person Brian Glaser, one poem

Brian Glaser has published two books of poems, The Sacred Heart and All the Hills. He has published many essays on poetry and poetics and he is an associate professor of English at Chapman University in Orange, California.

*

DIFFICULT JOY

1.
someone’s a wren
tugging at the sun;

the fire’s throat
on the last lectern—

added to them
just in time

—night newborn,
you will say maybe—

2.
the spirit of a magnet
against the spirit

of the rain—

irrational as a number
in the garden—

your second beard,
the literal meaning

of the four
memories at once—

3.
what the leafless trees add
is nothing

to the tally of whiteness—

her genius
harasses like the wind;

death’s creek—
a broken doorbell—

4.
darkroom of a deacon—

the exultant slide to the corner
of the pitch—

5.
dark energy,
a mass,—

Cherry Garcia—
save me some,

I will lick it happily
from your knuckle—

*

person Jesse Wolfe, seven poems

Jesse Wolfe is a professor of English at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of Bloomsbury, Modernism, and the Reinvention of Intimacy (Cambridge UP, 2011) and the recipient of an award from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wolfe is the winner of the Hill-Müller Poetry and August Derleth Poetry Contests, and his work has been published in New Millennium WritingsPenumbraRed River ReviewRiver Poets JournalHenniker ReviewShanti, and elsewhere.

/

Bunyanshack

A spiral of pigeons rose from the roof.
(The scaffolding had been removed;
the lumberjack statue stood, complete.)

In the parking lot, Arnie said
he used to ignore Beethoven’s first three,
but now, they glide straight out of late Mozart.

This discovery, Arnie, was new
twenty years ago. Now it’s a commercial
for someone you’d like to think is still you.

Barbara smoked, leaning against the truck.
We all stood in the middle
of something irrevocable. Anything they’d failed

to tell mom was a permanent failure.
But she and I had said everything:
In Ojai, hiking among the orange trees,

we remembered the year I left college:
long asthmatic nights in filthy depots,
as though my guitars were my family.

She scoured her journals, as if for her mistake,
but there was nothing to apologize for.
Our decades of love were enclosed, complete.

\

60

You drove slowly around the pebbly cul-de-sac
and around the cul-de-sac you wound again
as we continued our conversation from the diner
which paralleled many other conversations
at the diner yet seemed destined never to resolve
our dispute about whether god was a metaphor
which we joked was itself a metaphor
for our hope never to resolve the conversation
which bore us back and forth like waves

and I stepped to the mirror above the sink
with half a Styrofoam cup of hot chocolate
and poured it down the sink as I watched my face
hover in the mirror and heard it roll around
and down the sink while thinking still
about whether anything wasn’t a metaphor
as my moist breath faded from the reflection
that with nothing at the base of metaphors
all metaphors would swirl around and around with no end

and I climbed into bed which felt like a bier
digital minutes ticking into hours
trying to recall exactly what we said this time
at the diner and as you drove around
and around the cul-de-sac after we returned
testing its parallels with what we said
all the other times we shared hot chocolates
(soon no one will remain who knew our diner
nor the drives we made around that cul-de-sac)

/

Amusement Park

Some dreams are too greedy to be satisfied.
It’s always too soon for closing time:
there’s still one roller coaster we haven’t tried
from the top of which you can kiss the moon.

Not mine. Earthbound, firm,
I slow to a stop at every light:
I—we—have too much to protect.
Not only our child in her booster seat,
but a thesis: I’ve never been cowardly.

Choosing you for a partner was a fool’s move, unless
I’d planned to be launched beyond myself.
Choosing me for a partner was a forfeit, except
you swore that you longed for a permanent rest.

Everest is littered with athletes and poets,
the oceans with Ahabs, Cousteaus.
But how could I—or our daughter,
if she touches your mind—
stand shore-bound and blind
if there’s no span in the moonlight,
no slope in the submarine reefs,
where you’ll agree not to dive?

\

Weekends

The front window propped open
with a small block of wood,
we could smell the jasmine
from dad’s small square garden.
The traffic: a loud continuous shhh!
Sometimes, a few drunken teens
stumbled up Ocean Lane, a block away.

Sometimes, it seemed dad knew everything,
all the books packed in his one-bedroom.
Sometimes it seemed he had nothing.
But when a homeless man tapped his screen door,
dad gave him a whole loaf of bread.
Tired a lot, he rarely showed anger.
His face bore mixed messages,
as I have now, to pass on.

/

Perseverance

We could soak in TV for hours,
sprawled on the grey linen couch,
fighting the glare through the windows
that faced the vast unkempt backyard.

We could turn 180 toward the black chokeberries
hunkering like drunks
in rainstorms, like amnesiacs.

That’s when we lived in North Wisconsin
(before we sold the VW van),

where the sky kissed the edge of the prairie.

