p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Paul Rousseau

Bettyville: A Poem

There are no sirens or streaks of
neon shining through the window.
I am installed here,
in Missouri,
the furnace startled to service,
slapping the air if I come too close.
I am a loner but I hate to lose people;
I can only imagine how scary it is to
know that the person one is losing is oneself.
Torrents of rain come and thunderclaps crash.
Vapor rises.
I watch the rain overflow the gutters
and fall in cascades.
Winter is coming.

Mornings in New York,
I sipped my coffee and
watched the people,
ancient ladies with
sparse. filament-like hair,
blaring lipstick,
and streaks of red on their faces—
old showgirl types with cosmetic overdose.
(When dealing with older women,
a trip to a hairdresser and two
Bloody Marys goes further than
any prescription drug).

Betty sticks a dirty spoon in the
pocket of her robe.
Her clothes are mean tattletales;
they keep record of every day’s spills,
every crumb or bit of lint, everything
she has brushed against.
Sometimes, she cannot make out how
much of her life has accumulated on her clothes
because clouds have settled in her
large, saucer-like eyes.

She is anxious,
her mind unwilling to rest—
the mutterings and whimpers,
the troubled utterances—
so I stretch my arm across her shoulder.
We say nothing at all.


Source & Method

I purchased a book titled Bettyville, written by George Hodgman. Mr. Hodgman returned to Missouri from New York City to care for his mother Betty who had developed dementia. Several words, phrases, and sentences were underlined by a reader of the book. This found poem is composed of a selection of those underlined writings.


Paul Rousseau (he/him/his) is a semi-retired physician and writer published in sundry literary and medical journals. Nominated for The Best Small Fictions anthology from Sonder Press, 2020.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Jessica Hudson

Lost Audition Tape: “Hamlet, Prince of Denmark”

Side A: Open Call

Remember: Hamlet is only the person
playing Hamlet. Everybody wants the role.
Those who blanch aren’t ready to play.
The real question, I suppose, is
“Who is?”……..

An emo college-aged kid? I’d call his
eyebrows ‘Shakespearean’ and he looks
great in period clothing, holding a skull,
looking melancholy…….

Have you seen his serious side in that one
Law and Order episode? He’s more than
ready to play Hamlet. The two have
a lot in common……

Claire Danes would be way
better Hamlet than any of the other
actors here……

[turn tape]

Side B: Casting Day

He has a look in his eyes that makes me think
he can speak complex Elizabethan blank
verse like it was written the night before,
make Shakespeare sound less seasoned…….

But does he have the right air of mis-
placed confusion? Is he too aggressive,
too forthright, too much of a born
Laertes to play Hamlet? Maybe……

I think he could kill it. We’d all be
waiting for him to enter the graveyard
and behold the ghosts, slim and pale,
to answer the question…….

[turn tape]


Source & Method

I searched online for “Hamlet dream casts” and pulled lines from the following websites: Black & Gold Review, Buzzfeed, Celebrity Cafe, Financial Times, KQED Arts, Morning Call, New York Times, Quora, The Star, Tumblr, Whedonesque, and Yahoo.

Jessica Hudson is working on her Creative Writing MFA at Northern Michigan University. She is an associate editor for Passages North. Her work has been published in The Pinch, Pithead Chapel, perhappened mag, and elsewhere.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Daniel Nester

Nineties Catch Phrase Cento Sonnet

Let me clear my throat, Sugar Ray. Back in the day,
I would walk five hundred miles just to grab some biscuits.
No diggity, Joe Camel. Now I’m just a Frasier Furby on Viagra,
Way too single-white-female for one libido to tick-tock ya don’t stop or
Collaborate and lambada with wolves. No diggity. I’ve got psychic friend networks
In low places. But still. Damn it feels good to be a Rugrat,
To be Lord of the Kato Dance, breaking free from the chains
To hold on for one more quid pro quo Clarisse. East coast or west coast,
Brandon or Dylan, Rachel or Monica, Michael Bolton or Unabomber,
Cop Killer or American Gladiator, I’m stuck in the past with how we did it,
You Hemp Rope Leprechaun. There’s no Crying Game endings in baseball
And there’s no Rico Suave off to never ever land.
Everything we do we did it for you, fanny packs and all.
We’ve got a John Tesh bomb on this bus, so word to our mothers.


Source & Method

Note-taking during every episode of “I Love the ’90s” and “I Love the ’90s: Part Deux,” writing down every catchphrase, segment topic, and famous quotes, which were then cut up, swapped out, and rearranged for maximum ’90s effect.


Daniel Nester is the author most recently of Harsh Realm: My 1990s, a collection of poetry and prose poems coming soon from Indolent Books. He edits Pine Hills Review, the online literary journal of The College of Saint Rose, where he is also a professor of English.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Richard Fox

Collages

 


Source & Method

These submissions are digital collages, produced in Adobe Photoshop. The sources of the images are wide-ranging, but they were primarily found online.


