And there's a similar experience in reading, selecting, and editing poems for The New Poet. The process is the same, but each submission is a welcomed difference. And there's an excitement to emailing poets around the country, sharing a quick celebratory exchange, and welcoming something new to the world. Even for something as old as poetry, like the weather, there's ample opportunity to appreciate it in a renewed spirit.
Here's Issue 5 of The New Poet.
Wait again this morning for the rain to stop. Realize for the first time there
is no waiting: all this quiet dark, the trees thick and black and wet, sky
beginning to gray with light, clouds torn and broken along the horizon.
Everything hums with the rain – maybe it knows more than any of us will
ever know, when to begin, how long to stay, where it all ends, when it’s
time to say goodbye. The lamp, the teakettle, the telephone wires dripping
with rain, humming. Where am I today given my memory of yesterday – this
is what they say. I can’t remember what he gave to me back then, nor what
he said to the dry fields, the turned dirt, the sweat soaked into his shirt as
he stood in front of the never ending rows of cane. Potatoes. Beets. Peaches
dropping from trees in soft thuds. Once, next to a white van, he wore a pith
helmet, without a shirt, cool with his smile. Simply there – my father – in
the summer sun, and the traffic behind him thrumming to places still
Fred Arroyo is the author of Western Avenue and Other Fictions (University of Arizona Press, 2012), as well as the novel The Region of Lost Names (2008). Named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch (and Read) in 2009 by LatinoStories.com, Fred is a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Indiana Arts Commission. He has published fiction, poetry, and essays various literary journals and the anthologies The Colors of Nature (Milkweed 2011) and Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing (2010). Fred lives in Vermillion, South Dakota, where he teaches fiction and creative nonfiction in the MA/PhD Program in Creative Writing, as well in the undergraduate program, at the University of South Dakota.
Munchausen By Proxy
I – Justine
You baked me Sacher-Torte
And I cursed you
Driving through Vienna
You didn’t hear me, anyway
Busy as you were
With one of your little deaths
You always were the best-dressed liar
And so the ladies in Silesia
Are still waiting for their poem
In the blue-green of the trees
I once bought you chocolates
Near the Grand Place
It was very cold and rainy
Your mirror turned up cracked
Prophetess pacing back and forth
Guarding the very words you cast to the wind
You sit at the bottom of the sea
Your words are white
And so I wish your sails
II – Severin
You don’t mind me
Don’t remember me
The glaucous sea, the storms, the cries
Which cannot quiet down
Whose waters churn silt from the bottom
– it is said There is no peace –
Not Cassandra – I am Tiresias
Blind, cursed to be a woman
Having seen the goddess naked
In the blue-green woods
Dreaming of snakes, in the other room
Where the dancers are
III – Palinurus
“tibi somnia tristia portans insonti”
Aen. V: 840
Once the trusted pilot
Of pious Aeneas
For the Gods I was drowned
So that the prophecy
Would come to pass:
The hero is washed ashore, alone
As I sank
In the blue-green sea
Darker and colder
I still remembered
The rudder I abandoned
Like a Venetian merchant
I bought back the dust you shook
From your sandals
I traded ashes for ashes
Bought back my soul on sale
I now drive by
In my Mercedes rental
Illogical sign of good fortunes
To my relatives
And you, poor Palinurus,
Are only a sign pointing
To the eponymous cape.
Salvatore Attardo’s poetry and translations have appeared in many magazines, including Mikrokosmos Journal, Mojo, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Limestone, and Jet Fuel Review. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize, he is currently at work on a book titled Complex Manifolds and Other Riemann Surfaces: Love Poems.
You’re told over and over by the bayou
behind you this is where winter winters,
that your footprints are meaningless, going
nowhere. You hope for a shell of something
because every few feet you want to stop
and pull yourself up into some dark past,
relive the best parts. Finally a dead man-
o-war speaks, but it’s just you, you with
all the names nothing answers to, nothing
you can hear from the end of Bald Point.
George Bishop is the author of five chapbooks. His full length collection, Expecting Delays, was published by FutureCycle Press in January 2013. Recent work appears in New Plains Review, Naugatuck River Review, and Sakura Review. Forthcoming work will be featured in Cold Mountain Review. Bishop attended Rutgers University and now lives and writes in Saint Cloud, Florida.
The Rusticated Scholar
Moonrise over the east pavilion,
Fireflies float in the lucid air,
Infusion of mint and vervain chilled
With ice cut from the pond last winter.
Another year of exile passes,
Like wild geese flying who knows where.
The calendar of famous landscapes
Shows no appointments, no release.
I dine in splendid solitude
On fish raised in the spring-fed pond
And vegetables from a plot assigned
By the district superintendent.
A rabbit snared by the garden boy
And eggs are a mark of favor.
I learn to relish meager fare
While reading classic poetry aloud.
A striped cat roams the premises.
She catches mice and lizards,
And condescends to let me stroke
Her rather dowdy fur.
I dream of nights at the shining court,
Intrigue and endless ceremony,
Forbidden flesh in colored silk,
Heavenly drugs and clouds of rare incense.
Sleep-walkers, oxen with blunt horns,
We plodded through our daily round
Deaf to the wind that roared outside,
And dumbly waited for the axe to fall.
Esteemed colleague and fellow scribe,
Who roamed the sacred grove with me,
When will I see that face again
Or thrill to hear that voice?
For you I sweep the bare pine floor
And the path to my hut with a broom of twigs.
For you I lay fresh mats of straw
And light the votive lamp.
I turn the pegs of the four-string lute.
Paper, grindstone, soot-black ink,
And a brush of virgin bristle wait
To take the honeyed verses from your lips.
Robert Boucheron is an architect in Charlottesville, Virginia. He writes on housing, home improvement, communities, gardens, electric motorcycles, and love gone wrong. His work appears in Blue Lake Review, Cerise Press, Cossack Review, Dark Matter, Heavy Feather Review, Mouse Tales Press, New England Review, Niche, Piedmont Virginian, Rider, Streetlight, Talking Writing, 34th Parallel, Virginia Business, Zodiac Review. Visit www.boucheronarch.com.
All of Feldman's Riches
All of Feldman’s riches dance atop an aluminum atom on the head of a pin, a pin which Feldman keeps safe deep in a pocket inside a pocket inside a pocket. There is a variety of riches. Some nights, & these were the most sublime & poignant of nights—the stars throbbing over town like doomed flies in a massive spiderweb—Pamela would catch Feldman counting his riches, staring down, down, down into the head of that pin, & Pamela would sob into a little cup of seawater. But when Feldman would pluck a tiny telescope (Feldman also owns a giant microscope—one of his many, many riches) from the head of that pin & look even deeper down, impossibly down, into his riches & grin, that’s when Pamela would smash the little cup of seawater against the wall, & her sobs would drown out even the terrible wails of the little clamoring villagers who even at this very hour are canoeing frantically into the little harbor—canoeing frantically in vain because the harbor is always being devastated by the tsunami of Pamela’s tears. This of course is myth. Feldman is a rich man. He uses his giant microscope to view the starry stars, throbbing & doomed & lovely.
After 13 years of hopelessly grading hopeless freshman composition essays, Mike Dockins now lives in a remote pocket of the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York where he digs drain-off ditches, grapples with an intractable and grumpy coal stove, bunks with a half-feral, fangless tabby, and worries about stumbling into a mama black bear because no one would hear him scream, except himself and the bear, and maybe the quadrillions of trembling pine cones, and as everyone knows, pine cones are cosmically attentive but don't give a shit about you. Mike holds all the advanced academic degrees that somebody would want, but he hasn't a clue how to successfully wield them. In this way he's like a Sumerian staring vapidly at an iPhone. His poems have appeared in The Gettysburg Review, Crazyhorse, Indiana Review, Quarterly West, and in the 2007 edition of The Best American Poetry. His critically-acclaimed first book of poems, Slouching in the Path of a Comet (Sage Hill Press, 2007), after moving 850 copies, is anticipating a third print run. Mike is also probably Facebook-stalking you.
The Victim’s Testimony
I’m stuck in this file cabinet.
Who wants to finger me?
My words are onion paper thin.
Easily crumpled, easily tossed.
In French class I say,
“S'il vous plaît ne faites pas ça.”
