Katie Hogan and Madison Zehmer, poem

Katie Hogan is a twenty year old emerging poet from Richmond, Virginia, writing and living in Denver, Colorado. Her work is forthcoming in The Chiron Review and Ember Chasm Review, and she is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in creative writing from the University of Denver.

Madison Zehmer is a poet and wannabe historian from North Carolina. She has published and forthcoming work in the Santa Ana River Review, Isacoustic, Gone Lawn, LandLocked, and more. She is the editor in chief of Mineral Lit Mag, and her chapbook will be released by Kelsay Books in 2021.

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DeJarnette Sanitarium, March 2017

When we trudge from green hatchback, it is down a grassy hill, speakless, no beat but the wind to bring us to our knees beneath brick. We don’t know why we are here. All of Shenandoah recedes from sanitarium, ivy overgrown, something unearthable in the fieldlands. Ghosts standing in the shade of microgreens wave us over.

We are praying or pleading or something and silent, hushed unsure, staircases snaking up to Staunton’s most boarded-in, Anasazi of their own, looking for a crack to pry, a cry in the glass to creep through. To come to.

A window delivers us to a tiled floor— so many envelopes, so many letters— the only place the light enters. Our thirsting lungs call out for greenhouse air; unsure if we haunt or host. We feel our way through basement bathroom. Decomposition gases flood the panes; I stop past the shower. Try to picture the steam. I do not know whether the water will hold back the angels or the dead.

I can only picture the nakedness. Something wrong. Something crawls from the corner of a mirror— dusk, dust. Something like oracle or occult—holy and raw at once. A door left ajar lets us through.

Anasazi means ancient outsiders. They lived in Colorado before I moved from Virginia but remain recorded in glyphs, cliff-side, like the ones DeJarnette patients jumped from. These, the hands that painted, abandoned open pages, left their souls in the grass here, psychorealized, that sat in the front yard once watched long enough to be allowed outside for lunch— fistful to mouthful, they watch the Blue Ridge bend and remain, a different kind of prehistoric. Nobody kept records on eugenics, so we are forced to anthropologize, make our way through the dim.

What a privilege to shuffle along marble, to clumsy up staircases, snake toward stars, to wander in the dark. In woodchipped walls, heartbeats echo as sirens. If born forty years before I was, I might’ve been one among many, sterilized, forced to find ways to survive the light. Things they don’t teach. I press an arched window, think of the eyes that must’ve stared through— Staunton’s most boarded in, shapes of opal, shades of pool, mud. I smell latex and bleach, heavy on gritted palms.

The weed pulp outside smells of ghost breath. The floor, of shadow, the bathroom, of irony unsent. Letters opened but never delivered. There were children here, their bodies are outside, along the back fence. Like subterranean succulents, treated with chlorine. Hands corroded tender. I wonder what happened. Ferns holding tiny craters in their bellies baptize away the rot. My trespassed transgression now nothing like what they did.

Out front, grass flattens under where ambulances once treaded, still fertile from spit and mouth foam of pre-patient mourn, rabid irises leaking down and down and down. The stairs work both ways. Flytrap: I can hear them scream. Nerves are synthesized here in handfuls of shrub and oak. Humid clings mist-like to moss out front. They can no longer see it: the portico a duct, nozzeling off-dreams and wrong bodies through. The Anasazi were surrealists, too— watch what they drew from ash.

Watch the Pueblo dunes. Watch the sun rise and pink up the clouds. Predictions come from people asylumed under mortar, mansioned farmhouse kept close in to nowhere, porthole for sanitation— lobotomy, scrubbrush.

