Fire by Ariana Kramer

Fire is a living being. You can kill it.
Fire is wild, a devouring beast,

insatiable, like hell, or avarice.
It licks, snatches, filches. It plays.

Fire flies up like a red cock – glitters
with seeds of gold. It travels. It flows.

In Holstein, when a fire breaks out
people call it “hot rain.”

There was a time when fire was unknown.
Fire belonged to the gods.

An eagle – or a little bird –
carried a fierce coal from heaven.

Fire is holy. Fire leaps
out of earth like a fountain.

Fire, like water, is alive.
It eats the land clean.

Source: Teutonic Mythologie written by Jacob Grimm (1785 – 1863) and translated into English by James Steven Stallybrass (1826–1888). Volumes 2 and 4.

Method: In a process similar to erasure, I lifted text fragments and arranged them in the same order in which they appeared on the original page of text. The fragments were placed in couplets and in some cases re-written to tighten up or expand on the language in the original text.

Ariana Kramer is a freelance writer based in Taos, New Mexico. Her poetry reflects her appreciation for the natural world and the inner landscape, often incorporating elements from mythology and fairy tales. Her work has been recently published by The Poetry Box and Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art.

Ebensburg Glare by Don Krieger

 

 

Jesus saves
in white neon,
revival
every Sunday,
exotic dancers.

Source:  Neon advertising signs

Don Krieger is a biomedical researcher living in Pittsburgh, PA. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming online at TuckMagazine.com, Uppagus Magazine, and Fragile Lilacs and in print in Hanging Loose (1972), Neurology (Sep 12, 2017), Poetica (Fall, 2017),  and The Taj Mahal Review (December, 2016).

 

Nonpology by Faith Breisblatt

these women who admired me
I do not remember

what I did was okay
because I never showed a woman my dick
without asking first

when you’re a star they let you do it

it was my attempt at humor

when you have power over another
asking them to look at your dick
isn’t a question

what’s the lesson learned
from something like that?

let me start by saying

these stories are true

if I had a dollar for every woman who asked to take a selfie
arm around me drifting below the belt line

her memory of that evening is very different
from mine

I seem to remember her as a good girl

she was married

she’s now got these big
phony tits and everything

no financial settlement

the encounter was consensual, brief

if I did behave as described

no woman ever made a claim

it’s contrary

to my nature

but the fact is, for all my flaws, I am not a predator

this should not be lost in the narrative

I am deeply sorry if any action of mine was ever
misinterpreted

a different recollection of events

I am a work in progress
I am human

I do not know this woman

Source: quotes from Louis CK, Donald Trump, Al Franken, Roy Moore, Jeffrey Tambor, Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey, Garrison Keillor, Matt Lauer, Ed Westwick. Many of the quotes were found here: http://time.com/5015204/harvey-weinstein-scandal/ and from each person’s individual statements

Method: I started this poem by compiling quotes about sexual harassment and assault since Trump’s election. It seems since taking office, Trump has inspired quite a movement of both women and men sharing their stories about sexual assault and outing their abusers in a powerful way. As days, weeks and months passed, more and more people in the public eye kept getting accused of sexual harassment and/or assault. I’d look at websites like Time and others that compiled lists of those accused and I’d learn about a new predator. As I wrote more and more quotes down, a poem began to form. I played with taking out words and phrases of quotes, moving them around, and the spacing until I had the message I wanted to portray in the poem.

Faith Breisblatt is a social worker living in Boston. Her work can be found in Found Poetry Review, Oddball Magazine, Scripting Change, Toe Good Poetry, Mangrove Journal and elsewhere.

 

 

 

 

Imaginary Tower by Margaret King

Moonless night,
no long golden hair to let down.

My tower–purely imaginary–
exists upon an expanse of human settlement.

“Water, water everywhere
But not a drop to drink.”

Witch, princess, queen, maiden
Rolled into one.

No seven dwarves to call on,
or fairies three–
these require humility,
obedience, pliancy,
Secrecy.

Princes–
valiant liberators dealing deathly thrusts
wounding parts of the psyche
best left untouched.

Princes–rescuers, murderers–
Both in one.

Fathers–
never there.

Mothers–
always dying.

Towers–
our salvation and doom.

Protection, isolation:
Two sides of one consoling coin.

Bricks and boiling oil–use as needed,
Apply liberally.

Flowers, little birds,
church mice and crickets,
doves, wishing wells–
our last hope.

Source: The famous lines from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.

Method: Reading “water, water, everywhere/but not a drop to drink” in middle school was the first time a poem had really stuck with me. The desperation in those lines evoked such a vivid image in my mind that I discovered, for the first time, how effective poetry could be, and how it could express emotions and situations in a mere line of words. I’ve created a new poem from these famous lines to express a modern twist on older fairy tale circumstances, which in this case, are figurative.

Margaret King is a Wisconsin writer who enjoys penning poetry, short stories, and young adult novels. In her spare time, she likes to haunt the shores of Lake Michigan, similar to many of her fictional characters.

Contaminants of Concern by Eleonor Botoman

 

Source: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/search-superfund-sites-where-you-live

Method: The backbone of this poem is the EPA’s database of Superfund sites across the United States. The words in each line of the poem are derived from documents about these sites that can be accessed by the general public. These documents contained scientific analyses of the chemical pollution on the site, potential threats to human health, and plans for cleanup. However, there was very little information describing the toll these sites took on local communities long before the EPA intervened, oftentimes leading to health problems that stretched across generations before these toxins were contained. I decided to take this impersonal, bureaucratic language used by the EPA and reconfigure it into a more honest history of these sites.

Eleonor Botoman is currently a student at Barnard College studying creative writing and art history. Her writing has appeared in BUST magazine, Interiors JournalThe Barnard BulletinEchoes, and more. Originally from Florida, she is fascinated by the clinical language used to discuss man-made environmental disasters, climate change, and how this can influence contemporary ecopoetics.

Me Too by Mary Ardery

 

Method: I combined magazine clippings as well as some of my own photos to make this collage. The words “me too” are handwritten. My intention was to show a variety of female body parts, disconnected, mixed into a world of beauty. Women are often told to make themselves beautiful–and then blamed for looking so appealing: “How could the man resist?”

Source: A few of my own photos, but mainly magazine images and words from The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Good Housekeeping, and one or two more that I cut out awhile back and no longer have the magazine covers to cite.

Mary Ardery’s poems and photos have been published in A Midwestern Review, Manuscripts, and Eye on the World. After living and working in Asheville, NC’s Blue Ridge Mountains for two years, she has returned home to the Midwest to pursue her MFA at Southern Illinois University.

 

Gynecological Care by Ani Keaten

No scratching, no douche, no tampons, no sex, notice: if you are a true emergency, drink an aloe-vera-monistat nightcap and dream of headless blood for one week.

Let’s do a punch biopsy and cut through all the bullshit tryp-trypophobia tiny hole into a festering maw
I thought it was a yeast infection. Molecular skin under microscope can’t lie-lichen sclerosus?

No sex, no soaking, no wiping, no intercourse for two weeks: you may have rest.

If you are a witch, brew epsom salt and burn malodorous pads with catkins to divine diagnosis.

Don’t you think it might be symptosomatic? Two week taper of prednisone, betamethasone.

My friend heard of vulvodynia on TV and thinks I need vaginal dilators for my depressed vagina.

No intercourse, no driving, no lifting, no openings, no intention to advise your condition: call 911.

You may notice experience. You may increase tolerance gradually each day.

 

Source: http://www.laurelobgyn.com/mobile/gynecology_post_procedure_instructions.html

 

Method: I stumbled upon this source text, and knew that I needed to process it through poetry. My method for writing the poem was to read the source several times over, noting the words that were causing an emotional reaction in me. I pulled those out into a new text and began brainstorming on the words and why they impacted me. I built up the poem until I had enough to work with, and then began cutting and editing until I felt like the poem expressed the general feeling I was trying to understand.

 

Ani Keaten is a poet grown in the desert mountains. She writes about daily life. She enjoys creating art with oil pastels, looking at rare rocks, and seeking out high places from which to take pictures. www.anikeaten.com @anikeaten