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.

On Anxiety By Brandon Melendez

& then my throat went numb //
a canal filled with teeth //
cavity infected with bugs //
choking on //
this wheel house //
I call a mouth //

they found a handwritten apology //
under a live tooth //
& my tongue started wearing off //

they say //
you’re just a mouth //
just a butcher //
without a story //
or who doesn’t exist //
I respond //
I have anxiety //

I have anxiety //
but I still have all these good teeth //
I still have a deep winter //
streaming from my smile //
this keeps me calm //

this process //
of learning to love //
this anxiety //
like a crown of stars //
a transformation //
one day at a time //

look //
my teeth changed into hands //

 

Source: Yelp Page of a dental office I once worked for

Method: I copied & pasted all the yelp reviews into a document & started cutting & rearranging the language until a poem emerged. This was quite fun.

Brandon Melendez is a poet and educator raised in California. He is a National Poetry Slam finalist, two time Berkeley Grand Slam Champion, and he has won “Best Poem” & “Funniest Poem” at collegiate national poetry competitions. He has poems in or forthcoming in Tinderbox, Friction, and Corridors. He is currently an MFA candidate at Emerson College.

Pastoral By Brittany N. Jaekel

the swan drones the June.
smoky peace sheep. dog. the noise wanders.

the house shines a glass green northward.
there, verse is air

the waste paper and the wet stage
the words boil.

tales dipped then swayed, then stayed. 

 

Source: IEEE sentences, also known as the “Harvard Sentences”. According to Wikipedia, these sentences were originally created for testing speech understanding through telephone systems. See Rothauser, E., Chapman, W., Guttman, N., Nordby, K., Silbiger, H., Urbanek, G., and Weinstock, M. (1969). “IEEE recommended practice for speech quality measurements,” IEEE Trans. Audio Electroacoust. 17, 225-246. 

Method: The IEEE sentence corpus, which contains 720 individual sentences, was placed in a spreadsheet so that every sentence appeared in its own row and every word from every sentence appeared in its own cell. Certain columns were sorted alphabetically or reverse-alphabetically, creating mixtures of new sentences. Sentences or parts of sentences from this process were selected and assembled into stanzas.

Brittany N. Jaekel is a graduate student in Alexandria, Virginia. Her writing has been featured in Bird’s Thumb, Burningword Literary Journal, and other places.

Leukemia By Jackie Fox

The disintegrated blood
The tottering blood
The endless ring-a-rosy blood
The blood circled and buzzed
The blood was served
The blood was made sacrifice unto
How does that grab you, Blood?
O Blood, you’re far gone.

Source: Stephen King. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger.

Method: I took part in the Poeming 2016, a poem-a-day poetry challenge in October using Stephen King novels as source material. My method on all the poems was to seek metaphors in illness (I strayed from that a couple of times), and to create remixed poems using no more than four consecutive pages (typically two or three. Again, I strayed from that but not a lot). The project was a lot of fun.

Jackie Fox lives and writes in Omaha, Nebraska. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and studied creative writing in the low-residency MFA program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Her work has appeared in numerous journals including Rattle, the Bellevue Literary Review and Tar River Poetry, and in several anthologies including BARED: contemporary poetry and art on bras and breasts, and The Untidy Season: An Anthology of Nebraska Women Poets

Notes on an iPhone By Lucy Palmer

Lebanese zaatar
cheap makeup
missing hips
archaic torso of Apollo
cat food container
sue Bryce
remember…
legend
Mac vintage rose
ice cream vamp
4 sausages
violet mac
the last time I saw my father
stuff for balm
small brush
make goat’s milk formula
chest pressure
peanut butter cups
you’re my once upon a time, my
you’re my once upon a time, my
Ikea
red onion
makeup wish list
he’s opposite me, body of a…
I want to read
I want to love him
to do this week
thick kisses and slippery lies
parp
chicklade
Roseville fair
if breath once a day
booze to try
books to read
listen to one more town

Source and Method: This was found in the Notes section of my iPhone. As a poet, I often have ideas for lines of poetry while out and about, and I often write them down in my notes for future use, alongside shopping lists and lists of things to read or listen to. When I looked at notes front screen, I realized the list read like a poem in its own right.

Lucy Palmer is from Cornwall in England, but she now lives in California with her family. She is a freelance copywriter and editor but is happiest when she’s using her creative muscle and writing poetry or short stories. She’s had work previously published in the Unbroken Journal, By&By Poetry, The Pickled Body, and others.

