NewPoetry

Cliché

Mark Callanan

 

Even the insane are guilty
of adopting the dominant
pose. Years ago, you were
nobody if you weren’t
the big J.C. hoofing it
down St. John’s streets
in a t-shirt in January,
spreading the good news
with venereal efficiency,
sparing fellow citizens
their handfuls of venal sins.
Came a time, the web of
self-delusion set its net
worldwide. Dial up. Early
Internet. You remember.
Then the tone switched
from sacred to paranoid:
G-men in surveillance vans,
phones tapped, web traffic
monitored. Tin foil saw
a new heyday. I’m told
now they’re returning
to the old tropes, visions
and revisions of Christ
talking through the buzz
of neon lights, bushes
giving sermons. The sonnet
is making a big comeback,
or might yet, someday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ZENITH

Domenica Martinello

 

………………………………………………………………..11AM

Come now, take a crack at us.
Animal-women may be familiar

to you, or duplicitous women
doubling, working in twos.

………………………………………………………………..11:30AM

True, many men take a crack
but you don’t strike us as someone

so easy to bruise. We explore conflict
through metaphor, isn’t that true?

………………………………………………………………..12PM

Freud! what is your qualm with us?
Come, join me. Join us on the rocks.

Jung do you dream of swimming
or flying? I’m a cruelly numinous

………………………………………………………………..12:15PM

creature. I can accommodate. Memory
puddles like water, shimmers with heat

changes colour on the hour. As a boy
did you dream of monsters in dark grottos

………………………………………………………………..12:30PM

who approach, threaten? We do not approach.
Little fish, how can you break free of recurring

dreams when you’re petrified, when we don
the face of your mother, her lullabies?

………………………………………………………………..12:40PM

The thing about lullabies—you’re gone
before you hear their conclusion.

………………………………………………………………..12:42PM

Lie with us. There is no resolution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Suburban Sonnet

Adèle Barclay

 

sneaker whites mint astroturf leaves
in fields beyond fields somewhere between
ravine-carved crab apple orchards
and soccer nets that catch halos of heat

drunk as a busted patio umbrella blackberry
barbs the crank of old bike chains up anthills
hive-mind engines hum in the shallow of night
wine cooler wells limestone moon

hungry hollow bends its newly paved
elbow where a fluorescent buck once fought a man
on fire by the glow of seven headlights before
silver creek swallowed the highway’s shoulder

all the stars in clusterfucks chime above streets
named for foxes put to sleep in open basements

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarence

John Degen

 

I.

The runway approach on days of southeast
shadows across acres of the dead beneath
a long pine lawn. Generations

of half wild rabbits, manged and
skittish; pursued through their dumb finite
days by screaming birds. Bolting

from the dive, skin contracted for a kill.
Never comes but once at night,
in cold murderous collapse; untold rabbits

flinging themselves through snowed hedgerows.
Dash 8 in a horizontal flatspin – total stall;
forty-nine souls slamming on top of one

watching television, or using the toilet, or
checking the expiry on the orange juice
at the back of the fridge; it was never clear

from the newspapers what he was up to
when all that exploded from within
and jerked him from life like an unknown

snail scraped from the seabed.
For centuries before, the rabbits of Cheektowaga,
of Amherst and Clarence, sat at the ready,

twitching and scenting
and fearing this disaster or another;
all that modernity they twitched

and witnessed the parceling out,
the measuring off. The foxes all but
disappeared and in their place, some unknowable

anxiety.

A wind sprang from the east, an idea of rain,
sudden, pervading the air. 1

II.

She plants a full garden, enough
at least for one woman and an
occasional visitor, in a box

four feet by four feet, of cedar planks
from the Lowes on Niagara Falls
Boulevard; hides it as well as she can

from the windborne trash, and rabbits;
surrounds everything in marigolds,
because there is magic in a fence

of yellow orange flowers. And,
while she is away, the last frost
visits her yard like a friendly stranger;

a thief undeterred by fences or magic.
Does not take; but takes all the same.
While she shops once more at the

Home Depot off Galleria Drive, buying again
the new shoots of leek and eggplant and
pepper, she stops and looks directly above

the high industrial shelves of shovels and soil
and rain barrels, watches the final approach
of a Southwest flight from Vegas, the

surprising grime of an airplane’s belly
pushed at the ground by a backdrop of
grey cloud, and no more frost. It is a promise.

III.

The cardiologist suggests walking will
prolong a foreshortened retirement, so
he walks every morning his old route

for tobacco, now chewing gum for
the nerves. Formerly random firings
of doom across synaptic gaps once damn

blissfully dulled by afternoon martinis.
Yardarm shadows slip beneath the wheels
of the bike he creaks, handsfree, along

streets quiet with waiting. He’s learned
the artful discipline of waiting; how it can
be its own intoxication when each moment’s

departure is a finger up the ass of death. What
his lieutenant told him about sitting out the
mortars, at which he’d felt such a warm collapse

of relief he worried he might have pissed himself.
So the pretty young heart doctor tells him
to walk, and he asks how far? And can I ride

as well ma’am? Will it make a difference?
Will it hold off the advance another few weeks
or months he can fill with tracks around

the cluster of houses in his block. Because
he is mapping the rabbits; logging each
sighting on a schematic pinned to his

basement panel walls. He has named each one,
worked out the complex genealogy. He believes
he has the coordinates of burrows and the daily

migrations from garden to garden. One mid-morning
walk; one afternoon ride; a second walk at dusk and
the final piece, the one he keeps to himself

slipping from the bed before she wakes and riding
the pre-dawn pavement. Stopped by the local
cops, he taps the ticker and winks, makes a joke

about donuts and coffee, says nothing about
rabbits. He wants to leave this to his wife.
He wants to give her this.

