FIVE POEMS | by Katie Hartsock

The Things Will Never Be the Same Extended Stay Hotel
 
 
The desk has grown since yesterday, the cedar
hangers have alchemized to metal wire,
and the mirror is upside down, reflecting
a body-long wrinkle on the bed.
Redial button rings a stranger.
Even in the still life above the headboard,
rearrangement has transpired—yellow pears
knocked from the burnished bowl,
a corsage posed by the fiasco of chianti,
and a chomped apple has been thrown in
so its tooth marks catch the light.
Someone has been here,
and the question is not identity
or intent, but how was it
for those bones to move in this room,
did a little toe bump the bed frame,
did that light switch turn on anything?
Pillows smell like the beloved’s breath
after a beer, but among the suspects
the beloved does not number.
 
 
 
 ~
 

I-65: The Come On Inn
 
 
The bear had just turned eighteen
when she went over the mountain
to see what she could see.
 
Credit and fate filled up
her tank, steered south,
and picked the room to take.
 
The turned down sheets were hers
to rumple as she liked;
starched cotton, broken in.
 
But who picked the man, the brand
of booze. Strange communion,
first drink in a Jacuzzi:
 
cold plane of glass between
the upheld palm and your body
submerged in warmth.
 
You parted the curtains,
and the length of highway lamps
and distant country music cities
 
—flattened to a tapestry
of muffled glinting bells
embroidered on the blackest
 
blanket of night to ever cover
the other side of the mountain—
was all that you could see.
 
 
 
 
 
 ~
 

The Drop-Kick Me Sweet Jesus Through the Goalposts of Life Motel
 
 
The blue-paned porthole window opens to a field
someone else dreamed up, yellowed centuries ago.
It’s pleasant to dream a stranger’s sentimental dream,
and warm, like wearing a dead grandfather’s sweater
and clenching the cuffs into fists. The walls are washed
as gray as that sweater, as if they wish to be
faring forth on the sea, away from all pastures.
The poorly appointed room has no door,
but one day, to some discerning outside eye,
the round window may look like a doorknob.
 
 
 
 
 ~
 

Route 6: Balmers Herberge


A field of forms
defined by lines
they make against
conclusive shades.

A pear picked up,
identified.
Knees settle down
in weeds while mountains

 

decide the stars.And strangers talk
away their strangeness
with many kinds
of talk like touch.

Finish sentences
and nudge the napes
of necks as if
their shapeliness
had long been known.

Heaven happens,
extinguishes
the night before
its earthly end.

How could it last
in skin and fruit.
But don’t be bitter.
Abandoned, do not
deny what you met.

 
 
 
 
 ~
 
 

The Only Living Girl in Chicago Extended Stay Hotel
 
 
Lord You Are My Solitude, written
on the napkin left with an untaken tip.
Solitude never means just one, that
would be death. A walk is decided upon,
an exaggerated path woven again
around trunks. As night wades in, some
thing in the blood stirs to touch the bark.
Branches and leaves intone Geronimo!
altogether too calmly, as if it’s nothing
to fall and touch the ground
for the first time. If a grandfather
were here he’d say for the love of Pete
look at the time, turn on a light—
typing in the dark’s bad on the eyes.
_________________________________________________________
 
Katie Hartsock grew up around Youngstown, Ohio, and is currently a doctoral candidate at Northwestern University. Her poems have recently appeared in Southern Indiana Review and Beloit Poetry Journal, and are forthcoming in Iron Horse Literary Review, Measure, and Southwest Review. Her chapbook, Hotels, Motels, and Extended Stays, will be published by Toadlily Press in their Quartet Series this fall.

FIVE POEMS | by Valerie Loveland


"The Radium Water Worked Fine Until His Jaw Came Off"

The Wall Street Journal wrote a scurrilous headline
about my boyfriend. Eben McBurney Byers
drank so much radium water, our kisses shimmered.
A robust socialite, his hair dark
with pomade. Everything was going so well
until his jaw came off. A jaw
will answer the door and let anyone in,
soaks in necrosis.

My dental hygienist asked if I worked in a match factory.
I denied my occupation until she flicked off the light switch.
My teeth: a light source, jaw bones:
phosphorous-drenched. I haven’t been flossing.

