What Poetry Is: An Ars Poetica Cento as Villanelle by Andrena Zawinski

Issue 4

Poetry is a river many voices travel–
a sigh at dawn, a wild soft laughter
that carries us from this mortal world.

It is all things born with wings that sing,
made with the syllables of dreams.
Poetry is a river many voices travel.

It is far far cries upon a beach at nightfall,
a lighthouse moving its megaphone over the sea.
Poetry carries us from this mortal world.

It speaks the unspeakable,
utters the unutterable sigh of the heart.
Poetry is a river many voices travel.

Poetry is the sun streaming in meshes of morning,
the boat moored in shade at the bend of the river
that carries us from this mortal world.

Poetry is a humming, a keening, a laughing
dissolving halos in oceans of sound.
on a river many voices travel
that carries us from this mortal world.

Previously Published in Found Poetry Review, Vol. 5

Source Texts: from Ferlinghetti’s What Is Poetry  and Oliver’s Poetry Handbook*

Andrena Zawinski was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, but has made the San Francisco Bay Area her home. She believes that all poetry is essentially “found,” whether as literal text or sketched on sky as clouds or as inspirational lines from beloved poets. Her latest full poetry collection, Something About, received a PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. Zawinski is also Features Editor at PoetryMagazine.com. andrenazawinski.wordpress.com/category/poetry

Demeter Doesn’t Know Why by Liùsaidh

Issue 4

Cora, twenty, wants her lover to hurt her —
Tie her up in sexual situations.
No idea why my daughter should want this
I worry for her.

She subjects herself to . . . what kind of folks? My
Feelings for my daughter swing in extremes, for
when she’s passed his door, well, he might go crazy!
(She’s at his mercy

Even if she uses her so-called safe word.)
How could this experience ever be healthy,
Positive? That man she’s around is evil —
Why does she need him?

Wonder what I’ve done to her in her childhood?
Fault’s my own, some error in her upbringing —
That’s it, right? — It must be the way I raised her,
(Craving a flogging,

No idea what else.) I want to accept her,
Yet I can’t believe my daughter would do this
Can a woman living this sort of lifestyle
Ever have hopes for

Decent marriage? Deviant. Can’t she see it?
Cora doesn’t live in a vacuum, and your
Children’s conduct do reflect on the family
How dare she do this?

When I challenged her, she told me she’d stop it
Give him up, and all that they do together
Ring-gags, found when snooping, told me her words were
lip service only.

Friends and neighbours, once they find out about it
All good people — they’d just run screaming from her
Cora doesn’t fit respectable boxes
Now that she’s separate.

Overwhelmed by sadness caused by betrayal.
Wake at night, the thoughts of my daughter churning.
Let’s not start on how it’s ruined my sex life —
God how I hate her.

Cora’s smart, attending a Cambridge College,
tops her class, does well in her education.
We, her parents, struggle to pay tuition
it’s so expensive!

Are we wasting, then, our time and our money?
How can someone do this and be successful
when they’re hiding secrets, threats to their parent’s
values, wellbeing?

Well, of course, she knows there’s this wall between us —
Understands I don’t accept her behaviour —
I do try to hide the fact I hate her.
Sexual choices.

Never understood why she was so distant,
Now I do, and nothing more could be clearer,
She should know how much I love all my kids, I
Need to protect them.

Understand. I’m not a bad mum, I know it
Children were the centre of my existence —
Gave up my career to bring them up rightly —
I’m dedicated.

Oh, my god. She hates herself when she visits,
For she knows how much her lifestyle betrays me
How she loathes me, when that bad crowd she’s in with
tell her she’s normal!

If it’s normal, why not tell folks about it?
Why her need to hide her dark dirty secrets?
God in heaven, maybe she’s told the neighbours
And they won’t tell me?

Maybe I should tell her goodbye forever
Never see my daughter ever again. Right?
What a perfectly horrible situation,
how can she do this?

How can someone treat their family members
In this way? I hope her doctors can help her.
Therapy. She’s going. At least that’s something.
Won’t tell me why, though.

Source text: www.mentalhelp.net/advice/is-it-okay-to-be-a-masochist/ Accessed Nov 11, 2015

Liùsaidh is a poet and author from the West of Scotland. Writing from a crack-ridden council estate, the poems are always strange. You can find them online and in print, most recently in Unlost Journal, and The Ghazal Page.

Poets Must Submit by Owen Clayborn

Issue 4

Full-length collections of poets
of less than 750 copies of
Poets who have not published
a book before by poets
who previously have published poetry
we define as a book of 48 or more
Poets who have not published
a book before by poets.

We pride ourselves on the eclectic
demand that any book
tied to any particular style or school
be of exceptional merit.

We are not of writing,
of the nature of our list
but we do, we publish.

To provide critiques or enter
this huge number of
sort of
with more than 1,400 manuscripts
means that we are unable to enter
this huge number
with the care it deserves.

Source text: Pittsburgh University Press Poetry Submissions webpage.

Owen Clayborn is a British-American writer of short and full-length fiction, as well as poetry. He currently lives on a rainy island in the North Atlantic.

Or Otherwise Damaged & one other by Donald Welch

Issue 4

Or Otherwise Damaged

Warning: always exercise
intended purpose.
Always grasp and pull.
We recommend the possibility of danger
or built-in risk.

Leave your need to obtain.
This includes both inside and outside,
clockwise or counterclockwise.

Avoid potential safety.
If necessary use a blade
in any garage away from sunlight.

This new cool technology
is sensitive, friendly, and normal.

Gently, gently

This new cool technology
will control your needs.

Gently, gently

Life should be original
should be fresh
should be used
the same day as purchased.

Note: This may fluctuate due to death or injury.

Always read,
do not use harsh chemicals
every three months ensure good thunderstorms,
remove the power
when power has been prolonged and spoiled,
Forces that interfere evaporate naturally in time.
This is normal.

Exception: damages caused by our lack of care.

The remedy provided may not apply.

Source text: Black and Decker Refrigerator Manual

Other Heavenly Bodies

People move in regular fashion
night to night
night to night

a code
The sun is a bright circle
The moon has a variety of shapes
but bodies are points of light

Writers record the “proof”
the assassination of Julius Caesar
the fall of Jerusalem to the Romans
the conquest of England by William of Normandy

draw an imaginary line across the sky
notion of “infinite distance”
nothing to do but wait

William won
the Roman Empire fell apart
and the fall of Jerusalem took place somewhat earlier—
Calpurnia’s face crumbled away
insubstantial dust fit into a suitcase
unscrupulous salesmen made considerable money
by selling the Earth its burden of life

The first scientific discovery
Nothing ever vanishes, of course
We have evidence of the sky on a dark moonless night

Nowadays, probably at dusk,
pizzas are delivered
and in the early morning
whirling, whirling faster
bodies have retained some of the light

Source text: Isaac Asimov, “Guide to Halley’s Comet”.

Donald C. Welch III is a teaching assistant at the Rebecca School for Autism where he runs the Ultimate Crusaders Poetry Workshop. His current project @SocialLit explores new forms of poetry and collaborative writing derived from Social Media, and he has a found poem sourced from 90’s music in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine For more on Donald and his work visit donaldcwelch3.tumblr.com

Elsewhere by G.V. Anderson

Issue 4



Source text: Various rejections received by the author from short story markets in 2015

G.V. Anderson lives on the south coast of England and writes a little bit of everything. She’s a lover of fantasy books, lazy evenings, and spicy pizza. Right now, she ought to be working on her novel – but she’s probably asleep. Poke her awake at @luna_luminarium.

Maine by Mukethe Kawinzi

Issue 4

you want drunk gorgeous summer
sleep and swea
frantic beauty
peach skin
dark languid sleep
recall why and what we want

Source text: Reviews from tripadvisor.com

Poetry is a new adventure for Mukethe Kawinzi, who spends her time traipsing among the flora, fauna, and farmers of New England. She works in the field of healthy food access and lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

Girl Standing Alone by L.G. Corey

Issue 4

I met her


before finale day

on jhalak sets
when she was doing





Source text: Twitter feed.

L.G. Corey has written three books of poetry. The second, Sausalito Poems 1959-1961, was published last year by Platypus Press. His third collection, Rats’ Alley Poems, will be released in mid-2016. Corey’s poems have also appeared in a number of print and electronic journals including Evergreen Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and Midstream. He turned 81 in November 2015.

Unpolished by Jennifer Todhunter

Issue 4

I polish and paint my love
black inside my pocket
promise it will split the heavy evening
we share

We can turn the moonlight off–
run away and not exist
in one simple reflection and
a complicated conversation

I will kill my conscious, if you like,
with coffee and medication
so I can feel your lonely kiss
in the morning

Source text: Bright Eyes, “Lua”

Jennifer Todhunter is a number nerd by day, word fiddled at night. She enjoys dark, salty chocolate and running top speed in the other direction. Find her at www.foxbane.ca or @JenTod_

After an “amazing grace” by Sarah McCall

Issue 4



Source text: Facebook post

Sarah McCall is a poet, yoga teacher, and student of all things wordy and spiritual.  She has spent many years as an English teacher, bartender, list maker, and lover of clean, bright things.  She and her husband and their two dogs live in Norfolk, VA, where Sarah is an MFA candidate at Old Dominion University.

In the Dim Lobby by Sarah Key

Issue 4

we saw many large black birds

(vaguest recall of an elegant cockatoo at dusk 14th St.)

All of a sudden they all vanished;
their descendants threw out the trash.

The dim lobby with potted palms is
everywhere there are vending machines and
mirrors in the labyrinth
four or five still-unknown objects that belong together–

-a small white ball in a bare, whitewashed room with a QUIET sign
-a pebble becomes a human being.
-blue is the color of your yellow hair.

I’m looking for the mechanical chess player|
with a red turban in his secret toy,
an abstract feeling of geography and
voyaging, watching the world through dark glasses
on a rainy evening
of incommensurable meanings: three mismatched
shoes winding the watches of their souls.

Source text: Charles Simic, Dime Store Alchemy

Sarah Key‘s poems have appeared in Poet Lore, Naugatuck River Review, InPatient Press, and elsewhere. She also has eight published cookbooks and eight essays on The Huffington Post (www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-key/).

This Should Turn Out by Tom Snarsky

Issue 4

Ariadne has hung herself. She cannot fall from Earth
undifferentiated as a concept of tired Nature.
Again and again the “nows” are monstrously
indeterminate, the communication swarms,
the square deceptively deviates from straight lines,
and hieroglyphics presuppose a prisoner glimmering
with dew. The level areas of the even plain of Death
may, in fact, be after death: the entire world is an egg.
Consider her whole body, wandering to a widely-
wandering possibility. What can be meant within
intuition? How much more exemplary love seems,
replete with sharp roughness. We see thunderbolts,
rain, and the beginnings of Time itself. Leveled off,
the “nows” get shorn of distortion, dissolved in that form
of a broken Earth. Habitus lifted itself up and in its lightness
lifted acorns and wild strawberries, a pure sequence of “nows.”

We could be criticized for unrolling the Etruscan divination
books, but if the world can be lit up, then the child-
player can only win. We feel fog at night, we are
ennetted as we go, we feel every crawling as resistance.
Acts are fractional numbers: the charity of Joan of Arc,
so large, mortal in all its parts. We have deferred
transparency. No doubt her words depart
like a banqueter sated with life: even the historian
understood the analogy. The terrors of war
bore and open only ocular ways of ascertaining, aloof
from all such rubbish as positivity, novelty, good sense, love.
Matuta scatters rosy dawn through the investigations,
and spatiality becomes orgiastic. The eye is an implicated light,
the ear a possible sound. We see what we are after.

I am traversing death, a dramatization coextensive with the world.
Now I will explain the fracture, under the same sky.

Source Texts: Being and Time by Martin Heidegger (tr. John MacQuarrie and Edward Robinson), On the Nature of Things by Lucretius (tr. Walter Englert), and Difference and Repetition by Gilles Deleuze (tr. Paul Patton). After “The Smile on the Face of a Kouros” by William Bronk.

Tom Snarsky is a Noyce Teaching Fellow at Tufts University, MA. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Unbroken, Maudlin House, After the Pause, Shadowtrain, and elsewhere. He lives in Braintree, MA.

Too Early To Drink & one other by Nathan Wade Carter

Issue 4

Too Early To Drink

You have no idea what to do with yourself
Too early to drink
Your friends
One by one
Have an intrusion
Human contact
You think you are alone
You unpack your name
The boat
The boat
The boat
A rooster
The boat
Words are useless

Source text: “Burning” by Jonathan Kime in The Sun, March 2010, p.18

Return the Empty

We put our beards back on
The night was colder
Most melancholy leaves
I tried to
Return the empty
I didn’t know how much had burned
Change seemed a miracle
Our plan was flawed
I rang the doorbell
The expression “It’s OK”
Is a second reaction

Source text: “The Stove” by Howard Luxenberg in The Sun, February 2007, p.40

Nathan Wade Carter is a poet, musician and artist living in Portland, Oregon. His poetry be found or is forthcoming in Potluck Magazine, Souvenir, Powder Keg Magazine, and elsewhere. He writes and performs songs under the name Purrbot, and is recording a new album called DNR. Find him online at nathanwadecarter.com

The Horrible Terrible Day Harry Spooner Junior Lost his Used Tube Sock by S.J. Crane

Issue 4

Be s t

Huh!                                 ridiculous s agg  ing





peering through               the thigh

stuffed with



running     inept

dabs of

not-quite-right                      sir, that’s the         place

we t                         sp outs and                     leftover seeds

in the warm slap of  his

scraggly hillock


Source text: Michael Derrick Hudson, “The Bees, the Flowers, Jesus, Ancient Tigers, Poseidon, Adam and Eve.”

S.J. Crane is a physician with a private practice on Coronado Island. Her poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have appeared in or are forthcoming from The Beechwood Review, the light ekphrastic, Unbroken, and bottle rockets, among other places.

