April, 2017

Egg by Danielle Legros

        after Linda Pastan

Darling, you are an egg. There is no in, there is no
out. The germ of you remains embraced. To free
you would be to break you, to spread you over the
black face of a heat, to eat you. Then you would
travel through me, through throat and entrails
to earth—to the body of the earth, becoming
more than you’ve ever seen, more
than you’ve ever known.

First published in Salamander, and most recently in The Dear Remote Nearness of You (Barrow Street Press, 2016)

Danielle Legros Georges was born in Haiti and raised in the United States. She received a BA from Emerson College in Boston and an MFA in poetry from New York University. She is the author of two poetry collections: The Dear Remote Nearness of You (Barrow Street Press, 2016), winner of the New England Poetry Club’s 2016 Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize, and Maroon (Curbstone Books, 2001). She has received fellowships from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, the Boston Foundation, the Black Metropolis Research Consortium, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. In 2014 Legros Georges was chosen as Boston’s second poet laureate. She is a professor at Lesley University and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

***

SO FAR TO GO by Adrian Matejka

—after St. Joe Louis Surrounded By Snakes (1982), Jean-Michel Basquiat

In the purplish clutch between evening & more
evening, boys smoked cigarettes down to their minty
ends & talked about ass like mad hams & hips

like pow, mouths curling with avid adornment & vivid
hands shaping the air—palms down to palms up
in half circles of perplexity. The C shape the tobacco

still glowing between fingers makes is the closest
any one of these boys will get a girl’s hip today.
Which is why these boys, in thin tanks & hopeless

shirts, cut conversations easily from Watch how I get
at her to Knuckle up, fool, throwing shoulders & fists
at each other like minor superheroes with no villains

to fight. No capes in bare knuckles. No saving the block
either because every swing breaks something.

First published in The American Poetry Review, and most recently in Map to the Stars (Penguin Random House, 2017)

 

Adrian Matejka was born in Nuremberg, Germany and grew up in California and Indiana. He is a graduate of Indiana University and the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003) which won the New York / New England Award and Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series. Mixology was also a finalist for an NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literature. His most recent collection of poems, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award. The Big Smoke was also a finalist for the 2013 National Book Award, 2014 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and 2014 Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His new book, Map to the Stars, was just released by Penguin in March 2017. Among Matejka’s other honors are the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, two grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Julia Peterkin Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and a Simon Fellowship from United States Artists. He teaches in the MFA program at Indiana University in Bloomington and is currently working on a new collection of poems, Hearing Damage, and a graphic novel.

***

Look around you, yes
it will pass by the way darkness
comes from the ground

wanders alongside you
with nothing to stop it
crawling over your grave

as if it needs these flowers
gathered from the center
the Earth no longer turns

and before that nothing
–this hillside already has
your cheeks, is still expanding

needs more dirt, more sky
and your shoulders waving
in all directions at once

making room –reach around
and all this emptiness
all from a single goodbye.

                             by Simon Perchik

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The B Poems published by Poets Wear Prada, 2016. For more information, including free e-books, his essay titled “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.

***

Even the Alphabet by Marjorie Saiser

Consider s
who stands beside another, close as possible,
c who will not abandon k at the end,
no matter how thick the attack,
q who breaks the trail for u, who without u
can hardly manage what is required—
and consider how letters live in the body,
play in it, against the back of the teeth,
in the wet active tongue,
and make the lips to part, to close.
Consider how necessary silence is,
coupled with constancy,
how silence can make a syllable benign,
so that it does not shout to show valor,
but softly stands in place
and changes everything,
as does k who, though it can speak,
kneels before n and says nothing, nothing.

Also published in Beside You at the Stoplight (The Backwaters Press, 2010)                                      

Listen My Bearded One by Marjorie Saiser

Listen, my broad shoulder, my no-answer answer,
my no mule stubborn as, my forgive me again again,
let’s stay with this cross-country we’ve begun,
this night train, this knick knack paddy whack.
I hardly know my own reflection in the window,
I hardly know the name of the next station.
Do you?
After (or because of) the silent treatment
and the same old same old,
but ahead of No Brain Left At All,
let’s fall together in our sleeper car.
Let’s not solve everything.
Beyond us, beyond this short-term ride
lies the country of the dark.

 

Also published in Beside You at the Stoplight (The Backwaters Press, 2010)                                      

Marjorie Saiser has five collections of poetry, including LOSING THE RING IN THE RIVER (University of New Mexico Press, 2013), which won the Willa Award. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by the editors of Prairie Schooner and her work has been published in Rattle, RHINO, Nimrod, Chattahoochee Review, Poet Lore, Poetry East, PoetryMagazine.com, and poetmarge.com.

“Poetry matters in this fractured world. It requires, in both the reading and the writing of it,  the act of paying attention to the individual life.”

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