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Stan Galloway

 

This Rain

brings with it the scent of rain-soaked lilac, lemon lily. Bruised

skirts of thunderclouds drop their wet hems over this prairie. It rains

and the ditches brim, rains

and the water rises like ire amongst the willows.

What we say and do not say. The heart

incandescent, riverine with distance.

 

***

 

lilt like this: sound

of droplets from leaves

aaaaaa

gift   gift         gift

 

 

(Shortlisted for the International Salt Prize for Best Individual Poem, 2012

Published in The Salt Book of New Writing 2013, UK.)

 

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Jenna Butler is the author of three books of poetry, Seldom Seen Road (NeWest Press, 2013), Wells (University of Alberta Press, 2012), and Aphelion (NeWest Press, 2010), in addition to a book of ecocritical essays, A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail. When she is not in the classroom as a professor of ecocriticism and creative writing at Red Deer College, she works as a beekeeper on her off-grid organic farm in northern Canada. Her new book of essays on women and beekeeping, Revery: A Year of Bees, is forthcoming.

RGEvans

PARADOX

The hand that draws the bowstring has faith

that the deer will die. The longbow bends,

the arrow points, the deer stands frozen

in the curious pose of prey before its doom.

But Zeno suggests that once the arrow flies,

it covers half the distance to the deer’s heart

first, then half the distance left and half again

and again and half again so the deer will live

and the arrow will never find its one true home.

 

A woman’s faith is different than a man’s.

She believes his strength is bowstring straight,

his heart like longbow yew, flexible but taut.

A man believes that he is not a beast–

until the string snaps, the tortured bow splinters

and his fist is arcing through the air

toward the faithful face of the woman who believes.

 

The hunter doesn’t love the prey.

He’s filed the razor edge of the arrowhead himself.

And even Zeno had to eat.  Is there faith enough

to believe in a universe where that fist still hangs

in the half-space in between, and now, a moment later,

half again?

(originally published by www.ithacalit.com)

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R.G. Evans is the author of Overtipping the Ferryman (2013 Aldrich Press Poetry Prize) and the forthcoming novella The Noise of Wings. www.rgevanswriter.com

JoannaLee
Driving

 
 
 

under drying skies, north,

passing fields

the summer has been too wet

to turn brown,

i wait for God

to appear, for poems to rise

like mists, for some sort

of ever

 

that doesn’t sting.

croon to me like a wild road,

sunlight spider-webbing

across a cracked windshield

across strange arms

across a morning we can all afford

to spend and live

and live.

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Joanna Suzanne Lee earned her MD from the Medical College of Virginia in 2007 and a further MS in Applied Science from the College of William and Mary in 2010. Her ppoetry has been published in a number of online and print journals, including Caduceus, Contemporary American Voices, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. Her second full­-length book of poetry, the river and the dead, is forthcoming in 2015 from unboundCONTENT. She is currently serving her third year on the James River Writers Board of Directors, and, under the big bright umbrella of Richmond’s River City Poets, she makes possible a wide range of poetry happenings from Shockoe Slip to South of the James.

Diana6


Vital Desert Lesson Number One

Nothing can be more useful to a man than a determination not to be hurried. – Henry David Thoreau

 

Living on beans and bread

in an abandoned cabin no larger

than a tool shed, I’d be happy,

 

I once said. If I could just remain

immobile, silent. No place to go,

I’d read Dante’s Inferno and ponder

 

the nature of mass movements,

the building of Babel’s tower,

the steam locomotive.

 

Dawn and dusk I’d thank sun and moon

that I’d escaped the grinding bustle,

that nothing disturbed my dreams.

 

Oh, I know it all seems too idyllic,

but one vital lesson this desert’s teaching:

let nothing rush me—not the heat

 

I try to keep out of, not the man

behind me in the traffic jam

fidgeting with the folds of his gutra*

 

while he beeps and speeds past me

one nano second after the light changes.

Inshalla shall be my mantra,

 

the camel my choice over the Arabian horse—

let her carry me ever so slowly

over the course of the dunes as the wind

 

plays its favorite tunes on them.

I won’t be rushed into talking too much

or too soon, and when I do speak,

 

my words will flow slowly and sparingly,

like the wind whispering

to the date palm and sidra tree.

 

*white head covering worn by many Gulf Arab men.

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Diana Woodcock’s first full-length collection, Swaying on the Elephant’s Shoulders, won the 2010 Vernice Quebodeaux International Poetry Prize. Her second, Under the Spell of a Persian Nightingale, is forthcoming from WordTech Communications. Chapbooks include Beggar in the EvergladesDesert Ecology: Lessons and VisionsTamed by the DesertIn the Shade of the Sidra TreeMandala, and Travels of a Gwai Lo.  Widely published in literary journals (including Best New Poets 2008), her poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Award. Prior to teaching in Qatar (since 2004), she worked for nearly eight years in Tibet, Macau and on the Thai/Cambodian border.

 

John Hoppenthaler

Some Men 

 

Men who’ve kissed with passion the full lips

of women they didn’t love, men

 

who’ve grown too reticent for the confessional,

who’ve cleaned public restrooms,

 

wiped menstrual blood from their walls, who’ve written—

then scrubbed off—vile graffiti from the rusting doors

 

of shithouse stalls. Men who’ve grown

enormous with disregard, rolls of it bellying over

 

their wide belts. Men who’ve been barbers

of the dead and were happy for the work,

 

men who’ve become what they’ve microwaved,

who overvalue the quality of their erections

 

and fawn over them like the town’s new Wal-Mart.

Men who look awful in suits, who’ve been there

 

and back yet grew impatient, men who go to wakes

to keep up appearances, who’ve made a deal

 

with God but can’t remember the terms, men who are old

pros when it comes to hospitals and cracking

 

jokes at the nurses’ expense, men who’ll be at

your funeral, who’ll kiss your widow with passion

 

and keep everyone’s lips flapping. Men who’ll move

in and disinfect your bathroom, who’ll trim nose hair

 

at your sink, conjure mythic hard-ons they’ll purchase

at Wal-Mart. Men who’ll kiss your wife

 

damned hard on the mouth, take off her dress,

and have your Sunday suit altered and pressed.

 

 

From Domestic Garden, Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015

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John Hoppenthaler’s books of poetry are Lives of Water (2003), Anticipate the Coming Reservoir (2008), and Domestic Garden (2015), all with Carnegie Mellon University Press. With Kazim Ali, he has co-edited a volume of essays and interviews on the poetry of Jean Valentine, This-World Company—Jean Valentine (U Michigan P, 2012).  For the cultural journal Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, he edits “A Poetry Congeries.  He is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at East Carolina University.