Walking is Not Walking by Kathleen Galvin

 

Walking is Not Walking

Not in this blind tangle of growing, dying
and dead things all mixed and mingled
an impossible mass with a strange springiness,
that gurgles, rolls and grabs, full of moving things,
little and big, everywhere soft, rotting, slippery,
an oily mush of roots, stalks and vines, overhung
with great masses of living and dead vegetation
hanging to the ground, mixing with things growing up:
no fixed surface, nothing to call ground. Hard to believe
that far, far below there must be rock. Eternities
of dead things, rooted through with living things,
a thousand feet from rock to sky.

 

This is what looked from the air so even
and green, a soft green blanket.

 

Source: This is from a collection of found poems elicited from my late father’s journals and letters while he was an officer and infantryman in Vietnam and Cambodia. My father served two tours during the Vietnam War, from 1966-67 and 1969-70. He earned the Silver Star and various other commendations.

Method: I have extracted images and passages from my father’s letters, notebooks, and papers—adapting his language and visuals for poetic forms (one image of several of his notebooks attached for interest). Each poem adapts one or more of his passages, contemporaneous with wartime experience. My father, General John R. Galvin (USA, Ret.), made a career in the military, retiring from the U.S. Army in 1992 after a final assignment as Supreme Allied Commander Europe, head of NATO forces, at that time 16 nations. He published four books, including a 2015 memoir, whose publication I assisted extensively as his health failed. My father had a writer’s eye for telling details of combat and deployment. The poem represents a portion of a larger body of work I consider our posthumous collaboration.

Kathleen Galvin is completing a graduate degree in creative writing. Her work adapts language and imagery from the wartime journals of her late father, General John R. Galvin (USA, Ret.), including papers that informed his final book, “Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier’s Memoir” (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

 

 

The Book of Icons By Katie Manning

all that remains of Second Chronicles

the people
attacked
God
bound him with bronze
in his temple
and carried him off

he became
evil

he did evil
in the spring
he reigned in
evil

the eyes of the LORD
became stiff
and would not turn

the people became more and more

their ancestors sent word
pity

they set fire to God

power
enjoyed
its desolation
and
put it in writing

 

Source: Last chapter of Second Chronicles

Method: I’m tired of people taking language from the Bible out of context and using it as a weapon, so I’m taking language from the Bible out of context to make art.

Katie Manning is the founding Editor-in-Chief of Whale Road Review and an Associate Professor of Writing at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego. Her full-length poetry collection, Tasty Other, won the 2016 Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. Find her at www.katiemanningpoet.com.

LAST SHOW by Melanie Browne

 

Such a waste
So sad
Being held down
By some intense pressure
Jaws grinding hard and eyes pinned
Going through the motions
Strangely inconsistent
The pain that caused the noose
Why great people fall to Earth
Enter into glory
Clearly something is wrong
Holy shit
Rest in peace
Too soon for me to watch
Maybe next week

 

Source : YouTube comments under a Soundgarden concert video

Method: Some of the grieving fans comments were beautiful. I gathered them into a poem.

Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer living in Texas.

Note from the Editor: We’d like to dedicate today’s post to Chris Cornell, his family and friends, and all his fans.

The Scent of Unity By Rebecca Parker

It’s not alien abduction,
a mediation of chemical processes:

it hurts, it feels awesome,
cerebral preferences,
each to their own.

Oxytocin, chemicals and pheromones
give you a queasy feeling
That’s love!!!
Screw love!

Every moleculewears off
the beats of your heart;

I would have traded my life
for 30 years of the scent of unity,

a heightened sense
after infatuation,
a transformation
deeply deep.

You still get nervous to this day,
you covet stability,
shopping for groceries,
buy a dog
they usually last 12 years.

Surrender.
Zero score.

A hot metal rod slowly ripping your skin off,
it can cool down,
leave you cold,
it will never be the same,
a waste of time and energy
Honestly.

If they had no limbs on their body you would still stick with them for ever.
You think about them sometimes, and you hope they are happy.

The object of such an enthusiasm
it’s an evolutionary gift,
a hoax created by poets,
a taste,
just a WORD,
life’s one sole purpose –

that’s my opinion on love.

Source: Words borrowed from the first page of Yahoo Answers threads asking, What is love?

Method: My method for constructing the poem was to simply scour these threads and pick out fragments from the answers. I put them together wondering if, by distilling these crowd-sourced definitions from the most earnest people on the internet, I would accidentally get an accurate answer to the question. I corrected some misspellings, except where the misspellings formed existing words (as in ‘scent’).

Rebecca Parker is a writer and proofreader from north-west England, living in Scotland. She has recently joined the small team of an independent publisher of poetry pamphlets, and her own poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction have appeared in a number of online and print publications.

Pink Whale With Green Legs by Wesley James / Wren James

Source: schoolwork from my four-year-old son (wesley). he drew a picture and was asked by his schoolteacher to explain it. his explanation was transcribed and sent home along with the picture.

 

Method: reading through the schoolwork, i thought the last line was pretty heavy. he can talk heavy. he doesn’t want songs before bed. he wants to talk. i had seen “Mother Star” by Shawn McClure and i thought about editing his explanation of his schoolwork drawing into a poem. the words are in the same order as he said them originally; i just cut some out and cropped a bit. i shared the poem with him and told him how i made it. i asked him if i could share it and he said yes.

 

Wesley and Wren James live quietly near the ocean with their family. this is their first collaboration.

Holy Book Cento by Dan Dorman

I see the gods in your body
falling from the holy tree—

they look older than men can
ever be—old like hills, like stars

they say to a mountain
move from here

and wait quietly while the mud
settles on wide blue plains

Source Text: Various Spiritual texts

Method: This cento is an attempt at unification of faith(s) through language and image. Each book used in the process surrounding this cento carries specific tones, sentence types, and metaphors, so in the forming of these poems I had to mortar together the
rather disparate sources to build a cohesive voice and message. It is my hope that these poems mean something particularly unparticular, something interested in the all encompassing.

Dan Dorman is not a human fish. Dan Dorman breathes high atmosphere air and star stuff. Dan Dorman writes poems that look how they feel. Dan Dorman enjoys poetry and birds who sing.

How to Live in America By Erica Goss

be calm
despite
sick feeling

terrifying thoughts
are fairly typical
not uncommon

educating yourself
has shown a reduction
in misconceptions

thoughts and actions
are not under control
friction in the family

you can help
speak if possible
disturb

any option
expect it
added stressors

set up a system
do something
set limits

this won’t be tolerated
despite
complex factors

Source Text: “15 Ways To Support a Loved One with Serious Mental Illness” by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Method: As I read the document, an alternate text seemed to rise out of it, one that echoed the way people are feeling in the current political climate.

Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA from 2013-2016. She is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award (forthcoming in 2017), Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press 2014). Erica is a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Her poems, reviews and articles appear widely.