Category Archives: audio poems and music

clarence wolfshohl | angel of dachau

Her eyes must be a cold sky blue, but on this grey mist day they are iron grey to fit the fix of her face amongst her ashen hair, the only looseness about her. She guides us through the chilled drizzle from barrack to bunker, across graveled yard flanked by watch tower and entry gate with its Nazi smirk of “Arbeit macht frei,” each place forcing her monologue of horrors, the speech sounding clear English with only a touch of Bavarian mountains flattened with the shame she knows with each word. Later, outside the barbed wire, she tells us she is an archaeologist, guides these tours only twice a month; she can do no more, she says, a tear allowed to fall.
SONY DSCClarence Wolfshohl is professor emeritus of English at William Woods University. He operated Timberline Press for thirty-five years until the end of 2010. His poetry and creative fiction have appeared in Concho River Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Colere, Rattlesnake Review, Cenizo Journal, San Pedro River Review, and Melic Review, Houston Literary Review, Right Hand Pointing and Red River Review online. He will be featured poet in the August 2013 Red River Review. A chapbook of poems about Brazil, Season of Mangos, was published by Adastra Press (2009) and a compilation of three earlier chapbooks, The First Three (2010) and Down Highway 281 (2011) were published by El Grito del Lobo Press. In Harm’s Way: Poems of Childhood in collaboration with Mark Vinz was published by El Grito del Lobo Press in early 2013. A native Texan, Wolfshohl now lives with his writing, two dogs and two cats in a nine-acre woods outside of Fulton, Missouri.
Share

scott wiggerman | our last night together

starting with a Dickinson line (#1123) A great hope fell, you heard no noise. Here, where cicadas once chirred, no noise. Can you sense the rats in the bedroom walls? The cat drags in a mangled bird, no noise. Something cracks, then a thud on the roof. A sound of heaving. Afterward, no noise. A stupor of pain descends on the house. Your drunken words slurred—no, noise. Can a hangover last a month or more? On one thing we both concurred: no noise. A clamor of insects, a rustle of leaves. You cry, “Shut up! Not a word! No noise!” Three things: first, oppressive heat; second, a slight prickliness; third, no noise. An alarm peals out, shrill as a scream. You open an eye, dreams interred. No noise. Hear the remains of midnight in your blood? Remember when you preferred no noise?
The poem was originally published this spring in Tilt-a-Whirl, issue 9 (Winter/Spring 2013), a wonderful journal of repeating forms; alas, this was their last issue. The last 18 months or so, I’ve written about two dozen of these ghazals, each starting with a line from an Emily Dickinson poem.
Scott Wiggerman is the author of two books of poetry, Presence and Vegetables and Other Relationships, and the editor of several volumes, including Wingbeats: Exercises & Practice in Poetry and Lifting the Sky: Southwestern Haiku & Haiga. He recently received his third Pushcart nomination, his second for a sonnet. He is founding editor of Dos Gatos Press in Austin, Texas, publisher of the Texas Poetry Calendar, now in its seventeenth year. His website is swig.tripod.com.

