ELAINE WEBSTER – BORDERLINE

Borderline

 

Quiet along the border,

Stars and moon reflect on water,

Who would have guessed the effect Power had,

On woman, man, and beast?

 

Six hundred fifty miles,

Not long enough to stop the mix,

Of peoples, of places, of life.

Must build stronger and longer,

Wider and higher until the heavens can’t see,

The love of a boy and girl,

Divided at the Borderline.

 

Katrina learned early to be silent,

When asked about family.

She joked about her father wolf,

Uncle coyote and mother earth.

Shy smiles and giggles hid the fears,

That invaded her nighttime dreams.

 

Dash worked cattle and lived to ranch.

He’d seen them take the water,

From here and put it there.

The Power knew nothing

Of natural flows and the thirst,

The thirst of creation.

 

“Buenos Dias,” she said one morning,

To a pickup and a cowboy hat.

Kat knew better than to smile big,

The way he did, with such swag.

 

“Good morning,” he boasted,

Chest out and head high.

“Dash and Kat have a good ring,

Don’t you know?”

They met at sunset in a cabin,

In the shade of the Borderline.

The morning brought a sense of place.

Kat spied a wolf couple and two pups,

Through the pane-less window.

“Dash, that will be us,” she whispered.

“Kat, then let it be,” he answered.

 

Bingo came under a full moon,

His eyes filled with shooting stars.

No wonder he grew so tall,

So fast; to see beyond the Borderline.

 

The night the ICE-men came for Kat,

Dash and Bingo had no choice.

They stood back as the van took their own,

And howled in despair.

 

Soon many joined the pack,

Peering through the wall of fences.

At the Borderline both sides ran the gamut,

Back and forth in emotional and physical despair.

 

The wall extended further,

By the decree of Power.

Families divided—couldn’t get through.

Except to touch snouts or fingers,

Before the Borderline militia threatened,

With freedom denied or death.

 

“There have been walls like this,

Built to deny and control,” said Dash.

“Yes, I know and they did not last,” Bingo pondered,

With the strategy bouncing in his head.

“We will bring Kat and Los Lobos home,

On the next full moon.”

 

The Power ordered a cover-up,

Of how a Dreamer could be deported.

Kat faced the Press from her refuge,

In the church near the Borderline.

She could see the wall of fences,

From the pain-filled window of her soul.

 

Dash and Bingo gambled all they had,

To spread the word of wrongs to be righted.

Their travels took them places,

Where anyone would listen to the pleas of families divided.

No one knows how it happened,

How a Wolf Pack and a Mujer came to Power.

The Press swarmed the White House lawn,

To report the confrontation between Ruler and Ruled.

Bingo led the Mass of People—

Until they filled the World with new understanding.

He stood tall and saw Beyond the Borderline.

~

Find Elaine online here. 

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TIM STALEY – A POEM FOR LANCE

DOOMSDAY JOGGING
(for Lance Leonard Gambrell)

Imagine a book
open to the black
depth of the universe.

Death is a wave of sound
you can’t wave off.

Sometimes instead of Lance dying
I imagine the tracks of a train
Vaselined and lit from behind
like an X-ray.

Sometimes instead of him dying
I imagine a steel-blue deity with 18 arms.
I guess 18 arms is how many arms it takes
to headlock something wrong.

I’m likely to round up a common stain
into a regional one or worse: a personal one.

The catch of crying is crying
kills bacteria, releases toxins,
improves vision.

Every white, elastomeric rooftop
in this desert town is haunted
by the dusty fingerprint of rain.
So much dust and blood work
between each papillary ridge.
The desert takes its time
showing us things die.

I was walking the acequia with my daughter
when she told me polar bears
have clear hair.

I was walking the acequia with my daughter
when a jellyfish of photons
came smearing across the tracks,
softening the steel.

I had a vision I went to see him
near the end in a hospital bed.
The walls were smoking
and we were playing dominoes
on a swiveling tray. It was horrifying,
I was still trying to win.