Richard Fox has been a regular contributor of poems to both online and print literary journals. Swagger & Remorse, his first book of poetry, was published in 2007. He is currently working on several collections of spoken word & soundscapes, which are available for EZ listening online at Bandcamp.com (searchable by his name). He holds a BFA in Photography from Temple University, Philadelphia, and lives in Boise, ID.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Lita Kurth

For the Children of the South: A Redaction poem
from the Prophet Jeremiah

a pen of iron and the point of a diamond it is their heart,

your children remember the green trees    the high hills

the field   treasures    the borders

I gave and I will serve

a fire forever

the arm and heart in the desert shall see good

the parched salt and hope the tree planted

by the heat    her leaf shall be careful in yielding

the heart desperately can know

I try to give riches, and not leave, days,

and be a fool

a glorious hope shall be written in the earth,

because of living, I shall be art

they say let it come now

as for me, I was right

a terror of evil

but let me be   let me be bring them the day    double

go children of the people, the kings come in,

and they go out

take and bring it in the gates 

carry your houses

neck stiff, they might not hear

do no work

enter the gates and remain forever

come from the cities

the mountains, and from the south,

bringing burnt praise

bear entering

kindle a fire

in the palaces

and it shall be

the word


Source & Method

Erasure from Jeremiah, Ch. 17-18. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/)


Lita Kurth has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and Best of the Net Awards. https://litakurth.weebly.com/. She  co-founded a literary reading series, Flash Fiction Forum.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Sumit Shetty

Penance


Source & Method

An erasure digitally blacked out from p. 503 of Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.


Sumit Shetty is a Pune-based web developer and writer. He’s founded the web portal ‘Webisoda’, is an organizer with the Pune Writers’ Group, and usually writes short fiction and poetry.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Jean Fineberg

Cool Reason with a Chaser of Tears

From the day the seedling stirred to the power
of surge, strong enough to split a rock,
I have been seeing through a screen of my own –
cool reason flushed down with a chaser of tears.

I am seen as imagining, as part of my illness,
even the call of the wild turkeys.
Sixteen years of unspeakable hell,
invasion of my home and person,
voices since the beginning of time.
Tooth fillings can conduct radio signals.
The media slip these things in when they can.
All involved are to varying degrees, guilty.

Our bodies give us warnings – the jostling
of people and the rubbing against each other.
I must see to it that there is constant movement.
If permanent estrangement is to be avoided,
we have to be realistic.
When my own survival is involved,
I find it best to be tough, to be tender.
Our words and actions carry us to our
own punishments and crimes.

Do I choose being tough or do I compromise?
So far I have managed not to close any doors.

 


Source & Method

My aunt, Lilli Tanzer, who suffered from schizophrenia, was an artist, cartographer, painter and editor of the Haiku magazine Frogpond. I recently read all her letters and was struck by many lines. I combined them into this found poem.


Jean Fineberg is a poet and professional jazz saxophonist. Her poems have been published in Modern Poets Magazine, Soliloquies Anthology, Vita Brevis, Dove Tails, Uppagus, Literary Yard, Flagler Review, Riza Press, High Shelf Press, Fibonacci Review, Creativity Webzine, Quillkeepers Press, Lucky Jefferson and Shot Glass Journal.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Antonio Vallone

Wilf Davies, 72-year-old Welsh Farmer: A Found Poem

All my life, I’ve lived in the Teifi Valley
in West Wales. I spent my boyhood helping
my family on the farm. Even as a young lad
I’ve never wanted to run away from it.

I look after 71 sheep.
Being a farmer means every day is the same.
The animals need to be fed.

Feeding the sheep, seeing how happy
they are, makes me happy, too.
They never ask for anything different.

Just like nature, I have a routine.
Even on Christmas and Easter
I’ve had the same supper for ten years:
two pieces of fish, one big onion, an egg,
baked beans, and biscuits for dessert.

For lunch, I have a pear, an orange,
and four sandwiches with paste.
I’ll sometimes have soup if it’s cold.

Just because I eat the same food
and haven’t left the valley
doesn’t mean I don’t like to know
what’s going on in the world.

I listen to a Welsh radio station
every night. I’m interested in local farming stories
and new developments in west Wales.
This valley is cut in the shape of my heart.

 


Source & Method

This poem was adapted from articles I read on Facebook news.


Antonio Vallone, Associate Professor Penn State. Editing: MAMMOTH books, Pennsylvania English, The Watershed Journal Literary Group. The Blackbird’s Applause, Grass Saxophones, Golden Carp, Chinese Bats. Forthcoming: American Zen and Blackberry Alleys. 


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Patty Paine

Collages


Source & Method

Digital and print collage of copyright-free images.


Patty Paine is the author of Grief & Other Animals (Accents Publishing), The Sounding Machine (Accents Publishing), and three chapbooks. She edited Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry and The Donkey Lady and Other Tales from the Arabian Gulf. She is the founding editor of Diode Poetry Journal, and Diode Editions, and is Director of Liberal Arts & Sciences at VCUarts Qatar.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

Peter Wortsman

words feel insufficient here

 


Source & Method

The words that comprise the attached texts have been cut out of various issues of The New York Times.


Peter Wortsman is the author of works in various modes, including four books of fiction, two plays, an Independent Publishers Book Award-winning travel memoir, and numerous translations from German.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

 Dagne Forrest

  The Stowaway

 

 


Source & Method

This found poem uses sentence fragments and redaction from two long-form essays published by The Guardian newspaper in 2021 about jetliner wheel well stowaways.


Dagne Forrest‘s poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in journals in the US, Australia, and the UK. In 2021 she is one of 15 poets featured in Canada’s Poem in Your Pocket campaign. Learn more at dagneforrest.com.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26
p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t

J.I. Kleinberg

trial and error

 


Source & Method

Each contiguous fragment of text (roughly the equivalent of a poetic line) is removed from its original sense and syntax. Poems are built, in most cases, from lines sourced from different magazines.

Fine Gardening – April 1990, Horticulture – November 1992, Artforum – March 2019, Food & Wine – October 2005


J.I. Kleinberg’s visual poems have been published in print and online journals worldwide. An artist, poet, freelance writer, and dedicated finder of words, she lives in Bellingham, Washington, USA, and on Instagram @jikleinberg.


p r e v i o u s   |   n e x t
Issue 26