She thinks I am developing phossy jaw.
I haven’t touched white phosphorus
in months. The Salvation Army switched our factory
to red phosphorus. The hygienist should examine her own
dead finger, I suspect
her waterpik shook her nerves and vessels loose.

One can work in a matchstick factory for 5 years
without symptoms.
One can drink radium water for 3 years.

Before Eben died, we had twins, named them
Mandible,
Maxilla.

When I kissed Eben’s hands in the dark,
I saw their skeleton outline.
He took off my nightgown, traced
the branches of my lungs glowing through my chest.

 

~

 

Three Dangerous Men


My husband and his gang busted out of prison.
I can’t tell them apart—all wear the same curled mustaches,
dark eyebrows. Are they related?
Is prison really full of men with villain mustaches?

Just like in horror movies, my cell phone battery died
and they cut the electricity. My mom warned me
about canceling my land line telephone.

They work as a team.
They work at their full potential.
They don’t threaten and they don’t rush.

Their bags overflow with lock picks, files. Useful
for breaking out of prison, useful
for breaking into my house.They are prepared.
Not like me. Are kitchen knives the best I can do?

Every window shattered, but the bars keep them out (mostly).
Black leather gloves help speed filing.

A brown boot tried to climb down my chimney while I fumbled
with newspaper shreds and matches.
After I lit the fire, he sent birds (Chimney Swifts?).
They ignored me, just flew out the holes in the windows.

He collected a bucket of water to bring up to the roof.

Another works with a lockpick: a mouse scratches
inside my deadbolt.
Is a wedged chair beneath a doorknob a proven technique?

A man digs in the crawspace under the porch,
then the basement.

A man pries off roof tiles. They shatter like flowerpots
on the driveway.

I hear everything through my empty windows.
Should I start setting traps a la Kevin McAllister?

I pace
the hallway.

I must have counted wrong—a man files at every window.
Scratching from inside the walls.

I crouch in the closet with the flimsy unlockable door. It is dark
behind the coats, but I close my eyes.

 

~

 

The Poem(’s Assistant) is Present

My poem has been naked since 1973. My poem tied herself to another poem for a year. My poem masturbates under the
floorboards of the museum, her voice miked, makes comments about the patrons walking above her.

My poem sits at a table and stares into the eyes of anyone sitting opposite her, for as long as they want to stay. There are
some questions about how my poem holds her pee for 8-10 hours straight during the performance. Her seat has a hole in it
just in case, but she promises that she won’t use it. My poem’s assistant (me) swears she never used the hole in the seat.

My poem’s assistant helps her in and out of her performance gown. During the performance, my poem’s assistant paces
back and forth looking at the line of suspicious people waiting to sit with my poem. She guesses which museum patron will
try to distract my poem, to attack, to upstage.

My poem’s ex boyfriend said: “Recently I decided that whenever I meet someone, I should introduce myself as ‘Water.’
Think of it: our brains are about 90 percent water, our bodies about 68 percent. Not even Waterman, simply Water: it
makes people curious, they say, ‘pardon?’ and I say again ‘Water.’”  My poem’s assistant and my poem’s ex’s assistant both
roll their eyes.

My poem’s assistant (me) holds her own phone and my poem’s phone at the same time, and seems to text on them
simultaneously.

My poem is passive to an audience that has access to 68 items, a gun a bullet. My poem’s assistant bought the peanut
butter when my poem ate exclusively peanut butter for 86 days.

James Franco goes to my poem’s exhibit and talks to other patrons about acting. One of the patrons asks James Franco:
“Are you an actor?” James Franco can’t believe he wasn’t recognized.

David Blane made the mistake of calling himself an illusionist so everyone thinks he is cheating during his endurance feats.
Everyone made fun of him when he passed out while trying to hold his breath for 8 minutes. My poem doesn’t make this
mistake.

There is an online support group for people who sat at the table across from my poem.

My poem’s assistant sewed a curtain that my poem could wear over her bare breasts. She invited people to put their hands
inside the curtain.

My poem’s assistant (me) shot my poem in her left arm.

My poem’s assistant tracked down a person who was qualified to plant grass into my poem’s back. My poem’s assistant
found someone to hammer nails into her hands and crucify her to a Volkswagen Beetle.

