POETRY: Antionette Nena Villamil – I’d Rather Stop Here

 

I’d Rather Stop Here

 

The mountain looms, a watermelon
hovering like a new mother. In Chinese astrology, you are
the tiger. Quiet as a cliff. Oh, if only you
could. White pillowcase dotted
with blue fuzz. My sleep is scanty,
fitful, dreamless. You don’t know what you’re doing
to me. I pass the night listening to your rumbled
breath, touching myself, turning songs into
prayers. Don’t make me beg. Don’t just tell me what I want
to hear. Don’t make molehills out of craters, mountains
out of the ocean that crashes in your sleep, startles
you awake, begs you to get up
and go for a swim when you know
you don’t know how. The open door invites
mice, dried leaves, a cold cold wind. Sleep on it, says
my confidante. But I want to pounce. I want
action. If not from you, from someone who can satisfy
my desire for the thing you’re afraid
to name. You know, I would love to give you
a kiss. If only you would open
your goddamned mouth.

 

From Antionette’s chapbook God Damned Mouth, is from Grandma Moses Press.

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POETRY: Philip Jackey – Apartment 1B

 

Apartment 1B

 

The flypaper hangs like ribbons,
catching clusters of what one might mistake for black pepper but
are actually dead flies and the ones that aren’t dead
are feasting in my tiny kitchen.

Trash covers the countertop. The sink is full
of stagnant dishwater—an oily film collects
like the one on my flaky scalp and for the sake of comic relief,
I chuck the closest object: a plastic ladle, confident it’d crack, rather
stunned when instead it shatters a couple of stale Coronas,
rotting limes fall on linoleum. And all the while is apathy,
lingering with the fruit flies.

The power was cut today, 3 months past due.
I’m not worried though, I don’t need much energy.
All I really need is to remember
that the carpet is not the ashtray
and at no time will my piss covered bathroom
ever feel the urge to clean itself.

And I refuse to squander the few urges I have left
on Pine-Sol and scrub pads and showering each day
(underarms the smell of barbecue chips).
I even refuse my very own mother,
who will never refuse me,
who falls asleep before the sun goes down and will never remarry
as she withers with pride but still withers nonetheless,
suffering in private just to spare me the guilt
of the selfish and ungrateful son.

 

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POETRY: Subhankar Das – Clock

 

Clock

I started feeling so bored this evening
that I started drinking.
How I hated this yellow pee
as I drank this whiskey.
My only hope is to get drunk fast enough
because nothing is moving right now.
Everything is at a standstill.

I don’t have a clock
or else I would have moved the steel hands
with my finger and
broken this dead silence.

 

For more of Subhankar’s work, check out his chapbook, Bukowski Smoked Bidis, available from Grandma Moses Press.

 

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POETRY: Sara Cooper – Elephant Giving Birth

 

Elephant giving birth
I click on the video called elephant giving
birth.
This search and click, search and click
a thing we do now, he and I,
to make the time
pass.

And there she is. As promised. Pacing. Her
mouth
a wide and soundless yawp. Opening and closing.
She shifts her weight from side to side,
agitated, waiting

for what will happen.

Other animals do not feel pain the way we do,
my husband says. As though he knows. And
the narrator

says something in a baritone voice about
standing back, allowing.
The music is tribal. Pounding drums.
All wrong.

We are zoomed in now. Balloon-like casing
oozing
from her. What is that?, my husband asks.
The sac, I say.

And I am back on the floor of our bathroom.
1 a.m.
10 weeks along, though the heart stopped at 6.
12 hours in and my body is dropping clots
the size of my fists. My doctor’s words, you
have to pass
the sac, my refrain. And my question back:
what will it look like? I mouth moans, not
wanting
to make this known. Not wanting this to be out
loud.
My husband asleep in the next room.
Like this?

The baby elephant drops with a gush of blood
like a river upended.
The mother turns to see. It is not moving. So

she begins to kick it. She kicks and kicks and
turns away and turns back and kicks.

She will kick the life into it.

And I’m stuck now in this narrative. Praying
for the impossible. 2:59 remaining. Kick,
I roar. Keep kicking.

The camera zooms in on the newly born. No
life.

In a final effort, she wraps her trunk around
the newborn. She
is gentle now, coaxing out the breath with
desperate squeezes.

