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.

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

 

 

Divine T-Shirts by E.T. Parker

Take It Easy
Nothing Is Easy
Don’t Let It Reign
We Are All on a Search for Perfection

Whatever
Busy Doing Nothing

Life Is Perfect
You Go Girl
Hike the World
If Not Now When?
I Just Can’t Today
You Don’t Know until You Go

Where to Next? Travel the Life
Nantucket Is Always a Good Idea
Luck Has Nothing to Do with It

Make Time for the Things that Make You Happy
Good Times!
Enjoy the Little Things
Enjoy Every Moment of your Life

Save Yourself
Look Hot / Be Cool / Be Crazy
Be Kind to Someone Today
More Love

Still Hating

 

Source & Method: Taking Inspirational Quotations from T-shirts as Divine Messages while I Travel around Europe in 2017, the First Year of the Tumbleweed Presidency

E.T. Parker was born and raised in California, was educated at Fresno State, and currently teaches in the English department at The University of Alabama.

 

Fire Work by David Owen Miller

for Jeni

Jasmine, jawbreakers, jewsharps—things I have not put in my mouth
Jeni, nono, Jenifer—daughter, mother, artist

Knowledge is power, PET scans are not

Last night, no pottery, just marionberries

Mammary, marriage, maternity, masturbation
Mom, are you drunk again!

Nowadays, I remember everything: the t.v., my paintings, my polyurethane statues,
how Xavier’s hands felt on our wedding night
Nowadays I see that little job I had one October, I painted flats for Halloween Horror
Nights—it was the best job ever

October has cold hands

Pain scares me, but painkillers I don’t mind
PET scan—the gray of morning with a sun rising from the center

Quilts on my legs, tubes in my nose and arm, hard mash potatoes with white gravy
Quiet is that thing they give you when you only wanna talk

Red Poppy: This flower grows up my neck/it blossoms in back of my head/a symbol
of life, of  blood, of those we lose/in transit like quarters or laundry tickets/Someday
soon I will become/a field of wild poppies and you will lie/in my fragrance, dozy
and content/the best time you ever had with me.
Remember Universal Studios?  David’s brother and the smell of paint.  He said even
coats, Jeni.  Even coats. I had headaches.  Xavier brought me beer and mezcal.

Send it to my daughter: the poem about the red poppies.
So much time now for pottery, to feel clay turning in my hands, to hold it steady and
give it form, to pare away dried clay from under my fingers

Toxic on the stereo, rhombuses of light on a parkay floor, Xavier and I dancing, our first kiss
Tell Xavier he can have his anal now

Using me for poetry?

Vanish like my breasts
Vibrate as the world vibrates

Who will take my daughter to get her prom dress?

Xanax and a bottle of Zinfandel

You wrote me several times, David: are you coming to my funeral?
You wrote me several times, David; you wanted to meet me several times, just not with your
wife or kids, always at coffeehouses or the Farmer Brothers in Rubidoux

Zinfandel and a bottle of Xanax

Again, Xavier wants anal
All the things you put inside yourself

Both of them, my nipples, gone cuz, Gawd, I hate asymmetry

Canvas? I’m working with polyurethane now
Can you please not use my name in your poetry?

Death, I don’t mind; this shit hurts.
Destroy my paintings, burn my canvases, smash my pots
Did you send the poem about the poppies?  Send it to my daughter.

Erasure is what I look for; I could be erased, and Xavier still wouldn’t realize I was gone
Every day, every goddamned day, Xavier stays at home, but the dogs freakin visit

Fashioning Halloween costumes for Shelly and her date: we argued before the pic
From dinner on, I had this pain, it hurt my stomach, I kept walking sideways down
the pier and Shelly, you remember Shelly? She’s like Mom, drunk again?

Gawd, I hate asymmetry

Hot, still in the hand, gradually warming, gradually cool, put away

Indigo is the color of sky before sunlight, the color I always wanted my eyes to be
Is this how you see me, David?

