I remember what I cannot say
in the moment before
I somehow say something else,
but like a river reversing course
seeps its brackish warmth
into crisp mountain runoff channels,
my backdraft, too,
to stifle the resident cutthroats
along with their prey.
Nothing will remain safe for long
from the toxic sediments I bear
the current’s translucent
promise to rush me past the crest
of undulant reeds between
the salt marsh and open sea;
for no twist in the shoreline,
nor cloudburst’s surge could un-speak
from its collapse
into the ocean’s black throat.
“Flux” first appeared on Underfoot Poetry, and is one of several pieces (with more to come) written during the past year in collaboration with Stephanie L. Harper, whose wisdom, patience and good humor enrich my life daily. Thank you, Daniel Paul Marshall and Tim Miller for taking this piece.
After Reading That Dogs Relieve Themselves in Alignment with the Earth’s Magnetic Field, I Observe and Take Notes
Perhaps Ozymandias is an anomaly. He shows no
preference for the north-south axis while pooping,
and may hedge his bets slightly to the east when
urinating, especially at twilight. Clara the miniature
Schnauzer, ever Germanic in her manner, preferred
true north, always, while blind, deaf, humpbacked
Maury pointed his rear right leg forward, to the south.
Jackboy the cattledog was an omnidirectional reliever,
as is the Chihuahua, Apollonia, although she twists and
snaps at blinking fireflies in mid-squat, never connecting
with the dancing, lighted beetles. I do not recall the
bulldog’s habits, but Scotch trended towards the untidy
in all else, and expended as little energy as possible,
often leaning against the house while peeing on it. I
cannot say which direction my next scientific inquiry
will take, but I will, as always, follow the dogs’ lead.
This poem last appeared here in December 2017, and was written during the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 Challenge. Many thanks to Susan Nefzger for sponsoring the poem. She is NOT to blame for the title or the contents of the poem…
Waiting for the Shakuhachi, I Practice with What I Have
The tone feels round on shorter bottles,
which more closely resemble my shape.
Longnecks pitch lower, while the emptied
pinot requires more controlled air flow.
My grooved fingers fumble in their
search for meaning. I know this silence,
but that one requires more study.
Cool air stumbles in
through the trees.
Ah, autumn’s return.
This first appeared on The Zen Space. Thank you, Marie Marshall, for publishing my work!
Having neither organs nor neural impulses,
I no longer ask why or how I hear and smell,
taste and see, feel. This morning I woke
to magpie song and onion breeze, in
a body not mine, yet mine, at peace
on Jeju Island, far from my crows, yet
still among friends singing the same
language. I know this: home lives
within, and no matter where we travel,
it rides with us. Like the man who
spoke to me, bald, bearded, a pale
foreigner in this land, comfortable
here, at home. He listened for my reply,
but unfortunately I’d not been given
a mouth, and my words dropped to the
ground and were rolled away by
beetles before he noticed them.
Perhaps I should have written a note,
but he wished to gamble and how
could I refuse? I am hollow, but not
empty, whole, yet not complete,
away but here. He took a coin
from his pocket, flipped it. I saw…
To begin with, allow us to wish all of you — our friends, friends of friends, and friends of friends of friends — a very happy new year, with a hope that it all begins the best way possible and continues thus.
This new year, we’re reading new and old writers alike while working on our Issue 03, which is partially based on the theme of ‘infants.’ We began with Vladimir Nabokov while sorting out the submissions, are reading Miriam Darlington and are moving forward to Sylvia Plath later this month.
This blog post, here, is meant specifically to celebrate three pieces of the many that we published. Those three pieces that were the most read in our very first year, which are —