountains
and drowned in her sermons,  
four fatherless young children
gathering milkweed and thistle
on the shoulder of the interstate.

Even an acrid bouquet was a gift,
and she wept. Even a window open
and hearing a chorus of girls 
carry across the valley like puffs
of dandelion blown loose excited 
her as I picked the stiff white seeds
caught in her sweater. Even the 
footsteps of her son pressing
tentatively the vulnerable skin
to summon her out of her oculus

keeps her alive–as the priest would
say–like lights of candles passed
from the altar to the altar boys 
to the congregation. I decide to lie
down in the cradle of curling tile
to hear the pulse in my ear,
and set alight the crickets that
dry summer night when I heard 
her crying alone in a rented cabin,
to my delight, and to my peril.

About the Author:

Native of Boston and Martha’s Vineyard, MA., Stelios Mormoris is currently the C.E.O. of, EDGE BEAUTY, Inc..  Dual citizen of Greece and the U.S. and raised in New York, Stelios has spent most of his life living in Paris.  He received his undergraduate degree in architecture at Princeton and a M.B.A. from INSEAD in Paris. 

Stelios is a contemporary artist, specializing in abstract geometric oil painting [www.steliosmormoris.com].  Stelios was part of the Creative Writing Program at Princeton, as a student of William Meredith and later studied at Columbia with Stanley Kunitz, as well as with Nancy Schoenberger from the Academy of American Poets.  

He has published work in The Fourth River, Gargoyle, Humana Obscura, Midwest Poetry Review, the Nassau Literary Review, PRESS, South Road, Spillway, Sugar House Review, VERSE, The Whelk Walk Review and other literary journals.   

Stelios has held positions on the Boards of the French Cultural Center of Boston, Historic New England, The Fragrance Foundation, Symrise, ACT UP, and is a member of the Kytherian Society.

Categories
Poetry

Standing Water in Central Nebraska By Tyler Jacobs

Standing Water in Central Nebraska | By Tyler Jacobs

A dragonfly swarms callow fields;
Paint on a calm, vast canvas.

About the Author:

Tyler Michael Jacobs currently serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Carillon. He is the recipient of the Wagner Family Writing Award Endowment. His poetry has appeared, or is slated to appear, in The Carillon, Poached Hare, The Hole in the Head Review, Runestone, The Magazine, Rumble Fish Quarterly, The Whorticulturalist, East by Northeast Literary Magazine, White Wall Review, HASH Journal, Funicular Magazine, and Aurora: The Allegory Ridge Poetry Anthology.

Categories
Poetry

The Man Whose Face Was Stolen by Clif Mason

        

The Man Whose Face Was Stolen | By Clif Mason

         A man woke to find his face
                                                        on a gold doubloon,
                     & then it was his no more,
but was exchanged in a white water river
                                             of dream & contempt,
each person who touched it
                                             changed
by the long trail of barterings
                                             & dissemblings,
                                                                 palterings
                             & misgivings.

         To get what it must
was the first & foremost urge
                                of woodchuck
                                                        & woodpecker
                    & of the toad
                                 with the brilliantly elastic tongue,
rolled up in its mouth
                                 like a window blind. 

        The snail,
                                the quail,
the town’s thousand feral cats:
                                each a guileless opportunist,
not one with an ounce
                                            of human subterfuge,
                     not one with a shred of human obliquity.

         Everyone knew the man’s stolen face
but no one knew him.
        & when he begged them
                                                       to return his face,
                    they bruised his chest
                               & broke his hands. 

         Other people went to work
                                                                   & got married
                                             & had children,
         & pursued their ever-
retreating dreams,
                                 admitting,
                                            in moments of quiet clarity,
                     their grand goals were becoming
                                                                     thinner,
                                 more transparent,
more improbable & unlikely.
        His life was fixed
                                                     & unchanging.
       Soon no one remembered him.

         Yet everyone wanted
the coin bearing his face.
        When friends gathered,
                                                        they told stories of it.
       When lovers met,
                                they saw its gleaming silver face.
         Children dreamt of it.
         Old men & women spoke of it
with their dying breaths.
        It inspired poets
                                        & mathematicians,
                    homeless printers & magicians.
         Inmates held it in their hearts
during their long ordeal of crime & time
                            & parents passed it without thinking
                    to their children.

        One night the man dreamed
                                                         the most incredible 
& extravagant of dreams:
                                             His face came back to him.
        He could feel it
                                 & see it in the mirror.
        When he woke,          
the rest of the world
                                            could not see him at all.
        He had completely ceased to exist
                                                                 among them.

About the Author:

Clif Mason lives in Bellevue, Nebraska, with his wife, a visual artist. He is the author of one collection, Knocking the Stars Senseless (Stephen F. Austin State University Press), and three chapbooks: The Book of Night & Waking (won the Cathexis Northwest Press Chapbook Prize), Self-portraits in Which I Do Not Appear (Finishing Line Press), and From the Dead Before (Lone Willow Press). His work has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and he has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Rwanda, Africa. He also writes magical realist and fantasy fiction. Twitter: @mason_clif