Source: Facebook posts and Messages 2010-2015

Method: One night, I am working on another set of poems, when I receive an IM from Jeni telling me that she has cancer.  It has been six months since we last communicated.  I had a poem which I had IMed her, one she wanted me to publish called “Red Poppies.” I was uncertain about the poem.  Over the next few months, we reconnect because I suffer from insomnia and her pains keep her up most nights.  This poem is an abecedarian, stitched together like a cento from bits, pieces, words and phrases exchanged during both those and earlier conversations via IM.  Then, I rearranged the lines that I started with J and ended with I.  The format seemed to work best.

David Owen Miller is a Latin teacher in South Los Angeles.  He has an M.A. in English/Creative Writing from LMU.  He has published work in Rattle, Crack The Spine, Dodging The Rain, Cold Coffee Stand, Rise Up Review and other journals.  He loves teaching and hanging out with his daughters and of course, writing poetry.

 

Some Days by Luigi Coppola

I’m afraid
that I am the only
one in the universe and
everything

/everybody
is just part of
my imagination.

Other days
I’m afraid
that everybody is
not
my imagination
and are
in fact
real.

I’m not sure
which is more
frightening.

 

Source: Message board comment on the io9 website by user ‘B’.

Luigi Coppola teaches and writes in London, England. He has been shortlisted for the Bridport Prize twice and poems have appeared in various publications including Acumen, The Frogmore Papers, Ink, Sweat and Tears, Iota, Magma, Orbis, Pennine Platform, Poetry Digest, The Rialto, THE SHOp and Snakeskin.

Kiss it Goodbye by Ross McCleary

On a dark desert highway, there you stand.
There’s talk and it sounds so familiar:

He was a hard-headed man on the street,
She came from Providence with cool wind in her hair.

“Well baby.”

“Hey there, how are you?”

What kind of love have you got
When you’re out there on your own?

Source & Method: The poem is constructed from the opening lines from each song on the Eagles’ album ‘Hotel California’ and then mashed them together a little. I actually wrote the first draft of this 3 years ago, sent it to a friend, who liked it, and then did a grand total of nothing with it. I then rediscovered it today, had a tinker with it, and settled on its final structure.

Ross McCleary is from Edinburgh and is a poet, fiction writer, and podcaster. His work has recently appeared in Pop To, Structo, and Pushing Out The Boat. He co-edits podcast journal Lies, Dreaming as part of the Poetry as F*ck collective.

Sapir and Whorf by Melissa Mesku

speakers of different languages
think differently
even inner speech
geniuses throughout history
thought outside the grooves
learning a new language
learning new modes of thought
adjust to the new lens
switch between thought-modes
Sapir
and
Whorf
gave the idea of linguistic relativity
leavened
cosmovisionary musings
from
dramatically different conceptual worlds
by
languages like Nootka, Shawnee, and Hopi.
fieldwork
Hopi reservation
Arizona
on this
Whorf declared
“the Hopi language contains no reference to “time,” either explicit or implicit.”
imputing
a concept of “eventuating”
roughly comparable to
“hoping”
used for mental projections of the future.
lamentably
leaving you sensing
there is some tantalizing alternative cosmology out there
beyond your grasp
a
hallucinatory feeling
there may well exist a completely different
internally coherent
physical universe
down to the base ontologies of space and time.

Source: A chapter in Dying Words: Endangered Languages and What They Have To Tell Us, by Nicholas Evans (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010)
Method: Each new line represents a break in the text where erasure occurred. Punctuation and capitalization are faithful to the source.
Melissa Mesku is a writer and editor in New York.

 

 

 

My Thinking by Raina Joines

 

streak | closer | the head | growing
remember | difficult to move | concentrated | dangerous
moods flare | death itself thins out
memory | now big | beautiful name | in a bright room

 

Source:  Tomas Tranströmer, Memories Look at Me

Method: This poem was excavated from Tomas Tranströmer’s prose memoir, Memories Look at Me, translated by Robin Fulton. I wanted to strip Tranströmer’s already condensed, luminous language down until the poem seemed like a coded message about language itself.