My poem wears crotch-less pants at the movie theater. My poem dresses as a museum tour guide and leads people around
on a fake tour of the museum. My poem drives a Citroen van around in a circle for 16 hours. My poem lived in that van for 5 
years. She stenciled the front window: “Art is Easy.”

 

~

 

Ted Hughes

Radiation is invisible, but you can feel it,
eventually. The air in the house
is foxish.

Someone died. Not me—I don’t remember killing myself
but I felt like a ghost.

My female friends in college promised ourselves,
of course we wouldn’t fall for a Ted Hughes. Beware
of large handsome men.

My Ted Hughes detector is faulty—my ex
was the Ted Hughesisest of all. He sockets Ted’s feral eyes.
A smirk is a type of muzzle.

I was oblivious,
but I kept writing funny poems
about cheating husbands. Ted Hughes never jokes.

I emphatically told my friends he wasn’t like Ted Hughes at all.
My friend said the secret is to find a man
no other women will attempt to steal.

My friends’ argument evidence: every Ted grows sideburns
that grizzle and grey.

A Ted Hughes always hates another Ted Hughes. Despises the smirk
he also displays. My Ted Hughes said Ted Hughes was responsible
for his wives’ deaths. Sneered at his interest in the occult. (I once caught him
looking up how to bring someone back from the dead.)

My Ted can ask a photo of Ted Hughes the hard question
but he can’t ask a mirror of Ted Hughes.

Why am I standing next to Ted Hughes in my wedding portrait?
Is he still poet laureate if he died of cancer but is still also alive?

My teeth hurt,
but there’s no mark
on his pristine cheek.

 

~

 


Silence House

My family tree
a sewed mouth, a miniature lip.
An un-blindfolded eye.
A dress.

Why don’t they include people’s hobbies
in the census? Why don’t they include the color
of a woman’s favorite dress?

What happened what happened what happened what happened what happened what happened what happened to Silence
House?

I want a different timeline—one where she is in the center.
I want a marriage certificate.
I want to measure the size of her vocal cords.

I’m from the future. Who is Us?
Who is Loveland? Who is Silence House?

The line I’ve been waiting in is 300 years old.

The rumor is Silence House opened Silence House:
similar to our modern day “Quiet Cars.” Outside it is
the usual puritan: nefarious brick. It is a scifi house on the inside. 
A bonnet is a kind of muffler,
a styled hairbun another soft layer.

My current family’s version of Silence House
still includes no talking. It is rude to interrupt
the television when it is talking. I don’t care

about the Captain, I don’t care
about the doctor, the motorcycle stuntman.
I only care about Silence House.

I need to know if a name can influence
a woman’s demeanor.
Every parent has a naming agenda.

A mute little girl?
A joke of a name?
A mostly shut door—just open a crack.

 

________________________________________________

Valerie Loveland is the author of Reanimated, Somehow (Scrambler Books). Her poetry has been featured in Dzanc Books
Best of the Web and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. She enjoys running, audio poetry, and open courseware.

THREE POEMS | by Kallie Falandays

Lick These Holes

Most of us are saying
fill me here. I created holes
for you! I created whole

worlds for you! See?

[and when you peer in
in the middle of hole

there are hundreds
of tiny houses

and there are tiny people
too and each of them

is saying look at my hole
look into my house-hole.

And we ask each other
when it’s too late to be awake

and we say “look at this hole,
what do you think it means?”

Oh oh “look at my hole here,
I found it last night

I can hear them all
screaming. “Oh oh

I can hear mine all napping.”]

Even the smallest house
gets filled or doesn’t

and is cold with dreaming.


~


I Imagine Opening Like a Drawer Full of Old Stockings

It’s scary: when I met myself
I was a worry-doll
a tiny tremor. A teacup shaking

until it rains & every thunder
sounds like a winter train:

the water brings up everything
that doesn’t have roots & leaves

it all on the floor. See? A tiny window
made of plastic, a miniature doll’s shoe:
After we discover our littleness

we become many different kinds
of hurt.




~

If There Were Dragonflies

I know I said stop talking
about the moon, but really I meant

if there were ten dragon flies in a box and I asked
you your name would you tell me nothing

but ocean. Listen, I know it’s odd
but your hands have always been

the color of paper. I’d spend years tearing you
into a snowflake. I want you to summer,

to ocean, to dragonfly. I want you to winter,
to snowflake, to cut out

everything else but 3am to 9am, everything
but table top, coffee pot, letterbox,

I want you to become the underside
of postage stamp, I want you to faucet.

