Category Archives: Issue 17

Anna De Vaul

2 POEMS

Universe II

The retreat of the Little Sisters

completes the cycle. It’s not rational

 

but something in its texture hints

at the heredity of rolled banknotes.

In the House of Anonymity,

 

a calm voiceover skinning mangoes

of high-flown rhetoric. The letter

 

13, the female voice, excessive.

The priest by comparison is

heavily bearded, a scalpel

 

leaping of its own accord.

The reflection implicates – us,

 

distorted in this realm of oysters

and lemons. The young girl

and the spectacle, in the dictatorship

 

of mouth and lungs. Hear

me now. There is no grace,

 

no second house forgotten, plotted

in the verdant shade of nuclear plants.

There is only the promise

 

of the skeleton, double-agent

of molecules uniting us all.


 

Elementary Class Consciousness

We eat the organs

of animals, plot utopia

with the jam knife.

 

We break three teeth

on the pure exteriority

of imperfect semiotic “things”,

 

believe in beauty’s

untiring whisper, idioms

of labor systems and acrobats

 

of desire. We unbalance

the peep-show, anticipate

this affair of sitting,

 

sass at the clearing

of our hosts’ moralities.

 


“Universe II” Sources: Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog, Angela Carter’s The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, Ernest Cline’s Armada, Ailbhe Darcy and SJ Fowler’s Subcritical Texts, Mark Doty’s Still Life With Oysters and Lemon, Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Tiqqun’s Theory of the Young-Girl

‘Elementary Class Consciousness” Sources: Mikhail Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog, Angela Carter’s The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman, Ailbhe Darcy and SJ Fowler’s Subcritical Texts, Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Alan Moore and David Lloyd’s V for Vendetta, Tiqqun’s Theory of the Young-Girl


Anna De Vaul‘s prose and poetry have appeared in a variety of journals. Her chapbook Cosmonaut is forthcoming from Valley Press (UK) and her first collection is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press (US).


Photo by Viktor Kiryanov

Rosalie Krenger

SOMETHING LESS

A Cento from Sherman Alexie’s ​Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
_________

What do you say to people when they ask you
how it feels to lose Everything?

When every planet in your solar system
has exploded?

It’s a weird thing
reopening wounds
damaging my damage

It was the inside stuff that was the worst
I felt helpless and stupid like
I might never laugh again

I was half in one place, half
in the other like I’d turn
sideways and disappear, like I was
supposed
to disappear

And when I knew
I was going to be okay
It was a huge realization.

I was the only one
brave
and crazy enough
the only one with enough arrogance.

I was going to be okay.
But I was also something
less

It was a beautiful and ugly thing


Source & Method

This poem is from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. It’s a moving book, and the pain of the protagonist and those around him is something beautiful in it’s own right.


Rosalie Krenger is an emerging Kansas writer who’s work has appeared in publications such as The Tin Lunchbox Review, Quivira, Tittynope, and Down in the Dirt Magazine. She currently works at Emporia State University.


Photo by John Forson

Robin Turner

3 POEMS


Nobody Signaled

I had studied the route beforehand.
Memorized all my exits. There were

too many wrong roads to take.
It happened so quickly. We’d have

these long conversations every night.
Honey dripping onto a bed of poison.

I switched over to leftist websites.
The next day she’d bring me to church.

Nobody signaled that this was abnormal.
Everything seemed like a dream.

I couldn’t find my voice. The cauldron fell.
She’s the only woman tattooed on my body.


 

the past

is legendary

a landing strip for fly-in guests

a special place

all you do      is comfort

and part


 

He racked up realms—

kind terrain

slaughter waters

miles of       camaraderie

the Big finish       years
shred

immersed

so much
imagined


SOURCE & METHOD

“Nobody Signaled”: Remix/collage. Source text: HONY (Humans of New York) Facebook posts. From a series-in-progress tentatively titled Juxtapose. I’ve long loved Brandon Stanton’s Humans of New York project for its remarkable street portraits and compelling narratives, its all-too-human stories, which seem to accumulate in my poet psyche. I jot down interesting fragments and sentences as spirit moves me, and then notice how they begin speaking to each other in fairy-tale tones over time. “I love fairy tales,” one of Brandon’s subjects tells us, “because they juxtapose romance and beauty with people getting their feet cut off.” No feet are severed in this poem. But there is a cauldron. And it falls.

“the past”: Erasure. Source text: 60th Anniversary ad for Gaston’s White River Resort from the 2018 Water & Woods (Arkansas Outdoor Guide).

“He racked up realms—”Erasure. Source text: “Must Love Mountain Biking” from the 2018 Water & Woods (Arkansas Outdoor Guide). These two erasure were crafted on a bitter winter day in the Arkansas Ouachitas when rain kept me inside and off the hiking trails, away from the water and woods I’d intended to explore when I woke that morning.


Robin Turner is the author of bindweed & crow poison (Porkbelly Press). Her work has most recently appeared in Juniper, Foliate Oak, Whale Road Review, and SWWIM. She is a teaching artist in Dallas, Texas.


Photo by Tommaso Pecchioli

Michael Packman

IN THE CABLE CAR-POOL LANE

 
Madam President

In The Cable Car

No Stopping Me Now

I’m Not Really a Waitress, I say

 

Tell Me About It Stud!

 

She’s a Bad Muffuletta

Unrepentantly Red

My Fortune Cookie

 

An Affair in Red Square

Amore at The Grand Canal

Malaga Wine, Cajun Shrimp

We Seafood and Eat It

 

The Thrill of Brazil

Colour So Hot It Burns

 

Go, she says

 

Go With The Lava Flow

 


Method & Source

A found poem created from OPI nail polish names. All nail polish names are property of OPI UK LTD. All Rights Reserved. While researching nail polish names for a piece of short fiction, I started to see them as forming a narrative. I kept to the exact names in all but one instance, where to do so would have affected the meaning of the piece. I added two other phrases to maintain the narrative flow.

Michael Packman lives, writes and surfs in Cornwall, UK. He writes poems, short fiction, and is currently working on his debut novel. He is published in the Lightship International Prize Winners’ Anthology, the Dark Lane Anthology Vol. 7, in the small press and online.

Photo by Annie Spratt

Alan Harnum

GOD IS FAR FROM HOME

 
God is like day trading by
the water’s edge, snowblind.

God is like the crocodile
bird, retiring on a low income
far from home.

Maker, an enduring wilderness
damages; maker, one of us is lying.

 


Source & Method

There’s a website (http://libraryvoices.alanharnum.ca/) that monitors a live feed of anonymous library catalogue searches, running them through voice synthesis. I listen, select phrases from the feed, and assemble them into poems. All words/spelling preserved, but I may repunctuate; each poem is from one “listening session”.


Alan Harnum is a writer and software developer in Toronto, Canada. He has been previously published in Issue 5 of Unlost.


Photo by David Clarke 

Susan G. Duncan

MIGRANT CHILD

from “Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver
and “On Setting a Migrant Goose Free”
by Po Chü-i, translated by David Hinton

there’s no peace     a million are moving across the landscapes     north

this tenth-year winter     you have to be good     you have to walk

and it hurts

 

there’s no peace     a million are moving for miles     through the desert

lumber slower     and slower     starved and exhausted     riverwater spawns ice

it’s cold

 

pecking through snow     on your knees for grass     meanwhile

the world goes on     north?     the last place you should go     there’s no peace

just a million armored soldiers

 

they’d shoot you     whoever you are     the soft animal of your body

tangled in a net     carried away     meanwhile     the world goes on

sleeping

 

massed by the hundred     sleeping hungry     cold lonely

boys grown old     exiled here     tell me     where will you fly now?

the rivers and the deep trees

 

the mountains     high in the clean blue air?     heading home again

repenting?     tell me     about despair     yours

and I will tell you

 

the world offers pain     the world offers armies     the world offers

to pluck you clean     over and over     the harsh world     calls to you

announcing your place

 

in the family of things     over and over     announcing

whoever you are     no matter     a loose pebble

just a pebble

 


Source & Method

This cento poem arose from the intersection of two famous poems in which geese appear. Although the bird is critical to both source poems, mine doesn’t contain the image, only the interplay of Mary Oliver’s metaphor of freedom and Po Chü-i’s imprisonment, all in the service of a present-day narrative.


Susan G. Duncan is a consultant to performing and visual arts organizations. Her poetry has appeared in Atlanta Review, Blast Furnace, and Thema, among many others, as well as in anthologies by Sixteen Rivers Press and The Poetry Box.


Photo by Das Sasha 

Lisa Berley

THE THING

click for larger version

SWEET SORROW

 

click for larger version

 

 


Source & Method: Source material for the poems and collages come from the New York Times weekly magazines. I have been resourcing the NYTimes magazine for two decades deconstructing the imagery to create large format mixed media works on paper. For this new work in poetry, the NYTimes articles are equally rich in words. I treat them like a canvas painting over words with ‘Wite Out’. This method of redaction allows the viewer/reader to see the deconstruction process of the artists hand in making new connections, transforming prose into poetry, while also giving a voice to the negative space.

Lisa Berley began her career in San Francisco where she received a BFA. She integrated painting, photography and CGI in digital work. Returning to NY for two decades she exhibited abstract mixed media works on paper. Berley moved to Colorado continuing to work from deconstructed found images and recently combining it with erasure poetry.

