Saturday, December 31, 2016

Poems I Admire #28

I Know My Father
From stories only, from Mother’s mouth
on winter evenings by a single lamp.
A splendid man, a doctor,
taken while I drifted.
Smelling always of soap –
his fingers, the folds of his knuckles.
And from his framed face on the mantel,
unruly hair leaning across his forehead
as though windblown.

Can you see him? she asks, and I can,
bending over the beds of sick children,
soap scent whispering from his cuffs
as he warms with his breath
the disc of the stethoscope,
places it on small, bony chests, translates
the rattling of their lungs into ink on a page.
The crinkles at his eyes, the sky
deepening outside the hospital windows.
How he ruffles their hair, tucks their pain
into his pockets ad moves on, leaving
a bright wink shimmering at each bed,
leaving them drowsing,
taking their pale faces home.

Where he winds her in his arms
and lifts her to her toes, presses her cheek
into the faded spice of his collar
in the small kitchen where the fragrance
of rosemary lingers after dinner.
He kisses the back of her neck
as she washes dishes,
standing as close to the sink as I will allow,
I, big in her belly, tethered and drifting,
missing my father by weeks.

First appeared in San Pedro River Review

Ricki Mandeville’s poems have recently appeared in Comstock Review, San Pedro River Review, Pea River Journal, Texas Poetry Calendar 2014, and other journals and anthologies. She is a cofounder and consulting editor of Moon Tide Press and the author of A Thin Strand of Lights (Moon Tide Press). A speaker for various literary events, she lives in Huntington Beach, California.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

She Told Me Once Her Name Is Gigi

I don’t know where she got it,
but she says it with enough ooh la la
to lead me to believe she was weaned
on strong coffee and croissant,

and, even though she’s walker-old,
she smiles during her afternoon strolls
as if remembering how easy a thing
the inspiration of breathy French exclamations
used to be. We exchange pleasantries and pass

in the opposite direction. She tells me again
how happy she is to “still be here on Planet Earth.”
I know this is her way of saying she’s glad
she hasn’t died yet and gone to heaven,

but her wording makes me wish
that Wilford Brimley and Don Ameche
would suddenly jitterbug by to whisk her away
for a dip in an alien-cocoon-steeped pool
as they await the Mother Ship and immortality.

Of course, it never happens. Another thing
that never happens is me turning around,
walking with her awhile, asking her
how she got her name.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

Friday, December 16, 2016

Poems I Admire #27

The Calculus
Paul Hostovsky

My hygienist likes to include me
in the decision making.
“Shall we use the hand scaler
or the ultrasonic today?” she asks me.
I like the way she says “we,”
like we’re doing something intimate
and collaborative,
like building a snowman,
or more like dismantling one
after an ice storm, flake
by frozen flake. “The calculus
is caused by precipitation
of minerals from your saliva,” she explains.
“You can’t remove it with your toothbrush.
Only a professional can do that.” She’s very
professional. She doesn’t dumb it down.
“Pay more attention to the lingual side
of your mandibular anteriors,” she says.
I love it when she talks like that.
I love the names of teeth: incisor, third molar, bicuspid,
eyetooth. Her own teeth are
virtuosic. “Calculus comes from the Greek
for stone,” she says. “In mathematics
it’s counting with stones. In medicine,
it’s the mineral buildup in the body: kidney stones,
tartar on teeth.” She teaches me all this
as I sit there with my mouth open,
looking astonished.

First appeared in Off the Coast
Paul's poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer’s Almanac, and Best of the Net. He has been published in Carolina Quarterly, Shenandoah, New Delta Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Atlanta Review, Poetry East, The Sun, and many other journals and anthologies. He has won a Pushcart Prize, the Comstock Review's Muriel Craft Bailey Award, and chapbook contests from Grayson Books, Riverstone Press, Frank Cat Press, and Split Oak Press. He has seven full-length collections of poetry, Bending the Notes (2008), Dear Truth (2009), A Little in Love a Lot (2011), Hurt Into Beauty (2012), Naming Names (2013), Selected Poems (2014), and The Bad Guys (2015). He makes his living in Boston as a sign language interpreter at the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

On Adam and Eve

Maybe he was a natural in the sack, or maybe
she liked her ribs tickled after dinner. Who knows,

maybe she thought it looked like a slimy sci-fi
thing full of nothing but need. When all there was

was forward and pondering barely intelligible lisps of lies,
when wrath was ice-cold and slaked like a lemonade of whys

squeezed into a thick yellow pulp, did they ever stop
to wonder how everything could have gone so wrong?

How limber, their now imperfect minds! How daintily
they could clink glasses with the polite society of their loins.

How often did he ask Can I ever be inside you and still feel
the need
for air? Did rash waiting spread into a distracted

bounce of us against them? Do we really need to mention
the possibility that she turned around and told him to leave?

Maybe all he wanted was one more try before finally giving in
to the long hard blasphemy of damnation.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

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

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

The Air at Avery Park on a Day like Today

tastes smooth as the sleepy brew
of yellow melting green into a steam

so sweet there is nothing left to do
but breathe and think yourself back in time

to the day your dad dropped by and promised
he’d never leave again – which he didn’t

for a sorta long time.

First appeared in The Homestead Review - Fall 2016

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


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.


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.


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.”


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: