Monthly Archives: October 2012

Los Angeles Shoals: Will Camponovo

Aurora. Cockrow. Day-peep.
Rifles whirligig down the line.
Each nozzle endows the next.

The centrifugal hands of the cadets
Harmonize. Like dressage.
To think of weaponry as dressage.

Motion associates involuntarily.
Also, light. To simply say:
Morning did warm things with light

And their guns, indistinguishing
The piaffe. Similar discipline.
A man scrapes barnacles

From the Newport Beach pier.
Early. So no one’s watching.
The line divides delicacy

And demean. To mean
This as a part of speech: the verb.
The long stretch of morning where

Man begs the piers to give
At risk of probing, buffaloed eyes.
At home, safe as the long-remembered

Delicacy they are. Before day, grace.
Clumsy owns the light. And how.
So long owns the land. And now.

William Camponovo studied poetry at The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Washington and has contributed poems to Iron Horse Literary Review, The Seattle Review, and Best New Poets 2011. He lives in and works for the city of Los Angeles.

The Dusk Hours: Ross McMeekin

      In the late afternoon sun, little reflective flashes of trout and salmon fry make it look as though someone is striking a piece of flint on the river bottom, and small but growing clouds of insects orbit just above the surface of the water. It feels familiar; Ben has been here before at this time of day, though not for years. If he remembers correctly and nothing has changed, with the onset of the dusk hours these small swarms will become thick as snow flurries. That prospect would have excited his father because the trout would then rise to the surface to feed. But Ben never understood the point of fishing. He never understood the point of a lot of things his father found important.
      Laughter scratches the silence, erupting from somewhere out in the forest. Ben flinches, mid-cast, and scans the bank as his white fly-line drops to the water and drifts tangled downstream. Adrenaline fans from his shoulder, bathing his hands then out his fingertips. He absently touches two fingers to his neck to feel his galloping pulse. He can’t remember ever meeting another person out here. This was his father’s secret spot.
      He paws his vest, making sure his wallet and keys aren’t back in the glove compartment of his sedan, a mile away on the gravel turnoff along Forest Road 679. There have been stories: meth addicts mixing in abandoned cabins on the outskirts of state parks, gangs breaking windows and jacking cars from wilderness area lots. But those stories always seemed somewhere else.
      He takes out his phone. No bars, and the sand dial on the screen spins.
      Then it’s quiet again. He waits. He waits. He waits. Nothing. Only water over and around rocks and trees and brush.
      Maybe they’ve left, he thinks. Hopefully they’ve left. Hopefully there is no they. Just someone who thought something was funny. Someone who’s now gone.
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2 Poems: John Calavitta

Cypresses

For one day only
those who walk don’t have to think

that we were born here, not there,
which means there’s a chance

in a land without a meaning,
an answer in the frozen ground

like an unexpected comma.
A page is missing from the book

in the forest. Out of the question
each arrow strikes a bell which shuts a door—

thank you for seeing in the dark
what is wrongly called the distance;

what we ask for
when we cut our losses and proceed

as if we were protagonists, or lovers;
salmon headed upstream.

I remember the illusion of persons
acting younger than I am. We stand

convicted of the topical and transitory,
the sea deliberately gone.

Crates of Oranges

on the rulered page (of a Moghul garden)
the best word is water

but the first ocean was the best
between the horizon’s brackets

the main sentence waits

the world ahead was daylight
and no one dared get out

liars in the glass
argue that light will last

regardless of tenses and final clauses
the black bureau of history

is a maelstrom of loves and hates
and our shadows walk on stilts

at high altitudes
because my breath is gone

leaving stone blocks for goodbye
that painters find innocent

John Paul Calavitta studied poetry at George Mason, Naropa University, and the University of Washington. His work appears in Camas, The Monarch Review, and Mudlark, among others.

Our Night: Corey Mesler

If I could I’d write
about the world’s
axis. As it is
I am left to contemplate
your left nipple.
As it is it is
only given to me to say
the words I
heard said before, the
secret codes of our night.

Corey Mesler has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published five novels, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002), We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006), The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores (2010), Following Richard Brautigan (2010), and Gardner Remembers (2011), 2 full length poetry collections, Some Identity Problems (2008) and Before the Great Troubling (2011), and 3 books of short stories. He has also published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems have been chosen for Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. He also claims to have written “Coronet Blue.” With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store in Memphis TN, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. You can find Corey at his homepage here.

Sighting Ourselves in at the City Dump Site: J. Scott Brownlee

Attention clicks, blinks,
focusing—chambers clean
on each gun as it’s fully

loaded: marks at 50,
100 yards, 200 yards.
Slick shells scatter

like flies from a feast
of road kill. We are
shooting my dad’s 4-10,

30-ought-6—my best friend’s
.308 pistol he bought
six months after

losing his last gun:
an antique Luger
with a swastika

scratched out on its pearl-
smooth grip. (The sheriff
took it in a drug bust, then—

rumor has it.) He likes
this new gun, he tells me,
even more than the first.

It’s much lighter—
but uses the same
hollow points—takes

mere seconds to load,
even with a big clip—
is concealed easily,

and can be drawn
quickly if a situation
seems to require it.

“Pure speed,” he says,
“means everything. And
don’t you forget that.”

We are practicing shots
we know we’ll never take,
since we rarely lock

any doors here—just
gun cabinets, tool sheds,
sometimes cars that seem

worth protecting. But
who’d boost one of ours?
Mine’s a blue Chevy, busted up

something awful. And
my friend’s has a warrant
or two out on it—I think

maybe for speeding
or some other shit—so
no one will steal that.

