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Friday, June 28, 2013

That good ol’ boy would not stay down, illustrated by Rachell Sumpter

One summer three kids drowned
under Jotunheim Falls.
They warned, “Don’t horse around.
The stream might look small, but
the force can shove you down.”

In the spray, we always
watched where the water hit.
Sean, most coltish of all,
would swim up and tease it.
He made us be grown-ups.

One steaming day, Sean went
higher than our jump spot—
then higher—holy shit!
He fetched the Bunyan top—
then leapt. The wide world stalled.

Our earthbound hearts stopped. Stopped.
He was lost. Mist. Then—                      pop!

By Rachell Sumpter

Friday, June 21, 2013

The inches between, illustrated by Allan Peterson

When we joked as kids about improbable fates
we chose meteor strikes. This was before the Web.
Our sense of distance suited analog date stamps.
We clicked our tongues each day for the hostages kept
four hundred. Americans had someone to hate.

This morning, maybe the jogger’s curvy rear end
shook the workaday rhythm of the crossing guard,
and timing failed. I jumped on the brake. Momentum
spun my briefcase to the floor—but another car
arrowed through, interlocking like a gear’s tooth straight

into the gap between clockwork tick and murder.
And today in Iran, Nigeria, Boston,
and yesterday in Somalia, Syria…
Meteors really did fall on Russia. Newtown…
What was I saying?
Let me check the Internet.

It’s dizzying to fall wide open and listen
and human to forget that we’re falling humans.

By Allan Peterson

Friday, June 14, 2013

Break at touch, illustrated by Carol Aust

I dance to keep my body limber so
I can be opened like a treasure box.
My body moves its musts through staccato
shakes and strikes, shedding my stiff stuff, old rocks
of muscle to meet the practice gung ho—

then all this jammed, blocked up sadness unlocks
to waterfall on any loving shore.
The manmade lake refuses the dam’s locks—
surprised fish flop on a wetslick dancefloor.
It’s all because my two friends let me know:

I’m home here. Their hands make front and back doors
blowing catharsis through me—sluicing storm—
unpent torrent of the self-made monster
roaring through canyons, erasing all forms,
weeping to reconstruct from the wreckage—

because my child forces me to transform,
because this dancing life’s lost every norm.

Ah, Carol Aust!

Extra thoughts:
first, I so love that Carol makes her living making art.  
Mudita: joy at another's joy. Thinking of Carol and her family, poet/photographer Ed Aust, and their amazingly talented and creative kids Noah and Sophie makes me feel inspired.

Second: this poem "happened" after my daughter had been alive a couple of years. I dance at a welcoming space where people are allowed to bring what they have. That night I had new understanding that my life had found a new normal. I didn't weep for grief, or not grief alone. It was a sea change with an appropriate liquid manifestation.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

4.5mm feedback

Carlton gave his grandson a BB gun—
a real rifle. It had a caliber.
“After breakfast I’ll show you how it’s done.”
“Oh, boy!” Dad was blasé. Mom got angry.
“I thought we had an agreement, Carlton.”

“It comes with safety lessons, don’t worry,”
he winked at the boy, “taught by the master.”
“He’s too young.” “You’re too protective, mother.”
“Ralph?” Mom turned, but dad was in another
room, a vote in absentia.
“Not funny!”

Carlton barked at the boy who’d said “Pweee!”
with the sight to his eye, aiming at Buck,
the old retriever drowsing on the hearth.
“You’re responsible now for protecting
your family and yourself.” But his daughter,

when he glanced at her, looked livid. “Go back
to L.A.,” she thought. “Have a heart attack.”

By Michael Fleischmann

Sunday, June 2, 2013

The news tightens, image by Regina Gilligan

Click for larger image
The front page is front.
Legend foam breaks there
in wet lines. Enraged
shoppers and murdered
heroes. Font grains change,

but every leader
pulls capital weight.
Lohan, Syria
in alarming states
and inking prestige.

Round world on a plate.
Internet even.
Revealed and flattened.
Facetted eyes see
by size, gauge a threat.

Ice caps. Refugees.
Drunk celebrities.


See more by Regina Gilligan: