Monday, July 31, 2017

See what our #editors have lined up for #summerreading. Part 1 of 2


                            The Broadkill River, courtesy of the Cape GazetteDENY HOWETH PHOTO

Part one of two.  

Summer reading lists are a time honored tradition. Schools sometimes require them, magazines and journals share their favorites, and avid readers page through countless blogs and feeds to find new and exciting writers to thumb through. Ah, the abundance of summer.


The current issue of the Broadkill Review is up here.  We are reading fiction for the November and December issue, and reading poetry for the January and February issue.


Linda Blaskey, poetry editor, Dogfish Head Poetry Prize coordinator

Two poetry collections:  Marie Howe's Magdalene; and Nathan McClain's Scale.  

One novel: Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.  

And one collection of essays: Ellen Gilchrist's Things like the Truth: Out of My Later Years.

Jamie Brown, founder of the Broadkill River Press, and the Broadkill Review

Roth Unbound:A Writer and His Books, by Claudia Roth Pierpont

Pastoral Nomadism in the Mari Kingdom (ca. 1830-1760 B.C.), Victor Matthews' dissertation from 1977

Tripping Over Memorial Day, by David P. Kozinski (poetry)

Inner Asia and Its Contacts with Medieval Europe, by Dennis Sinor

Weather-Magic in Inner Asia, by Adam Molnar

and

Ten Burnt Offerings, by Louis MacNeice

and am soon to start:

I'd Die for You and Other Lost Stories, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Hemingway Files, by H. K. Bush


Articles: 

"Some Notes on the Etymology of Sabir" by Peter Golden

"Written Sources about the Early History of Xiongnu" by S. S. Miniaev

Pater Lango's review of Andras Paloczi Horvath's Peoples of Eastern Origin in Medieval Hungary

and hope to get to: 

Mark Scroggins bio of Zukovsky The Poem of a Life

Margaret Atwood's The Heart Goes Last, and 

John Irving's Avenue of Mysteries


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

We will relaunch in July. New #poetry, #fiction, #literaryhistory, #poetryreviews, #writiinglife, & an absurdist #tenminuteplay

The above graphic was created with wordle. As you can see, names are the most used words in our newest issue. Also of note: protesters, father, marmosets, zoo, started, house, bold, to name a few.

Our goal is to continue bringing The Broadkill Review to you via the internet, rather than a pdf download. We hope this switch of medium will allow you to share the BKR with those you love, and those who wish to find your work.

More teases to come.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

From last weekend's reading at the Bethesda Writing Center


From left to right:  Amanda Newell, Sid Gold, Bill Rivera, Laura Bryslawski-Miller, Mary Ann Larkin, Linda Blaskey, Jim Bourey, Sherry Chappelle.

Keep your eyes and ears open for news around the DelMarVa area for literary events and readings. If you are hosting an event or reading, let us know. We can help get the word out.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Gerry LaFemina's Psalm... the last Sunday in #NationalPoetryMonth

Gerry LaFemina is the director of the Frostburg Center for Creative Writing at Frostburg State University, where he is an associate professor of English, and teaches in Carlow University’s low-residency MFA program.

Psalm

Pity the woman on today’s news who can’t forget anything–pinpoint a date, a year, and she’ll say who she was with, the news of the day.

Pity the woman in the hotel lobby holding her head, her visible cheek streaked.

Pity the victim & the witness.

Pity the perpetrator, too, who even as I write this crumples up his guilt & tosses it into the confessional of St. Stanislaw’s.

I’ve seen them all & kept walking, for what else could I do?

I’ve seen the businessman feeding pigeons & starlings at the corner of Broadway & Wall, tossing them the bread of his sandwich.

I’ve seen the way he looked at Trinity Church across the street but, even now, I can’t describe the expression sculpted into his cheeks.

Then came the sound of bells from its steeple in the melody of a hymn.

Then came the taxi that whisked me away from that drama.

Pity the cabbie & his family in the Ukraine with whom he’s lost all contact.

Imagine his wife holding her forehead half the world away.

Then came her tears so much like all of our tears, like all of our griefs & our happinesses, too.

Then came a cresting wave of sirens like trumpets: one squad car.  Two.  Three.  An ambulance also.

Pity the family & the children in the nearby parochial school asked to pray.

Then came the voices of six year olds in prayer.

I’ve seen those kids playing hopscotch & tag in the courtyard at recess.

          
Imagine to have been that free to laugh.

I’ve seen the ambulances outside the building, a gurney covered by a blank sheet, the EMTs silent.

Then came the sobbing relative consoled by a neighbor.

I’ve been the neighbor, counseled the crying mother of a dead friend.

Imagine me walking with her, her left hand at her forehead, her right hand clutching me, praying or cursing–I couldn’t tell which–in the old language.           


Imagine walking the streets a week later, how good it felt, the hot wind blowing on such a hot day.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

For a tall #poet, Hiram Larew writes short #poetry. "NationalPoetryMonth

Hiram Larew is one of the tallest poets in the greater DC area. Most of his poems are surprisingly short. He won Baltimore's 1999 ARTSCAPE prize for poetry, and for that, recently had his first collection of poems published. 



ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN

You love what's next more than people -
If you could marry tomorrow you would with ribbons
And with a devotion that echoes -
You're so grateful for what's unknown

While your past was likely a big knobby knee
In fact your future will be the roll of town bells -
There's something not here about you

Said most
You’re truly a vine that swirls all the way up
Into the fairy tale sky  
While everyone else is digging

Whatever else happens
You're proving at last how important it is
To cut life in two up the middle.


Friday, April 28, 2017

David P. Kozinski's Scream At Three AM for your daily #NationalPoetryMonth selection

David P. Kozinski received Honorable Mention in Philadelphia Poets’  7th Annual John & Rose Petracca & Family Award. He won the seventh annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes. He conducted a workshop on poetry presentation at the Manayunk-Roxborough Art Center. More than 100 of Kozinski’s poems have appeared in print and online in publications such as Apiary, The Fox Chase Review, glimmertrain.com, Mad Poets Review, Margie and Schuylkill Valley Journal

Scream At Three A.M.

I’m ready to say something as grandiose as,
“I’m worth more dead than alive,”
when a fox shrieks from a nearby field

the one that ran through plum petals
with a bird in its mouth
yesterday morning.

This would be funnier from
a fifteen-year-old face, one without hair
misfiring from nostrils and ear wells,

without the pocks and gray deflations;
from one who has yet to feel the pierce of talons
or sound out the urgency

of a vixen’s scream in the dark,
the gash any mother feels
when a whelp is ripped away.  

Thursday, April 27, 2017

#DE #poet Michael Blaine is a master craftsman of #Senyru & #Haiku #NationalPoetryMonth


Michael Blaine is a poet and public school teacher. He received a 2006 Delaware Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and won the Dogfish Head poetry contest for his chapbook Murmur (Bay Oak Press).  Blaine’s poetry and short stories have appeared in journals such as Baltimore Review, G.W. Review, Mid-Atlantic Review, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Rivendell, HazMat Review, Chesapeake Bay Magazine, and Georgetown Review. He has had tanka, haiku, and senryu published in Frogpond, Modern Haiku, Ribbons, and Lilliput Review.


Senryu and Haiku


lunar eclipse
my wife and baby
breast feeding


more aspirin
the shoveled snow
melts


low cell charge
our argument suddenly
            ends


late bloomers
twisted foliage below
tulip heads


crabapple blossoms
our son searches the front yard
for something stinky


salmon sky
two empty car seats
behind me


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Shea Garvin's "White Oaks, Los Padres National Forrest" for #NationalPoetryMonth

Shea Garvin works at Works at Sickass Cat Studios, and lives in Portland. 



White Oaks , Los Padres National Forrest

Down and away from the
dreams of giants
old ways California past
Away and across dreams blue and gold
of California now
past hills playing tag with militant orchards and the sun's day's end
rose madder rays past ranches hidden, houses perched towns nestled
dreaming of where they are a waking dream under stars I know from

other angles Tomorrow the ocean a new horizon

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Gary Hanna's #ekphrasis #poetry, a collaboration of sorts with James Hamilton's painting. #NationalPoetryMonth

Gary Hanna has received two poetry fellowships from the Delaware Division of the Arts and another from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His poetry has appeared in over sixty journals and he has won four small national contests. He is on the editorial board of the Broadkill Review and is manager of the Writer’s Library in Delaware. 



Why Wives Wait

(After the painting The Sea At Atlantic City
by James Hamilton)

Cumulus monsters, rise up
higher than the imagination
of any sky, the grey mass
roils, rolls in the air, like
a biblical wave threatening
the smallest grain of sand.
They stretch, control the
horizon at mid point, sit
on the darkest line crushed
to the density of lead.
The mass of tears is so deep
the whole world would cry
if it were not held up
by a shiver of the strongest
light, a spirit bearing the
weight of every heart,
while calm waves sweep
in, reach out to land, as long
as eyes will wait, for the

fisherman’s safe return. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Jim Bourey has a conversation with #CharlesBukowski in these #poems, #NationalPoetryMonth

Jim Bourey is a certified senior citizen, a retired plumbing and heating wholesale manager and lifelong student of poetry.  His work has appeared in Fourth Coast Arts Magazine and “Said & Unsaid” an anthology from Winding Road Press in Marietta, GA.  In 2012 his poem “Words Then Space” was a runner-up for first in the Faulkner-Wisdom Competition and he was invited to read at the “Words and Music” conference in New Orleans.  He lives in Dover, DE with his wife Linda but he spends an inordinate amount of time at a cabin on the Deer River in northern New York State.


The following are selections from a twelve part poem based on Charles Bukowski’s “Defining the Magic”.  The poem describes what Bukowski felt were the qualities inherent in a good poem.

I)  Cold Beer

manuel sweats a lot
as he puts together
beans and meat
flour and water
heat tomatoes
peppers chocolate
spice and salt
fruit sugar
love passion fury
creating the only
real food in this little
town working in his
café six days
a week
some people don’t
eat at all on monday
when manuel sits
in his leaky boat
drinking a cold
beer planning

a monday meal for
his sweet maricelia

V)  Hot Butter

when the time came
he faded
breathed deeply
a time or two then
said

no shit this isn’t
bad at all

and it wasn’t

for him


  
VII)  Feet on Foreign Ground

descending becomes rolling
on the runway and then
a clunky stop followed
by a thump as an old
fashioned stairway bumps
against the plane
heat dry and fragrant
pours through the open
door and the passengers
are reluctant none of them
in a hurry to gather
their belongings to leave
the safe cool metal
cocoon that brought them
to this last stop where
everything familiar ends
where safety belongs
to no one and life is
only as important
as the money in the belt
strapped around your belly
it is an indulgence
called on the edge tourism
a chance to see a reality
chained to violence where
children are a commodity
where women are frozen
in time shrouded but still
living and young smiling
men carry rifles grenades
and cell phones
eyes gleaming with
holy zeal ready to pose
for your infidel camera
and you know that it could
all go wrong and you
almost wish it would





XII)  When to Stop

you do go on
she said
you blather about any
thing and every
thing until
the reader
wants to light
the page on fire
just so they can
quit reading
and I said
but honey
the pages are already
on fire
that’s why they don’t
stop reading

i really believed that
a long time
ago


Sunday, April 23, 2017

15th Annual #DogfishHeadPoetryPrize opens May 15, 2017. Submit your best poetry manuscript

SUBMISSION PERIOD FOR THE
FIFTEENTH ANNUAL DOGFISH HEAD POETRY PRIZE OPENS MAY 15, 2017!
Submission Guidelines