-after Yusef Komunyakaa

J. Scott Brownlee is a Writers in the Public Schools Fellow at NYU, where he teaches poetry to second graders and undergraduates. His writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, RATTLE, Ninth Letter, Boxcar Poetry Review, Tar River Poetry, Pebble Lake Review, Front Porch, South Dakota Review, THRUSH, and elsewhere. Involved with several literary journal start-ups, he was the managing editor and co-founder of both Hothouse and The Raleigh Review. A poet-of-place, Brownlee writes primarily about the people and landscape of rural Texas. His current book-length work, County Lines, was named a Semifinalist for the 2012 Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award. He currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Mixed Media: Joannie Stangeland

In the market, the woman twirling swirls
her black umbrella—black jacket, dark skin spinning
this moment and it is not raining.

The harbor sky’s colored cement,
every other crayon in the box gone,

Fifty-odd years couldn’t root me (tapped
like a philodendron in some sun room, blue tiles
and always a bowl of oranges and almonds).

I tried the lozenges, ironed my blood
as neat as a pillowcase, on good days.

I gave away then to find now, fractured—
read the story again, all memories
a fabrication (I fumble for new words, references—

say eye and mean shading, chapter
for light’s angles calculated in years times distance).

Where are the footnotes, the abstract,
the catalogue’s glossy promises?
“Pastel.” “Tempera on cardboard.”

No bell, but a siren. No lighthouse,
but this life. If I approached,

it was fleeting, a turn—the faces changed,
perspective closer to the vanishing point.

Joannie Stangeland’s book Into the Rumored Spring was published last fall by Ravenna Press. She’s also the author of two chapbooks, and her poems have appeared in Crab Creek Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain, and other publications. Joannie serves as poetry editor for the online journal The Smoking Poet.

Edward Hopper’s Women: Kirsten Rue

“In Hopper’s paintings there is a lot of waiting going on . . . They are like characters whose parts have deserted them and now, trapped in the space of their waiting, must keep themselves company.”–Mark Strand, Hopper

      Apparently, watched women have a phosphorescence about them. I went through the museum exhibit downtown and looked at all of them. Girls sitting at restaurants and glowing, pearly, their lashes dusky, their legs bared like ghosts. They read alone and tried to ignore the men staring at them. They tried to ignore Edward Hopper. Up close, their eyes were violet. They ate Chinese food.
      I looked at all of them, by myself, because I am lacking a kind of solvency at the moment. What do I do?
      I write my halting sentences, send out form letters to anonymous job postings, whittle down my time with sleep and eggs, crackling in the pan. Sometimes, I see Mr. Anxiety, who has skinny fingers and an iPhone and takes beautiful photographs. I cannot honestly say more about him. He even bought fingerless gloves so that his hands would be free to touch his phone at all times, even though he doesn’t necessarily want to touch the living girl who lives right here. The living girl – me.
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Indiana: Jake Uitti

the Wabash car crash killed us a hard ass
took all his hard cash and left his carcass in the car ash

the lily toad monster has no imposter nor any lost art of
what it takes to chomp off the want of more of that sort of mortician

skeleton key Ms. Daisy and figure me fingerling potato thing
knew once the director of the specter of the hector of love and aiming

the girl in Wabash who started the car crash that killed yadda yadda
and the bank foreclosed on our homes and we have no where to go

left a body by the lily and saw the ill effect of the monster affects
couldn’t help but laugh at the craft and the size of her heart

lost the ring lost the sing lost the intricate identity of the
wing upon which some witch spelled our fierce clinging

count to three as you count on me Daisy and drink away the
hazy lazy mazy crazy descriptions that come these days too easy

the Wabash car crash killed us a hard ass and we know now how
to harvest

Jacob Uitti was born and raised in Princeton, NJ, and moved to Seattle in 2007. Since, he has co-founded the Seattle-based literary and arts journal The Monarch Review. He is also a co-founding member of the bands The Glass Notes and The Great Um. He has half a fake Master’s Degree from The University of Washington due to the number of classes he’s audited. Jacob also works tending bar and co-managing the PopUp restaurant Mo’Fun. Often, poetry can best express the idea with passion and a smirk unknown anywhere else.

After Columbus Day: Evan Klavon

      through James Wright

Autumn begins in Berkeley, California
Not at all. At the Codornices Park rose garden
I picture the crew of the San Carlos
Sunset-ushered through the Golden Gate,
And the burnished faces of Ohlone tribespeople
Discovering that landmaking.

All the ashamed of history now call this bay home.
Critical rhetoric pitched like an occupation,
Grinding for purchase.

Even so,
The sunlight beams carcinogenically beautiful
At the beginning of October,
To fall in protest with this wealth against ourselves.

Evan Klavon was born and raised in Fresno, California. He then spent seven years on the East Coast and abroad, before returning West to Seattle, where he attended the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Washington. His poems and translations have appeared or are forthcoming at Ink Node, Linebreak, and Circumference. Having returned to California after a decade, he is now a PhD student in English at UC Berkeley and lives in Oakland.

Found Stories @ Richard Hugo House!

Our dedicated and amazing Associate Prose Editor Anca Szilagyi will be teaching a class at Richard Hugo House later this month! Check it out:

What makes a story pulsate with meaning? How can you keep imagery in a story fresh? In this class, we’ll use objects found by students and the teacher as generative material for new stories. We’ll read and discuss powerful short stories in which particular objects resonate, from authors such as Cynthia Ozick and Kate Bernheimer. And, we’ll do some generative re-visioning of our initial in-class writing to open up our stories to their rich potential. This class is open to all levels. Note the pre-class homework: please bring in a few found objects – letters, toys, lost mittens – anything that might be useful in generating new stories.

Saturday Oct. 27th 1-5 PM

Perfect for prose writers looking to give their imagery muscles a workout and set your beautiful descriptions free. Feel the burn! To register or for more info go to: https://hugohouse.org/class/found-stories!

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