Poetry #118

New poetry by Danny P. Barbare, Emma Binder, Adam Henry Carrière, Michael Ceralo, Graham Isaac, Jim Murdoch, David Pointer, Ag Synclair, Christian Ward, Heather Whited, and Gerald Yelle.

Christian Ward
The Forgotten Houdini Sister

My greatest trick
was becoming a boy:
I wrapped bandages
around my chest,

pencilled a moustache
and moulded a fake
Adam’s apple. Father
wanted another son

to follow in his footsteps
but he ended up with me
and unravelled like a scroll.
I put on this show

to make him forget.
It’s not as impressive
as being buried alive
or escaping Chinese water

torture but brings a smile
to his face, not knowing
I’ve being perfecting
my techniques since the womb,

ready to slip out of
every manacle he put me in,
emerge in water colder
than the Baltic, than his heart.

Heather Whited
Silence in the Parthenon

Athena
lives in Nashville
now
where we built
her a palace
and put
it in a park.
Athena,
with her golden wings
and plain
bony face,
reaches
the ceiling,
has nothing to say
to the tour guide
and she hates
winters here;
Januaries as gray
as she
and cold
as her
blodless feet.

Ag Synclair
Untitled Love Poem

the poet Jamison Gilley once told me
of his penchant for lying naked
in a fetal position

on the cold tile floor
in the bathroom
of his Manhattan loft.

unable to move for hours
waiting to feel something
anything

and feeling nothing, seeing
nothing, being
nothing.

and I thought
if I could lie down
on some milky black night
and detach my retinas
swiftly, like opening a vein
I could use my mind’s eye

to see
how you pulled me in
gutted me

disembowled me
and bled me out
how you opened me
                                                       skillfully

Graham Isaac
The Sea Is a Tease
(on returning)

I woke up  plane-tired, jello-jointed
that morning, feeling so removed
with seashells cupped to my ears
and sand in my boots
squinting at the water,
listening to the birds.
Trying for the Atlantic
getting only Puget Sound.

Danny P. Barbare
The Dryer, Drying Clothes

Cold and windy
I’m telling the weather
reading out loud
outside the kitchen window
white and curling
the breath I breathe
the dryer
pulse of morning chores
licking the brick of the house
with my wet clothes
pipe and vent
till my tongue is dry
cottony white as spit
or filled with brightest reds
I filtered and tumbled
through my lungs.


Jim Murdoch
Still Travelling

Still now the
traveller
travels still.

Unmoving
he is moved
and moves on

compelled to
continue
the crossing

his body
embarked on
but his mind

must complete.


Gerald Yelle
LIVES OF THE CURBSTONES

We proved we knew the way with our eyes closed,
counting each step along Appleton, each theory
testing how best to negotiate the dark, keeping traffic
on our left while my sister and I cruised the curb
to its underworld.  Caught in their concrete opacity
we’d say curbstones had all the appeal.  If three
were shady, two were cool.  If one knelt, we out-
prayed it.  All that and the woman of the dunes.
I want to stop being jaded.  I want to stop being sated
and forge a new covenant, leave the house of faucets,
and the woman of the dunes, the sand Monday
morning, water Monday night, the woman secretly
plotting her leaving –she’s no good at keeping secrets.
My sister asks me why I hide indecision in the
company of satyrs.  I want to shake her and tell her
there’s room for despair.  I want to tell her that she
is my home –like the stones our curbs were cut from
–the ones I hope to return to.  I can sleep in the car
if I have to.  Sunday mornings tilt a corner of the mind
so still and so gray, thoughts glide like minnows,
frictionless nothings kissing snowflakes, hints
of wing-beaten cloud topping tongue-burnt stars.


Emma Binder
Office Kid

I have it in me.
I am invulnerable!
I can spend a night with whiskey and be
reborn with no headache,
no remorse. A thick, strong drink, the washed,
unfiltered lenses of my glasses, a single cough
to clear some ragged lungs
will cure me. Half a century
will expire without me, the crack of a match
will snap alongside me, if expiration
can touch me at all, a silent
bemusement at decay, if decay
could be working at all. A day job
that brushes my hair, tells me how to not jump
at the telephone, reckons my wounds,
oh tomorrow! Oh the pages and
the swept-out ashtrays, guests
will pick through my trash and find only
printing cartridges, apple cores, the occasional
local-brewed beer that makes me human.
What a stand-up kid, they’ll say out of earshot,
what an asset, they’ll say out of gunshot
I mean earshot
not the fragmented waste it once appeared to be,
just look at that efficiency, just look
at those fingernails, the skin
scrubbed pink, the head cleared & grounded.
Just look, they’ll say,
look at that machine-
that’s a fucking
magnificent
thing.

Michael Ceraolo
Cleveland Cinquain #51

Shopping
center’s anchor
left abruptly- pigeons
and one cart now fill the parking
spaces

David Pointer
Spotter Scope

One fully autocratic government issued
tissue disposal unit
                                        watches

another become the first recon ranger
this month to ride out of a new marriage
on a Budweiser horse drawn chariot

splashing in free range fantasy sips
with sand, rock pocks: the snarl of

                                         history

Adam Henry Carrière
Forgiveness

The over-rating of orgasm
has become a national sport,
unreported by battalions
of chattering magpies,
        whose tenured myopia
        feeds the prerogatives of egos
        too spongy to finger.
The thought thieves
neither sweat nor groan
when their pallid thighs
open and mistake complacent
satisfaction with quality sodomy,
when warm fluids teach an uncorrupted mind
how to swallow, and a good lay
passes with much notation
for a semblance of forgiveness.

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