Shower me with holy water
and I cower like Beelzebub.
The first robe is always white
but the outer one changes
like his performance. It was purple
that day to remind us of our sins.
As if I could forget.
As if God could. The light
above my box is always red,
which means stop, a word
I use more than any other.
Kelly Fordon’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Kenyon Review (KRO), Rattle, Flashquake, The Windsor Review, The Montreal Review, The Cleveland Review, and various other journals. Her poetry chapbook, On the Street Where We Live, won the 2011 Standing Rock Chapbook Contest and was published in February. Her new poetry chapbook, Tell Me When It Starts to Hurt, was published by Kattywompus Press in April 2013. www.kellyfordon.com
On Shawano Lake
I wrap an orange life
jacket around my shoulders
like a crusty stole.
You thread the loose canvas tie
through the two silver rings
at my waist
and tug it tight, twice.
It’s my turn,
my one time all year
to be alone with you.
Your sons are still asleep
Your other daughter is
afraid of worms.
Our Evinrude fractures
the quiet morning
and soon we stop
at the edge
of a lily pad acre.
We float and lure perch
from their liquid field.
I imagine a stroll
across the smooth green,
beneath my navy blue Keds,
through their foggy jungle
of shimmying stems.
Your reel hums and clicks.
I flounder for the perfect question
that would open
you to me.
A loon cry echoes.
Water softly rubs
the aluminum dinghy.
You cast your line again.
The black lead weight
arcs through the dark,
dawn sky and steers
the sheer fishing line
to the pike’s cool,
At your feet, a metal tackle box
sparkles with your arsenal –
minnows, spinners, spoons.
I wait for a splash of golden tail,
any glance from you,
even a call to pull anchor.
Your cigar seasons the lake air.
I watch the bobber
at the end
of my bamboo pole –
the red half submerged,
the white half lifted,
to all nibbles.
When she wasn’t fishing with her dad, Lora Keller pounded out poems on her toy typewriter in Kaukauna, Wisconsin. After working as a scriptwriter and public relations executive in New York City and Kansas City, she settled in Milwaukee where she now runs three small businesses. Her work has been published in Blast Furnace, Lantern Journal, Writer’s Haven, The Shepherd Express, and the Appleton Post-Crescent.
his heart thumped under the skin hard enough to leave marks
a tiny bomb, the size of a fist, denting bones with each tick
he knew, knew like he believed anything true, she heard
he wants to take it back, but her eyes freeze him dead,
empty, opaque, a statue of a saint
words lying in the air, so new they smelled like fresh paint
he wishes he were another person,
for a ‘you know what I meant’ button, equipped to every mouth
tonguing it like a caught popcorn kernel, he’d rub it raw, blood thick and warm in his throat
but all he can do is put a hand over the ticking bomb in his chest,
hoping if he smiled his red smile she would know he only meant the best
Kate LaDew is a graduate from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a BA in Studio Art. She resides in Graham, North Carolina, with her cat, Charlie Chaplin.
in a deep hole
of broiler light,
to taste, the glowing
fillet, red-orange as
an exit sign, snaps
and hisses, ready
to be fished from
the heat, released
into the black
river of the senses
to dart off, through
smoke and wine.
Brian McKenna is currently pursuing an MA in the Creative Writing Program at Central Michigan University and working on his debut collection of poetry, Black River. He is a former poetry editor of CMU’s literary journal, Temenos.
Marina Pruna Moré
The Imagined Life
Everything, but the brick-colored couch,
which was purchased because it fit
the corner like a tailored wedding dress,
copper studded fists,
arms in rigid right angles
and wooden pegs like anchors –
everything else was gathered,
borrowed and pinched,
picked for the temporary morrow,
to be dispensed with
clean and fast,
like untying a bow.
Marina Pruna Moré is originally from Argentinean Patagonia, but now has roots in Miami, Florida. A recent graduate of Florida International University’s MFA program, her work has appeared in Flatmancrooked’s Slim Volume of Contemporary Poetics and Hinchas de Poesia. She spends her time figuring out how to divide her time between writing, co-editing for Sliver of Stone Magazine, and enjoying the zoo that is her pet-filled home. Her long-time boyfriend, Steve, is patient.