What Poetry Is: An Ars Poetica Cento as Villanelle by Andrena Zawinski

Poetry is a river many voices travel–
a sigh at dawn, a wild soft laughter
that carries us from this mortal world.

It is all things born with wings that sing,
made with the syllables of dreams.
Poetry is a river many voices travel.

It is far far cries upon a beach at nightfall,
a lighthouse moving its megaphone over the sea.
Poetry carries us from this mortal world.

It speaks the unspeakable,
utters the unutterable sigh of the heart.
Poetry is a river many voices travel.

Poetry is the sun streaming in meshes of morning,
the boat moored in shade at the bend of the river
that carries us from this mortal world.

Poetry is a humming, a keening, a laughing
dissolving halos in oceans of sound.
on a river many voices travel
that carries us from this mortal world.

Previously Published in Found Poetry Review, Vol. 5

Source Texts: from Ferlinghetti’s What Is Poetry  and Oliver’s Poetry Handbook*

Andrena Zawinski was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, but has made the San Francisco Bay Area her home. She believes that all poetry is essentially “found,” whether as literal text or sketched on sky as clouds or as inspirational lines from beloved poets. Her latest full poetry collection, Something About, received a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. Zawinski is also Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com. andrenazawinski.wordpress.com/category/poetry

Demeter Doesn’t Know Why by Liùsaidh

Cora, twenty, wants her lover to hurt her —
Tie her up in sexual situations.
No idea why my daughter should want this
I worry for her.

She subjects herself to . . . what kind of folks? My
Feelings for my daughter swing in extremes, for
when she’s passed his door, well, he might go crazy!
(She’s at his mercy

Even if she uses her so-called safe word.)
How could this experience ever be healthy,
Positive? That man she’s around is evil —
Why does she need him?

Wonder what I’ve done to her in her childhood?
Fault’s my own, some error in her upbringing —
That’s it, right? — It must be the way I raised her,
(Craving a flogging,

No idea what else.) I want to accept her,
Yet I can’t believe my daughter would do this
Can a woman living this sort of lifestyle
Ever have hopes for

Decent marriage? Deviant. Can’t she see it?
Cora doesn’t live in a vacuum, and your
Children’s conduct do reflect on the family
How dare she do this?

When I challenged her, she told me she’d stop it
Give him up, and all that they do together
Ring-gags, found when snooping, told me her words were
lip service only.

Friends and neighbours, once they find out about it
All good people — they’d just run screaming from her
Cora doesn’t fit respectable boxes
Now that she’s separate.

Overwhelmed by sadness caused by betrayal.
Wake at night, the thoughts of my daughter churning.
Let’s not start on how it’s ruined my sex life —
God how I hate her.

Cora’s smart, attending a Cambridge College,
tops her class, does well in her education.
We, her parents, struggle to pay tuition
it’s so expensive!

Are we wasting, then, our time and our money?
How can someone do this and be successful
when they’re hiding secrets, threats to their parent’s
values, wellbeing?

Well, of course, she knows there’s this wall between us —
Understands I don’t accept her behaviour —
I do try to hide the fact I hate her.
Sexual choices.

Never understood why she was so distant,
Now I do, and nothing more could be clearer,
She should know how much I love all my kids, I
Need to protect them.

Understand. I’m not a bad mum, I know it
Children were the centre of my existence —
Gave up my career to bring them up rightly —
I’m dedicated.

Oh, my god. She hates herself when she visits,
For she knows how much her lifestyle betrays me
How she loathes me, when that bad crowd she’s in with
tell her she’s normal!

If it’s normal, why not tell folks about it?
Why her need to hide her dark dirty secrets?
God in heaven, maybe she’s told the neighbours
And they won’t tell me?

Maybe I should tell her goodbye forever
Never see my daughter ever again. Right?
What a perfectly horrible situation,
how can she do this?

How can someone treat their family members
In this way? I hope her doctors can help her.
Therapy. She’s going. At least that’s something.
Won’t tell me why, though.

Source text: www.mentalhelp.net/advice/is-it-okay-to-be-a-masochist/ Accessed Nov 11, 2015

Liùsaidh is a poet and author from the West of Scotland. Writing from a crack-ridden council estate, the poems are always strange. You can find them online and in print, most recently in Unlost Journal, and The Ghazal Page.

Poets Must Submit by Owen Clayborn

Full-length collections of poets
of less than 750 copies of
Poets who have not published
a book before by poets
who previously have published poetry
we define as a book of 48 or more
Poets who have not published
a book before by poets.

We pride ourselves on the eclectic
demand that any book
tied to any particular style or school
be of exceptional merit.

We are not of writing,
of the nature of our list
but we do, we publish.

To provide critiques or enter
this huge number of
sort of
writers
with more than 1,400 manuscripts
means that we are unable to enter
this huge number
with the care it deserves.

Source text: Pittsburgh University Press Poetry Submissions webpage.

Owen Clayborn is a British-American writer of short and full-length fiction, as well as poetry. He currently lives on a rainy island in the North Atlantic.

Or Otherwise Damaged & one other by Donald Welch

Or Otherwise Damaged

Warning: always exercise
intended purpose.
Always grasp and pull.
We recommend the possibility of danger
or built-in risk.

Leave your need to obtain.
This includes both inside and outside,
clockwise or counterclockwise.

Avoid potential safety.
If necessary use a blade
in any garage away from sunlight.

This new cool technology
is sensitive, friendly, and normal.

Gently, gently

This new cool technology
will control your needs.

Gently, gently

Life should be original
should be fresh
should be used
the same day as purchased.

Note: This may fluctuate due to death or injury.

Always read,
do not use harsh chemicals
every three months ensure good thunderstorms,
remove the power
when power has been prolonged and spoiled,
Forces that interfere evaporate naturally in time.
This is normal.

Exception: damages caused by our lack of care.

The remedy provided may not apply.

Source text: Black and Decker Refrigerator Manual

Other Heavenly Bodies

People move in regular fashion
night to night
helpless
night to night

a code
The sun is a bright circle
The moon has a variety of shapes
but bodies are points of light

Writers record the “proof”
the assassination of Julius Caesar
the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans
the conquest of England by William of Normandy

draw an imaginary line across the sky
notion of “infinite distance”
nothing to do but wait

William won
the Roman Empire fell apart
and the fall of Jerusalem took place somewhat earlier—
Calpurnia’s face crumbled away
insubstantial dust fit into a suitcase
unscrupulous salesmen made considerable money
by selling the Earth its burden of life

The first scientific discovery
Nothing ever vanishes, of course
We have evidence of the sky on a dark moonless night

Nowadays, probably at dusk,
pizzas are delivered
and in the early morning
whirling, whirling faster
bodies have retained some of the light

Source text: Isaac Asimov, “Guide to Halley’s Comet”.

Donald C. Welch III is a teaching assistant at the Rebecca School for Autism where he runs the Ultimate Crusaders Poetry Workshop. His current project @SocialLit explores new forms of poetry and collaborative writing derived from Social Media, and he has a found poem sourced from 90’s music in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine For more on Donald and his work visit donaldcwelch3.tumblr.com