zeina hashem beck | spring

There are poverties and there are poverties       Adrienne Rich I hear your neighbor has trouble sleeping, trouble eating, that she changes her door locks every week and has brought all her plants indoor, hid her Bible under the mattress. Though the streets are not safe, you say, you still go out every night to forget— or is it to remember? Am I exaggerating? I hear Hamra is not the same anymore: Syrian refugees on the streets, men begging, children selling roses, selling roses, why are the doomed always selling roses? You say you don’t know whether to fear for them or fear them. I hear these borders have been failing, have failed, will fail, these fake borders will shift like continents, I wonder whether memory could go back to the supercontinent, tell me who is holding the big crayons this time, and what color will our share of sky be, to which God will it be forced to answer? There is exile, my friend, and there is exile. My husband, he keeps telling me the Salafis are coming, the Salafis are coming, says we should sell the house and buy one here, in this exile, this desert, because home is no longer the home we knew when we were young, and I shout, I laugh, I break something, tell him home was never the home we knew, the one we wanted, the one we imagined when we were young and didn’t listen to the evening news, heard only the absurd voices inside us, those voices with big hands that pushed us fully-clothed off high rocks and into the icy water, our arms beating like wings to fly back up from its dark depth for breath. I tell him I believe, I still believe, I repeat myself like that broken CD of ours that got stuck on “will always,” “will always,” but he has burnt holy books, newspapers, manifestos, a long time ago, like one who’s lost in the woods and wants to scare away the wolves. He wakes me up in the middle of the night, hand brushing my breast, and tells me to look, listen to that Palestinian guy from Gaza, he’s the new Arab Idol, he used to sing at weddings, never got paid, crossed borders, climbed walls, smuggled his dream, just to feed a little prayer into this microphone. There is religion, my friend, and there is religion. You say the theaters are still open, and I see red wooden doors, and people eager to watch that play enacted by the inmates of that horrible prison, and that play by the patients in the psychiatric ward, and that play about a woman who wakes her husband in the early morning to tell him she might have stopped knowing how to trace the aroma of her coffee back to their occupied house. I hear we are still running marathons and exhaling shisha smoke, I hear we’re still diving in this polluted sea, diving in this polluted sky, looking for our black hearts like precious pearls, singing songs that are either about love or our country, and better still, about love and our country, for we want them both to open their arms and take us into their mud, their pain. There is longing, my friend, and there is longing. I tell you the shooting is heavier in Tripoli this Friday, that people are afraid of prayer day now, they’re afraid of prayer; will the sound of the azan never be pure to my ears again? Listen, the shooting is heavier in Tripoli today, so don’t take that roundabout, the one with the word Allah painted green, it’s probably blocked, all motorcycles and black smoke, tires burning, people cursing around it in the name of this stone-God erected in its middle. I gulped Tequila shots and danced until dawn, until the phone rang and I was told my daughter was feverish, no Panadol would do, and I knew it was another kind of fever, the kind that a child who longs for her mother burns with, the kind the exiled longing for their houses burn with, the kind that could fill mountains with hate like lava, turn them into volcanos, these mountains that never wanted anything but a little sun, a little air, a little grass. There is guilt, my friend, and there is guilt. I hear your friend in Damascus who has three kids hasn’t left, crosses herself many times a day, convinces herself life is fine, life is fine and doesn’t care who wins, really, she just wants her boys to play football in the street again. I tell you, See? Egypt hasn’t given up, I knew it wouldn’t, not Egypt, no, and of course I exaggerate but who cares about the Second Coming now that we have a Second Revolution? You say the word revolution also means turning around something else. I ask you about that tree with beautiful leaves across the street, is it still there? Does the wind still release the song of the sea from its branches? You say it’s strange that I only seem to remember it in spring, you remind me that the leaves I listen to every year are different leaves that have replaced the fallen ones, that they have no memory of you and me on this street, perhaps it’s better to look for ourselves in the brown ones rustling on the floor. You say we might be on the verge, on the verge of another civil war, and what on earth do we do if it comes, how long can one pretend to exist outside of this, when blood might flood the streets instead of rain? What flowers will grow then? And where will we bury our dead? There is Spring, my friend, and there is Spring.
Pushcart nominee Zeina Hashem Beck is a Lebanese poet with a BA and an MA in English Literature from the American University of Beirut. Her poems have been published or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, Nimrod, Folio, Cream City Review, Copper Nickel, Crosstimbers, Quiddity, Columbia Granger’s World of Poetry, and Mizna, among others. She lives in Dubai with her husband and two daughters, where she regularly performs her poetry.