And as if it has always done, all along,
the baby elephant
opens its mouth. And closes it. Opens. And
closes,

exaggerating what living looks like.

I watch the mother watch her  newborn.
Muscles slackening, focus fixed,
reckless kicking of moments ago not even
a memory.

I’m telling you, it ended this way.

 

This poem originally appeared in Sara’s book Mis–, published by Grandma Moses Press (2014). Reprinted with permission.

 

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POETRY: Willows – Stephen Mead

 

Willows

Cigarettes smoke, trail & sway,
& thus we, Mother, we also blow out
across the expanse, the lips.

On the edge, they say, on the edge
is our quadrant, a grove of willows,
the wilderness, the town of block houses
spilling orchids from their windowsills

before the desert, the Dust Bowl,
the tundra only man dares
(or is fool enough)
to traverse.

I say we’ve been there too,
out in the open, exposed to the root.

I say we know the wide oceans breadth,
the fields & factories map-large as a quilt
stitched in plain detail by Grandma Moses,
by Sojourner Truth.

Who knows?  Who knows
is an answer, a motto for what the future
may bring.  We know by standing, Father,
looking down, looking up at the earth’s
cycles, its resurrective past, its ongoing
firmament.

That path says:
So, I see you chain smoke, yet also
nurture, cultivate farmland, & observe
the heavens for their proof of mystery.

We too, yes, are evidence.

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POETRY: the inn at castle rock – Jon Huerta

 

the inn at castle rock
(a poem for Nowhere Man and a Whiskey Girl)

 

bisbee, arizona
woke up on a crooked
balcony at day break
overlooking downtown
it was a long night
like all the others before
i was still half lit
twenty or so small towns
lay in the wake of empty cans
well whiskey and song
some would call it
a fruitless endeavor
i’ll say it was the best
view of various
hardwood floors
across the southwest

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POETRY: Yoni Hammer-Kossoy – Scrawled on a Yosemite Park Map

Scrawled on a Yosemite Park Map

To the couple from the orange tent

whose amorous shushes

crept around the campground

long into the night like a bear

looking for leftovers,

I’m sorry if my kids

happened to slam the car doors

a few too many times

on our way out to an early morning

Ranger-led flora and fauna walk.

 

Staring at a lineup of RVs

crammed with wildlife-gawking

selfie-stick swinging day-trippers,

he said: the valley

had become a petting zoo.

Better head for the high country

if you’re looking for something wild.

 

So we did, and found more people and cars

but also endless pine, something blue

called sky, and mountains rising up

with a shrug that said: if not wild

then closer. Maybe it was the thin air,

or not showering for five days,

but I’d recommend the ice-clear lake

I dove into, for once not wondering

how much time was left on the clock.

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POETRY: KYLE PERDUE – “Breakfast With a Skeleton”

“Breakfast With a Skeleton”

I walked down the morning stairs

a skeleton sat at my typewriter

he was turning the wheel

trying to get the paper through

“you have to guide it through.”

I said through a yawn

he looked at me snide

his bone and marrow yellowish from decay

what are you looking at?

I thought

you’re a god damn skeleton

he took a sip of coffee

I watched it go into his jaw

through his throat

down his belly

and onto the floor

he’d gotten the paper in

and I could hear him now from the kitchen

he was typing something

“eggs?”

I called out

no response

I walked over

he was head-down, still typing

“YEAH!”

he screamed

jesus

I made the eggs— dashed with some cinnamon

I sat on one end of the table

him on the other

I watched the eggs travel through his body

and splat onto the floor where my dog ate them

“terrible.”

he said

“is that, is that cinnamon?”

what was left of his face cringed

“what were you writing?”

no response

“what were you writing?”

he took another bite of eggs and said:

“a body for myself.”

“a body for yourself?”

“a vessel for this hollow, lonely, useless, irritating,

appalling arrangement of calcium.”

“that’s what you were writing?”

“that and a love poem.”

“for Meryl”

“but how do you write a body?”

I asked him

“the same way you write a love poem,

it writes you.”

I had a sip of coffee

“I like you, skeleton, you should stick around.”

“can’t,

I’ve got to get an x-ray today.”

he showed me his broken arm

“you ever tried writing a love poem with a broken arm?”

he asked

“no, but I have with a broken heart.”

we sat in silence

just before he read me his body

and his love poem

I cried during both

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