August, 2015

Erasures by Sharon Bryan

My best lover ever
is dead. And

the second best.
Nothing to do

with me, it was years
since I’d seen them.

Still, they took
something with them

no one else knows
about  me, and if I

know it, I know
only half, like every

other line of a poem.

First appeared in Sharp Stars, (BOA Editions, Ltd., 2009)

Sharon Bryan has published four books of poems, most recently Sharp Stars. She also edited Where We Stand: Women Poets on Literary Tradition, and co-edited, with William Olsen, Planet on the Table: Poets on the Reading Life.  She has taught as a visiting poet at universities around the country, including Dartmouth, the University of Houston, Western Michigan University, Fresno State, and the University of Connecticut.  She is currently on the faculty of the Lesley University low-residency MFA Program in Creative Writing.

About poetry, Sharon says, “I think more in terms of how poetry matters than why.  Most poets I know think of writing as something that saves their lives–at least metaphorically, sometimes literally.  Maybe because of all the white space, it’s a way to get to the heart of the matter, the truth of what we think and feel, to peel away all the clichés and automatic responses and discover what’s underneath.  We can fool ourselves, but not the poem.  When you try to put false words in a poem’s mouth, it just spits them out.  I read poems for glimpses of what’s otherwise invisible.”

                       

***

The old red coop by Mary Buchinger

                         was white inside
when I was young, the narrow
door swinging shut behind me
in a slam that rippled through
the round, nervy huddles.
The straw, hollow and rancid,
grew sharp in summer heat,
and I’d dare myself to breathe
with the hens, the hurried huff
of panted breath. One bloodied
pullet would bear it all. Feathers
rooted between my fingers,
none of us could fly.

First appeared in Aerialist (Gold Wake, 2015)

Mary Buchinger is the author of Aerialist (Gold Wake, 2015) and Roomful of Sparrows, (Finishing Line, 2008).  Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Nimrod, Salamander, The Cortland Review, The Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere; she received the Daniel Varoujan and the Firman Houghton Awards from the New England Poetry Club. She is Associate Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston, Massachusetts.

***

Romantic by Mary Ann Honaker

My words come out crisp,
like a fall leaf,
looking a little burned
around the edges.

That’s what comes of too much
sunlight, I say, laughing,
Silly silly sunlight.

If not for my eyepatched eye,
I’d stop running into things.
Bruises the hue of roses, of thorns.

But I don’t want to see
too clearly to fall in love.

Mary Ann Honaker is a student in Lesley University’s Creative Writing MFA program. She has previously published poetry in many online and print journals, including The Dudley Review, Euphony, Caveat Lector, Off the Coast, The Penman Review, and Van Gogh’s Ear. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts. She believes that poetry matters because it brings the present back to us and helps us dwell more thoroughly in it. You have to be present with a poem for it to speak to you. You have to pay attention. This sort of mindfulness is one of the basic building blocks of spirituality.

***

In the dream he’s a blacksmith by Elizabetth Lund

And she is a child, cradling
An old horseshoe no one will miss.

A small black only stomps its feet.
Smoke sways on the ceiling.

Come closer, he says,
See the girl in the fire?

See how blue and white flames
fringe her mouth?

The pony snickers S-O-S.
Shall I put you in the fire, too?

He swings her onto his table,
Beats the red glow thinner.

Every thief must be tamed or broken.
Two cold nails in her hand.

                                         First appeared in Salamander

Elizabeth Lund reviews poetry every month for The Washington Post. She also reviews for The Christian Science Monitor and hosts the TV show Poetic Lines. Elizabeth loves poetry because of how it gives people a voice, and helps them hear.

***

When Hook Was Good by Marjorie Thomsen

Knowing we were near the end,
the Captain drizzled down

more than one oyster at a time,
used his hook to smooth my cheek

as I sat on the red-checkered tablecloth,
deciding it useless to sweep.

I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself –
he pulled D.H. Lawrence from the shelf

trying to help. That’s when I pocketed
his gold watch, a move to prove us timeless.

My lone left black-pearl eye and his right
made a pair walking the plank. Our last kiss

was wet, diligent— his tongue in me
tasting silvery, slipping the handcuff’s key.

Marjorie Thomsen  earned her MSW from The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Her first collection of poetry, “Pretty Things Please” will be published in 2016 (WordTech/Turning Point). She received the New England Poetry Club’s 2012 Firman Houghton Award and won first place in The University of Iowa’s School of Social Work National Poetry Contest. Marjorie grew up in Richmond, VA and currently lives in Cambridge, MA with her husband and three children.

Poetry matters because Anna (who was in the third-grade class where I was leading a discussion on poetry) said, “I’m going to go home and write a poem by Anna and it’s going to be the best poem ever!” Years from now she’ll be reading James Wright’s, “A Blessing”; it will be the last lines—That if I stepped out of my body I would break/Into blossom when she’ll be able to make meaningful sense of her sorrow and joy.

                 

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