Sunday, October 23, 2011

Allison Grayhurst and Douglas Polk

Alison Grayhurst

I will not be drawn
into you – mute with treacherous emotions,
shadowy at best in this morose of need and trophies.
Love is not a possible banner to bear. Love is not
this city, painted with greed and the ‘doing anything’ for survival.
It is okay to die, but not okay for my mind to be inebriated
with euphemisms, misty without edge or sharp magic.
I will not be drawn into the giving of roses or waiting
for the things within to confirm connection with what is heavy,
tedious and demanding. I will stay in place, committed to my familiar adventure,
block the gold from clawing on my screen. I will just look
and see nothing new, feel like a shoreline on a day of perfect weather.
I will not be drawn. I will myself concealed
in my mad lagoon, immune to any intoxicating distraction or further

It Happened

It happened when
the air grew thick
as toffee candy
and love slipped into the cupboard
behind a rack full of old clothes.
That is when the lights broke and a new view
came headlong in – one that feels like
holding hands out, spread and still
under placid waters or
a photo charged with self-contained life.
That is when I stopped speaking, even praying about
the same large dream. That was the day I walked up
the stairs and accepted the marks across the wall, the dents
in the doors and my aging fingernails.
It happened then like a quote upon my door, read and
re-read at each failing moment.
It happened and has not stopped –
less words now
less of everything and less of the burden
of its heavy worth.

A few words from Allison Grayhurst: Over the past twenty years my poems have been published in journals throughout the United States, Canada, and in the United Kingdom, including The Antigonish Review, Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, Wascana Review, Poetry Nottingham International, The Cape Rock and White Wall Review.  My work was also included in the Insomniac Press anthology Written In The Skin. My book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Recent places where my work has appeared or will soon be appearing include: Quantum Poetry Magazine, Indigo Rising and Message in a Bottle Poetry Magazine.


Douglas Polk

Letters in a word, 
not all letters, 
must first be a consonant, 
labeled such by the sound it makes,
like people labeled because of skin color,
 because of where it stands in relation to other letters,
 different letters, 
whose sound comes forth unobstructed from the mouth,
but not an end in themselves.
Bio: Polk is a writer of poetry from central Nebraska. Feeling persecuted most of his life he has published three books of poetry; In My Defense, The Defense Rests, and On Appeal. He lives with his wife and two boys and two dogs on the plains of Nebraska

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Brittany Fonte: Two Prose Poems

“Why Prose Poetry?”

When people ask, more thoughtless than not, Why prose poetry?  I tell them, Just like basic Algebra, or at least addition and subtraction (and maybe multiplication—which is why we have Sex Ed) there are several solid “real world” applications for such.  They balk, of course, and ask how I live off of lines that don’t even rhyme in a time of Dr. Seuss nostalgia and online sales of Beatles’ paraphernalia.  Then, because I cannot prove to people who’ve never been moved by a d.a. levy musing, or made love to by a seriously hung sonnet, or cried to the truth of Sapphire in a barred window pane, that education for the sake of education is what separates the scholars from the downtown ballers-for-booze, I am bold as “Bump its” on ‘Shore Snookie. I offer:

Ransom Notes.  Surely your average filthy rich parent has an appreciation and often pot-induced remembrance of “Howl” in a hard-hitting Contemporary Lit class—the one with the hot professor who never wore panties and always sat on the desk in front of the class, legs crossed like Sharon Stone when she wasn’t famous enough to wear lingerie in films.   The spoken word feel of an appeal for a bank account’s bills must seem more real than the magazine cut-outs from the movies you see on Pay-Per-View (when you’d rather be watching porn.)

Baby Announcements.  When you want to detract from the new arrival via your teenaged daughter and some oily guy she met while on vacation in Ocean City, or your “darling” tramp and your (criminal) ex boyfriend who, unfortunately, had a thing for truly younger girls and not just older ones acting a character in a Disney television show in their daughter’s mini skirts, prose poetry is the way to go.  Imagine the lyrics to a sexually-charged, yet redundant, pop-song atop an electric blue (that won’t wash the baby out in the pastel wrap against the cheetah-print bra) background.  You can even give the baby a symbol—like Prince— and then, if the baby turns out illiterate like its mysterious father (or “Maury” set of fathers), he or she will still be able to sign into rehab, alone.