April Garcia

 

METAMORPHOSE


Source & Method

“Metamorphose” is an erasure of pg. 11 from Minecraft: The Island by Max Brooks, published by Mojang AB and Mojang Synergies AB © 2017. So far, I have only experimented with erasures using books. I learned about this form while working on my bachelor’s degree and found I rather enjoy it. I find it to be a very useful form when I am feeling creative but words just won’t form. I just grab a book off my shelf, make a copy of a random page, and get to work.


April Garcia’s work has appeared in multiple anthologies published by both the Laurel Crown Foundation of San Antonio, Texas and Southern New Hampshire University. Garcia had work in Northwest Vista College’s Spring 2009 literary journal The Lantana Review and  in SNHU’s The Penmen Review.


Photo by Aziz Acharki

Jessy Randall

AH, YEP

Really?
Wow.
Yes.
Yeah, right.
Yes.
Mm.
Ah.
Mhm.
Hmm.
Whoa.
Wow.
Interesting.
Oh, hm.
Ah.
Ha!
Ah.
Of course.
Yes.
Say more about that.
Ah, yep.
Mhm.
Right.
Hmm.
Mhm, yeah.
Whoa.
That’s a very interesting concept.
Mhm, mhm.
Mhm, mhm.
Ah. Say more about that…
Ah.
Ah, okay.
Ah.


Source:

Interviewer comments from a conversation between Marvin Bell and Alan Fox published in Rattle, Summer 2008. I pulled out only the insubstantial, non-question, agreement-sounds from the interviewer.


Jessy Randalls poems, comics, and other things have appeared in McSweeney’s, Poetry, and The Best Experimental Writing. Her most recent book is How to Tell If You Are Human: Diagram Poems (Pleaides, 2018).


Photo by Dang Nghia

Marcia Pradzinski 3 ERASURES

3 ERASURES

 

LONG EVENINGS

 


STUDY

 


WHISPERS

 

 

 

 

 


Source & Method

My sources: “The Long Evenings of Their Leavetakings” by Eavan Boland, “Study in Black” by Rickey Laurentiis, and “Whispers of Immortality” by T.S. Eliot

Because images in these poems intrigued me, I went into the text to white out words surrounding the images and created a new poem. I kept all the words in their poems’ original order so that the visual construct portrays a poem within a poem.


Marcia J. Pradzinski, author of LeftBehind, published by Finishing Line Press in 2015 is a Chicago native, living in Skokie, Illinois. A retired ESL instructor, her poems have been featured in print and online.


Photo by Joanna Kosinska

Nick Fuller Googins FOUNDING DONORS

FOUNDING DONORS

 

Grapevines cover the old fence stump.

Where there’s water, there may be mink.

If there is no pond, beavers will create one.

 

We greatly appreciate our partners

but few ecosystems are this simple:

 

Cacti are succulent.

Hoofrim is hard.

This evergreen is red.

 

When spring comes

the alpha male is the chorus leader.

When the weather gets foul

the alpha female will snap and snarl.

 

Study of ancient DNA reveals

that over many millennia

large hearts sustain.

 

The pack is the nucleus.

A pack can be as few as two.


Source & Method

All lines are from informational placards in the Hall of Dinosaurs at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History, and the Hall of North American Mammals at New York’s Museum of Natural History.


Nick Fuller Googins‘ fiction has been read on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” and has appeared in The Southern Review, Ecotone, Narrative, ZYZZYVA, and elsewhere. In his non-writing time he installs solar panels, tutors, and plays trombone in an activist street band.


Photo by Samuel Zeller

Chrystalla Christodoulou

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA

 
like bird feathers, human hair and nails are made of a protein called
Keratin, much like the rings of a tree, it keeps a record,
remembers everything, you, dancing for me.
like a snapshot of a developing feather I still
remember everything,
how we’d put out a call to the public,
to map out the flooding, the pollution
the sweet words and fevers.

 


Method & Sources

“Hard Feelings/Loveless.” Songwriters Jack Antonoff & Lorde
“Where Do Birds Flock Together? Australians Are Mailing In Feathers to Help Find Out” by Livia Albeck-Ripka. New York Times, March 21, 2018 (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/21/climate/australia-feathers.html)

These two sources became interlinked in my mind: the article taught me that feathers record essential information regarding the bird’s life while Lorde sang to me about how forgetting feels impossible at first. To create the piece, I picked out phrases from the article and the song that were more active, to combat – and in some ways support – the passivity of feeling sad. The only rule I had for this exercise was to avoid using my favorite lines from the song.