\

The Big Picture

The omniscience galls me, he thought
halfway through his paperback
on a park bench near the lake:

the author’s mind diving
like a predatory bird
into every POV
when we pretend to need no god.

He imagined his mother
kneeling in her garden
cataloging his failures.
—Her head would be tilted 30 degrees
over a meager strawberry on a vine.

Setting the book down face open,
lifting his pink face toward the sun,
he thought, I’ve floated
through so many cities
just to escape those invasions:
to feel lucid, anonymous, at ease.

/

Junkyard

Stray cats scavenge
amid remnants of radiators and refrigerators.
Stray cars crawl
along the access road behind the fence.
The boys, 15 and 12, still drift there
every Sunday.
He would have said, like grey water spirals
toward a drain.
Every year it’s clearer
they’ll never go to college.

Now, hypotheticals seem less useful.
They bring their music and comics
and—he thinks—they talk.
Had he done that at 12,
if he’d had a sibling,
his habits could be different.

Now, he thinks, whether they talk to me
is incidental.
The fridge is full of pizza and Coke.
He’s sponged off the plates in the sink.
On Sunday nights, they have a board-game ritual.
No one wins every time.
If it’s too hot, they keep the AC on.

When he was 15—before Drama Club—
time must have had a shape.
But all he hears is his father:
make plans, set goals.
He could say different things to the boys
when they’re ready to listen.
Something about self-love.
Or how personalities persist.
How, if you can’t tolerate them,
you’ll end up damaging yourself.

\

( nowness of the former and the latter

~

former contributor Adeeba Shahid Talukder has a new book,  SHAHR-E-JAANAAN: THE CITY OF THE BELOVED, available from Tupelo Press at the link below:

Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved

work in {isacoustic*}
https://isacoustic.com/2019/10/25/person-adeeba-shahid-talukder-three-poems/

on Adeeba Shahid Talukder’s What Is Not Beautiful:
https://isacoustic.com/2018/06/21/what-is-not-beautiful-poems-adeeba-shahid-talukder/

~

check out former contributor Corey Mesler in conversation with Memphis Flyer about his new book Camel’s Bastard Son:

https://www.memphisflyer.com/BookBlog/archives/2020/02/28/take-a-leap-corey-meslers-camels-bastard-son

work in {isacoustic*}
https://isacoustic.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/person-corey-mesler-three-poems/

~

former contributor David Spicer is over at the Hekate publishing blog speaking on things in the foreground of his new collection Waiting for the Needle Rain:

https://hekatepublishing.com/blog/2020/1/19/david-spicer

work in {isacoustic*}
https://isacoustic.com/2019/08/15/person-david-spicer-two-poems/

~

recent contributor Julia Gerhardt has a poem at The Beatnik Cowboy, here:

Julia Gerhardt

work in {isacoustic*}:
https://isacoustic.com/2020/02/24/person-julia-gerhardt-two-poems/

~

former contributor Kelli Allen has some killer work at SoftBlow, here:  http://www.softblow.org/kelliallen.html

work in {isacoustic*}
https://isacoustic.wordpress.com/2018/01/08/person-kelli-allen-one-poem/

on Kelli Allen’s Banjo’s Inside Coyote:
https://isacoustic.com/2019/05/30/banjos-inside-coyote-poems-kelli-allen/

~

former contributor Caroline Plasket has some breathtaking/giving work at The Cortland Review, here:

http://www.cortlandreview.com/issue/84/plasket.php

work in {isacoustic*}
https://isacoustic.com/2018/02/19/person-caroline-plasket-three-poems/

~

person Julia Gerhardt, two poems

Julia Gerhardt is a writer living in Baltimore. She was nominated for the Best Microfiction Anthology 2020 and Best Small Fictions Anthology 2020. She has previously been published in Queen Mob’s Teahouse, The Umbrella Factory, The Airgonaut, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Cease, Cows, Literary Orphans, Rogue Agent, Flash Fiction Magazine, Monkeybicycle, and others. Her work is forthcoming in the Eastern Iowa Review, fresh.ink, Moonpark Review, Okay Donkey, Club Plum, Feminist Space Camp, and Rat’s Ass Review. She is currently working on her first novel. You can find her at https://juliagerhardtwriter.wordpress.com/

~~

Her Lips

the nurse scrubbed/ loose skin/ off my grandma’s lips/ they only knew of water and love/ i know this because that’s all they spoke: water/ Julie/ water/ mommy/ giving her cream/ for her lips/she pursed them/ ready for lipstick/ like she was about to go out/ like she was twenty-two/ like she wasn’t in the room at all/ they put the mask back on/ oxygen rushed into her/ like when your head is out the window on a freeway/ it always felt so free to me/ i always thought i was part dog/ the way i leaned my head out/ the wind/ a hand/ fiddling with my fly aways / it’s a trap!/ it’s a trap!/ my grandma knew that/ she knew everything/ everything

~~

Your Arm
your arm was bleed-
ing, bleed-ING! &
you act-ed like no
thing was wrong
but it was all wrong.
it bled slow/quick
like a dream
where you
build a world
in six seconds;
it bled a thin
line. a red line.
there is no-
thing special
about you,
not there.
i clean-ed
you with water
and i felt closer
to you than a
kiss. i threw the
tissue away.
you spoke
of a girl who
ran around
the court
flirt-ing
with all
the boys
play-ing
ball when
you fell.
today
i woke up
worri-ed
for you—
where is
your blood
now?