  • The fifteenth annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize for the winning book-length manuscript by a poet residing in the Mid-Atlantic states (DE, MD, VA, PA, NJ, NY, WVA, NC and District of Columbia) will consist of $500, two cases of Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Beer*, manuscript publication by Broadkill River Press, and 10 copies of the book (in lieu of royalties).
  • The rules are: Manuscripts must be received by midnight, August 15, 2017.  Manuscripts received after the closing date will not be considered.  Eligible poets must reside in the above listed states and be twenty-one years of age by the date of the award.The manuscript is to be submitted electronically in one MS Word document attachment.  Please do not include illustrations, photographs, or use an unusual font. Send to prize coordinator Linda Blaskey at dogfishheadpoetryprize@earthlink.net.  Snail mail submissions will not be accepted.
  •  Send two title pages with each submission: the first with the title of the manuscript, author’s name, address, phone numbers and e-mail address; the second with just the manuscript title.   No manuscript is to have any author-identifying information other than the one title page and will be rejected if it does. Judging is blind and double-tiered. The manuscript must be book-length (between 48 and 78 pages of original work – no translations). A poem may be more than one page. One submission per entrant.  There is no entry fee. 
  • The award will be presented to the winner on Saturday evening, December 9, 2017 at the Dogfish Inn in Lewes, Delaware.  The winner must agree to attend this event and to read from their winning book at a reception honoring the winner.  The prize will be officially awarded by Sam Calagione, Founder and CEO of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Distillery, or by another company official.
  • The author of the winning manuscript also agrees to provide, within ten days of notification, a color head-shot photograph, with photographer’s credit, for the back cover and a dedication page for the interior of the book. Also, an acknowledgement page of poems previously published, and in which publications and/or websites they appeared will need to be provided. The winner agrees to travel to Delaware at the winner’s expense for awarding of the prize.   Dogfish Head will provide the winner two nights lodging at the Dogfish Inn in the beach resort town of Lewes, Delaware.
  •  Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales retains the right to use any of the winning work in promotional materials.
  • Co-workers of Dogfish Head and their families are ineligible to enter.  Previous winners of the prize are ineligible to enter. 
  • For questions and more information contact Linda Blaskey, Prize coordinator, at linblask@aol.com
  • or at dogfishheadpoetryprize@earthlink.net

From the land down under, Ashley Capes gets lowercase #NationalPoetryMonth

Ashley teaches Media and English in Australia, while co-editing www.holland1945.net.au and http://kipplepoetry.blogspot.com/ His first collection of poetry pollen and the storm was published with the assistance of Small Change Press in 2008 and his second stepping over seasons was published by Interactive Press 2010


before tomorrow

as a flu comes on

traffic stops
and the whole couch is
a hundred degrees:

drugs for sleep

and fingers superimpose
glass
but bilge water
from the titanic
wouldn’t be cold enough

every step
is a wave of jelly

and the phone can
scream its guts out

making lunch
with trembling limbs,
knife is a
lead weight
and the fridge door

                        more like a combination safe. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Happy #NationalPoetryMonth. Franetta McMillian's #prosepoem "Paradise"


FRANETTA MCMILLIAN has been writing ever since she learned how to hold a pencil. She has published a number of zines including LILY ON THE BEACH and ETIDORPHA. Her short stories, poetry, artwork and essays have appeared in THE BROADKILL REVIEW, DREAMSTREETS, GARGOYLE, POSSUM GARAGE PRESS and several other little magazines. She splits her time between Newark, DE, Avondale, PA, and the perfect world in her head. She started writing the stories in LOVE IN THE TIME OF UNRAVELING the day after Deepwater Horizon blew. Drop her a line at crescentseries@earthlink.net.

Paradise


I don’t believe in Paradise. I’m wearing this vest because I’ve tried to talk to you several times, but you never listen. Death is the only language you understand and even to it, you’ve grown mostly deaf. All of our gods are drunk with the blood of martyrs. More carnage just belabors the point. But this is the loudest I can make my body shout and I desperately want you to hear me.

It’s not just the shrapnel that will kill you. It’s the force of the blast sucking the air from the bus that will flatten your lungs like a pancake. X-rays will reveal a large white butterfly, faint as a whisper, floating in your chest. I am a dervish. I am a dervish spinning a cyclone of butterflies. This is the mantra I will chant in my head as I pull the chord.


After this there are no virgins. After this there is only shredded flesh, chips of bone, and the taste of my raw blood on your lips. After this you and I will be little more than rumor. But I will have spoken and with your last breath, you will finally know who I am.

Friday, April 21, 2017

"Conor Leaves for Europe" Happy #NationalPoetryMonth! from the archives. Janice Lynch Schuster

Janice Lynch Schuster lives near Annapolis, Maryland, where she is Senior Writer for Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health care research and consulting organization. Janice's poetry has appeared in various print and online publications and her articles and op-ed pieces appear frequently in the Washington Post.


