Saturday, December 3, 2016

"The Allness of Everything" Friendly Review by Sara Clancy

Here is a link to a wonderful review of "The Allness of Everything" by poet Sara Clancy. Enjoy!

Click here.

On Being Found Not Guilty

He left like shots from a jugular,
stomping away as worn as his reasons
for giving up drink. His shades slid

down his nose like dime-store readers,
so he squinted into the exquisite naiveté
of an ever-yellow belief that all of life

is always fair. Smiling at passersby
while two-finger tipping the hat he wished
he’d worn, shame and shaving and feeling clean

for the first time in months hit him hard as hate –
the kind that sticks and takes root like a graveyard oak.
He fled with his bald head wrapped in spite, his teeth

fully bared, and his eyes drying fast in an isolation
that lands like heat on drought over sourdough dreams.
Through newsprint and hot mirage, he jerks a soda

from a past he never really lived – stolid and beyond
the aging of a reality he used to know, one
as red as rose petals leaping from an ex-wife’s chest.


From my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)

(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

Poems I Admire #26

Tattoo-Girl in a Sheer, White Blouse, Sushi Bar Fantasy, in 4 Parts 
Alexis Rhone Fancher

1. IN THE RESTAURANT

I want to unbutton her. I need to run
my fingers down her rainbow skin,
expose the peekaboo of her sleeves.
I have a suspicion what’s underneath;
the clouds, the python, the sloe-eyed siren
who clings to the cliff of her narrow hips,
the hyacinths behind her knees.
I want to see for myself.

2. IN THE LADIES’

She’s washing herself in the sink like
Madonna’s desperate Susan: neck, armpits,
breasts. Lucky me.
She asks me to scrub her back;
I trace a lotus flow atop indigo waves,
the springboard for a hummingbird with
iridescent wings. I dream about such things.

She aims the hand dryer on the wall at her
throat, lifts her arms above her head. On her
right bicep, a Kyoto dragon wrestles with
the sun, on her left, the beginnings of a crescent moon,
a festoon of stars twinkling on her wrists like
diamond tennis bracelets.

3. INDISCRETION

She unbuttons her jeans,
shimmies them down around her ankles.
Above her mons a red heart ripped asunder,
and something written in Japanese.
“What does it say?”
“Whatever you want it to.”
I want it to say “Enter Here.”

4. IN MY HEART

See our reflections in the mirror
above the sink,
me, looking worshipful, ravenous.
She looks like the girl who’ll choose
the tattoo needle over me, romance it until
there’s nothing left for wounding.

I should have found her sooner.


First appeared in Chiron Review

Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity to Michael Cohen and other heart stab poems, (2014), State of Grace: The Joshua Elegies, (2015), and Enter Here (forthcoming in 2017). She is published in Best American Poetry 2016, Rattle, Slipstream, Hobart, Cleaver, Public Pool, H_NGM_N, The MacGuffin, and elsewhere. Her photographs are published worldwide. A multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of The Net nominee, Alexis is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly, where she also publishes a monthly photo essay, “The Poet’s Eye,” about her on-going love affair with Los Angeles. Find her at: www.alexisrhonefancher.com

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Loud as Dragonfire

One feature common among the winged creatures of mythology
is their overall readiness to curse. The Middle Ages were covered
in dark brown gravy thickened with flour and seasoned with salt.

I would have made an excellent rack of ribs. Hope never draws
sharks or flies; it draws things that go from gray to blue to gray again
and, on late afternoons, beach up on stars. Worry, however, likes

to get drunk, stupid, and stumble to bed. Fear loves posting selfies
of its frowns and lap-dances for a better set of brushes or another
shot of turpentine. I discovered that recently while writing love notes

to half-drunk karaoke blondes on the far side of the bar who sounded
just like monks moaning chants after drinking seasonal ale and turning
loud as dragonfire.


First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Poems I Admire #25


Ruby (1954)
Roy Beckemeyer

You always wear men’s pants, un-tucked
work shirt. I once asked my dad why. He
just grinned, said “More comfortable, I guess.”

