Listen

Let the wolf metaphor stand. Must I heed what some editor says about cliché. They see them everywhere: tone deaf to the sounds of poems: their boxcar rhythm. Occasionally, they astound with a miraculously astute observation. For decades, I let them throw me into bouts of depression, for they were the only route. Was I cursed to be able to hear the world? Once for a week I was obsessed with the words of osteology: epiphysis, apophysis. I take words upstairs to empty halls where I let them echo. When Michael took sick, there was a polite buffer of silence between the world and me. I cared for him and felt guilty pursuing my passion for language play. When the morphine did little I knew what was coming. Each night I whispered to myself, God don’t let that happen tonight. I would read aloud to him at all hours of the night. Sometimes I would put my face up close to him and think, it’s still him. I couldn’t help but reminisce to myself about the stories he told of growing up, of his family living in an unfinished basement. My mind wandered madly. I doodled on my unlined journal’s pages: a cross within a circle with distinct dots around the circumference. It reminded me of Southwest petrographs, of our time exploring the spiritual sites of northern New Mexico. After he passed, I convinced myself there was nothing in creation that is a home. I took up sadness. It took a couple of years for language to speak to me again. One day huddled in a winter coat and scarf jotting down thoughts on a park bench I thought: at one time in this world it was alright to throw a kiss to a pretty stranger. This world speaks more than ever, and there has never been a time when there is so little rich language to hear.

 

—written from phrases and lines from the same page number of fourteen different books

 

by Marc Frazier

Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review, Slant, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had memoir from his book WITHOUT published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre, Cobalt Magazine, Evening Street Review, and Punctuate. Marc, an LGBTQ+ writer, is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Award for poetry, has been featured on Verse Daily, and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a “best of the net.” His book The Way Here and his two chapbooks are available on Amazon as well as his second full-length collection titled Each Thing Touches (Glass Lyre Press). Willingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books in 2019. His website is www.marcfrazier.org

The Walk to School

The chainsaw revs, wakes us to falling

limbs and pulping. Not the birch,

I pray, to what God of no

 

mercy, I know not. For it is the birch,

too close to the power lines, being

carved out. My son squeezes my

 

hand. People fear roots, I mumble—

which sounds creepy— maybe

the tree was sick, I add.

 

The comfort-lie, we both know— leaves

gusting down the picture-perfect block.

 

Joey told me entry-level jobs are being

replaced by artificial intelligence.

This shit is real, my son blurts.

 

(Joey: his best friend’s older brother.)

Typically, I would chastise this shit

is real. And lambast Joey.

 

Instead, I ruffle the top of his cherished

head. When did he start using hair

gel? My fifth-grader trying

 

to be tough, to take my eyes of what was

once my favorite tree, to comprehend

this irrational world. After drop-off,

 

I drag back home— only the trunk is left.

Goggled workers, in bright orange, feed

the silver branches to machines.

 

Someday, robots will do this. They will

also drive trucks cross country, scoop

ice-cream cones, walk our dogs.

 

The city trucks are a jolly green.

Emblazoned across their sides:

Yes, cultivation is good here.

 

by Rebecca Irene

Rebecca Irene is a graduate of Swarthmore College, and recently received her MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Her work is published, or forthcoming, in Eunoia Review, Sixfold, Amaryllis, Dime Show Review, and elsewhere. She received a 2018 fellowship from the Norton Island Artist Residency Program. A Poetry Reader for Hunger Mountain and The Maine Review, she lives in Portland, Maine, where she supports her word-addiction by waitressing.

A.C. Koch

Nighthawks on the Bus

Nighthawks on the Bus

 

by A.C. Koch

A.C. Koch works almost entirely in black and white, because colorblindness predisposes him to see the world in contrasts. Architecture and streetscapes offer an interplay of shapes and textures that can create a great sense of depth and drama in an ordinary scene. His photography was recently featured in a Westword article during a show of black-and-white prints at St. Mark’s Coffeehouse in Denver, CO. More of Koch’s photography can be found on Instagram @henry_iblis, and his photo blog: invisiblepony.blogspot.com.