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.

Ethan Frome Poem By Bill Yarrow

screen capture of Ethan Frome Poem by Bill Yarrow

 

Source: Preface to Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

Method: My method for crafting my found poems involves setting rhythmic text from public-domain works in a visual pattern or in an established verse form.

Bill Yarrow, Professor of English at Joliet Junior College and an editor at the online journal Blue Fifth Review, is the author of The Vig of Love, Blasphemer, Pointed Sentences, and five chapbooks. His work also appears in Aeolian Harp, Volume One and Beginnings: How 14 Poets Got Their Start.

Walking is Not Walking by Kathleen Galvin

 

Walking is Not Walking

Not in this blind tangle of growing, dying
and dead things all mixed and mingled
an impossible mass with a strange springiness,
that gurgles, rolls and grabs, full of moving things,
little and big, everywhere soft, rotting, slippery,
an oily mush of roots, stalks and vines, overhung
with great masses of living and dead vegetation
hanging to the ground, mixing with things growing up:
no fixed surface, nothing to call ground. Hard to believe
that far, far below there must be rock. Eternities
of dead things, rooted through with living things,
a thousand feet from rock to sky.

 

This is what looked from the air so even
and green, a soft green blanket.

 

Source: This is from a collection of found poems elicited from my late father’s journals and letters while he was an officer and infantryman in Vietnam and Cambodia. My father served two tours during the Vietnam War, from 1966-67 and 1969-70. He earned the Silver Star and various other commendations.

Method: I have extracted images and passages from my father’s letters, notebooks, and papers—adapting his language and visuals for poetic forms (one image of several of his notebooks attached for interest). Each poem adapts one or more of his passages, contemporaneous with wartime experience. My father, General John R. Galvin (USA, Ret.), made a career in the military, retiring from the U.S. Army in 1992 after a final assignment as Supreme Allied Commander Europe, head of NATO forces, at that time 16 nations. He published four books, including a 2015 memoir, whose publication I assisted extensively as his health failed. My father had a writer’s eye for telling details of combat and deployment. The poem represents a portion of a larger body of work I consider our posthumous collaboration.

Kathleen Galvin is completing a graduate degree in creative writing. Her work adapts language and imagery from the wartime journals of her late father, General John R. Galvin (USA, Ret.), including papers that informed his final book, “Fighting the Cold War: A Soldier’s Memoir” (University Press of Kentucky, 2015).

 

 

LAST SHOW by Melanie Browne

 

Such a waste
So sad
Being held down
By some intense pressure
Jaws grinding hard and eyes pinned
Going through the motions
Strangely inconsistent
The pain that caused the noose
Why great people fall to Earth
Enter into glory
Clearly something is wrong
Holy shit
Rest in peace
Too soon for me to watch
Maybe next week

 

Source : YouTube comments under a Soundgarden concert video

Method: Some of the grieving fans comments were beautiful. I gathered them into a poem.

Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer living in Texas.

Note from the Editor: We’d like to dedicate today’s post to Chris Cornell, his family and friends, and all his fans.

The Scent of Unity By Rebecca Parker

It’s not alien abduction,
a mediation of chemical processes:

it hurts, it feels awesome,
cerebral preferences,
each to their own.

Oxytocin, chemicals and pheromones
give you a queasy feeling
That’s love!!!
Screw love!

Every moleculewears off
the beats of your heart;

I would have traded my life
for 30 years of the scent of unity,

a heightened sense
after infatuation,
a transformation
deeply deep.

You still get nervous to this day,
you covet stability,
shopping for groceries,
buy a dog
they usually last 12 years.

Surrender.
Zero score.

A hot metal rod slowly ripping your skin off,
it can cool down,
leave you cold,
it will never be the same,
a waste of time and energy
Honestly.

If they had no limbs on their body you would still stick with them for ever.
You think about them sometimes, and you hope they are happy.

The object of such an enthusiasm
it’s an evolutionary gift,
a hoax created by poets,
a taste,
just a WORD,
life’s one sole purpose –

that’s my opinion on love.

Source: Words borrowed from the first page of Yahoo Answers threads asking, What is love?

Method: My method for constructing the poem was to simply scour these threads and pick out fragments from the answers. I put them together wondering if, by distilling these crowd-sourced definitions from the most earnest people on the internet, I would accidentally get an accurate answer to the question. I corrected some misspellings, except where the misspellings formed existing words (as in ‘scent’).

Rebecca Parker is a writer and proofreader from north-west England, living in Scotland. She has recently joined the small team of an independent publisher of poetry pamphlets, and her own poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction have appeared in a number of online and print publications.

How to Live in America By Erica Goss

be calm
despite
sick feeling

terrifying thoughts
are fairly typical
not uncommon

educating yourself
has shown a reduction
in misconceptions

thoughts and actions
are not under control
friction in the family

you can help
speak if possible
disturb

any option
expect it
added stressors

set up a system
do something
set limits

this won’t be tolerated
despite
complex factors

Source Text: “15 Ways To Support a Loved One with Serious Mental Illness” by Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.

Method: As I read the document, an alternate text seemed to rise out of it, one that echoed the way people are feeling in the current political climate.

Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA from 2013-2016. She is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award (forthcoming in 2017), Wild Place (Finishing Line Press 2012) and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets (PushPen Press 2014). Erica is a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Her poems, reviews and articles appear widely.

Father Marries His Four Daughters Off Like Fine Wine By Suzanne Biro

“Wine is bottled poetry … ” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Verra

Substantial broad
Built to last
Meters in the hip
No surprise when one considers it was great-aunt Irma
who wrote the international bestseller, The Joy of Cooking
At once massive and elegant
Exceptional voluptuous proportionality
with the heft to mature with grace
A nice dash of spice adds intrigue
but immediately blows off
Healthy up front
Hold on and grip
a handful of warm
traditional rustic style
There is plenty to look forward to
over the coming decade

Temperance

Is bright-looking, modern, finely sculpted
Beautiful now but needs another two or three years to soften
Still a bit youthfully clenched
Underpinning suggests this will reward some patience
Rather monolithic
young and tightly wound
A taut skin frame, a flicker of pale transparency
Nervous
Powerfully nutty
with a little more brisk acidity and briny character
than is typically the case
Will need time, will be a hit
A big time winner
Worth following through
A solid indication it is going to be
out and out exciting

Carmen-ere

Mollydooker, but no worries,
there’s nothing sinister going on
Drop-dead gorgeous, a knockout
Dark, lush mouth
Fitting for pleasure seekers
Leather and tobacco lace together
A good choice for variety, for something really special
All the exotic you could want
And game
there’s no need to wait
A brief 3 hours of skin contact prior to pressing
after that not much else is done other than a racking off
kick-ass full throttle frothy fun
invigoratingly long penetration
velvety and sexy  and just
very, very good

Rose

My favourite of the line-up
Our greatest love
You’ll be smitten too
Bubbles with the romance
Refreshingly unadorned and comes across as pure and elegant
Fine-boned, smooth and stylish
Not a hair out of place
Filled with pretty highlights of wild edge
you know, to make the heart grow fonder
Fresh with a bit sauvage, not of musk but of a wild tropical flower
like summer honeysuckle
But also remains just grounded enough
Easy to love
despite the desire over and over
Will provide pleasure
Longevity and pleasure are assured

 

Source: Vintages Catalogue No. 573, October 17th, 2015; Catalogue No. 580, February 6, 2016; Catalogue No. 581 February 20th, 2016.(http://www.vintages.com/index.shtml)

Method: The method I used for crafting this poem (or series of four related poems) was straightforward.  I am a wine lover and I regularly read the Vintages magazine delivered to my doorstep twice monthly.  I noticed that the descriptions of wines were decidedly sexy and female-oriented; I wondered if the bias toward women might be up-played through poetry using humour and characterization.  The result is this submission.  It was fun creating it.

Suzanne Biro’s writing was shortlisted in the 2015 SLS Montreal Flash Fiction Contest and the 2016 Little Bird Contest. She blogs, parents, and works as a professional health researcher.

Eleven Questions By Christopher Iacono

Know that you are in my heart, but what even is this shirt?
Soak in the sweetness.

Are eReaders really green?
So much winter white it feels like a fake hospital.

Big game?
German expressionist epic.

How will he spin it?
Language must be played with.

Feeling social?
The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal.

Can you solve the puzzles?
The wind is a fickle mistress.

How do you pick your “favorite” books?
Draw from a deep well.

Isn’t this the best sign?
“Eyes on stalks” and “ice shifts at the poles” are my fave lines.

Love Vegas?
Some things make your eyes sparkle.

Broken dragon?
At Lincoln’s waffle shop.

Don’t you remember how we embraced his virile sensuality?
She says she doesn’t want to fuckin’ talk to you.

 

Source: Various tweets posted January 19-20, 2017.

Method: To craft this poem, I took questions from tweets and then answered them using text from other tweets.

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

Almost Love Poem By Marjorie Thomsen

The more realistic
flavors of love:
bitter and sweet.
It seems
to be asking
for a little
alteration,
for the addition
of this
or the removal
of that. I try to stay
attentive
to this. I love
the long, twisted
red leaves
of some varieties.
A woman
came up to me
and said:
“I’ve got a tree
full of quinces
in my garden
but I don’t do anything
with them. I am scared
of quince.”
keep the skin
a good grind
just gamble
serve at once
serve at once
serve at once


Source:
YotamOttolenghi, “Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi”, 2011.

Method: I had never written a found poem and wanted to try something different. I took what I had sitting closest to me in the kitchen where I write and went from there—a cookbook, a recently purchased coffee-table book that I had been reading, a new plant with its directions on how to care for it, and a love letter on my computer from a friend. Voila.

Marjorie Thomsen’s poetry collection, “Pretty Things Please” (Turning Point, 2016), gets its title from asking Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project to name all that she cannot since they come up with great names for their beers. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Thomsen’s poems have received awards from the New England Poetry Club and The University of Iowa School of Social Work. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A Golden Age By Howie Good

I dreamed I was a book. It’s like deciding
to be a samurai or a dandy: you’re in
for a miserable end, but one you’ll be
able to face with honor. The missing letters
are missing so that, no matter what you
think they are, you can never be quite certain.
Have you ever wondered is Florida real?
That’s not going to change. That stays
the same. There are no real gatekeepers.
And no mission. I was influenced by everything.
We’re living in a golden age. It’s about time.


Source:
Quotes from small press editors at entropymag.org

Howie Good is the author of Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements, winner of the 2015 Press Americana Prize. His latest book is A Ghost Sings, a Door Opens  from Another New Calligraphy. He co-edits White Knuckle Press with Dale Wisely.

March 1st by Carol McMahon

Anthony, Katherine, Jane, Tsai, Susan, David, Ruth, Henry, Carl, Graydon, Lidia, Rosemarie, Aleyah, Richard, Daisy, Todd, Barbara, Harvey, Louis, Vincente, Anita, Douglas, Esther, Thomas, Jeremy, Catherine, Harvey, Alessandro, Janice, Anderson, Bertoni, Burbank, Sagneri, Van Duser, Wirschem, Bruman, Chamberlin, Askin, Clemens, Bentley, D’Andrea, Curran, Degus, Farina, Hasto, Napolitano, Schrader, Rosenbaum, Soong, McConachie, McElwin, Sundquist, Swift-Meyers, White, Wirschem, Spear, Reisman, suddenly, after a lengthy illness, after a short illness, after a courageous battle, at home, his home, in the hospital, surrounded by, survived by, predeceased by, loving husband, devoted wife, partner, fiancée, mother, father, son, daughter, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, children, stepson, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, siblings, sisters, brothers, a multitude of friends, faithful companion, beloved dog, studied history & education, a lifelong communicant, enjoyed travel, flew planes, a doctor of medicine, loved bridge, graduated from, adjunct professor, skilled craftsman, jazz/rock musician, talented visual artist, avid researcher, Ph.D. in aeronautics, a member of, retired from, will be truly missed, in our hearts, an inspiration, a shining example, with gratitude, to share a memory, send a condolence, light a candle, sign the online registry, memorial service, funeral mass, friends may call, interment at, arrangements entrusted to, visitation for, burial at, private service, no service, entombment private, celebrated, Holy Cross Church, Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Sacred Heart, St. John Lutheran Church, First Bible Baptist Church, Hope Church, White Haven Memorial Park, United Church of Christ, in lieu of flowers, memorial donations, charity of your choice, Open Door Mission, Alzheimer’s Association, Arthritis Foundation, American Cancer Society, Disabled Veterans, Wounded Warriors, Humane Society, AIDS Care, Breast Cancer Coalition, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Golisano Children’s Hospital, March of Dimes Foundation, Salvation Army, National Kidney Association, National Liver Association, St. Andrews Food Cupboard, peacefully, in peace, peacefully and quietly, passed away, and died.

 

Source: Obituary section of the March 1, 2015 edition of the Rochester, New York Democrat & Chronicle newspaper.

 

The Method: The names (both first and last) as well as the phraseology, cause of death,  and funeral arrangements etc. were all taken from one day of newspaper obituaries and randomly rearranged in the order of a single obituary.  The layout is designed to mirror the columns of a newspaper. My intent is that the effect of reading the poem will be a perception of the vastness and all-encompassing nature of life’s impermanence as well as an awareness of the ways in which our lives are but mirrors of the lives of our fellow humans.

 

Carol McMahon is the author of a chapbook, On Any Given Day (FootHills Publishing, 2006). She has been published in Prodigal, IthacaLit, Blue Collar Review, Lake Affect Magazine, and elsewhere. McMahon holds an MFA in Poetry from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and currently resides in Rochester, New York.

X Plus Y By Julie Gard

X Plus Y

One caramel latte. Yeah, exactly, you too.
Heading for 60. We arrive in Salt Lake. No one’s
gotten sick, but it causes diarrhea and vomiting
in a healthy person. Also fatal.

Maybe they’ll be there, maybe they won’t.
I was actually, you know, he’s direct.
When are we boarding? No bridesmaids.
That’s what I’m saying.

The transportation administration has limited
the size and quantity of items. She gave it
to us. Five am. May I see your seat number?
I’m really bummed ’cause last year,

we were gonna get a room together.
We haven’t gotten, I haven’t seen,
I thought they’d arrived. X plus y, x minus y,
what is x squared minus y squared?

She has asked me to do that, to say something,
to give a little monologue if you will at the dinner,
like Winifred and Bob at our wedding. Who else
spoke? With or without the banana?

It has been a week now. It’s a spare banana.
She asked me to give her away.


Source:
Dialogue overheard at Gate 14 of the Oakland International Airport.

Julie Gard’s prose poetry collection Home Studies (New Rivers Press) was a finalist for the 2016 Minnesota Book Award, and her chapbooks include Obscura: The Daguerreotype Series (Finishing Line Press) and Russia in 17 Objects (Tiger’s Eye Press). She lives in Duluth, Minnesota and teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.