October, 2015

MUG SHOT by Cate Marvin

Face a distortion. Expression falling back into distance,
as a crowd recedes behind a fleeing man. Iris’s brown
black back at the flash, and a hoard of curses perched
on the brink of lip. The mouth cruelly fixed and stained
with an outline of dark lipstick, and in her eyes a light
stirred with the throb of siren’s pulse, its mix of glee
and negligence an affront to any decent citizen. A face
crumbling like an old shed that begs to be knocked down
with a single kick. Eyes roaming the room as one might
survey land standing neck-deep in a pit, whisky-pitched
and ether-lit. This, as a whole, pulled into the second’s
suck of lens: while mirth crawled the halls of countenance,
sorrows flowered behind the brow, and apathy took up
residence, a serious and true crime was being planned.

First appeared in Fragment of the Head of a Queen

Cate Marvin’s first book, World’s Tallest Disaster, was chosen by Robert Pinksy for the 2000 Kathryn A. Morton Prize and published by Sarabande Books in 2001. In 2002, she received the Kate Tufts Discovery Prize. She co-edited with poet Michael Dumanis the anthology Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century(Sarabande Books, 2006). Her second book of poems, Fragment of the Head of a Queen, for which she received a Whiting Award, was published by Sarabande in 2007. Marvin teaches poetry writing inLesley University’s Low-Residency M.F.A. Programand is Professor of English at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York. In 2009, she co-founded the nonprofit organization VIDA: Women in Literary Arts with poet Erin Belieu. A 2015 Guggenheim Fellow, her third book of poems, Oracle, was released from W.W. Norton & Co. in March 2015.

***

The Limpet by Michael Mercurio

It’s not that the limpet loves the granite.
She clings fiercely by her tongue in the surf
to that abraded surface, snugged down tight
in a groove that was carved by her habit

of not relinquishing this, her one place.
Unpolished, sure, but not unwelcoming;
No better fit for riding out the tide’s
unceasing moon-driven oscillations

than the concentric depression she dug.
No, the limpet doesn’t love the granite,
because it’s not love, exactly, is it?
It’s constancy. It’s refusing to budge.

Michael Mercurio lives with his wife and two Schnauzers, both named
Fritz. He was not responsible for naming either of them.

He writes, “Poetry matters. It’s an inoculation against the condition of being too
literal, which is far too prevalent in our culture.”

***

How to Evolve by Amy Neill Bebergal

Scullers perfectly spaced
Delicately scrape
The glassy surface of
The Charles,

Leave a wake of
Straight lines and cresting
Swells

Water striders–Gerridae
Live whole lives based on
Surface tension, paddle feet
Adroitly

In recompense for
Wings poorly developed,
Surveying all that falls
Below them.

Yet it is true—
Small numbers have been
Documented to
Achieve
Flight.

Amy Neill-Berbergal lives in Cambridge with her husband and son, and has been writing poetry for several years. She has an MFA in short fiction from Sarah Lawrence College. Her poems have appeared in The Friends Journal, Ghost Town, Riverlit, Blast Furnace, Riverbabble, Killing the Buddha, A Narrow Fellow, among others. She was a finalist for the Bermuda Triangle Prize for The Poet’s Billow last Spring, 2014. She is currently working on a poetry collection tentatively entitled Know Your Chicken.

“Poetry matters because language and words are a spell I love to be under.”
***

Walking on Water by Richard Smyth

Speak of miracles. Speak
of defying gravity and all
the laws of physics. Speak
and be ignored in this age of the explained,
the mundane.

Metaphysics, after all, is on the way out.
No God need apply.

Yet we seek after all a knowledge
of what the gods know,
the ability to walk across the clouds,
and, though grown giant-large–
heavy as mountains, heavy as broken bridges–
to be light as rain, to be carried like rain
in the moving womb of wet air.

The story itself is the doing:
the telling a telling of crossing over
with the weight of a great burden
upon us.

Richard Smyth is editor of the Anabiosis Press, which publishes the Albatross poetry journal, now in its 30thyear, and also sponsors an annual chapbook competition (see anabiosispress.org for more information). His poems have appeared in Southern Poetry Review, Tampa Review, Kansas Quarterly, Midwest Quarterly,Wisconsin Review, Southern Florida Poetry Review, Sucarnochee Review, Caesura, Florida Review and others.
On why poetry matters:The poet was once judge, healer, historian, teacher—that which civilized the tribe and made it cohere as a whole. These components of its vocation still apply, though society pays less attention these days, to its detriment. William Carlos Williams once wrote that “It is difficult to get the news from poems, yet men die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” Poetry still matters, however, because it still gives voice to the most elevated aspects of our being—the vatic, the prophetic, the naked truth always newly born and therefore full of catalytic potential.
***

Remembering My Mother’s Face by Anna Warrock

The face is a jug of water
drawn from a well.
Smooth, soft, the eyes arched handles.
I look, and look hard to hold her.
She smiles—how I am that smile—
and the water
spills.

This poem is a permanent installation at Davis Sq., Somerville, Mass., MBTA subway station.

Anna M. Warrock’s publications include Horizon; Smoke and Stone; and the forthcoming Turning to Go Back from Slate Roof Press. Her work appears in Kiss Me Goodnight, Poems and Stories by Women Who Were Girls When Their Mothers Died, Minnesota Book Award Finalist, for which she also wrote the introduction. Besides appearing in a number of literary and multidisciplinary magazines, her poems have been set to music, performed at Boston’s Hayden Planetarium, and permanently installed in a Boston-area subway station. She has taught poetry in seminars on understanding grief and loss through poetry. http://www.AnnaMWarrock.com

She believes in a poem a day. Or can the day be the poem? This might put me out of sync with the everyday, unless the day is the poem, and you, reading these words, continue to read.

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