The Moon & three others by Carol Shillibeer

Issue 4

The Moon

The last stage of winter is a dreadful madness
cleansed by venom. The wild howls
louder than any beast. Each of them relies
on an occurrence of the hills and their black towers.
The mandible of the sun, the beetles that bear
on their backs the silence, each of them derive
one formula from another, one latter from a former.

A scope line—a metal that echoes in the throat
of iniquity. Baulked, the will: dead traditions
fill with ancestral loathing. A justification
for the new and yet illegitimate 11, 14, 15, and 16
are not in themselves wrong but nevertheless
the only still place—their threshold. What may excite,
what may become of the heart, an assumption
introduces the sacred abomination—a genuinely
contradictory pair. Strictly speaking, the main operator
tries to use a second horseshoe, but both places
plainly exhibit the art of producing rather than a point.

Before the human eye, darkness conquers air.
The benign intoxicates and terrors assail.
At midnight the morrow buds, the back of the head
resurrects. The nameless, the moon
transits through a poisoned darkness.
A Glance. A Formula. A Barrier. An Elimination Rule.
How splendid this adventure!

Source texts: Simpson, R.L. Essentials of Symbolic Logic. Broadview Press, 1999. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1974.

The Sun

White spruce will not do.
A novice could dig a set of cobbler’s stitches,
a strip of sand and even a pebble beach,
if terrestrial matters are valid. It’s just that
an idea is like a rose thorn. An idea with 12 rays
where children twin symbolism with dancing,
the ancient ones, those outside the wall
where the fertile earth speaks are dead
and remain; nothing aspires to the heavens.

Once there had been a chosen belt,
a girdle to render infinite space. Like sacred
signs on their feet, the strange, the formula
of a close and definite alliance, our
ancestors were bewildered enough
to gain a foothold. Upsetting as it is,
the pioneers can put nothing right.

We tied almost nothing. Thongs, ropes,
and strings, It seems to slide on oil.
There is no sign of It. The arrow of a wake.
The riparian forests temper. The wind
ruffles our shirts with It. The surface of It
appears scratched with the end of the Eagle.
A cruising loon leans forward and gives
to It. As a consequence, the land widens again
under the sun. The narrow waters lead on,
and the lake comes at us hard
down the solar alley. After a swift execution
Green rose, time leaked from the sun, and thus
sanity flowered from freedom. It burnt Itself
on the 13th ray and then flew past, laughing.

Source texts: McPhee, John. The Survival of the Bark Canoe. Farrar, Straus, Giroux: New York, 1975. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1974.

The Star

To live sweetly on the verge of the unbelievable
It is nothingness with twinkles
there is distance and oil and blood
there is ethereal water
there is the land and the water
there are roses, the Grail and the Alchemist
continuous and omniform, smoke is not measured by clocks

years are not numbered by wars
a bell rings for every thought in Its head, a light goes on
for Its approaching words
out of the rain and the darkness and the depths
there are fires of glory, of fury, sudden and lingering
put It on the wings, arouse the coiled splendour
to It the rich headdress
to It the secret temple, the flame of drunkenness
to It the rich jewels of the night

It wrote in and out of the anatomy of the word
the word that became genteel, then self-conscious
finally dying of contempt, It said
snow is measured by winters

there is a definite formula for the attainment
of truth, but ‘ware, the new revelation
is not Euclidean. Know this,
the veil before the face, the picture spirals
what is conceived is mathematical

there are roses growing with thorns angled toward the sea

Source texts: Merton, Thomas. Raids on the Unspeakable. New Directions: New York, 1964. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1974.

The Universe

Nothing is fully expanded and yet the universe of discourse
signs Itself as a fold. The beam of light integrates. Portable
immersive technologies are 22 paths pendant from the symbol.
Space self-compensates for the slowest of planets. Strain
and stress radiate: coldness, dryness, immobility, dullness—
this chemistry returns to the beginning. We are all driven
by inaccessible mechanisms. Neural landscapes are graphic,
pill-like entities. Particles are written in Sicily. The eeries
of letters begin and then end. In the end of It all The Fool
compliments the place where feet fall upon the material.
The beam of light disintegrates. The Modern—the Now—
a museum interior whose hard-edged geometry is nothing,
fully expanded.

Source texts: Stafford, Barbara Maria. Echo Objects: The cognitive work of images. The University of Chicago Press: Chicago & London, 2007. Crowley, Aleister. The Book of Thoth. Weiser Books, 1974.

After a wildly productive life as an alchemist, Carol Shillibeer retired to read tarot, stalk Hierocholoë odorata in the lands west of the Pacific cordillera, and consider the implications of post-human materialism.