Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Tuesday poem #341 : Andrew Cantrell : The shape of speech sounds



Carefully is why anyone articulate in stained white night-clothes descried in the face of one who wandered a series pressed absolutely. A foundation strained by slumber. A moon not night or near to new. A language dormant and bound in rasp of night’s dismantling.

Any series discerned carefully thus begins or forms an absolute beginning. Where moonlight in its coming call to forming senses no longer uncommon lights longer. Where cropped in beginning night's dim grasp beguiling glints come copper and comely. Where newly found beginnings carom there in wearied air. Foundations bound and stitched in series' absolute violence and blight.

No longer do nights linger where a longer light lingers there. Their straining in the very prison where their violent letters bind us with lawlike fathers and inked tongues. Now there the how-so facticity of preterition opens to a slumbering anyone the dormant and elided languages by which the face of another founds itself together with so much as any one of us.

One object come copper in cropped red light's only nothing. Neither resemblance begun nor signifying nor only a becoming-syllable. But implicate in any coming face it composes a language of objects and entities as such.

Carefully is why anyone traversed the waking volumes of these unuttered tongues. Why in sifting ashes broke a violent peace its coming descried in old and scarring airs. Why anyone sang when time abounded in an implicate opening a music taught by heretofore untaught speaking. A language mounting shining to a singing in series of its own.




Andrew Cantrell is the author of the chapbooks Phantom Equator (above/ground press) and Stratigraphy (Finishing Line Press). His work has appeared in many places, including Posit, Lana Turner, Black Sun Lit, and Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology.  He lives in Chicago where he works as a union organizer.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan


Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Tuesday poem #340 : Charles Rafferty : Whales



She tells me the ocean is full of whales. I’ve never felt the briny heat of their exhalations so it’s something I take on faith, like the sturdiness of elevator cables, the existence of Ottawa. She is forever mentioning a largeness I have not seen — Niagara Falls, the Sears Tower, the stars above the prairie. She goes to these places to see for herself. She tells me the story of a man she knew. He was at sea and saw spiders blowing on the wind without any land in sight. He was not a liar. He was looking for whales.






Charles Rafferty’s most recent collections of poems are The Smoke of Horses (BOA Editions, 2017) and Something an Atheist Might Bring Up at a Cocktail Party (Mayapple Press, 2018). His poems have appeared in The New Yorker, O, Oprah Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and Ploughshares. His stories have appeared in The Southern Review and New World Writing, and his story collection is Saturday Night at Magellan’s (Fomite Press, 2013). He has won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism, as well as the 2016 NANO Fiction Prize. Currently, he directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College and teaches at the Westport Writers’ Workshop.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Tuesday poem #339 : Ian Martin : THE UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE



“There are both positive and negative uses of the phrase [‘one size fits all’].” —Wikipedia

poems: delusions of grandeur? rightful inheritances of metaphysical power? how grand to think you could be the important key. how banal. how to convince the stars to spin a certain way. the lottery of astrology. the way you can buy another ticket with different numbers. the way a disgruntled star follows you home from the circle k like a mugger.

poems: an astrology? an orgy? your self-conceptions frotting their stars and planets. becoming something vast and world-collapsing. something soft. something of a mess. how to clear away the mess before you start to think it’s beautiful.

poems: too beautiful? an onion headline or a silly question. there are no silly questions. just impressions of grandeur. how someone else inherits the stars and you the surrounding abyss. how you could scratch away the abyss. how you could win something for it.




Ian Martin is an inimitable buffoon and writer living in Ottawa. Ian has published four chapbooks, most recently YOU’RE GOING TO HAVE TO KEEP THIS UP FOREVER (AngelHousePress, 2018) and PLACES TO HIDE (Coven Editions, 2018). Ian’s work has appeared recently in Bad Nudes, Plenitude Magazine, and Pretty Owl Poetry. Ian is, by and large, bi and large.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Tuesday poem #338 : Arisa White : Spent the whole day around people


In a house with nice people I just met

A dog and a cat that reminded me of my ex-pets

A shuttle on the way to the airport

The curb, the security

Taking off my shoes in front of people

People who tell me to put up my arms

See people in my business

My socks on a carpet trafficked by people

Their touch, their breath, their there

The sense they do not belong to people


At the gate, sitting delayed with performing people

Stroking their belt buckle, their Mac crow’s feet

I don’t like to be with people for unnecessary hours

Plug in my cell and read about British and Irish poets

Women of a New Confessionalism

Turn the page to get rid of people


In the waft of waste is seat 28C

I sit there to my rowmate’s surprise

I read to escape the bull of people

Minus fog that kept us en retard, the sun falls on people

The attendant tells me I have San Francisco glasses

She is mean, I know

She masturbates with bunnies

Goes from tail to front

Chortles to come

Caricature is a new feminism

Silly is deconstructive

I have apple when she tells me her juices

The landing’s smooth as a good pressing

People take out phones to alert other people

Grab their luggage, exit with no hiccups

They get it for that moment—

Listen, people giving thanks


BART has no people and I put my feet up

Watch passengers grow

His face looks like a racer

She transitions to her sex

Her fanny pack is practical

The child’s cries are spoiled

Go to the station for Westfield Mall

Lunch in its ground floor

Spicy beef ramen, seaweed salad, and these bothersome tomato slices too

Not a people take the seat next to me


Young people wear shorts with their maximus out

Too much pubic for public

The mother wipes baby’s lips

Father waxes noodles

Now a compost receptacle is offered

Why must people be charged for big brown bags?


I navigate the touristy vein of Powell Street

His Jansport shields his chest

Two sisters both have rattails

One man begs for change

Another gives a weekly

My luggage has 360-wheels to maneuver with people

Working my forearms on hillish blocks

I arrive an hour early to the dentist

I read “Interculturalism . . .” from the essay’s title

Dr. Duffala will see me now

My commute will avoid the rush


Duffala has stories of 15 people

My gums are good and barely bleeding

Duffala says, Are you hearing the people?

This cleaning is a longer protest


I add fare to my Clipper

I queue

Lean against the station map and people stare

Her freckles and ugly thumbs

She stands like her cock's in pendulum

Montgomery made us uncomfortable

Dublin/ comes out of the Bay, and picture the sun

Obama on a wall, yellow petals in a People’s Garden

She types really fast

He’s been bit by man-o-war

Polish grits when I clench

I sometimes wake with hurt temples

People don’t know how to move out the way.




Cave Canem graduate fellow Arisa White is the author of Perfect on Accident, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, Black Pearl, Post Pardon, A Penny Saved, and Hurrah's Nest. Her poetry has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, NAACP Image Award, California Book Award, and Wheatley Book Award. The chapbook Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. She's the co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice series for young readers. Arisa is an assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College. arisawhite.com

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan