New poetry by Amye Archer, Siobhan Ditty, Gary Hartley, Harmoni McGlothlin, Craig Podmore, and Lee Stern.
The Arrival of the Swing Set
You stand there mocking me.
brushed steel pinned
together by marshmallow bolts
and cotton ball screws.
under the weight of my two daughters,
your stoic dashes
become rubbery swinging smirks.
Against the cranberry sky
the girls swoosh past me
like out of time pendulums
gently rocking your steel legs.
and I suddenly realize
the permanence of you.
no fire pit for entertaining
no homegrown organic garden
only bumps and bruises
and two worn down
i was going to write the river but i lay down to rest
instead of the current running with my hands i let the sea
all crowded green and deep of dreams and darkness overwhelm
and rest but for the grinding teeth the little sense
that this is not enough not quite the best i might be letting
bleed from me flow and stain the sheets
Anything But Purple
You cannot be purple
because I said so.
You are the maroonish lesion
of rust on my boiler-lung—for you,
I sputter hot air. You may grace
my cool granite brain
as peels of an eggplant
I mean to discard. My walk-in
closet inky heart,
bruised indigo by you.
You cannot be purple.
Take the form of an allergen:
an orchid or pansy in the park, mulberry
for the weasel, the lavender in the teabag
strangled around a spoon.
Make yourself useful in that way.
You cannot be purple, here.
A Green Thing
Envy is something in the icebox gone bad,
but you let it stay because once,
it was Love leftover, and you are not certain how
to dispose of Love once it has turned
into a terryclothed something else.
Love got too cold. It put on a sweater
because you cared too much, you thought
too much. Raise froggy Love to your lips. Kiss?
Lick? You don’t want to eat Envy.
It will make you sick. But you eat it
anyway, because it’s the only thing there.
This Playground is Terminally Ill
This playground is terminally ill.
The scabs that are the headlines
On the breakfast table.
In the ileostomy bag
There’s suffering congealed
Like dark matter
Formed in the big bang.
Ever looked unto the dying face of Longsheng?
The abyss between the myth and the hopeful;
The coffin of God and the existence of nothing.
So we suffer to create meaninglessness.
We destroy to create a life of
Uncertainty and immense pain.
Please apply your methods of hurt
And show me the path to what
Only tourist representatives created
Like deathbed quotes of atheists.
Soldiers’ graves in sunny resorts,
Abandoned by God and man.
Mary, mother of our Lord
Is hospitalised –
The judge of the universe perplexed.
Vomit White House fallacies.
Maybe you make the most sense
On that hill in Lithuania.
Pieces of wood,
Symbols structured by man.
They’re just deathbed quotes
Of atheists and criminals.
God is just a pseudonym of hope.
What if Christ was crucified on a swastika?
Does that thought
For those who have been martyred.
In this modern church of disposable ideas.
We are the wood.
We are the nails.
We are the spear.
Burning the books that are UnHuman.
Britain in pieces/ those words spat and sailed/
We got respect in spades/ in actual fact
We trust in glass/ we sit in worlds beyond
In trust we trust/
Only the few/ are cracking through force
You can break them when we say so/ and not before
Popular theory in practice
To be hit.
A Child’s Dandelion
In the end,
I will weep.
You don’t have
to remind me of that.
I refuse to simply observe,
to delight in colors which
I cannot taste
and flavors that sting my eyes
Rather the salt of tears
on my tongue than the sour
of an empty mouth.
Belief is a delicate fixation,
fractured in a blink
and gone where it
cannot be fetched back.
And I do love to believe.
because the days
for belief to bloom
a child’s dandelion on
fragmented in a hundred
directions of disjointed
The days have come
when I will weep less.
PUSHING AN APPLE CART
I have always pictured you pushing an apple cart.
Maybe your hands were tired of pushing it.
But it didn’t matter to me.
Just as it didn’t matter what kind of apples were on your cart
or where you had to go beforehand to purchase them.
I didn’t know if you had walked across Europe to sell the apples to me. Or what.
Or maybe you just wanted to show them to me
so I could get an idea of what they looked like in the sun.
And if you were only one of many apple cart pushers,
how was I supposed to know?
I didn’t exactly spend all of my spare time, as you were perfectly aware,
looking for your name on the different rosters,
cordoned off on either side of a river, as they were,
by trees of promises kneading land that was never allowed to bear fruit.