Dear John letters.  Think distraction, here.  You don’t want to come off as the flaming bitch in your 100-word sign-off to your one time bed buddy via tweet or status update or emoticon-filled text; he or she might have attractive friends.  With jobs.  And after all, they were hot enough to make out with in the line at Starbucks (for the heterosexuals), or the check out at Pet Smart (for our lesbian friends), or at the meth party-come-“gym” (for our pretty boys.) This temporary temperature raising (even weeks ago) means you owe it to them to at least craft a lyrical let go…. Besides, these losers will love a “goodbye” akin to a Stevie Nicks song on change and moving on (add image of falling rocks, here).

Notes to your children’s teachers (when they’ve been suspended for cherry bombs in the public toilets, or sending naked pictures of themselves to the new music teacher, or hacking into the computer system to fail all the jocks for the weekly wedgies) can benefit from some poetic license, too.  What teacher doesn’t appreciate a well-written note that uses punctuation correctly, then applauds their work with creative similes and metaphysical compliments?  If the teacher happens to be an English teacher, this apology for your child’s lethargy or antipathy can, also, double as an extra credit assignment on the intricacies of rhythm and internal rhyme in contemporary American literature.

Finally, and obviously, if you are less attractive than the average A-lister, and you can no longer stand dating the chromosomally abnormal (or accident prone) Subway sandwich maker, prose poems are excellent additives for your 900 number calls.  Somehow, the women who answer the phones find comfort in the fact that men (and women) can still string together a line of iambic pentameter in the times of “No Child Left Behind,” and rocketing tuition costs, and parental job loss. It isn’t easy navigating a higher education system in the midst of economic heresy, but one-time hookers whose breasts have fallen to hip level and whose all-nighter tips have been lost altogether, certainly salivate over such work, and may give you their home addresses for some mighty meter; they know.

She sang, ‘The Future’s Not Ours to See…’

If it rains (or we get caught lying on our taxes, taxing our mothers or mothering our spouses), we expect it to unleash an umbrella-full of hail, and we are patients in the way that we undress to the sky, model soaked paper, bend over and expose all there is to know about our fears, inside.  We wear galoshes humbly; we wear pleather precipitation hats made for ‘40’s musicals. We watch the torrents on a weather map bleep by, cry, know there will be an end, then make plans for Tahiti next month (with tissues) and buy a skimpy bathing suit with which to woo a new mate.  Maybe we meet with our counselor and sigh for one hour.  We do not learn: dukkha.

If it’s only cloudy, if there’s just a hint of humidity frizzing our hair and nothing has shown up on the haughty radar yet (we don’t know our boss has been checking our email, our identity’s been stolen, we’ve forgotten who we are), we put our eggs in a generic faith carton, instead, and carry on like we’ve never dropped one before, spilled a yolk, cost a chicken a fortune in fertility drugs and an ugly reputation for being yellow and “easy.”  We rage, later, against what seems unfair in that shelled mess and ignore: “What will be, will be.”  Silent is samsara.

When it’s sunny—not a cloud in the sky—we imagine what’s around the bend and forget to ferret away this Farenheit phase for another time, when it’s necessary.  We cannot stand still and rejoice in the rainless day, because that rain clouds our optimism and those clouds cover rules of karma.  We think, only, that sun cannot last, it won’t end our days, it’s solely sentimental, those seasonal rays.  This, we cannot accept.  So we pout.  And we spin on our individual equators, spin away

Brittany Fonte holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She teaches at the university level and works as an assistant editor at Lowbrow Poetry Press. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in journals like Literary Mama, The Wrong Tree Review, Breadcrumb Scabs and Pemmican Journal; she recently published a chapbook with Silkworm Ink (UK). She can be reached at for questions, comments, or intellectually stimulating coffee dates.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Sarah Foote

  Proclamation (12/23/2011)

I’m sure I’ll cry more tears for you,
but I’m tired

of mascara-laced saltwater
stinging my eyes,
making me cringe
and swipe furiously
at my raw face.

