y is for yevtushenko

seeing that the writer seems sad and forlorn
wishing we could look at what surveys us
with the gaze of institutions and old icons
such a sovereign state of acquisitions
what it’s like to be cruciform and naked in it
but he is hewn into a cathedral and caked
as much as hegel’s marbled flesh or keller
or tiresias or yevtushenko’s companion
innocent and seated on the embankment
even the reader’s named wife now his acolyte
how he is her cohesion as well as tenacity
he has hegel’s hands too and they table him
a burnished platter of unanswered questions
before he finds himself rained in again
homily in a stoup fingers dipped into milk
and honey but he is what we will remember
of these ignatian days and an unlikely death
the angels flanking the main thoroughfare
anima christi a near friend and still at hand
next to another timely and holy puddle
of what rites to carry through one’s beloved
to the shore northeast of the singular seraph
its wingbone torn out to prevent another
theft and thieving of its practical reason

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé is the author of an epistolary novel, two hybrid works, and seven poetry collections. A former journalist, he has edited more than fifteen books and co-produced three audiobooks. Among other accolades, Desmond is the recipient of the IBPA Benjamin Franklin Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, Poetry World Cup, Singapore Literature Prize, National Indie Excellence Book Award, two Beverly Hills International Book Awards and two Living Now Book Awards. He helms Squircle Line Press as its publisher and founding editor.

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Still Life with Red Brick and Reserved Parking

            after Purdue University Summer Session 2007

Recycled air turns into summer breezes and I mete
out my dinner breaks according to what cuisines

I won’t have access to by the time the leaves turn.
Tacos and blue-plate specials and hamburgers

with peanut butter on top—some out-of-towner
dissed them on the Food Network and we laughed

at him for not being open-minded—are how I spend
these precious seven o’clock hours. Jugglers

on the Memorial Mall bookend nightly strolls
through empty greenspaces and red brick buildings.

I chill out on the concrete arms of the Engineering
Mall fountain with iced coffee from McDonald’s, sipping

liquid crack in a takeout cup while water falls over
and disappears into a metal grate. My camera records

what my memory will soon discard: skateboarders
grinding benches near the Math Building breezeway,

exposed sandbars of the Wabash River, clouds
resting over the graduate house. In the bubble

of Summer Session, the future seems like something
slurred by one of the drunks at Down Under—unreliable,

not entirely true. I stop wearing my iPod because
I need to hear these sounds before they are gone,

before my soundtrack takes on dramatic undertones.
Wind twirls the Indiana flag near John Purdue’s grave

for my benefit. I look into blue, into cumulonimbus,
and I feel time stretching to accommodate me. This minute

can last for hours if I ration out the seconds.
These clouds will carry me anywhere if I ask.

Josette Torres received her MFA in Creative Writing from Virginia Tech. She also holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from Purdue University. Her work has previously appeared in Star 82 Review, escarp, The New Verse News, and Eunoia Review, and is forthcoming in Poetry Breakfast. She is currently a doctoral student in cultural thought in the ASPECT Program at Virginia Tech.

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Mapmaker

A mapmaker hurls his paper, and colored pencils, and all his instruments to the floor. He shoves the entire mess on the floor into the woodstove, regardless of his belief of whether the materials are combustible or not. Alone, he stands outside the flaming stove. The entire world has been perfectly mapped. Computers in tandem with satellites above have done it, too. And he is no longer in it.

Duff Allen is a writer who lives in upstate New York. He has an MFA from Bard College, where he teaches writing in the Clemente Course in the Humanities.

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Harboring Thoughts

Does Seurat know about your lines?
What does he think? I’m at the harbor
wearing a trench coat, watching seagulls,
fancy bedfellows in corduroy, and warped
wooden docks, thinking of phone books
buried in salt. I guess it’s bourgeois
compared to park picnics and peach
clothes of women that drag their daughters.

If I wear clothes like that, I would worry
about grass stains. But I don’t mind them
on my blue jeans. There are enough problems
involving eggs and containers they arrive in.
They crack, and there will be no cake
to open makeup mouths. Boys wade into the
dashes, elongating distant houses by the shore,
not reaching the cloudy harbor waters.

M. N. O’Brien received his B.A. from Roanoke College, where he received the Charles C. Wise Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Right Hand Pointing, and The Ekphrastic Review, among other journals. He lives in Hudson, New Hampshire, and feels awkward writing about himself in the third person.

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Audible Fall

Autumn inaugurates with puzzled children
pouting in classrooms as others stare like parents
slowing down at the drive-in theater of a car crash
wondering how one should feel, witnessing
filaments of leaves craft the hours into dusk.

M. N. O’Brien received his B.A. from Roanoke College, where he received the Charles C. Wise Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Right Hand Pointing, and The Ekphrastic Review, among other journals. He lives in Hudson, New Hampshire, and feels awkward writing about himself in the third person.

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Fruition

Here I am, giving the sky too much attention and lying
next to Georgia, a peach against her cheek. She gripes,
references the extinct phone booths, and checks back
every few minutes for change. I am skeptical of popular
valentines too, but this is the part of life I was warned
about. The part that isn’t cherry pie. But I never liked
cherry pie. That’s the real problem, trying to explain it.

What about her? She convinces me flowers grow in her
shoes when she doesn’t wear them and the leaf-filled
waters of park fountains can teach us more than science
channels. My real problem, she states, is watching the sea
gnaw away at shores while my muddied shoes stop me
from reaching the crowd, raindancing while levees break.
Her problem is coming to fruition without preservatives.

M. N. O’Brien received his B.A. from Roanoke College, where he received the Charles C. Wise Poetry Award. His poems have appeared in Drunk Monkeys, Right Hand Pointing, and The Ekphrastic Review, among other journals. He lives in Hudson, New Hampshire, and feels awkward writing about himself in the third person.

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Communion Slip

At seven, the thing that worried me most
(not host-choking…we’d practiced
with profane wafers, not to mention candy Neccos)
was that tulle slip under the lace and nylon skirt
of the sinless Communion dress
that cost a week’s salary. That erection of a slip
sticking out like a propeller
to loft the skirt in a frozen spin
around my worried thighs.

When I tried it on in the shop, it grated,
like Mom’s cheese gizmo
and I could not help wriggling
outside the dressing room
like a go-go girl under its abrasions
until Mom slapped me on the arm
and all the shoppers stared.

What if I sinned walking up the aisle,
just about to Receive – too late to confess –
would an emergency Hail Mary do the trick?

What if I tripped
and two whole rows of white-suited boys
sinned?

This is a reprint of work originally published in Verseweavers.

Catherine McGuire is a writer/artist with a deep interest in Nature, both human and otherwise. She’s had 3 decades of poetry in publications such as The New Verse News, FutureCycle Press, Portland Lights, Fireweed, and on a bus for Poetry In Motion. She has four chapbooks out: Palimpsests (Uttered Chaos) and three self-published (http://www.cathymcguire.com). Upcoming this year is a full-length book of poetry, Elegy for the 21st Century (FutureCycle Press), in October and a deindustrial science fiction novel, Lifeline (Founders House Publishing), in November.

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