Conor Leaves for Europe

And I am talking about shoes:
What he needs to hike and tour.
He is keen on something dapper,
My bespoke man-child eyes
Boots made of wing-tips, thin soled,
Italian, expensive and sharp.
I suggest something sturdier,
More grounded—bullky, but light.

In a trunk of memories, I have his first pair
Of toddler shoes, saved and scuffless
From the days his feet rarely touched the ground.
He raced upstairs and, afraid he would come unbalanced,
I lured him back to me with a lollipop,
My fear invisible to him behind the treat.
I attached bells to the shoes.
Our house rang with explorations.

There will be no more bells,
Though I listen for his progress.
Whether the boots are stylish or stodgy
They will take him away from me.

Wasn’t that my job, to set him free,
Wild with his curiosity and longing,
The whole world a flight of stairs,

Me at the bottom, waving him on?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Elisavietta Ritchie's "Girl With Grapes," an ekphrasis poem for your dose of #NationalPoetryMonth

Elisavietta Ritchie's fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, photojournalism, and translations from Russian, French, Malay and Indonesian have appeared in numerous publications including Poetry, American Scholar, New York Times, Christian Science Monitor, Washington Post, National Geographic, New York Quarterly, JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, Confrontation, Press, New Letters, Kalliope, Nimrod, Canadian Woman Studies, Ann Arbor Review, Loch Raven Review, Innisfree, Broadkill Review, Beltway Poetry, ArLiJo, Calyx, and many others.


Anonymous: Girl With Grapes
         
I washed them by hand
in a tub of galvanized iron,
while a young man, his name
I’ve forgotten, directed
a green garden hose.

Something sexual here? I
cannot remember if that was
the case at age fifteen or so.

The day hot when Anonymous
painted this lyrical portrait—did
he aim the hose to cool or to tease me?
Men did. Already damp, curls
slipped from the carmine scarf
tied around my black hair
considered magnetic then.

I study the old picture, inhale
the fragrance of fruit freshly picked,
the wine from a previous vintage,
and the young man with a hose,

recall the delights and dangers
of sluicing those gleaming blue
grappes, and, though not painted,
the gold-striped hornets still
swarming and landing and stinging—


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

From the archives...Wendy Morton's "Alder Bones" for your daily dose of #NationalPoetryMonth

Wendy Morton has five books of poetry, and a memoir, Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast, in which her adventures as a corporate sponsored poet are revealed. She has been WestJet’s Poet of the Skies, Chrysler’s Poet of the Road.  She is currently sponsored by AbeBooks.

ALDER BONES

She sits in a white chair,
overlooking the Strait,
listens to the eagles skitter and call,
watches the long bones of the alder branches.
She walks to the beach,
to find a dead raccoon on the trail,
its sharp teeth clenched in death,
the pyramid of its bones.
She expected death’s marker
this day, so close to spring.
Her friends, her son, her sister
not long dead. And so it goes,
each year, spring’s sorrow and grace.
Like the racoon, beautiful
in its death.


Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Alice Morris' "Crickets" echoes other poets. Celebrate #NationalPoetryMonth

Alice Morris, a Minnesota native holds a BS in English Education from Towson University, and a MS in counseling from John’s Hopkins. Her traditional and contemporary white oak baskets have been included in Juried Exhibitions and in featured shows throughout West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, her final exhibitions, in Lewes, Dover, and Wilmington, Delaware.  She has published articles about this artwork in The News Basket, edited by Shereen La Plantz, and has supplied text for news articles, exhibitions, and the occasional television and radio spot.  In more recent years, she has turned her creative energies toward writing both prose and poetry.  She is a member of The Rehoboth Beach Writer’s Guild, and The Coastal Writers Group in Rehoboth, Delaware.




Crickets

probably no wiser than a cricket's chirrup
I drive through the Bighorn Mountains
a sudden shower
drops the veil
of morning

crickets
leap from the stubble
sound like low lisp of rippling tide
sound
the minutest cricket – 
like a long line from a poem

nighthawks flit over fields along the river
like a
naked
soul
like
hedge-crickets
with treble soft
remembering the first star

midsummer
in a field –
crickets sing for a mate
I imagine
distant temples
where crickets sing all night, and the stars,
low lisp of rippling tide
whisk of the invisible  
Becoming

when the crickets stop their cry
I stop to listen
to trees digging the air for crickets
branches
where history spins
at dawn
here, here, here, crickets 
at the end of my hours



"And Now, Goodby" by Jaroslov Seifert, Three Songs at the End of Summer by Jane Kenyon, Long Island Sound by Emma Lazarus, How Baseball Saved My Marriage by Kristen Lindquist, The King and Seer by Emily Warn, At the End of My Hours By Dana Levin





Monday, April 17, 2017

Enjoy #NationalPoetryMonth with Wendy Ingersoll's "Between Me and the Far Trees"

Wendy Ingersoll is a piano teacher residing outside Wilmington, Delaware. Her book of poems Grace Only Follows was recently published by March Street Press, and was awarded first place in the 2010 National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest, book of verse division. Her chapbook River, Farm was published in 2005 by Bay Oak Publishers. Her poems have appeared in Caesura, Worcester Review, Potpourri, Controlled Burn, The Broadkill Review and others, and won first prize in the Milton Poetry Festival 2009, Delaware Literary Connection 2009 and 2008, and Rehoboth Writers Guild 2007. She is a graduate of Mount Holyoke College and has three grown children and four grandchildren.


Between Me and the Far Trees

a drainage ditch draws a straight line
down the middle of the field and into
the next, collecting sticks, bugs, clots of earth,
spilling them onward the way Bach
floats a phrase into the next measure,
the way forgiveness
must be ferried into tomorrow.
So I paddle forward that moment

my husband said he was leaving.  At dark
this ditch is where my father would scout,
snap on his torch to shine in the eyes
of a big bullfrog hunkered in the mud,
retinas reflecting the light until
he shot between them with his 22.  He mostly stalked
have within a bit of sitting duck.   Like
ducks— in the house there hangs from the ceiling

a clean-shot mallard, wound
patched, wings spread,  dead head
glossy-green as new spring leaves. 
It was traveling a line south or north,
wanting, like us, warmth or propagation,
when it spied our field, circled.
Now it floats below our ceiling,
looking as if it longs to land.




Sunday, April 16, 2017

Enjoy #NationalPoetryMonth with Irene Fick's "The Dark Always Finds Us"

Irene Fick’s poetry has been published in Philadelphia StoriesAdanna Literary Journal; The Broadkill Review;  The Avocet;  Third Wednesday; and No Place Like Here: An Anthology of Southern Delaware Poetry & Prose.  A former journalist, her nonfiction has been published in newspapers and magazines in Philadelphia, Chicago and San Francisco.   She is active in the Rehoboth Art League writers’ group and the Rehoboth Beach Writers’ Guild.   She lives in Lewes, Delaware. 

The Dark Always Finds Us

Sick and solitary all week, I brood, breathe
my own sullied air. I rage against
this sudden collapse of the ordinary self.
My thoughts swell with fear and remembrance,
and I sink into an uneasy darkness.  I stagger
back to old Flatbush, return to my legacy
of ache, my tight and tender family bound
by their frailties. I see Uncle Rocco wheeze
through his inhaler, Cousin Fannie cradle her gut.
I hear Grandpa’s cough echo through the walls
of his walk-up.  Years later, Mom succumbs,
muted and still in her oxygen mask. Even Dad!
Big, boisterous, invincible Dad, shrinks,
recedes into his coma.   Just then, I hear
the loose and loopy laugh of bold Aunt Grace,
who tried so hard to escape, moved away
to some godforsaken place west
of Jersey City, a town no one could recall
or find on the map. Grace was not old
when she died during the shift change
at a high-rise hospital, miles from home.
What kind of cancer did she have?  I asked
Aunt Marie. Cansuh,it was just cansuh!
she snapped. No one could tell me more.
But I knew.  I try to ignore, even defeat,
this familial curse, but each time the blood work
goes awry, each time a random pain curtails me,
each time fever takes root, I sigh,
bow my head.  And I wait.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Austin Brown goes all Crayola for #NationalPoetryMonth, from the BKR archives


Biography- Austin Brown is an accomplished writer and poet currently residing in west Texas. His previous work has appeared in several E-zines and The Broadkill Review. His various travels throughout the world have given him a universal lens and a worldly understanding of the perpetual search for beauty and art in all things.