 


Chrystalla Christodoulou is a senior at St. Edward’s University in Austin Tx, studying English Literature and Creative Writing. She is from Cyprus more than any other place.


Photo by Xander Ashwell

Boyd Razor

 

DREAMING OF BEING BEHEADED

 

If a person dreams
he has been beheaded,
it has a good interpretation.

If he is sick,
he will recover.

If he has debt,
it will be repaid.

If he is in distress,
he will be helped out of it.

If he is in living in fear,
he will find security.

If he is captive,
he will be freed.


Source & Method

Interpretation of Dreams by Imam Muhammad Bin Sirin, edited by M. A. Shahid, translated by Shakil A. Monir. Published by Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission Nigeria, Lagos. Line breaks added. Punctuation altered. Changed the order a little. A few unneeded words dropped.


Will you still have a song to sing when Boyd Razor comes and take your fancy things away?


Photo by Timothy Eberly 

Hannah Mahoney

RULES

Certain bones are of intrinsic value.
The inner table is “toward the light.”
A stone may jump over adverse stones.
The asker is bound by the reply.


OBSERVATIONS

The naked eye
A blue companion
The body
The right leg
The left shoulder
The string of pearls

A swan with wings outstretched
A man encircled by a serpent
A lion crouching
The heart of the snake
They are close together
It is very dangerous


Source & Method

All lines taken verbatim from these sources:
“Rules”: My family’s battered and frequently consulted edition of Hoyle’s Rules of Games, edited by Albert H. Morehead and Geoffrey Mott-Smith (New York: New American Library/Signet, 1963)

“Observations”: An Instant Guide to the Stars and Planets, by Pamela Forey and Cecilia Fitzsimmons (New York: Bonanza Books, 1988).


Hannah Mahoney is a coauthor of Dream Language: For Three Voices (Yet to Be Named Free Press). Her work has appeared in a variety of journals, and she is the recipient of a Kaji Aso International Haiku Award. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Photo by Soroush Karimi 

Janet Ruth

VARIOUS FORMS OF HAPPINESS

 

click for larger version


Source & Method

This is an erasure poem from two pages in Annie Dillard’s book Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Chapter 2 – “Seeing.” The artwork (pen-and-ink) is my own.


Janet Ruth is an emeritus research ornithologist, living in New Mexico. Her writing focuses on connections to the natural world. Her first book, Feathered Dreams: Celebrating Birds in Poems, Stories & Images, is a finalist for the 2018 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.

 

M. Stone

MY LIFE BY WATER

I rose from marsh mud.
I knew a clean man
I married
in the great snowfall.

Consider at the outset—
I am sick with the Time’s
tradition.

Keen and lovely man,
alcoholic dream.
I lost you to water, summer.

Now in one year
my life is hung up.

July, waxwings
hear
something in the water.

Along the river,
the graves—
traces of living things.


Source & Method
I constructed this poem, including the title, using only the titles of poems listed in the Table of Contents from the following book:

Niedecker, Lorine. The Granite Pail, edited by Cid Corman, Gnomon Press, 1985, 1996.


M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in San Pedro River Review, UCity Review, formercactus, and numerous other journals.


Photo by Annie Spratt

Emily Costa

 

page from the author’s grief journal at age 5

 

LISTS FROM GRIEF COUNSELING JOURNAL, 1993


 

Things That Make Me Sad
Papa’s dead, Grandma’s dead
Papa & Grandma are together in heaven,
same grave,
headstone
says “Mom & Dad”

Things That Make Me Mad
when I get yelled at
when I’m sick

Things That Make Me Glad
I love
I love
I like
I’m glad
I love

Write a Story
they both had cancer
they both died
the end

Write a Story about Christmas
we woke up in the morning and we looked in our stockings
we opened our presents
we looked in our stockings some more

Write a Memory
they love me too

Write a Story
here’s something:
we used to eat macaroni every day
I had a birthday cake in the hospital
a dinosaur cake

Write a Story about When You Are a Teenager
I’ll be taller
go to high school
drive
get a job at the zoo

Parting Gifts
Grandma taught me
spaghetti and meatballs
and chestnuts
we used to open the shells, eat the chestnuts
sometimes I helped
Papa took the shell off
Papa taught me how to take the shell off
(he started them for me)
I put them on the tray
to cook

A Story about Spring

 


Source & Method

When I was around five, three of my grandparents died. I recently found the journal my mom and I completed for a hospice-recommended grief counseling program. I rearranged the prompts and my answers (transcribed by my mom) to try to explore how a child might navigate grief.


Emily Costa teaches college freshmen. Her writing can be found in Hobart, Barrelhouse, The RS 500, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Memoir Mixtapes.