Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Galleywinter #59 - Joseph Mills

Snow Day
An increasing number of schools are replacing snow days with remote learning.
- Education Week


Before apps and weather channels made the future
boring, some mornings you would wake up and find
school cancelled. A snow day had arrived, unexpected,
unforeseen like God’s grace, but more understandable,
so maybe more like a twenty found on a sidewalk
with no one nearby and no guilt at spending it on junk.

Once I spent a snow day, building forts, sledding,
and skating until by the time I came home after dark,
I was freezing, and I was still cold when I went to bed.
After my father had finished his shift at the factory
and came in to say goodnight, he saw I was shivering
and he stayed, rubbing my legs until I was finally warm.

Years later, I realized how tired he must have been,
how his dinner would have grown cold and the ice
in his drink melted. I have forgotten entire years
of my school career, but not my snow day education,
about liberation and its dangers, about how pleasure
can lead you beyond what your body should endure,
about what it means to take care of someone who
barely gives you a thought, about how found money
was lost by someone who probably had plans for it.


A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills has published six collections of poetry, including “Exit, pursued by a bear” which consists of poems triggered by stage directions in Shakespeare. His book “This Miraculous Turning” was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family. Information about his work is available at www.josephrobertmills.com.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Galleywinter #58 - Joseph Mills

Giblets

As he began to prepare the holiday meal,
our father stuck his hand into the turkey
and pulled out a plastic bag like a magic trick.
Shocked, we asked, “What are those?”
“Giblets,” he said, “Your grandma loved them.”
The explanation left us no better informed.
“Heart, liver, gizzard, neck.” He recited
the parts in a horrifying off-hand manner.
What were they doing stuffed up there?
“Giblets?” we said, tasting the odd word.
What did she do with them? we asked.
“Made them into gravy or fried them,”
our father explained, “She never wasted
anything. She reused tin foil. She saved string.
String! I didn’t know what I wanted to be
when I grew up, but I knew one thing.
I didn’t want to be poor.” He held the bag
in his hand as if weighing it. We watched
to see what he would do, uneasy; sometimes
he made us try new things. There was
the scrapple incident. And the liver mush.
We were relieved when he pitched the bag
in the trash, muttering, “giblets,” and yet
for some reason that made us uneasy as well.

A faculty member at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Joseph Mills has published six collections of poetry, including “Exit, pursued by a bear” which consists of poems triggered by stage directions in Shakespeare. His book “This Miraculous Turning” was awarded the North Carolina Roanoke-Chowan Award for Poetry for its exploration of race and family. Information about his work is available at www.josephrobertmills.com.

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Galleywinter #57 - Athena Kildegaard

Bad Luck

I couldn't take it back,
calling my father
a cocksucker. He'd trumped
my sure trick in that
crowing way he has
of flicking the card
between thumb and forefinger
snap against the table.
I have never before or since
said the word, though
it did feel good to say it,
a little bitter, a little sweet.

Athena Kildegaard's most recent book of poetry is Prairie Maiden, from Tinderbox Editions. Her poems have been set to music by many composers, Most recently, she and Linda Kachelmeier wrote an oratorio, "To Know the Path," the premier of which was postponed by Covid. Kildegaard teaches at the University of Minnesota Morris, where she is also the director of the honors program.

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Galleywinter #56 - Athena Kildegaard

Euphoria

The dentist's latex fingers
penetrated your mouth,
rasped the vulnerable

flesh, jammed your spread
jaws. Your body lay
parallel to the floor.

When you woke
you were in a room
you didn't recognize.

Your lips were dry
You looked in a mirror
and found blood on your cheek.

Athena Kildegaard's most recent book of poetry is Prairie Maiden, from Tinderbox Editions. Her poems have been set to music by many composers, Most recently, she and Linda Kachelmeier wrote an oratorio, "To Know the Path," the premier of which was postponed by Covid. Kildegaard teaches at the University of Minnesota Morris, where she is also the director of the honors program.

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Escape

by Danny Earl Simmons

I was fighting with myself
for the steering wheel
while driving to Eugene in the fog.
Watching from the back seat
was my oldest son,
the child of my earliest dreams,
the boy who would love me
the way I loved my father
and make being alone
a thing of the very long time ago --
the young man I never drive
anywhere anymore.