~~

 

person Ian Ganassi, two poems

Ian Ganassi‘s work has appeared recently or will appear soon in numerous literary magazines, such as New American Writing; BlazeVox; Twisted Vine, Oddball, Manhattanville Review, and The Yale Review, among many others. A poetry collection Mean Numbers was published in 2016. A new collection, True for the Moment, is forthcoming from MadHat Press. Selections from an ongoing collaboration with a painter can be found at http://www.thecorpses.com

*

BOARD MEETING

The handyman was painting the room.
It was enough to calculate, but not enough to matter.
He knew we were coming and got out the broom.

They slaughtered the fatted steer. It was a party.
Sentimental claptrap like curtains hung in a manhole—
There was no shortage. They called him “shorty”

Because he was seven feet tall. Anger and madness
Must be subsumed. Otherwise, who will herd the cattle?
Who will paint the room? Who will play with the rattle?

No more questions if you don’t have answers.
There’s no charge for the apple pie,
Let’s hope it doesn’t give you cancer.

In the news, they put a man on the moon.
Turns out it’s made of cheese after all.
It’s very good cheese, if you have the right spoon,

And better than Tang and other “astronaut food.”
Table the minutes and ignore the baboons,
The bell is going to ring in a second anyhow.

Just get up early to enjoy the cartoons.
It was time to break out in the usual acne.
Unfortunately, the Oldsmobile was running on fumes.

Friends of the deceased are invited to the event:
The piper crooning all the little piggies to market;
The grasshoppers in the manhole growing darker.

*

WHERE IS “AWAY?”

It’s time to break out the castanets, the tambourines and bassoons.
It’s time to dance around the willow tree.

“It’s a little late for that,” he said.

“Good thing I didn’t contract lung cancer, I never would have lived it down.”

The party people can’t be blamed for their spontaneous combustion.
That’s why someone has to be sure that the fire door isn’t locked.

The sleep of a sheep, a sheepish sleep. The sleep of a salamander, a sheepish salamander.
The wet dreams of a skunk cabbage. This is redolent of something—roasting meat for instance.

We go around and around the sun, but we grow old and die by the calendar.

I have forgotten all my Latin, every last declension. I keep a tiny
And completely useless bit stashed away in one of the distant corners of my brain.

The narcoleptic taxi driver, drifting peacefully through the red light.

The local FBI building has no windows, at least that a pedestrian can see.
It keeps out the dangerous gaze of people walking their dogs.

It might be too late, and it might be too early. It’s hard to go on if you can’t stand
The weather. Is it Naugahyde or leather, oil or acrylic, Vaseline or tambourines?

It may have an incredible kick, a “beautiful rush,” business as usual.
But, like the working week, it will kill you if you keep messing around with it.

Or you could just throw them out. But where is out?

The news from elsewhere requires a warning label.
This maze must lead somewhere, or so theorized the rats in hell.

*

 

person GJ Hart, one poem

GJ Hart currently lives and works in London and has had stories published in The Molotov Cocktail, The Jersey Devil Press, the Harpoon Review and others. He can be found arguing with himself over @gj_hart.

::

The Ghost of Mole Hill

Not a soul on The 5.20
Except me, sitting
across in a seat
Silken over blacklands
And loam, a fleet ghost
Through newbuilds
and pubs.

If not dead it is me
Grown old
only four stops From London,
I search For my ticket
Like I’m fumbling
A telegram –
there have been
Many delays,

But now morning
Has completed
Its industry, offers
Anything if grey and nothing
Has changed –
The gap patched with ply,
I climb the gate
just a fucking field.

I remember pumpkins
like litters
Of suns – now fallow
And grief
Is gravity here, weights the weed’s
Gaze, turns the bird’s keys
Black –

I close my eyes and play:
Each time you rise up
I pound you back down
Again and again
And again.

::

person Paweł Markiewicz, haiku

Paweł Markiewicz lives in Bielsk Podlaski, Poland.  He writes meek-Apollonian-propitious haiku and he is one of winners ( Hasegawa Kai selected 「Special Selection」) of Soka Matsubara International Haiku Competition 2019.

~

a broad-leaved garlic
I begin thinking about
his – vans of soft dreams

~