I’m not gonna cry for you
I’m crying for me.

Believe it or not,
this is a proclamation
of strength.

 Confessions of a Peeping Tom

“Crash into Me,” lilting, decadent, spilling
from her cracked window with the sheer
curtains, seeping really, as she-
the princess-
gathers her auburn hair.
It tumbles and stumbles down her back and twists,
tantalizing, through her fingers,
quick and deft,

and it is only when she turns
that I see her face, her stony face,

but it is only for one instant
and then her features are eclipsed by the afternoon
sun and her hair explodes
in streaming strings:

rays of gold and red, russet red,
and dirt, dirt brown, and all her hair is gleaming
and her body is glowing,
naked in the now-evening sun.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Sarah Foote and Eve Lyons

Sarah Foote

A Furious Girl becomes a Woman in One Night

Biggest fight today,
feels like I’ve killed something with my own two bare hands.
Like I caught a fish without a spear, using my nails as talons,
the animal ripping through my human skin and becoming me.
But it consumes me
and I rip both you and me to shreds.

I was so angry I couldn’t see,
cussing, pacing, walking jagged lines,
faking nice, faking mean. Either way, I was faking.

And maybe the struggle won’t end.
And maybe you’ll let me go.
Maybe you’ll piss me off and maybe you won’t.
Okay, there’s no maybe- it’ll happen.

I constantly build myself up, raise this building
just to pull the support beams out night after night.

I’m a hell of a lot of trouble when I want to be.
Tonight I gave you an earful
and I’m not interested in how I’m not as pretty
as that crazy redheaded bitch
cuz I’m so much fucking more than I even realized,
even when I am encased in rage
and fear.

The Shadow Bright

The shadow bright within me hangs
above the headboard of my bed,
encircling me with the fangs
of fear. The stabbing, sweaty dread

of knowing what’s above me will not
leave as I lie, badly stricken.
The visions that I never sought
creep up on me; my terror thickens

as I feel the clawlike hands
of failure close around my throat.
But desperate feelings now disband
as reassuring voices float

around my ears. They’re coming in
the form of complimentary
words and gestures. Shining grins
suggest that, petulant and wary

though I might seem, I am not
as a great a fool as I appear.
The shadow bright within me fought,
receded, dimmed, and disappeared.

A word from Sarah: Hello, my name is Sarah A. Foote, and I am a student at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. I am a double-major in English and Religious Studies; however, I hope for my future career to be more based on the former than the latter. After I graduate, I want to be an editor for a journal or publishing house, but it is my dream to have some of my own original work published, as well- in particular, I am looking to publish a collection of poems. I have been submitting to online literary sources in hopes that I will someday see my name being sold on a shelf somewhere, or so that I will, at least, have the knowledge that people will get to read my work. I wish, overall, to bring happiness and light into other people's lives, and writing seems to be a good way of doing just that.

(Because they are so damn good, in my opinion, there will be more poems from Sarah next week. Bruce.)

Eve Lyons

"Work, consume, produce"
-- from Jack Kerouac's Dharma Bums

Praise the headache that tells my body
I am dehydrated, tired, or stressed.
Praise the stress which tells me
I am busy, I need to slow down.
Praise the work that keeps me busy,
puts food on the table,
money in the bank account,
and promptly out again to pay the bills.
Praise the food on my table
the raw food breakfast porridge,
the vegan corn chowder
the worker-owned beer.
It costs more money
but it keeps my heart
from crying out in pain.
Praise the pain that tells my body
this can't be all there is.

"Honey, God loves everybody. It's human beings who mess things up."
(Tammy Faye Messner)

Eve Lyons is a thirty-something year old poet, fiction writer, and
playwright who is living in Boston, MA. I have been previously
published in Fireweed, Labyrinth, Concho River Review, Barbaric
Yawp, Women’s Words, Woven, Sapphic Ink, Texas Observer, Houston
Literary Review, vox poetry, New Vilna Review, Word Riot,
protestpoems, and two different anthologies. She currently has a poem
pending publication in Lilith and another one in Poetica this fall.