[Living Somewhere] by David Rock

living somewhere
super close to
greener pastures
sedation with wisdom
fiction
strange but true
common sense
in search of
a place called
anywhere

Source: The Scroll (the student-run newspaper of Brigham Young University-Idaho).

Method: I teach Spanish literature, and in order to show how poets don’t necessarily have the subject of a poem in mind before they sit down to start writing, I assigned the students to take a single issue of the student newspaper, cut out words and phrases from headlines and advertisements, and then play around with these fragments until something interesting revealed itself.  The above poem is one of several that I produced for demonstration purposes.

David Rock teaches Spanish at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg.  His poems have appeared recently in Carolina Quarterly, Palooka, and American Journal of Poetry.  Sometimes he arrives in exotic places and forgets how he got there.  Sometimes he gets in his car and just sits there, pretending to be furious.

 

A Spiritual Urgency at the Dark Ladders Leaping by Shirley Glubka

As if a mind / folded in thought / created forms—

(likenesses)
(flowers)
(flames)  

(a field)
(a dream)
(the sun)

(a round of return)
(a hold against chaos)

striving—
primordial—

from which: world—

battling, inarticulate—
blindly making / only beauty.

Source: Robert Duncan’s Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow & Poetry, A Natural Thing

Method: I often think my erasures might better be called pluckings. I go through a text and “pluck” words and phrases that call to me. I look for energy, vividness, peculiarity. I might go back, pluck more, for sense, or because the developing poem wants more, sees more, begins to understand itself. I hone. My rule: keep everything in the exact order and the exact form (verb form, pronoun gender, etc.) that the source text dictates; no rearranging; no cheating.

Shirley Glubka is a retired psychotherapist, the author of three poetry collections and two novels. Her most recent book: The Bright Logic of Wilma Schuh: a novel (Blade of Grass Press, 2017). Shirley lives in Prospect, Maine with her spouse, Virginia Holmes. Website: http://shirleyglubka.weebly.com/

Untouched by Shloka Shankar

Sprawling like a thought unformed,
I will begin – but how should I begin?
The problem is to make the effort.

Somewhere among my dreams,
with cold, determined intellect,
I am corrupted by the world, continually.

All my waiting turned to this:
a worried look, a tired way of speech,
words, looks, gestures, everything betrays
when I pretend to be happy.

How much of me you leave untouched,
the lyrical impulse frozen.
Desire.

I do not want
whatever is beyond my reach;
this longing is for nakedness.

Sources & Method: A cento composed from the first lines of a selection of poems by Nissim Ezekiel, including Birth, Description, Problem, Dualism, Division, The Double Horror, Failure, Communication, On Meeting a Pedant, Confession, For Her, The Stuffed Owl, Nocturne, A Different Way, Motives, The Railway Clerk, For William Carlos Williams, and Nakedness (I).

Shloka Shankar is a freelance writer from Bangalore, India. She has found her niche in Japanese short-forms and remixed poetry alike. Her poems and visual art pieces have most recently appeared in Otoliths, Bones, Calamus Journal, Frameless Sky, Narrow Road, and so on. Shloka is the founding editor of Sonic Boom.

Lost Wax by Maureen O’Brien

“The thinner it is carved the more translucent it becomes.” –Heather White

We began like peeling cucumbers,
all we needed were simple tools,
falling in love in a kitchen.
I trusted you, a spade bit,
to drill holes in me to accommodate
your fingers.
Slowly you carved me, removing layers.
For years you used
calipers to measure my widening love:
18, then 20 gauge.
But when you dissolved
we became nothing, a pile of shavings.
You drilled holes in me
in outbursts, until I had to
hide from you, conceal my row
of pearls—those doors
I had not previously opened.
That 18 karat gold
I never unpacked.

Source: The Penland Book of Jewelry, Pages 101-102

Maureen O’Brien lives in Connecticut where she teaches Creative Writing to teenagers who love doing Blackout Poems: she draws endless inspiration from their passions, enthusiasm, and beautiful hearts. She is the author of the novel “B-mother” and the poetry chapbook “The Other Cradling”.  Her work has most recently appeared in Blink Ink, Hello Humans and 3Elements Review.