Raina Joines is the recipient of fellowships from Blue Mountain Center, the Hambidge Center, and the Lillian E. Smith Center. She received a First Honorable Mention from the Dana Awards in 2015, and her work may be found in Crab Orchard Review, Measure, St. Katharine Review, and Grist: A Journal of the Literary Arts.

The Ghost Ranch by Kyle Hemmings

Beyond the hills that were once mountains, past the empty town that was once a falling star, an old man wakes from the dead. He recalls the farm where he planted beans and raised the water. The nights of the shrill cry of stray cats, their memories of swooping vultures. He recalls the lifeless eyes of his then newly-widowed mother. When she refused to talk, to talk about anything, he went to the well, peered down its dark mirror and mistook the darkness for himself. One day he brought a cast iron bucket of water into the house. To wipe his mother’s face of a boy’s sense of death or what little he could make of it. To make her come alive and speak and feel. Stretched out on the daybed, she remained soundless, frozen in time. Her hands were blue. His premonition: nobody was coming back with their old skin. The boy stared down at her, his mouth closed, determined to kiss her cheek, to make his presence known. It was worth a try.

Source: John Riley, The Well (http://fictionaut.com/stories/john-riley/the-well–2) Three Short Poems

Method: My method of remixing these poems is first, I read them again and again. Then I copy them, deleting this or adding that. I keep shaping and reshuffling, sculpting, until the something there is something my own.

Kyle Hemmings is a retired health care worker, His latest collections of poetry/prose are Scream from Scars publications and Split Brain on Amazon Kindle. He loves ’50’s Sci-Fi movies, manga comics, and pre-punk garage bands of the ’60’s.

The Devil by Christopher Iacono

The mouth contracted to an arrow-like point,
a ghastly smile played, eyes flickered
like the eyes of a snake, shrill laughter,
a thunderclap crashed, a lightning bolt
flashed through the night, fire blazed
up the wall, the rafters, through the roof—
horrific unendurable smell of sulfur—
winds striking up roundelays for a grisly dance,
every peak, every crevasse howled and roared
mingled with the tortured moans of the suffering.

 

Source: Jeremias Gotthelf, The Black Spider, translated by Susan Bernofsky, NYRB Classics, 2013, pages 30–62.

Method: I wrote down all of the phrases in the book that contained strong imagery and re-arranged them to tell a story. Since this was a poem, though, I wanted to create a certain rhythm, so I trimmed some of the phrases or combined two or more that originally didn’t belong together. I also played with enjambment.

Christopher Iacono lives with his wife and son in Massachusetts. You can learn more about him at cuckoobirds.org.

The Great Man By Dom Fonce

In Memory of Tony Fonce

I was thinking of the world
and the men that leave their mark on it—
the way they live their lives. Fathers
like Gods to their children, their loved ones.
Be a sorry man and it’s your loss; be a
great man and soon face great death like a great man,
early, with your children together, mourning,
and your heart quiet, but strong. The sorry man,
the little man, is a garden of maybe and somehow—

no, that’s not you.

Don’t turn out like that, Dominic. Please take
care to be just like your father.

 

Source: Dozens of sympathy cards my family received after my father’s death.

Method: My father died two years ago and, one day, I realized that the couple hundred sympathy cards my family received, which sat  in a wicker basket in my living room, could hold valuable words and phrases for found poems. Not only did I use phrases on the cards themselves, but the words of the friends and family members wrote within the cards. Essentially, I created a word bank of the language within the cards to mix and match to create these poems.

Dom Fonce is an undergraduate English major at Youngstown State University. He has had either work published in or forthcoming in issues of 3Elements Review, West Texas Literary Review, the Magnolia Review, Obra/Artifact, UMU Calliope, and others.