person Natalie Mulford, two poems

Natalie Mulford grew up in Los Angeles. She has studied writing at Hampshire College, Idyllwild Arts, San Francisco City College, and the University of Iowa Writers Workshop Summer Program. She currently works at Ten Speed Press and lives at the base of Wildcat Canyon in the San Francisco Bay Area.

~*~

Arithmetic

My sister’s 20 year old body
times mine
equals the age at which I will be dead times 10

Halve me you get my half-sister, my father divided in half
twice in two separate equations

Halve me, the decaying half-life, and get this quarter-life, the rest of her ratio a blank x on the page

Halve me and get possibility, a girl in a bikini painting red toe polish on by the pool
before her boyfriend comes over

I can almost make myself out in her face, glasses and nose wavering in July sunlight.

Him I don’t recognize, a stranger’s genes.
But he’s got the right math to multiply hers and outlive me forever.

~*~

Totality

Burnt umber baby
Lobster lunar landscape
Uterus lining the sun
The shape of an infant’s head
Eclipsing
A year of waiting
Wanting
The wholeness of a shadow of a thing

~*~

person Chella Courington, two poems

Chella Courington is a writer and teacher. With a Ph.D. in American and British Literature and an MFA in Poetry, she is the author of six poetry and three flash fiction chapbooks. Her poetry appears in numerous anthologies and journals including Non-Binary Review, Gargoyle, Pirene’s Fountain, and The Los Angeles Review. Originally from the Appalachian South, Courington lives in California with another writer and two cats. For more information: chellacourington.net

___

Jeopardy

My father built biceps working for US Steel
smelting iron in heat that humbled men.

Now I could break his arm
over my knee, brittle as kindling.

My father used to let me walk up his body
balancing my hands on his fingertips

till I flew from his shoulders. They began to sag
after my mother passed. Rising at night, no moon out,

she collapsed in the dark and never woke
as once my father fell when a clot in his head

tossed him down. He speaks of my mother
rubbing his back with eucalyptus oil and saves hair

from her brush, strands he wraps in kleenex.
At night with his whiskey, facing Jeopardy, my father

drifts off to Kargasok.
In the Russian mountains women live to be 105.

So do their men, eating dried cod with mushroom tea,
making love last forever.

___

The Pond Heron

The dead don’t write
but my cousin’s letter arrives three days

after he’s blown away by some kid
in his own platoon.

Maybe another Georgia boy
who’s never been so far from home

so scared he shoots at anything
moving in shadows.

The letter feels light
for my cousin’s voice.

He speaks of sheer petals rising
out of muddy fields

spreading before the sun.
Of a copper heron in shallow water

who dips his black-tipped beak
to spear his prey.

___

Unmark – poems – Montreux Rotholtz

Unmark
poems, Montreux Rotholtz
Burnside Review Press, 2017

~

help me I’m partial – {from} Psalm

I call ash the blindfold of scar. I get my strength from paper dolls. Hypnosis skipped my mother. These, feel true. They, are not. Rare the language that knows what to say. And rarer yet the speaker who can make of voice a bread that rises at the footfall of ghost. Unmark has such language, and Montreux Rotholtz, good lord, speaks. As if summoned from the nonexistent archival footage of recent warning signs, these poems, these disorienting anticipations, are very here. They turn one to echo. They reshape the form one takes when returning home. Not one of these verses is lost, and Rotholtz is in command of such a possessive leavetaking that the reader feels as one created to recognize whatever blessed trespass they’ve gone to remember.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
http://burnsidereview.org/unmark/

person Lauren Brazeal, one poem

Lauren Brazeal currently teaches in Dallas. She’s the author of two chapbooks, Zoo for Well-Groomed Eaters (from Dancing Girl Press), and Exuviae (from Horse Less Pess); and her first full-length poetry collection, Gutter, is due from Yes Yes Books in August of 2018. Her individual poems have appeared or are forthcoming in DIAGRAM, Smartish Pace, Verse Daily, Barrelhouse and Forklift, Ohio.

//

~the following poem was first published in Barrelhouse (2016) and nominated for a Best of the Net award.

