POETRY: MARLENA CHERTOCK – CEMETARIO GENERAL

Cemetario General

Cemetario General is one of the largest cemeteries in Santiago, Chile. Patio 29 is a plot used to bury the disappeared, the homeless, the unidentified, and victims of the Augusto Pinochet military dictatorship.

 

What’s left of them is arranged in boxes,
fifty or so line a wall.
He turns off the leaf blower,
passes a woman kneeling, her head lowered.

Even in death there are mansions.
Glass criptas encasing tías.
He coaxes leaves away
from the marble structures.

In a narrower section
ice cream and chip vendors push their carts.
Crowded together are plots of dirt, maybe some hierba,
a Nescafé bottle filled with wilted hydrangea.

He asks families to give more.
Sometimes there’s no response. So he digs up the land
and transfers what endured to a mass plot, Patio 29.
He’s so close to the body then, touching its bones.

At home he holds his esposa’s hips
as she cooks dinner, the smell of her sweat and the humitas
mixing in the kitchen air,
holds her as she undresses and they lie down together.

Find her at marlenachertock.com or @mchertock.

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poetry: Joseph Somoza – Hasta La Vista

Hasta La Vista

Here I find myself again,
in the company of
trees and sunshine,
a quiet workday morning.
It’s like emerging from a tunnel
where my mind was cloyed
with mundane matters such as
providing food, doing dishes,
and having to
respond to others—

who are my family,
who have gone back now
to being themselves
in the far distance where I can
make out the details better,
hear their words more clearly
in the sparse air between
here and there, as if minds can’t
co-exist in close proximity
and must always be
sent on their way.

Order Joseph Somoza’s new volume of poems As Far as I know (Cinco Puntos Press, 2015).

 

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MICHAEL DWAYNE SMITH – THE SANITY PSALMS

The Sanity Psalms

Drunkenness should be supported more in public life.

I was just sitting around downing bottles of

Samuel L. Jackson’s Shithouse Porter

(with the occasional Fish House Stout),

and I was listening to Mickey & The Wifebeaters’ latest album,

Top Ten Suicidal Truck Driver Songs, when I realized

neither Jesus nor Pterodactyls are in the Constitution.

I heard a heavenly voice say,

“You have made drunkenness respectable, sir,” except no, no,

that voice was my drunk uncle, known to all his nieces as

Drunkula (for creeping around rooms at night in search of a kiss

and asking, “Mind if I pee in your hamper?”),

but this time instead of creeping my drunk uncle taught me

the fool-proof, guaranteed 100%, Three Step Formula for Success

passed down for generations in our clan. Step one, set a goal.

Step two, forget about it. Step three, do something else.

He had the evidence to back it up; he declared,

“I got a paycheck last week, I don’t know about you.”

This was late night stoner TV, without the pictures.

The guy became pretty annoyed and started rambling about his

brain being ripped apart by angels. That one I knew because

at school they taught us the Hall of Fame is in Franch, everybody’s

drunk uncle stumbling around the neighborhood. So, yeah,

if wrong were a country, he’d be the capitol.

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POETRY: NATALIE CRICK – WEDDING CAKE

Wedding Cake

 

We eat the top of your wedding cake,

Stale sugar pieces cracking our teeth,

 

Promising each mouthful

To be the last,

 

Buttercream drooling from

Sticky fingers,

 

Pregnant with cream,

Pink pearls to be kissed.

 

Plump lips wait,

Shivering from loneliness.

 

We listen to the screaming downstairs

 

The plastic bride and groom

Sucked clean of sweetness.

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POETRY: NELS HANSON – GUESTS

Guests

A lost dog and at his side

a lost friend are running day

and night across blue rivers’

bridges, down red roads not

clay but pavement, from state

to state each a map’s different

color. No time for rest or sleep,

to eat, only random wild root

or berry, quick short drink from

a cold spring. Each hour I hear

them growing closer, closer,

expect at any second one kind

paw scratch at my screen door,

the whisper of patient knocking,

muted, shy, polite but unafraid

no one will answer after their

long journey as I rise to greet

my two guests, the strangers

I’ve waited all my life to meet.

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