Sweet Revenge by Winston Plowes

This latest hand
had a spear to the back

Left Ryan dead

Left by a path into the night
with the wind
squared up
and scrambling to get safe

There was no way back
for his legs

Source: Football match report in the sports section of the Brighthouse Echo Newspaper, Page 63, February 27th,  2014.

Method: Erasure (including title)

Winston Plowes lives aboard his floating home in Calderdale which doubles as a home for lost and wayward words. He is a teacher of creative writing at primary schools and universities. His collection of surrealist found poetry, Telephones, Love Hearts, & Jellyfish, Electric Press, was published in 2016. www.winstonplowes.co.uk

Ruth Miller by R. Mac Jones

Ruth Miller

the four-year-old daughter

Ruth Miller

of Charles Miller

Ruth Miller

of Kansas City, Kan.

Ruth Miller

died from the effects

Ruth Miller

of eating candy from a box

Ruth Miller

of poisoned bon bons

Ruth Miller

sent through the mail

to an older sister.

 

Source: A news story in the Golden Valley Chronicle of Beach, Billings County, N.D., February 21, 1908

Method: The text is from a single sentence in the news story, except for the repetition of her name.

R. Mac Jones is the co-editor of Found Anew: Poetry and Prose Inspired by the South Caroliniana Library Digital Collections. His poems have recently appeared in ellipsis…, Star*Line, and Shot Glass Journal, among other publications.

Justice by Howard Richard Debs

how is it to be told? . . . in detailing the facts themselves?
—Charles Reznikoff, Reznikoff Papers Box VII, Folder 26

What to do with the body
of a Nazi war criminal
no one wants
where to bury him, since Rome,
his adopted homeland of Argentina,
and his hometown in Germany won’t take him?

He died Friday at age 100
in the Rome home of his lawyer,
where he had been serving
his life term under house arrest.

Priebke spent nearly 50 years as a fugitive
before being extradited to Italy
from Argentina in 1995 to stand trial.

          Erich Priebke got up from his seat
          to break the silence he observed
          since the trial’s start to say
          he would not testify before the court.

Rome Mayor:
the city accepts neither a
church funeral nor a burial for him.

          The 335 victims of the massacre
          were machine-gunned at the
          Ardeatine Caves near Rome,
          which were then dynamited
          in an attempt to hide the bodies.

Chief rabbi of Rome’s Jewish community:
cremate while dead,
unlike the millions of children who
went into the ovens and for whom
Priebke never had pity.

          Priebke claims
          he was forced to participate or face death.
          It is likely that Priebke will be one of
          the last significant Nazi war-criminals to face trial.

Priebke’s lawyer:
as a practicing Catholic,
Priebke deserves a
Catholic funeral and burial.

But not even Priebke’s
adopted homeland of Argentina,
where he lived in the mountain
resort of Bariloche, will take him.

Priebke was born in Hennigsdorf,
a small town north of Berlin,
local rules give only
residents a right to burial
in its cemetery, exceptions
are possible in cases where
people have family graves there,
but the Priebke family
doesn’t have any.

In his final interview released upon his death,
he denied the Nazis gassed Jews
during the Holocaust.

Sources: Palm Beach Post article October 14, 2013 “Church, state refuse funeral for former Nazi” ; AP Archive Story No. 28506 06/03/1996 “Former Nazi Officer Erich Priebke Trial”

Method: I have files stuffed with all manner of clippings, notices, advertisements sitting waiting. The local newspaper article about the Nazi Priebke demanded a response. The free-form excerpting and lineation was straightforward enough but there needed to be something else. I am a devotee of the objectivists, and particularly Charles Reznikoff; his work Holocaust, all 94 pages of it, being a tour-de-force of found poetry. Holocaust uses actual testimony (Reznikoff had a law degree) extracted from 26 volumes of transcriptions from the court proceedings of the Eichmann and Nuremberg trials. I followed his example and researched for detail about the Priebke trial itself and discovered the AP archive story. Juxtaposing elements of the two creates a full picture representing the inhumanity of humanity through the words and deeds of but one human being.

