{ The Flavor Of The Other ~ poems ~ Clara Burghelea }

The Flavor Of The Other
poems, Clara Burghelea
Dos Madres, 2020

~

Clara Burghelea’s The Flavor of the Other is both a progressive exit and an appearing act. Inside of each, stillness awaits no inheritance. Full of confessional reserve and prayers that maybe begin with amen, these poems carry the exaggerated possessions of location as the divided theft of void and oblivion. Burghelea knows taste as a portal through which one can swap hungers, and makes of self an otherness versed in the familiarities of a becoming not saddled with being. If it is here that migration and exile are two birdwatchers marked by the same talon, then a reader may place themselves as one combed by any scar that holds hair as the body’s longest fire while another counts backward then forward using absence as census.

~

reflection by Barton Smock

~

book is here:
https://www.dosmadres.com/shop/flavor-of-the-other-by-clara-burghelea/

person Brittany Fonte, one poem

Brittany Fonte holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) and has published five books, including a Lambda Literary Poetry Anthology. She teaches in the MFA program at Concordia University-St. Paul. Currently, she is working with her writing partner on their second screenplay.

~~

If you beat a dead horse

The horse has been stiff for days
leathered by sun
starved by hands
too stubborn to meet in thanks
mince words
swallow past Christmas goose.

The horse’s eyes are opaque
filmy with flies
festering with lies
pried like teeth with a lost wrench.
But there is a rod and spoiling.
There is something about a father–

a father who went to war
loved a woman not his race with a child
once drank at a leather bar
to show this child he understood
all those letters and could write them too
and then voted neither green nor blue.

The horse has been gone for years
weathering the spitting distance
between forgiveness and trauma
in a glue factory known for
its confederate flag
and proximity to the VA hospital

~~

person Andrew Hutto, three poems

Andrew Hutto is a GTA fellow at the University of Louisville pursuing a master’s degree in English. Recently he was awarded third place in the 2020 Flo Gault Poetry Prize and second place in the second annual Poetry Derby hosted by Churchill Downs. In the summer of 2019, he served as a preliminary judge for the Louisville Literary Arts Writer’s Block fiction prize. Presently he serves on the Pine Row Press editorial board. His work appears or is forthcoming in Thrush Poetry Journal, Eunoia Review, Plum Tree Tavern, Amethyst Review, The Weekly Degree, Cathexis Northwest Press, Barnhouse Journal, After the Pause, Math Magazine, Poet Lore, High-Shelf Press, and Twyckenham Notes.

*

Curve Providence
καὶ λέγουσίν μοι, Δεῖ σε πάλιν προφητεῦσαι ἐπὶ λαοῖς καὶ ἔθνεσιν καὶ γλώσσαις καὶ βασιλεῦσιν πολλοῖς.

Lie – light blue, sicker fever [ought] [not] lavender, tea.
Chill as you know you know, foot stuck on celebration day.
Blossom spring wake. Pull wheel from unstuck to stuck. Still,
inference in the moon, in tea leaves. Seen as a whole of a partial data-set.
Picture the rainstorm as half-full drunk glass half-drunk full glass.
Wind on exposed shoulders, before Mediterranean cliff diving and striped
Sailor shirts, you dirty glanced. Whole brigadiers couldn’t hold off that advance. Prison
isn’t the place for these confessions but they do me well.
To uncork the present /
Tense as
tennis.                   Can’t anglicize the way we are as /
a rough pocketed need. You couldn’t wish for a, the A[ open[ as wide oft ocean.
Too far gone as third or fourth of tenth drunk glass, tumblers and tied top rafts.
She reads the Irish like the seas swallow the Scotsman.
In a family they lie down the grouse before the cranberry sauce and thyme tea /
That’s the way to curve around a conversation.
A hyacinth turned over and a fish was still swimming with the hook in its lip.
There’s an athletic look about your new one. Bet you missed the main street parade.
To shoot
snooker and pound the table.
Struggle for
something
as terse
as
a tannenbaum /
But it’s still spring-dawn before lisps start infecting everyone on the island. Wrestle me away from the standard.
                Mr. O’Flaherty, Mister and Mrs. Winston. Caught looks before coming on board.
            Turn shook, its green rolling down the hill. Its ancient history.
        Replicate the sing-song in confluence of O’Malley and O’Malley.
Take on the rounds again half-curve, providence in wartime.
You still believe Eusebius.
I bet you did then too.
Because you know I know you know how to curve providence, [the a the].

Like those closed honeymoon French doors and sash weights in this putrid [putrid luxury//.

*

A, [the], a

Shape beyond shape
Sour upon sour,

shelving away space,
seen through a respite.
And I caught an eye, your eye.
Ducking and salting.
Overdoing it
and underdoing it.

Remove windows from the kitchenette.
Doing makeup in the car.

I’d bet the house,
the fields from hill to stream

to hesitate again before seeing
the small sight of shape
in coaxed shape.

Form under form

I’d send something off.

*

IV. Riviere Chiagnez

Just past Exit 15, before you reach the flea market,
          the pastor’s wife will be selling boiled peanuts by the bucket
                                                                                                          on weekdays.

Look, underneath each shell is a verse from John (no one is quite sure how she does it.)

                                                          In the beginning was the Word.
                                                          Unless you people see signs and wonders,
                                                          you will never believe.

The shells get shucked out windows about a mile north
and land near a stream that will be frozen this time of year.

Foxes will likely dart across the ice, leaving blueberry paw-prints.

          Last year, two brothers went to the stream in search of a lost lacrosse ball.
          The older ate their peanuts on the shore while the younger put
                                                                                                a hole in the ice
                                                                                                with the heel of his boot.
His sock was damp the whole ride home
and he stayed in bed this past Christmas
with a cough —

*

person Mark A Murphy, three poems

Mark A. Murphy is the editor of online journal, POETiCA REViEW. His poetry has appeared in over 250 magazines in print and online. He is the author of 6 full-length collections including The Ontological Constant due out in June, 2020 in a bi-lingual German/English edition from Moloko Print in Germany.

The Involuntary Side of Living

No! A woman is not property. A woman is a human being.
And as such, she cannot be held by anyone! *

1

Eleanor, you must wake up before the past cheats us
              and the sand runs out
              on your chloroform dreams.

The end of the world is only a stone throw away
              and already we are lost
              in the bloodline of kings.

No use to repudiate sorrow, or nuance of suspicion
              the past is always within us
              like the creation of the night.

The most human part of who we are is in the wood
              and nails of our undoing –
              thanks-given and mercy shown

beyond the sea of bones like shadows orbiting a star
              or waves breaking in the open sea.

2

Eleanor, can you hear us through the fog of anesthesia?
              Are you still dreaming
              the dream other people dream?

We do not speak of what is yours, we speak with our tears
              of what’s already dead –
              the lover within bargaining
              with the lover without,
suspending all sense of disbelief to keep the lid on the broth.

Do not give thought to the hand and glove of your despair.
              We shall not speak his name
              here anymore.

We speak with our fists of the Cause you fought all your life.
              The only question that lingers
              is uncertainty
              in the unforgiving air.

The rain has become a deluge. The dialectic but a ghost.
              The proletariat all but fiction.

3

Eleanor, Eleanor… Get off your knees. The most human part
              of who we are is locked
              in what we do for others

between your father’s shadow – and your mother’s utter devotion
              to everything but herself.
              We know that the bit part

was never enough, but the silence you kept cannot save you
              or your father’s memory
              from phony biographers
              and ill-tempered footnotes.

Here’s the room with all your prayers. Open the door and you
              will find us waiting
              like an expectant lover

compelled by the music of struggle in your eyes, swallows
              emerging from your breasts –

              waiting as if you had never left.

* From the play: Miss Marx: The Involuntary Side Effect of Living by Philip Dawkins

Au Courant

The sexual embrace can only be compared
with music and with prayer. –

Havelock Ellis

She might’ve said, ‘choose your pleasure well,
the world is a dance of scarves,
a one-way ticket

into the twilight –
a sexual field day for the mind
where the midnight carousel seesaws to the music
              of love.’

*

He might’ve said in his seductive French accent,
‘choose between titillate
and intoxicate

and say goodbye
to loneliness, for tonight
our bodies will taste the secrets of our undoing.’

*

And with that man and woman fell together –
complicit in sensation
and cognition

like a blushing amaryllis,
more animated with every kiss,
every thrust of the hip, until bond and bondage

to the soul of each – grounded each in the roar
              of rapture.

Ozymandias

The night is running out of hours
              to hide in
as the sober mind sifts the dust
thrown up by high desert winds.

And though desolation
and dust is not the whole story
of how we found you –
love alone does not break a heart
nor presume guilt where none is needed.

Once upon a time there was a king
so silly so grand –
we might hardly know he existed
save the mocking hand.

Once upon a time the days
were enemies
conferring misery upon the sands.

Now the sober mind confers poise –
proof of love in place of ruination.

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.

~~~~~

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