Ubu Untitled By Michael Kirby

of bodies
in lieu, I stein
/beckett my
production:

here lay. here lay.
points for motion;
points for (e)motion.
keeping level

dispositions
of 2 at 6.

j. cage—‘spin
a faint comet
she knew was
brunswick’,

in bet

ween.

form devours
itself, despite oroborian.
and language, perl
-scripted engine,

est arrivé(e)

 

Source: UbuWeb

Method: Culled from the entirety of UbuWeb, an online archive of experimental writing, this poem was generated using markov chains. The number of lines (21) corresponds to the number of years UbuWeb has been active.

Michael Kirby is a student at The Graduate Center, CUNY, specializing in Digital Humanities. His main interest is contemporary poetry and poetics, and work, both creative and critical, can be found in Spikes Arts Quarterly, Jacket2 and Best American Experimental Writing 2016.

Respond to Alice By Jennifer Handley

Well, nobody else
talked
about
apples & potatoes.  

Concur.

Sorry–I am
obviously
forgetting
the important details.

Thank You Goddamnit!

Lunch? 


Source & Method:
This poem is constructed from a collection of sticky notes I have had lying around on my desk for some time. each is from a colleague, each for a different reason. 

Jennifer Handley writes and teaches in northwest Washington State. Her work has most recently appeared in 100 Word Story. She won the prose writing award in Crosscurrents (2007) for her nonfiction essay “The Break,” and her essays have also appeared in Puerto del Sol, Calapooya Collage, and Trestle Creek Review.

Seeing By Tyrell Collins

November-dark.
Her hand signal,
too much for her to speak,
too much to understand.

Blink.
Her eyelids just ripple, twitch.
Was that a blink?
She weaved the lids up,
and let them thud back down.
The pain weighs that much.

A day with—
pain
patience
pain.
The word doesnt hurt enough.

Morphine,
she asked for it.
This was the end,
how she would go.

Its been twenty years.
Ive forgotten so much.

 

Source: Ordinary Light by Tracy K Smith

Method: The craft of this poem came from pure inspiration to teach my first-year-writing students the wonders of how one genre of writing can cross into another to make something new.

Tyrell is a Masters of Fine Arts Candidate at Columbia College Chicago. His work has appeared in the Lab Review, Don’t Talk to me About Love online Magazine, and Punctuate. a Non-Fiction Magazine.

 

Strengthen Skin Against the Day’s Assaults by Jodi Andrews

Embrace your skin to reduce key signs of visible aging.
Nothing superficial about plumped & dewy.
Great skin runs deep— from the inside out. #1 anti-

wrinkle cream. Younger, more radiant skin.
Rejuvenate the appearance of severe frown lines between
the brows and 28 or 38? Skin won’t show your age.

Reduce age spots. Restore firmness. Moisturize.
Younger skin. It’s got depth, feather-light touch, nothing
superficial about giving skin a fresh, supple look and feel.

One common goal for all skinkind: no more scars.
Imagine life without a raised, dark scar. From cuts
to tummy tucks—a beautiful finish. Embrace your blurred

imperfections. Natural nourishment. Feel the difference
so your skin won’t show your crow’s feet, wrinkles, age;
nothing superficial about the best skin of your life.

Source: Skin advertisements in these four magazines: Glamour (May 2016), Bazaar (May 2016), Seventeen (June/July 2016), and People (May 2016).

Method: This poem originated from the fact that I have two scars on my body from brushes with cancer. This makes me interested in writing about scars. I wanted to focus on societal expectations of women’s skin in particular. These advertisements fixate on perfect, unrealistic skin, and the poem creates the dominant narrative about skin, and this lead me to work more on re-writing my scars, to buck these harmful ideals.

Jodi Andrews graduated with her MA in English in December 2016. She now teaches English classes at South Dakota State University and lives in Brookings, SD with her husband.

Bookcase By Jose A. Alcantara

When you are engulfed in flames
you will meet a tall dark stranger
on the border of snow and melt.

But these are ​my rivers, the words
under the words, at mesa’s edge,
the signature of all things.

It’s a wonderful world – becoming,
unbecoming, floating and falling.
It’s a wonderful life.

Yet, in the palm of your hand,
this is someone else’s garden, a course
in miracles, Einstein’s dreams.

We live in water, in white noise,
in a house of leaves, amid echoes
of tattered tongues.

We are chasing the rose into thin air.
This is the way it is, bird by bird,
a tale for the time being.

We are crossing to safety
in the elegant universe.
Thank you for being late.

Source & Method:​ I sampled the titles from the roughly 200 books and movies on the shelves.

Jose A. Alcantara works in a bookstore in Aspen, Colorado. His poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in Spillway, The American Journal of Poetry, Beloit Poetry Journal, The Midwest Quarterly, Spoon River Poetry Review, Little Patuxent Review, San Pedro River Review, and 99 Poems for the 99%. Jose is a former Fishtrap Fellow and was the winner of the 2017 Patricia Bibby Memorial Scholarship from Tebot Bach.