~~it also appears in Brazeal’s upcoming collection Gutter (Yes Yes Books, 2018)

\\

To Jennifer Love-Hewitt: I Saw You at Fendi Last Week—I Was the Little Mohawked Squatter Punk Panhandler

TRANSMITTED VIA FACSIMILE

RE: Los Angeles County case #24789. Letter was balled up and tied to a padlock, found thrown through the southernmost window at Love-Hewitt estate. Status: Unsolved

Dear Jenny,

                    If I had real access

to the internet I’d follow           and unfollow and refollow you

on twitter,       proving how relentless I can be and

 

                    I’d unfriend you every night

          on facebook

so you’d wake up

          every corresponding morning

to my sweet smile widening

                    your friend requests.

 

I’d celebrate each homecoming as though it was my first.

 

                    Oh Jen, you’d ache

and love           and keep

my slender hands wrist-deep inside you, cradling

your weaker structures. Forget forever

how us girls evolved to cake

 

          foundation on unsightly ruptures. Never beg

for mercy from a man again;

curl your toes for my forgiving           tongue instead and crack

a little extra space

                    between those legs.

 

          I’d rip you

from that pretty red Moschino dress,

and hook your thorax on a pin           to keep you

splayed           and still, and posed for action;

like a vulva-colored lady praying

mantis—          I’ll show you other flower-mimic

predators we mutually

          relate to if you let me in

 

to this big terra-cotta

          house of yours. What did it cost you?

 

                    I bet, combined,

our scars would trace God’s very spine.

It makes me sick how pitch

          perfectly alike we are: both of us women

—teenyboppers really—

          making origami

of our sex to serve a world drunk,

                    guzzling fragility.

 

                    Though you’re the one they think about

when they’re settling for me.

 

You stuck-up bitch I’d love

to show you how it feels

                    to withstand hypodermic teeth;

          be overlooked, replaceable,

dangling just inside the serpent’s reach.           Jenny,

 

stay the hell away from Fendi.

 

          Avoid the bench I’ve claimed

as my new country. Don’t play

with me

          down in the dirt or you’ll find shovelfuls

of pinworms up your skirt.

 

We’re not lover/twins, Love-Hewitt,

          not even friends.

                    But I could be the orphan that you chose.

We’d laugh and eat together           like on the show.

—On set you’ll share vacation pics of us

together on your phone.

 

I want to hear you say it:

 

                    without her I’d just be alone.

\\//

The People’s Elbow – recitatives – Rax King

The People’s Elbow
recitatives on rape and wrestling, Rax King
Ursus Americanus Press, 2018

~

I will never not obey the meanness of men. – {from} 11

Even if you’re the wrong person, Rax King’s The People’s Elbow is the right book. It is cerebral, whole, and deeply creative. It is singularly repetitive. If it says things twice, it is to avoid emphasis and engage the future to be more influential. There is no ask in this text and it is not a verse in which one gets lost. Reader, you will need to be yourself. You will need to be fake enough that your reading does not deter you from knowing what’s been written. King makes of person a fifth season. Rips the word from scripted moments and chews it like gum at the feast. Look, clarity has no weakness. And, as such, this is a moral and breezily devastating work that relegates reclamation to the role of nostalgia while announcing itself as present and here to straighten the nails that fell from the dream. Rescue has no vision here- and that is a kindness. I don’t think one should stare.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
https://ursusamericanuspress.bigcartel.com/product/the-people-s-elbow-by-rax-king

What Bodies Have I Moved – poems – Chelsea Dingman

What Bodies Have I Moved
poems, Chelsea Dingman
Madhouse Press, 2018

~

‘…Archangel Michael, Abraham—

young boys again. You ask them about
hunger.’ – {from} Reconstructing the Saints

‘…What if
the next city…is the city where I’ll find my own

ashes?’ – {from} I Imagine How the Man Who Built Her Hung Himself

Chelsea Dingman’s What Bodies Have I Moved is a book of foreground and footprint for which you’ll need both hands. In it, people are place, and voice a narrator of excavations undertaken to identify the carrier of the chalk. What alarm does one set for stillness? It is in this interrupted dream of a history, a history that doesn’t repeat itself so much as stutter the unspeakable, that Dingman is able to unearth the out-of-body. The past is childless. The present a map of our preconceived notions of ruin. As in Thaw, Dingman’s previous collection, the words here have a way with absence that, for the reader, bring landscape home.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
https://www.madhousepress.org/