mindaugas briedis | slow trees

Tėti, Medžiai lėti, bet balsuoja už vėją pirmi Mokosi lenktis, treniruojasi Dar jie laukia audros Griežtos vienišos mamos Ji užduos išmokt atsitiest iki aušros Nebuvo bėdos, šliaužiojom tarp tiesos ir sriubos Šūvio aidas parode- mes kalnuos Lygiagretus urvai susikirstu tikrai Jei turėtum kantrybės jais sekti iki kontūrams blėstant Bet nurimsta širdis, kai paviršium nuslysta akis, Pasaulis pradėtas žiemos įkarštyje jau vėsta Aš bijau kai prieina vaikai Tėti, tu juk viską žinai Kai aš mirsiu, ar aš mirsiu visai? Kažką atsakau, juk ne veltui barzdotas Tiek suvedžiota, neapžiotum Lygiagretus urvai susikirstu tikrai Jei turėtum kantrybės jais sekti iki kontūrams blėstant Bet nurimsta širdis, kai paviršium nuslysta akis, Pasaulis pradėtas žiemos įkarštyje jau vėsta
Mindaugas Briedis is a philosopher and song-writer from Vilnius, Lithuania. He works as a professor in several Vilnius universities. Also keeps alive bardic tradition which he understands as the oscillation between pure poetry and language/expression experiments. Similarly his music gravitates from traditional author’s songs genre, a la folk-rock arrangements to alternative acoustics. Mindaugas has recorded five albums and published a poetry collection titled Ice for Priapus. For more, visit briedismusic.com/

huichun liang | 沙漠

我们已到达大地的尽头, 干粮和汽油也已耗尽。 这里土质敦厚而均匀, 没有风来吹拂,也没有植被。 平顶山,一座一座, 置放在静谧中。 崖壁沙一道,石一道, 一层深红,一层黄褐。 大地开裂了胸腔, 蓝天中,大气摇曳而膨胀。 我们没有话, 也没有行动。 沙漠无垠, 地平线上, 光是一道镶边, 在天地之间。
Huichun (Amy) Liang (梁慧春) is a Lecturer in Chinese language and literature at the University Of Missouri. She is the co-author (with Zhanjing) of Chinese Idioms and co-translator (with Steven Schroeder) of Small (poetry by Li Nan). Her translations have appeared on the Transparent Languages multimedia web pages and dictionary, in Sichuan Literature, and Rhino; and her writing has appeared in Da Gong (Hong Kong), Sing Tao Daily (US), and a variety of media in the People's Republic of China. Huichun was an editor and reporter of the Central People Broadcast Radio Station of PRC. She received a special award for attending the reportage on the Terrible Forest Fire on Da-Xing-An Mountain in 1987 from China National Journalists Association and received the award for the “1987 Best Annual News-Editing” from the Central People Broadcast Station of the PR China.

pat sturm | mirror image

She hoped to be the exotic grandmother, the artistic one, the writer, the performer. She was, after all, step, not blood. But she misjudged the viscosity of blood, like sludge, that glued them to the others in whom they recognized themselves. To them, she was not exotic, not even their grandmother, just their grampy's weird wife.
Pat Sturm reads, writes, and gardens in Western Oklahoma. Her poems have appeared online in GreenPrints #77; Frostwriting Journal (Sweden); and Sugar Mule. Also in travelin' music and Elegant Rage, both poetic tributes to Woody Guthrie.

sarah webb | let there be light

In this story, there was sun from the beginning always and only now and ever shall be but ecstasy too can pall and grass cannot always be growing. When men stood up and could speak, more than cattle give tongue or wolves howl, they complained of thirst and heat and the blowing dust. They lay in the shadow of big rocks and refused to do anything. Don’t want to work up a sweat, they said. The children cried, I’m tired, I’m hot, it’s glittery! and their parents said, yeah, we didn’t want to say so, but really! At last the god thought better of it and he drew from his shadow night, said sleep, said, all right then. But even then those folks complained. We’re not ready to go to bed, it’s boring, can you tell us a story? So he gave them dreams.
lightSarah Webb is not presently teaching any classes after her retirement from the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma, and she just resigned as Poetry and Fiction Editor for Crosstimbers. She is still a co-editor of Just This, the Zen arts magazine for the Austin Zen Center, but presently is feeling free. She’s on the road until September, her poetry collection Black is coming out this summer from Virtual Artists Collective, and the world feels new. Her website is bluebirdsw.blogspot.com.

carol hamilton | volunteer peach tree

Its trunk is on my side of the chain link fence, but its heavy branches poked above his grass as well. Last year I plucked bites of sunshine from among that gloss of green leaves. With good pruning I prepared for a few more tastes of paradise this year, but late March every blossom that dared the gray sky turned to tiny globes of ice like beads of Cloisonné. Redbuds and peach blossoms and Bradford pear flowers and limb and branch and twig turned to glamorous glitter before they fell down. He said I would have no peaches this year. I spaced the tiny green nobs anyway and sticky deformities grew on each blossom end. Yesterday I found one half-bruised fruit and saw another peachy-toned and high-up. I ate the good half, dropped the pit. My crops are usually miniscule anyway, but just a taste or two of something real keeps me out in the sun weeding, turning soil for hours. Soon I will taste ripe figs.
Carol Hamilton has upcoming and recent publications in Atlanta Review, New Laurel Review, Tribeca Poetry Review, Poet Lore, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Red River Review, Willow Review, San Pedro River Review, The Penmen Review, Aurorean, Colere, Presa, Nebo and others. She has published 16 books: children's novels, legends and poetry, most recently, Master of Theater: Peter the Great and Lexicography. She is a former Poet Laureate of Oklahoma. Her website is carolhamilton.org.

matthias regan | on winging it

Batman likes the feel of leather.         O yes he does! O yes he does! When Joker tickles his nose with a feather         Go get er! Go get er! he slaps it down. & he remembers         Swing batter! Wing it! his devilish devotion every time.         Splatter it! Splatter it! This life of fighting crime         You know he does! You know he does! may well have been ill spent.         It matters! It really matters! Frequently, the Batman repents         You know he does! You know he does! but always it returns, the old wound         No applause, please! No applause! the nightmare by which we're bound         Read the clause! Read the clause! to find it all so bitter.         Yes he does! You know he does! The thing about Batman: he's no quitter.         Fuck the law! Fuck the law! He'll slap the Joker down, slap down         No matter! No matter! a thousand Jokers. In the house of mirrors         Lucky dog! You dog! he decides it doesn't matter         O yes he does! O yes he does! if he dies. He slaps down the feather. The Joker pulls the trigger.         Swing batter! Splatter it!                 You know he does!
Matthias Regan lives in Chicago & is a founding member of the Next Objectivist Poetry Workshop. A collection of harmolodic essays is forthcoming from VAC.

donna pucciani | malessere/malaise

Carmen’s cough is persistent and dry. Her husband Pasquale has high blood pressure and bad digestion. Her brother in Naples is riddled with cancer but walks all over town with tubes and bags strapped to each leg believing still in the permanence of earth and sky.
Italian translation by Nancy Loglisci La tosse di Carmen e’ persistente ed asciutta Suo marito Pasquale ha la pressione alta e la cattiva digestione Suo fratello a Napoli e’ crivellato con il cancro ma cammina dapertutto il paese con i tubi e buste legati ad ogni gamba credendo ancora nella permanenza della terra e del cielo.
First published in Metamorphoses.
Donna Pucciani, a Chicago-based poet, has published poetry in the U.S., Europe, Australia and Asia in such diverse journals as International Poetry Review, The Pedestal, Shi Chao Poetry, Spoon River Poetry, Journal of the American Medical Association, Gradiva, and Christianity and Literature. Her work has been translated into Italian, Chinese and Japanese. Her books include The Other Side of Thunder, Jumping Off the Train, Chasing the Saints, To Sip Darjeeling at Dawn, and Hanging Like Hope on the Equinox. A four-time Pushcart nominee, she has won awards from the Illinois Arts Council, The National Federation of State Poetry Societies, and Poetry on the Lake. Nancy R. Loglisci holds master’s degrees in Foreign Languages and Educational Leadership from De Paul University and Dominican University, respectively, and taught at Northwestern University for nearly two decades. She is a certified translator in French and Spanish and works as a translator for the Federal Court of the Northern Illinois District.