IV.

they will leave their cars at the barricades
and walk in through backyards and
gardens transformed, pockets of the maze

smelling their way, and listening
for the hiss of firehoses, the rattle of
engines running the pumps; radio squawk.

It will be cold enough to hurt them,
to damage the skin grown loose
around their eyes while they spent lifetimes

looking at nothing nearly as interesting
as this compound fracture of a neighbourhood
and the tangle of limbs and luggage ablaze.

The firefighters, all volunteers, see
their neighbours push forward,
sense the danger to everything fragile

in a life of Sunday football; there
in the middle of it all, somehow
undamaged, sits a deep freeze full

of meat – ground turkey and halved
rabbits for stew. It will take days to chip
the ice away enough to open it.

 

 

 

 

 

Libra, Don DeLillo

 

 

Bird Aircraft Strike Hazard (B.A.S.H.)

Katie Vautour

 

Finding himself able,
the cranking Icarus
honks south.

Made of lift and movement,
he disregards conditions,

climbing higher
than ever

intersecting the path
of flight AC 667
to Toronto.

He meets the turbine
head-on in slow motion:

the……..tug
……………..of air
that won’t let go,

pounds and pounds
……..of pressure

collapsing
breath

as he whips up
into the engine.

Hot steel snaps
……………….tendons,
scorches feathers,
melts hollow shafts.

Somewhere under all this,
wrenching bones.

Metal and wire wings depart
skyward as

the bird is cast
back to land.

Moulting liquid light, sun-
……………….burnt fragments

………………………….of desire—
……………………the deep

.

………….plunge

.

.

bringing him

down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady and the Elder

nathan dueck

 

Father 2bold dropped in
On me one time.
He cried, How Can U
Just Stand There As I Cry?

He cried, I Am Here 2 Tell U
Something Girl.
Have U Ever
Heard O’ The After World?

I cried, Brother,
If you can’t tell
I’ve long tuned out
The gospel.

He Cried, So U Want
2 B Led?
I cried, That’s just noise
In my head.

He cried, Honey
Let Me Guide U.
I cried, Sounds like it’s
On a loop!

He cried, I Am
Ur Messiah
Because I Would Die
4 U, Yeah.
Yeah, I Will
Come Again.
C Ya!

I don’t know what he said,
It’s been a while,
But, oh, Fr. 2bold
Stayed awhile –
Yeah, I knew who he was
All bible-style.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE MODERNIST CANON (or, The Sanctioned Norm)

Paul Vermeersch

 

1

Herbal Weed Thrower

no chosen dude
pumps
a treadling whiz

rat we
hit with sickened
beeches

2

A Tooth Is Fermentation

A featheriest…………..thin pop…………of a christened cow :
A glob…………on Buckwheat’s pelt .

3

Acetone Hate Fjord

A spine ejects adrenaline.
Lithuania downloads porn
And well-versed yeti
Hunt lurid harlots in the slums.

Euro-phenol Twisted Sister
Prolongs adrenal rewind and would
Shower thunder upon a rotund jag,
Anoint a pratfall android.

The bra was grey and ajar.
My Wookiee tried heroin on TV.
Bingo voids the fibroid turd
Like nothing else in Tennessee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dayrise

Alice Burdick

 

Final eyes toward
names that only end in ‘c’, the same cat
cleaning on the sidewalk,
birds diving at the cherries,
fallen ripe, a dog towards
a corner, a talk to the hand,
a strange man fainting twice
in an open house.

The humour in death,
the dumbness of no-nos,
the money that changes hands
in theatres of death. The arena
of hopes naming the one who goes.
The rule to end pain – a sharp voice
Don’t go out after dark, there are so
many stories you can hear.
The humiliating puddle,
the surprises, a flapping promise.
Even a vaccine for morass,
a void of delicious stars.

Wheelbarrows that are old
ladies. Dark goes into the frame,
pinching the nerve around the ear
and chin. Contortions in finger
foods. Always a gardener or digger
of start-away, get-out, keep-stepping
lower or higher than any actual level.

 

 

 

 

a diffusion in rows and columns

Nikki Sheppy

 

nikkisheppy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eviction Notice

Steve McOrmond

 

They’re neat party tricks, I’ll give you that.
When I wasn’t looking, you swapped my hands
for papier-mâché copies of your own.
How do you do it? Making me believe
you’re using the table saw in the basement
workshop when I live on the eleventh floor?
A voice, a tendril of aftershave, cigarette
smoke (your brand) wafting down the hall.
I’m jerked awake, afraid something’s on fire.
When I fly into a rage, dinner table talk
devolving to a blood sport, it’s your barbs
my dummy mouth spits out. My wife holds
her ground; the cat pancakes from the room.
It’s time you quit the premises. We can’t go on
living like china in a bull shop. It’s not
as though I’m putting you out on the street.
You have the spacious heavens to roam,
a million-acre farm. You mean to say
there’s no place you can grow your roses?
I never could talk to you; now it’s even worse.
Pregnant ellipses… non sequiturs. I should
try a Ouija board. How can I grieve properly
when you just won’t leave? You always did
show up unannounced, staying as long
as you damn well pleased. I never stood
up to you when you were alive, but now
you must vacate and surrender the property.
I asked you nicely. I’m not asking any more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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