Lance writes poems on pizza boxes.
He gets to stay alive
a little while longer.

Last night tight ropes of light
crossed behind his eyes.
I wasn’t there. I was at home
looking for a dollar.

Last night in the pocket
of a yellow pillow, the tooth fairy
found my daughter’s 11th tooth.
The fairy came with a dollar,
dressed in mirage
except for his flip flops.
I heard in Mexico it’s a rat that comes;
it’s a rat that trades your tooth for cash.

I was walking the acequia with my daughter
when I told her polar bears have clear hair
because the air around those hairs
scatters light of every color
in every direction.
You could tell by her face,
the laws of light
were a let down.

Imagine a book
open on a table
only instead of pages
the black depth of the universe.
Now imagine
sunlight all spread out
on that same table.

Can you see him on a Tuesday in February?
Can you see him leaning
into the needles of wind like a vein?
Can you see him?
He’s walking there with me down Boutz
toward Avenida de Mesilla.
His curls so blond
they mirage.

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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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Cathryn Shea – Epiphanies

Epiphanies

I wanted a magical telephone
to dial me up and announce,
“This is college calling. We’ve
decided your major.”

Then I would fall asleep
and in the morning I’d know
with certainty what career
I’d be hired for.

A bird would descend from
heaven and chirp in my ear
to confirm my choice of mate.
“Yes, this man is to be
a good husband.”

Somehow I’d know to have
a child at age 25. Ring ring.
The doorbell sounding. It’s
a package!

Someone said to always ask
yourself a question about
any problem at bedtime and
sleep on it. The best answer
would always reveal itself
in the morning.

I wanted epiphanies
when hard decisions arose:
Move? Buy the house? Rent?
Quit this job? Have another
child? Leave my husband?
Stay with my husband?

I had an epiphany today.
I must be calm
and not need an answer.

~

Find Cathy online.

 

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John Dorroh – “Missed Opportunities”

“Missed Opportunities”

1.

There were missed opportunities with your sister

that I no longer regret. I did for a while because I

love her homemade chili the stuff with lime and

cilantro and those those little flecks of ghost peppers.

Any woman who can make a bowl of chili sing like that

deserves to be honored. And believe me, I wanted to

honor her before she changed into a man.

2.

The miracle was not in the fact that she always knew

that there was a man living in her house, but the fact

that she carried through, unafraid to tell her family

and friends that she was planning on tossing her

vagina a farewell party, complete with midgets,

tattoo artists, and kittens dressed as baby possums.

3.

The surgeon took her scissors and made a nip tuck

then a tuck nip and pushed God out of the way.

“He’s mine now, so you sit over there and close

your eyes and mouth. I will call you if there is a

moment of distress.”

4.

Those opportunities are now memories of things

that could have been: a little family moving with the

rhythm of the ocean, water grinding itself across

the sand to make changes that all of us can feel.

~

This poem was originally published on April 9, 2018, by Piker Press.

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POETRY: LAURA MANARDO – Lemon Water in Lake Michigan

Lemon Water in Lake Michigan

 

Midwestern boys use tongue. And I’ve sprouted

from cracks in concrete. Midwestern boys use their fingers.

And I’ve used my hands

too. Trust me. I’ve used numb hands

to mold Midwestern boys. I know how they form words

in their heads before slapping asses

in beds that I’ve made.

I don’t wash my sheets anymore.

I used to know Midwestern boys, but they don’t bleed

with the vigor that I do. They don’t smack

ball of foot to earth the way that I taught them to.

And Midwestern boys use pretty words

like “only child” to water me,

make me grow, spread me

out, lick me clean. Midwestern boys borrow

my knitting needles and use them

wrong. Midwestern boys show me their photographs,

let me put finger to gloss. Let me put finger to mouth,

Midwestern boys. I’m stuck

between two slabs of planet

and all of the Midwestern boys are drinking

lemon water.

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