Osmosis by Bryce Johle

Holed up with a filmmaker

and a crisis of conscience,

a cocktail tackles my story.

Sometimes a pillbug in a yard

can be more interesting

if captured, or microwaved.

But we suss out the puzzles,

the dynamics of weak points

in back doors. It’s a beginning.

for millions of locks,

circumvented by a master

key. Think of it as an

intellectual osmosis;

an exploratorium serving

up my business to the hilt.

With a little help, great water

leaks from the perfect ice

like a Mythbusters exhibit.

I’m praised for my ability

to mentally rotate tangrams

like a mapmaker, a Lincoln Log engineer.

No reasonable person

would discuss this story

on the record.

Go ahead and let them

plant the tomatoes

in the shade, because

in a hotel room,

there is no room

for the whole family.

 

Source Texts:
CNET MagazineFall 2016 Issue
-Article 1: “Growing Curiosity”
-Article 2: “The Snowden Effect”
-Letter in front of magazine introducing the issue and contents.
-Ad for 2017 FIAT 124 Spider (Car)

Method: This poem was an experiment for me. I don’t normally do much found poem composition. Just for an exercise, I took this CNET Magazine, which talks a lot about technology and espionage and education, and as I read, circled phrases that popped out at me—the moments in ordinary article-writing that occur to you as surprisingly poetic. Even certain instances of interesting vocabulary, I’d circle these words and phrases, and then collect them in a list. Then, I looked for a theme. Naturally, there was a very present Bond-esque motif happening, but I juxtaposed it with the education articles and advertisements to make something cohesive. In arranging my list in a series that made sense for me, I gradually crossed out words that no longer fit within my message, and used up the rest, until I arrived at my finished product. I felt a new sense of accomplishment with this poem, so I hope you find pleasure in it.

Bryce Johle is from Williamsport, PA, and recently earned his B.A. in Professional Writing from Kutztown University. His stories and poems have appeared in The Writing Disorder, Shoofly Literary Magazine, Essence Art and Literary Magazine, draft Literary Magazine, and platform Zine.

Life-Long Honeymoon by M. Stone

If I were an artist, I should paint a picture
of a woman upon her knees. The poet’s lay
is sweeter, and the artist’s brush is truer.

The hundreds of frail, light-hearted, light-minded
girls who flit about, petted and fondled and given
big sticks of candy—such cases are considered freaks.
(Women seem to be the great sufferers in this respect.)

Beware of a flirt: her love is a snare.
Her steps lead down to hell; let her grope her way
in semidarkness. Think only upon God and of a hope
beyond the last dim star.

Husbands, love your wives. You are the warden,
polished seducer. Do not make her your legalized slave
lashed by wiggling spermatozoa.

Marriage is a lottery: the devil has taken it
as his best card. Wife, your future happiness
is endangered. Many a young bride has awakened
as from a horrible nightmare: she had married
a big, impudent, unconquered baby.

Do not worry over your self-willed boy.
He is submissive as a lamb, lies prostrate in the dust.
If he has weak places (and who does not have them?),
engender bondage and place mankind in a strait-jacket.

You had better watch the actions of your husband,
your more comely-faced sister. The “troubled sister.”
You should have begun a year ago.

Do not break that precious alabaster box.
Do not giggle and gush that devilish,
slimy, deceitful free-love doctrine.
The time has arrived, thank God:
Society is SAFE. You, more than men,
are the ones to keep it thus.

No, no, you are not a ruined girl;
the girl does not deserve all the blame.
Joy and happiness are your just heritage.

Woman’s suffering is real.
At a place called Hell Gate, where the river
runs like a mad horse to the sea, she will be speechless,
and then she will disappear forever.

 

Source: Anderson, J. Grant. Sex Life and Home Problems. Anderson: Gospel Trumpet Company, 1921. Print.

Method: The book which is the source of my poem was published in 1921 and meant to be a guide for couples and families addressing various aspects of sexuality, the roles of husband and wife, and raising children. When I first flipped through it, I found myself laughing at the antiquated expectations the author described for women almost one hundred years ago. But as I read more, particularly passages about “ruined women,” I felt that the book offered an excellent source for found poetry, particularly when it seems that today, our culture often seems to be taking steps backwards in supporting equality for women, instead of moving forward. With the poem, I wanted to convey the heavy burdens placed upon women by society, by their parents, and also their partners. I chose passages I considered startling but also poetic and tried to weave them into a coherent story, with the narrator first explaining what he considers to be a woman’s place, and then the ruin she will come to if she dares step out of those narrowly defined boundaries.