A Camel hangs from the corner of your mouth.
You chalk your cue, tell old man Solis again
what a lousy eight-ball player he is, smirk, hunker
over; line up your shot, grind your cigarette
into the floor; stretch over the table.

Your hair falls in your eyes, a comb-over,
barber shop style, same sandy-brown color
as your scuffed men’s shoes. You tilt onto your
toes, the shirt falls away and I see a hint
of slender waist. My illusion of you as shapeless
falters a bit, but then you straighten up, spit
reality into your empty beer bottle, shift
the chaw around in your cheek.

How can you be real here, in this no-stoplight
small town? In the tavernous darkness you are
pigs-feet-in-the-brine-on-the-bar real,
swaggering, boisterous, cussing real,
never-leaving-until-the-bar-closes real.

But you walk home alone every night,
down cindered alleys to the barks of dogs
who should know you by now, under stars
lost in sultry air; barely glancing at all those
windows open to the breeze, where curtains
flutter like white moths and wives in sleek slips
toss and turn and stir in their sleep.


First published in Chiron Review

Roy Beckemeyer was born in Illinois in 1941, earned a BS in engineering in 1962 and served in the United States Air Force. He moved to Wichita, Kansas, in 1966 and has made the state his home ever since.  He received an MS from Wichita State University and a Ph.D. from The University of Kansas, both in engineering.  He worked almost 30 years for Boeing, retiring in 1997.

He has written poetry most of his life, but began a period of sustained and consistent writing in 2009. His work has appeared in a variety of mostly regional literary journals, including Gazebo, Beecher's Magazine, Kansas City Voices, The Midwest Quarterly, Straylight, The North Dakota Quarterly, Nebo, Mikrokosmos, Coal City Review, and The Bluest Aye, as well as in the anthologies Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems (Woodley Memorial Press, 2011), and To the Stars through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga (Mammoth Press,2012). He was the Kansas Authors Club poet of the year for 2013, and won first place in Beecher's 2014 Poetry Contest. His first book of poetry was published by Coal City Review and Press in 2014.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

A Brand New Color


Grayspace is the color of a god
who no longer trusts seascape grit.

He purses plump and rose-red lips
while fingering wooden beads
both fat and wet, edible as homesickness.

He cares about his Jesus, snow white doves,
and whatever came before the wailing

of something as much a plea as a cry
behind bars. The septic stream that tastes
like any heaven anywhere is just one block south

of the high-rise selling confections to hungry
workers like a badger on a snake. “Don’t think

you know what I know about hot meals
and warmth,” he says, then grabs a spatula,
turns red in the face, flips another pie.

“Remember childhood?” he asks, knowing
that we do. “Remember childhood.”


From my chapbook "The Allness of Everything" (Maverick Duck Press)

(To learn more about "The Allness of Everything," click here.)

Signum Crucis

She slams the Father-shot
in one experienced gulp,
head thrown all the way back,
and rattles to the burning soothe.

She lingers in her exhale,
reaches for the Son, swallows
him hard and hurries
to complete her holy trinity.

Turning the spent Holy Ghost upside down
on the sticky wet bar, she closes her eyes,
lets her head dangle, swirls it around,
and enjoys being half way to abandon.

She wiggles to the dance floor,
twirls with Bobby before moving on
to a couple of unknowns
and getting to know them.

When her glow gets runny
she returns for second service.
First, the Ex and his bluish-purple rage;
she keeps her eyes closed and lets herself believe

it wasn’t all locked-up tight
and letting the neighbors know.
Bobby hears another of her moans
over the glorious thump of the bass.

Next, the Girls, a twenty-something
triumvirate of crossed arms and pursed lips
over the day-in-and-day-out blur
of her jaded green eyes.