The Crayon Monologue

Parking lot vacant,
everyone was gone when I came across
two crayons by the handicap sign.

Sky Blue, and Maize-
Sky Blue was slight more worn at the end,
naturally.

Discarded, or forgotten
or simply dropped by clumsy
little fingers;
their presence saddened me-

Perhaps they reminded me of my own children far away,
or my own lost youth,

But I believe now,
that it was the fact the were forsaken; alone-
Never to be reunited with the colorful bretheren,
Never to be held in small warm hands,
Sky Blue would never shade another imagination sky
filled with bird shaped like lowercase M's,
And Maize would never brighten the yellow disc of the sun
above the curley-Q trees amongst the horizon
of a child's imaginary landscape.

What a fall from grace.

This was the end for the two;
and the fleeting thought
of rescuing them from the warming sun
paraded briefly through my mind,
but who was I to mess with God's natural order-

No,
All existence is lacking in permanence,
and that brings quiet appreciation
and even glory, if you will.

No,
The sun would peak over the rooftops soon,
dissolving the shade and the asphalt would
heat mindlessly and savagely,
And it would be slow.

The oil bleeding through the paper,
the drooping ends,
the spreading pool of color,
It would begin soon.

Mourning as I was,
I tried to look on the bright side,
after all, I got a poem out of them-
one final blaze of glory for
Sky Blue and Maize,

But what really comforted my heart,
was that although the end was near,
they were not alone,
they had each other,
and shared each others fate;
And with that thought I nudge them closer to one another,
Sky Blue and Maize,
Knowing that at least they would melt
into the color
of one another,
know each others oily wax
in a most intimate way before the final ending of
obscurity,
and oblivion. 

Friday, April 14, 2017

From our archives, Walter Bargen's "Natural History" Celebrate #NationalPoetryMonth with us

Walter Bargen has published eighteen books of poetry.  His most recent books are: Days Like This Are Necessary: New & Selected Poems (2009), Endearing Ruins (2012), Trouble Behind Glass Doors (2013), Quixotic (2014), and Gone West (2014).  He was appointed the first poet laureate of Missouri (2008-2009).  His awards include a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship (1991), the Hanks Prize (1996), the William Rockhill Nelson Award (2005). His poems, essays, and stories have appeared in over 150 magazines. www.walterbargen.com

Natural History

There’s no hurry to our staring.
There’s nothing we can do to change
what we see even as we slowly maneuver
our stiff bodies along this hallway.
Craning our necks, we look into a too low sky
and its fading painted clouds. We drop
out chins to look down as if we might charge
ahead into the glass and find ourselves inside
or out, but we won’t know the difference.
We count the sparse weed stalks within these four
tight corners and move cautiously closer,
nose nearly to the smudged pane, trying to bend
our sight, defy our seeing, parse our hope,
our belief, with a simulacrum of understanding
how this bird’s crown feathers remain motionless.
Wings cup the air, as it hovers and doesn’t hover
over an insect that will never move,
never be caught, just as the bird will never alert us
to its presence, tethered to this one pose, 

wired to this country of our beautiful blindness. 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Getting down with #NationalPoetryMonth, Andy Fogle, "Cobla at Midnight,17th and Boardwalk"

Bio: Andy Fogle has five chapbooks of poetry, and a variety of nonfiction in The Writers Chronicle, English Journal, Gargoyle, Cobalt, and elsewhere. He lives in upstate NY, teaching high school and working on a PhD in Education. 






Cobla at Midnight, 17th and Boardwalk

The rain has stopped, two kids make sandcastles,
and on a hotel’s fifth floor balcony,
she screams at him. The broken branch
of lightning spans the sky, then doesn’t.
On a bench in the wind, a ten year old boy
in a coloring book’s maze. Next bench down, a man
beside a brown paper bag, hands clasped
across belly, chin on chest. A small
blue shoe soaking wet beneath a streetlamp.
Make, scream, color, sleep. Does, then doesn’t.