_____________________________________________________

Kallie Falandays has poems published in, or forthcoming from, PANK, Paper Darts, ILK, Black Warrior Review, The Dirty Napkin, Skydeer Helpking, Deluge, Zymbol, and Tupelo Quarterly. 

FOUR POEMS | by Ann Cefola

A Man Born in Lebanon
 
Ten years before me will skewer my uterus like a piece
of charred goat over a crackling Bedouin fire
while I sleep faraway on cushions in a striped tent,
harem of 600,000 dreaming of aspirin and heating pad,
Rorschach-like underwear, permission slips to skip
pool or gym, odor of iron, supernatural need
for sucrose, silk unraveled 239,000 miles by
the moon—a scythe over huddled tribesmen
breathless as a fire-sparking comet trails
last-seen gold, and makes me cry.
No magi can explain why.
 
~
The Uterus Like a Pineapple
 
A mid-wife once said: Expandable, like a thread bag
a French wife fills with chevre, pinot noir, green figs.
Mine silken slim until a technician turns a probe like a racer
grasps shift, hugging road where I lay unseeing the map.
 
Is the sea full of blood?  Does Bill Holden float
face down? What will be lifted out, overripe,
that learned the moon’s song?
 
Will it miss my yeast and echo? Chalice without cathedral,
company of 600,000 deflowered saints who chant, Wait, wait,
why did the day lily close and how do I live
without its sticky bloom?
 
~
Excision
 
When Barbie had her hysterectomy, Ken had no idea what it was.
Unaware she’d been bleeding for years. Her Anne-Francis face
wide open on the OR table.  Drill the doctor had to use
to cut through polyvinyl chloride.
 
Oh cousin Francie had phoned and Skipper extended the stiff hand
of sisterly support but Barbie wondered, Who am I without my secret organ?
Her black-lined blue eyes brimmed.  Would there be
crying jags,loss as bright as her pink nails?
 
Afterwards—her sports car, portable house—the same.
The fleur-de-lis that formed her inmost self
no one would notice missing
in her old pose on the shelf.
 
~
East River, No Uterus
 
Make my way to the window. Three smokestacks skim
low ceilinged rain, red bulbs blinking.  River underlines Roosevelt Island
cold and gray.  59th Street bridge lacy cream constellation. 
Gold hospital lights across street where wounded move like fish
coughing.  What is outside me.  Slice by whorled slice,
pathology calls pink, purple, tan.  Past
picture window to this river—really a tidal strait—that moves
only in one direction.  What is outside, innermost me, past glass
shard and stray bone, blindly, my nubbled starfish
inches toward a new sea.

 

___________________________________________________

Ann Cefola is the author of St. Agnes, Pink-Slipped (Kattywompus Press, 2011), Sugaring (Dancing Girl Press, 2007) and translator of Hélène Sanguinetti’s Hence this cradle (Seismicity Editions, 2007). AW itter Bynner Poetry Translation Residency recipient at the Santa Fe Art Institute, she also received the Robert Penn Warren Award judged by John Ashbery. Ann lives in the New York suburbs with her husband Michael and their shelter-rescued dog.

POEM | by Vanessa Jimenez Gabb

Materialist Horoscope

You are a better lover when you are broke and make a study of brokenness

(The stars are stars to you
Nothing more than a star
Is a star
Is a star
Be more radical, star, you will say
Don’t stand there burning)



__________________________________________________
Vanessa received her MFA at CUNY Brooklyn. Her most recent work has appeared or will appear in Word Riot, The Atlas Review, Similar:Peaks:: and Smoking Glue Gun. Her chap Weekend Poems is forthcoming from dancing girl press and her chap Red Poems is forthcoming from Similar:Peaks:: Poetry and Press. She co-parents fivequarterly.org.

teaser

Stay tuned for new updates coming soon, including work from Ann Cefola, Valerie Loveland, Vanessa Jimenez-Gabb, and more..

THREE POEMS | by Siel Ju

image

read more here…..

THREE POEMS | by Paul David Adkins

read more here..

FOUR POEMS | by Teresa Narey

read more here.

THREE POEMS | by Lindsay Lusby

read more here...

THREE PIECES | by J. Gay

image

read more here...