M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer who writes poetry and fiction while living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in SOFTBLOW, Calamus Journal, Amaryllis, and numerous other print and online journals.

Question Two by Paul Haney

Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion. ~ Oscar Wilde

 

Throughout the history of time, / disobedience has been the progenitor of progress: / Romeo and Juliet; / Henry David Thoreau; / rock music. / When Rosa Parks disobediently refused to give up her seat to a white man, / she made it to the textbook. / We got our dress code changed. / Who in their right mind would choose Eden over / hot stoves, / traffic lights, / stolen cookies? / The one thing Adam and Eve couldn’t do was eat fruit from the tree. / Boring utopia. / All it does is piss off our parents when we drink their liquor. / We get trapped in our own little bubble, / yes indeed. / Knowledge within itself is disobedience.

America wouldn’t exist if not for disobedience. / We would still be a colon: / straight savages in cages. / Boston Massacre. / Boston Tea Party. / Donald Trump / (my experiences are extremely credible; / my friend’s little brother watches YouTube). / Police brutality and the ongoing problem of racism— / does this sound like social progress to you, Oscar Wilde? / Disobedience cost Martin Luther King, Jr. his life. / Jim Crow, / sit ins, / voter suppression. / My best friend can be black without people, / racist white people, / judging our friendship. / Disobedience is the root of human existence.

Disobedience is not cute. / When I babysat for the first time, / Nixon unlawfully spied. / I had to learn my lesson about jumping off roofs the hard way. / The world is flat. / Darwin, / Copernicus, / those who are not the “bible believing type,” / wallow in their dank. / Obedience is one of the seven fruits of the spirit. / The land was once beautiful with prosperity and joy: / stop signs, / school uniforms, / hypothesis of life. / The definition is blurred and the impact … immaculate.

Progress has been made and will be kept forever. / Susan B. Anthony. / Alice Paul. / The women who boycotted / the White House during war time. / I wasn’t going to do the dirty dishes my brothers gave me. / When my mom was in school they brought out the paddle. / Harriet Tubman, / Ayn Rand, / Hillary Clinton: / women broke free of the archetype, / incited outrage among the seniors who saw no basis in reason. / It is the job of the rebel to grip the nation and flip it. / Joan of Arc. / Serena Williams. / Pussy Riot. / Disobedience is, sometimes, euphoric.

Disobedience has created every change ever made. / Nelson Mandela. / Angela Merkel. / LeBron James. / Without rebellion, would there be history? / Infinite amount of social progress; / I’ve never felt more liberated; / the sanest thing I’ve ever heard. / Oscar Wilde knew what you were going to do better than you did. / Disobedience can change history in one second. / Haiti Slave Revolt. / Freedom Riders. / Cesar Chavez. / Progress is being made right before our eyes. / What a wondrous thing it is!

 

Source and Method: Worked together from roughly 1,000 AP English Language exams which I scored in 2016.

Paul Haney’s work has appeared in Slate, Boston Globe Magazine, Fourth Genre, Essay Daily, Sweet, and elsewhere. He recently completed his MFA at Emerson College, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of Redivider.

 

Loaded By Cathryn Shea

Loaded

1.

You pop in unannounced on a Tuesday and she offers you
braised tofu with fermented kimchi made from scratch
in her own kitchen with the Wolf range.
An inner circle helped, her BFFs.
You find out they’re all
paid.

2.

Burning Man is so done. Not for this Burning Man
banker who’s 50. He’s just remodeled a tan 1979 RV
for the trip. On the Playa he traded small-batch
boutique bourbon for friendship bracelets
he wore back at the office to impress his
employees.

3.

The guy I asked to babysit is shy and looks 15;
turns out he’s 29. He owns properties all over town,
still lives with friends in an untidy
Victorian. The house and everything
in it is communal, until he decides to
sell.

4.

The country club mom has ombré hair extensions,
breast implants, and a diamond
in her eyebrow. She advertises
herself as a Paleocene nutritionist/
spiritual guide. If only
with juiced beets
we could achieve
enlightenment.

 

Source and Method: Remixed from San Francisco Chronicle Sunday “Style” section, August 2016.

Cathryn Shea’s poetry has recently appeared in Cheat River Review, Permafrost, Rust + Moth, Tinderbox, and elsewhere. Cathryn’s second chapbook, “It’s Raining Lullabies,” is forthcoming from dancing girl press in 2017. Cathryn serves on the editorial staff for Marin Poetry Center Anthology. See her website at cathrynshea.com and @cathy_shea on Twitter.