She sips the last shot slowly,
selects a Soon-to-Know-Well,
gestures across her chest
and slurs Amen.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Poems I Admire #24



I do not pander, I do not preen. My mother always said my taste for solitude would starve me. Parch me too. I have my Schubert and I have my Liszt and centuries of others, Chopin for joy running down the keys like water, Beethoven for rage. But music is not the laying-on of hands. I bought a massage once just for that; oiled and stroked, finger fluttered, palmed, I could feel the what is it, cortisol? frolic in my brain. Not cortisol, adrenalin, what is it, what? A compound that comes to the surface where you’re touched. Days without talking no wonder I put my plimsoll on. No, that’s not right. My riot. No. What am I trying to say. Floaters block the words. when I dream I do it big: Who would I want to ride me? Holy cannoli, the bakery man. George Clooney with those raccoony eyes and I’ll bet some hands. My mother always said Go mingle, get your blood up. Well. How do they do it, the lovers in the woods, on their bed of leaves, how do they ever decide on who. The boat went out, years ago this was, and I wasn’t on it. Is there someone to forgive?

First appeared in Fifth Wednesday Journal


Rosellen Brown has published widely in magazines and her stories have appeared frequently in O. Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories and Pushcart Prizes. One is included in the best-sellerBest Short Stories of the Century, edited by John Updike.

She has been the recipient of an award in literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ingram Merrill Foundation, the Bunting Institute, the Howard Foundation, and twice from the National Endowment for the Arts, and was selected one of Ms. Magazine’s 12 “Women of the Year” in 1984. Some Deaths in the Delta was a National Council on the Arts prize selection and Civil Wars won the Janet Kafka Prize for the best novel by an American woman in 1984.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bilhah


and Rachel gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife:
and Jacob went unto her
– Genesis 30:4

How wide was the way of your coming
to know? Did he feel your heels
upon his back, your nails tearing
the flesh between his shoulders?
Were his lips ever gentle between
your lips, the tang of his desire
upon your tongue? Did he stumble
unto you drunk, call you Rachel?
Was there ever a time when his eyes
shined into your eyes as his thrusts
slowed into sighs? Tell me, Bilhah,
how often was your crying out, crying out?


First appeared in Naugatuck River Review

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Poems I Admire #23

South Mason Street, 1976

My mother’s first name was dammittohell.
Her middle was Pearl.
She filled afternoons with Winston 100s,
South Pacific, & Carousel,
singing the female leads to her vacuum.

My father came home from General Electric
& closed the garage door behind him
spending his evenings with chisel & saw,
cutting joints to lock wood at right angles,
setting them with the force of a vise.

I’d pedal from Bloomington Jr. High
to the pond at the end of the street,
traded cigarettes stolen from mom
for Hustler pages from Doug next door.

Dinners were quiet & short.
I cleaned the table & rinsed the plates
while he went back to his shop or Miller’s Tap,
& she sat by herself on the porch.

He kept his bench swept of sawdust,
polished his plate with a fistful of bread,
wiped his ’66 Coronet’s blue vinyl seats
clear of late night semen & sweat.

She folded my clothes in squares
& stacked them in boxes from Kroger,
filling the back of her Pinto.

One weekend a month I joined him
in his shop, building tables
to bring other families together,
beds for sleep & for love.


First appeared in San Pedro River Review

Robert Lee Kendrick is a poet and teacher in Clemson, South Carolina. He grew up in Illinois and Iowa, spending his teens and twenties playing guitar and songwriting in punk rock bands. After attending the University of Iowa, he earned an M.A. in English from Illinois State University in 1993, and a Ph.D. (18th Century British Literature) from the University of South Carolina in 1998. After coming to an end with graduate school, he returned to music, performing throughout the southeast as an Americana singer-songwriter, while holding down jobs as a grocery store worker, house painter, and line cook.

After marriage, he settled into teaching high school English. He began writing poetry late -- in his mid-forties -- when he was assigned creative writing classes at my school. Thanks to a few very skilled and generous mentors, he's been published in such journals as Tar River Poetry, Louisiana Literature, South Carolina Review, Kestrel, The James Dickey Review, San Pedro River Review, The Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, and The Main Street Rag. In 2016 Main Street Rag Publishing released his chapbook, Winter Skin.

When not teaching, reading or writing, he races bicycles, still plays guitar (rather badly), and obsesses about Iowa Hawkeye basketball.