Howard Richard Debs is a finalist and recipient of the 28th Annual 2015 Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. His essays, fiction, and poetry appear internationally in numerous publications; his new full length work Gallery: A Collection of Pictures and Words, (Scarlet Leaf Publishing) is a 2017 Best Book Awards winner as Finalist in poetry. He is listed in the Directory of American Poets & Writers

Of Too Much Truth by David Capps

1.
Of too much truth to do much more than lie
Astonished that you have returned to go
I do not betray you, I still go forward,
Snaps of ice cracking in the hidden air.
and turn it into something cartoon-funny.
Green lilac buds appear that won’t survive
A salamander scuttles across the quiet

2.
The weight of being born into exile is lifted.
Down the long course of the gray slush of things
Gray the cloud-like oaks
Wheezing ravens, when
Blurring the terrain,
Close at the end of distance the two Chose
Or else, like us, sunk into some long gaze
Two of us, Docteur and Madame Machin, who stand
Rain. We are forced to fly,
And beyond, the same sound of bees
Like some poor wounded wretch
ong left for dead
Wide, whited fields, a way unframed at last
Of too much truth to do much more than lie
They move against, or through, or toward, or by.

Source:  Spam

David Capps is a philosophy teacher at Quinnipiac University. He has a doctorate in philosophy from the University of Connecticut and an MFA in poetry from Southern Connecticut State University. He lives in New Haven with a fluffy cat named Purrbasket.

Boeuf en daube by Emily McAvan

(after Woolf)

Here, she thought, dabbling her fingers in the dark
here stuck high up in the sea
To want and want
little daily miracles, illuminations, in the water
matches struck unexpectedly in the most exquisite smile
There it was before her – life.

Source: Virginia Woolf – To The Lighthouse

Method: I wrote this poem with the aid of a Markov text generator, which feeds in prose as an input and generates an output randomly – no two are the same. I grabbed the best bits of random prose, repeating the process until I got something I liked, and then edited for sense from there.

Emily McAvan is a Jewish Australian poet whose work sits at the intersection between sacred and profane.

Sea by Donald Welch

Challenger

Body-worn and undesired
the limits are in you

travel outside your provider’s coverage area
GPS might not work
Maps and other navigation data change overtime
Therefore, you should always Always obey signs

never rely solely on strength
be vulnerable
be mobile
poses a fire
be free

Challenger

Source : Samsung S5 mini Health & Safety and Warranty Guide

Method: My method was to read the text in full and make pencil marks around phrases, words, or sentences that caught my attention. Then I went back through with pen and underlined sections that seemed to link together in some fashion. Finally, I typed up the final draft, making some cuts along the way as I saw fit.

Donald Welch teaches creative writing at the Rebecca School for Autism. He has found poetry in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and Issue 4 of Unlost Journal. Visit donaldcwelch3.tumblr.com for more on Donald and his work.

Pain, No Gain by D.R. James

Inflexibility restricts
range of motion &
energy transfer. Always
warm up; always
lengthen. If tight,
stop to stretch, rest,
rehydrate, reduce
the possibility of injury.
Wrong way or wrong
time tightens rather
than relaxes. The old
“bounce, bounce, bounces”
risk small tears &
are not recommended.

The stretch reflex responds
to voluntary movement:
the spindles initiating
their counter contraction;
the Golgi organ,
given twenty seconds,
relaxing the muscle
and its counter muscle
in response. Thus stretch
only to a slight pull, slight
discomfort, hold-

relax. Fool
the reflex, activate
the organ. Stretching
will differ per individual.
Stretching is not competitive.
Stretching should never involve pain.

Source: Patti and Warren Finke, Team Oregon

Method: I wrote “Pain, No Gain” after browsing for websites about stretching and ran across an article that emphasized avoiding pain while doing so, which struck me as so opposite of what we had always done as athletes back in my adolescent days.  As I read, I couldn’t help but make the metaphorical leap to stretching oneself interiorly, which even today seems especially valued only when pain is involved, to the extent of claiming the old saw that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” As culturally oppositional as I am, I found Team Oregon’s language about physical stretching irresistible and indirectly applied it to emotional/spiritual stretching.  Almost all of the poem’s words come from the article.

D. R. James’s collections include If god were gentle, Since Everything Is All I’ve Got, Why War and Split-Level, and poems and prose appear in various print and online journals and anthologies. James lives in Saugatuck, Michigan, and has taught writing, literature, and peace-making at Hope College for 33 years.

Trying to Name What Doesn’t Change by Steve Bellin-Oka

Not having to pedal
permits you to concentrate. Taking
tea with Hitler, club soda

with white rum from Puerto Rico.
Centuries of song

in her garage, Anita Bryant
uncorked a misogynist genie,
forty-eight snappy sayings in Russian.

The most horrifying complication
is infection. Brought a Thermos

to avoid communal
drinking. Other children
she knew—

contagion theory. Blood
root. A restaurant with a seasonal

vegetarian menu. One effeminate person
makes others effeminate—
halfway houses to return them

to normal. Never the right size.
We simplify at our peril. The answer:
a minibus, a refusal to make

too grand or final a claim.

 

Source: Articles and advertisements from September 1977 Ms.

Method: In the advanced poetry workshop I teach, we devote one class meeting to found poems and erasure poems. I participate in the exercise I give the students, from which this poem emerged. A variety of book or magazine-length source texts are chosen at random and numbered, and each of us picks a number without any indication of what the source texts are. We are then required to create a found poem out of snippets (phrases, but not whole sentences) from the corresponding source text without any alterations or additions. Order, lineation, stanza structure, capitalization, and punctuation are all open.

Steve Bellin-Oka’s chapbook, Dead Letter Office at North Atlantic Station, was recently published by Seven Kitchens Press. Recent work appears in Worcester Review and Unbroken, among other journals. He has received poetry fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts. He lives in Portales, NM.

 

Please Remind Me: What is the Mission? by S. Clay Sparkman

You are drifting, drifting …. How much frustration can one bear before it becomes a nightmare? You may now begin just another in a long series of seemingly endless frustration dreams:

I watch a Star Trek rerun with Ricardo Montalban as Khan. I sink into the show, and find myself standing by the narrator, in a sunny room.

Apparently, I’m one of the autistic guests to be interviewed. I try to toss all this junk out of my mind as I leave the booth. Forget politics!

What am I doing here? Defining just who in Hell I am. Point at a lamp post and say, “I don’t want that.” At a bus, and add “Or that!” A businessman passes. “Or THAT!”

Immediately a gigantic wheel appears in front of me; it seems to be rotating at a colossal speed and on the great spokes I thought I could make

out nebulous shapes. As we fled through a circus tent, we met a Lykan [a werewolf or human/wolf mix]. I found his brown skin and long brown hair

quite handsome. His caravan wheels into town and floods the place. He’s getting big! Insisting on privacy, his own people take over all the staff positions.

Experimental surgery might cure me. I was feeling helpless about something and it has been haunting me since… muttering, at the back of my brain.

“Some have gender; some have hands.” At every place, I was searching for dead people. I don’t know who I was looking for exactly. But definitely dead.

My mother’s around, may have arranged the party but won’t be in it to interfere. She is me in another existence, the one to end in madness.

Source and Method: THE WORLD DREAM BANK An online database of 2300 dream texts and images, sorted by topic. Here, I utilized excerpts from each of eleven different dreams. This poem was sourced entirely from the “Frustration” dream section.

I find that most of my own dreams lately have a strong thread of frustration running through them. They almost always begin with me trying to do something, and then evolve into a series of events that move me further and further from the original objective.

S. Clay Sparkman was born in Portland, Oregon. A book of his poetry was published as A Place Between Two Voices (by Tabor Hill Press). He has had poetry, humorous articles, short stories, and essays published in Praxis, Moonglasses, Occulum, The Higgs Weldon, Down in the Dirt Beautiful Losers, Parenthesis, Zeroflash, Literaryyard.com, and 1859, Oregon’s Magazine, among others. He married into Chile, and considers Chile to be his second home—maybe his third. He currently lives in Nicaragua, with his wife Veronica, his 12-year old son Javier, his dog Lola, and his cats Torcha and Other-Cat