Just past Monroe I missed the bend
and all three of us went into the river,
the two of me and my oldest son.
Then there was only one of me.
I was buried in the water, searching
the sinking of the car for my son. The river
was deep, and he could not open his door,
could not open his window,
could not stop being so damned distant
from all of the reasons for his being
out of breath. My lungs filled up
with water, but I reached the car,
opened the door, pulled him out limp.

I shoved him to the surface, followed
his floating there, climbed the bank after him,
saw the wet footprints of his escape.
Then, I could not find him.
When I screamed his name
the only noise I made was the sound
of a baby crying colicky echoes
no one else could hear.
The other me was back now,
on the bank, wordless, glaring.

Little Patuxent Review - Issue 13 Doubt

Also included in my full-length poetry collection Tender Melancholy

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Tsunami

by Danny Earl Simmons

Tragedies
like this don’t
just happen all
of a sudden. First,
there is this unseen shift;
then a shaking and a splitting
at the core of things. Next, the rush,
fast and hundreds of miles deep. From
the very first wiggle sirens sound evacuations.
Sometimes there is a scrambling for higher ground.
Sometimes there is denial, fascination with the odd receding calm,
exploration of new beauty until holding on for dear life, a few loud words,
                                                                                                        and
                                                                being
                                swept
away.



Other Rooms Press


Also included in my full-length poetry collection Tender Melancholy

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Galleywinter #55 - Athena Kildegaard

Girlfriends

We rode the ferry across Sydney Harbor
to hear jazz at the Old Push and drink
hard cider—we were old enough, just.

We went to hear a trio of men, middle-aged to us,
though as I think of it now, they could
have been merely thirty. They were trim men

who wore their hair close to their scalps.
They were nothing like our fathers
who wrote checks with money they didn't have

and slept with one chapped leg outside the covers.
I preferred the drummer because he lifted
from a leather sheath a pair of metal brushes

he'd caress the drum's skin with.
We liked the trip home on the gallant ferry,
its white lights dropping snare snaps on the water.

Athena Kildegaard's most recent book of poetry is Prairie Maiden, from Tinderbox Editions. Her poems have been set to music by many composers, Most recently, she and Linda Kachelmeier wrote an oratorio, "To Know the Path," the premier of which was postponed by Covid. Kildegaard teaches at the University of Minnesota Morris, where she is also the director of the honors program.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Very Long Hugs

by Danny Earl Simmons

Grandma hugs me while standing
in the dim light of her kitchen after steak
and strawberry pie. She sears the meat

medium rare and mounds whipped cream
on the pie every time I spend the night.
Then she hugs me for a very long time.

Her heavy breathing makes her breasts heave
against my cheek. Grandpa is in the living room
lying on the couch in Jockey shorts watching TV –

the Rams or the Lakers or the news, something
other than Grandma hugging me for minutes on end.
Her old-lady perfume makes it difficult

to resist the urge to wriggle away
or let my hands hang limp. I don’t remember
if anything else happens, I just know

I keep my arms wrapped around her waist,
confused by her heavy breaths and trying
to figure things out.


Shadow Road Quarterly (defunct)

Also included in my full-length poetry collection Tender Melancholy

Friday, June 24, 2022

A Quiet and Simple Lost

by Danny Earl Simmons

Will you wander with me
through how to make each day sweet

and join me in the meandering
of a quiet and simple lost?

Let's stay warm together at night
to the music of tiny bodies

steadily breathing dreams
and study the blue-black page,

dusted as it is with the cinnamon-sugar
of never, ever, finding.

First appeared in my full-length poetry collection, Tender Melancholy.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

One Flew into the Nest with the Name I Cannot Bear to Say

by Danny Earl Simmons

Still, better here than out smashing windows with his fists
in the middle of the night for a pack of Turkish cigarettes
and scaring the hell out of cops with trigger-fingers.

Here he’s got a blanket to keep him warm as medication,
and even he admits it beats waking up dew-soaked and shivering
in the park where he watched me get remarried a few years after,

well, just after. Here we always shake hands before we hug,
and he’s always groggy from sleeping too long. We hit
the cafeteria and share a meal. He’s as hungry as he is sluggish

and his shirt’s too small to hide stretch marks just above
his beltless beltline. We usually play cards and crack jokes.
Sometimes he smiles exactly like he used to, like we’re at home

sitting across the kitchen table. Just last week, he looked enough
like himself for me to brave a question about the voices, Son,
do they sound real? He answered, They are real.


First appeared in Chiron Review (Issue 101)

Also included in my full-length poetry collection, Tender Melancholy.