I was getting acquainted with the anti-tobacco motivational speaker ex-smoker I'd seen in the newspaper ad When a new passenger plopped down between us, sloppy, momentarily dangerous. He apologized through a lacquer of alcohol, his tongue stumbling, his slow reflexes reeking of urine. His deep complexion was riddled with pock marks where I hid while he posed nonsensical questions.
And then he settled into a poem, reciting precisely in meter and rhyme, a procession of Alaskan animal culture that charmed me to a smile. “You're a poet,” I said when he reached the end, not quite like when Ginsberg found Harold Norse in the subway, but it as our moment on the bus. He agreed, and opined his performance wasn't bad “for a savage.”
“And who are you?” he asked. “I don't know,” it told him, though it's no longer true. “Do you travel around the world?” “From time to time, I do.” “I wish I wasn't drunk when I met you,” he lamented and repeated that before thanking the bus driver and disappearing towards the low-income apartments.
Sarah Marchant call it magic
you taste like morning breath you smell like fast food grease and i want you here but i want you centuries away from me
i conjured you back into being my pen colored you in as you toed the edge of reality but i want to undo this spell
this surreal sidebar conversation has me waiting for the curtain drop for the cards to flutter to the floor, for that black top hat you can climb back into
i'm the kid caught knuckles-deep in the cookie jar and you were gnawing my fingers off before i could jerk my hand away
July, With You
Sleeping without blankets because Missouri was drowning us deeply. That's how I'd like to remember you. Draped together in a daydream. The curve of your lashes behind your glasses, your teeth when you're laughing, your freshly-showered smell.
In bed, we have a universe to ourselves. Legs overlapping in tender familiarity. Every stroke of fondness can be traced back to the shedding of our second skins, to inviting you in, to sinking like the love and heat are palpable.
I have an offering for you, and this time the house isn't filling up with smoke.
My hands are lifted, palms up, and spilling over with every pretty word I could ever present to you.
A cigarette hangs from your lips; how I'd love to crumble everything that could ever hurt you, how I'd love to kiss it all to pieces.
Don Mager December Journal: Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Morning wakes with wide ears cocked up at reverberations of its present tense. Tense with the shimmering presence of its hollow blare, the train wails along ears’ vanishing point. In the crackly crisp air, wind chimes jingle small random swirls of climbing overtones. Horizon echoes proximity. Proximity calls horizon back. Up through its tunnel of filament nerves, ears swirl, as they score blots across the yard from the sun’s long shadows’ chimes. Nerves hum air’s cold plaint. Snapping a shot . . . its shot . . . now . . . now flits across the brain.
Rosemary Poole Old Woman Watching
When our limbs mingled salt arms and ankles and sweat-smudged nights and daybreak,
all the old women shouted and the old men cried watching, yearning for limbs like ours --
like a girl’s first lip-lick and a boy’s first glancing so were we imagination’s offspring. Then
we were imagination’s offspring. Now
I am an old woman watching shouting as an old man cries
Kate McNairy Wet Bodies
Bring on the heat, dark spots on the sun, harsh, and unforgiving. The earth shifts and moves— The oceans bubble over— We wait until the sun drops, our temperature rise, our bodies wet and tangled.
We press on until dawn.
JT LaChausse in transit
Your attention please: we are standing momentarily waiting for signal clearance.
Here, one stranger sleeps beside another sleeping stranger; beyond them, a map that extends red lines of passage, crossing behind one body and connecting with the other.
In the underground, a steel machine hesitates, meditates, croons an electric travel song of pilgrimage on wheels —
we expect to be moving shortly.
Here, a young man plays DJ for an audience of strangers, his head grooving to the beat, hands conducting perhaps the locomotive, perhaps the passage of time.
In the underground, a surge of life erupts, bodies thrusting sideward, forward, an uproar of sea legs, hands reaching for poles, handles, each other.
And here: an accident, an apology, a burst of light scattered upon the pilgrims; the conductor lowers his arms and gazes out into the crowd, out beyond the strangers and the red lines of passage.
In the underground, a young man becomes just another stranger in transit.
another thing that did not occur
Last night, you noticed how strange it was that the pulp in your juice got stuck between your teeth, the hallway light flickered when you walked, the thermostat seemed to rise up all on its own.
You stepped out into the yard to bring out the trash, but how strange it was that the garbage cans had moved to the street, that the car was running and inside, a strange man waiting for you to come in.
Last night, you noticed how strange it was that the bed seemed to sink beside you, the television turned on all on its own, and you found yourself within someone else, and yet no one was there to be within.
How strange it was when a tongue reached in and plucked out the pulp, some strange force playing with the lights and the heat and your body as you lied in the bed and could not seem to feel me.
Jenny McBride's poetry has appeared in The California Quarterly, Green Social Thought, The Prairie Light Review and other journals. She has also published fiction.
Sarah Marchant is a St. Louis poet who organizes her dreams in her sleep and struggles with being fully present. Keep up with her work on Twitter at @apoetrybomb.
Don Mager’s chapbooks and volumes of poetry are: To Track the Wounded One, Glosses, That Which is Owed to Death, Borderings, Good Turns, The Elegance of the Ungraspable, Birth Daybook, Drive Time and Russian Riffs. He is retired with degrees from Drake University (BA), Syracuse University (MA) and Wayne State University (PhD). He was the Mott University Professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University from 1998-2004 where he served as Dean of the College of Arts and Letters (2005-2011). As well as a number of scholarly articles, he has published over 200 poems and translations from German, Czech and Russian. He lives in Charlotte, NC.
Kate writes about the comforts of love, losses of coming apart and all that is between—the bedlam of life
JT Lachausse serves as the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of The Matador Review, is an assistant editor at Hotel Amerika, and is a poetry and fiction reader for The Adirondack Review. He was selected as the poetry prize winner in The Coraddi, and his work has been featured in Foliate Oak, Quail Bell Magazine, Praxis, apt, and Polaris. He has work forthcoming in Enizagam, Prairie Margins, and Hair Trigger. Originally from Aurora Sparks, Texas, he now lives in Chicago, where he attends Columbia College for Fiction Writing.