Ivy dwindles as fragmented memory. We snake up the front stair, unscrew doorknob like we would loosen a bulb. Every light is already out. Only a few of the entryways open. DeJarnette remains for us anthropologists, haunt or host, hushed— its doors and windows clasp and come undone again, come apart and lock again. Dimmed footprints reactive as carbon whistle under rubber soles. We come to.

~~~~~

previously published in Certain Circuits, and forthcoming in Dreich Magazine

person Charlie Brice, two poems

Charlie Brice is the author of Flashcuts Out of Chaos (2016), Mnemosyne’s Hand (2018), and An Accident of Blood (2019), all from WordTech Editions. His poetry has been nominated for the Best of Net anthology and twice for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in The Atlanta Review, The Sunlight Press, Chiron Review, Plainsongs, I-70 Review, Mudfish 12, The Paterson Literary Review, and elsewhere.

//

Van Cliburn

Was it because the wind blew
so loudly on the barren prairie that
thought went missing in the gale?

Was it the emptiness and largess—
men in baggy suits, women’s circle
skirts, so many blubbering through

the prosperous fifties? Was it because Ike
and Khrushchev were threatening a last
dance in a mushroom cloud?

Was it because this young guy from Kilgore,
Texas grew up where it was so flat and dusty
that either you drank all the time,

made friends with a cow, or gave your heart
to something so completely that it became
the very form of your soul?

Surely that’s all we had in common: emptiness,
ubiquitous dust, and calamitous wind. Still,
I shared with this man a gushing love

of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov and
the Russian spirit—a romance of music
that let us survive ourselves.

\\

Returning to Earth

In Returning to Earth*,
Jim Harrison’s character, Donald,
climbs into his own grave while
a relative administers a lethal potion.
He was terminally ill as we all are,
which was Jim’s point, and felt that death
was nature, not at its finest,
but at its essence.

When Jim Harrison died
a friend found his body
on his studio floor, a pen
lodged in his hand. A poem
he’d abandoned by dying
on his desk.

My father-in-law, Ben Alexander,
discovered the seventh clotting factor
of the blood in the thirties. He was
a passionate scientist, but also
a passionate violinist. His brother
Joseph was a composer and pianist.
They loved playing together.
One evening in 1978, after playing
Beethoven’s Spring Sonata with Joseph,
Ben put down his fiddle and died.

The Tibetan Monk, Sogyal Rinpoche,
writes that we only know two things:
We are going to die and we don’t know when.
I would add two more: We don’t know
whether our death will be a good one or a bad one,
and we don’t know that final song,
that final poem partly unwritten.

______________________________________________________________________
*Jim Harrison, Returning to Earth, New York: Grove Press, 2007

//

 

{ In The Field Between Us – poems – Molly McCully Brown + Susannah Nevison }

In The Field Between Us
Molly McCully Brown + Susannah Nevison
Persea Books, 2020

~

It is possible our maker knows we are makerless. What can we do? Pair up, perhaps. Read outwardly, together, this In The Field Between Us, placed so mortally within by poets Molly McCully Brown and Susannah Nevison. Look, I have wanted to write you. But instead I cup my hands by holding this book while elsewhere I clay and call inside its impression of response. Oh body, with your origin stories for mirrors. Oh eye, with your cut of arrival’s winnings. I was wrong to think correspondence would turn one lonely. Here, in a verse predating what is both former and latter, are two as two bringing transport to a standstill. Should I go on? Can I? How pure and wrecked can language be? I can’t say, but start here. There are tools used in this work that don’t exist. I needn’t be whole, but am by them, fixed.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
https://www.perseabooks.com/in-the-field-between-us

person Howie Good, two poems

Howie Good is the author most recently of Stick Figure Opera: 99 100-word Prose Poems from Cajun Mutt Press. He co-edits the online journals Unbroken and UnLost.

Love in Time of . . .

The spring has started off all wrong.
It’s been dark and murky, and I’ve got
no idea why. I’m struggling to keep
the screech of panic out of my voice.
Chinese! The sky is full of them. Maybe
what I need more than isolation or
bleach is the soft, reassuring weight
of your body on mine. The grim faces
on TV advise completely the opposite,
but we’re meant to be held by each other,
amazed by how much we can touch.

Apathy for the Devil

This is the country you heard rumors about, where the sky acquires the greenish sheen of sickness and birds are forced by the diseased air to fly close to the ground, where memory lasts just a very short time, where school hallways are spotted with blood and the cops have a penchant for suicide, where deranged angels hoot all night in the tree outside your window, where thought is folly and endings go spectacularly wrong, where love, invisible until now but always there, spreads like a spider crack.

&

Maybe if I shorten my name, quit Facebook, lose the gut, I can escape everyone’s notice. I don’t care what the police say; today it’s cold and getting colder. People are acting more than just a little crazy, running around and around and not realizing they’re always running in the same spot. At this distance, I can’t hear all the cries or actually see who that is writhing on the ground. Whoever it is, they’re beating him bloody with baseball bats. It’s like Moses striking the rock and thinking, Be water: blossom everywhere.

&

We’re always evolving, always about to become something else, always both here and not here. Seen from space, we’ll appear at times to be moving away from something, but at other times to be moving toward it. I have to walk really carefully or there are consequences – dark energy, space-time decay, bubbles of nothing. Wherever we go, however long we stay there, God is a joke nobody gets. Most of us develop our own variant of “oh well.” It’s why the soul weighs just 11 ounces.

 

person J.D. Nelson, one poem

J. D. Nelson (b. 1971) experiments with words in his subterranean laboratory. Visit http://www.MadVerse.com for more information and links to his published poems. Nelson lives in Colorado.

^^^^^

bright bird was to wear an apple

the miracle ice of the world to know us
the complete corn as a new vegetable

we hear of the light as one more of the soundhouse tapes
cooking that brain too loudly

the robotic moist apple tonight is the shape of the dream
we get that rasp of the clone

the start of the world in the ice of shrimp hampton
ministry of tree foot the gallant yes

we hear the same talk from the dragon
you have that serious foot of the proper talk

the fool in the ice water
the starting gulp and a new picnic

^^^^^