Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Tuesday poem #217 : Jennifer Stella : dehiscence

The thing is, you grew up
anyway. Whatever lost you can’t
remember having had. Also,
you can’t sleep.
Also, you might never sleep
again. You’re still afraid 
of ---. There is a blanket.
There is a bear. You are
quite seven. A shadow behind
wide-eyed reflection. Not ready
to look. Not ready to 
ever. Behind your
eyes drape a sheet
over the mirror. Quick. Careful.
An older hand will remove
it. Or

Jennifer Stella is a writer and a doctor. During medical school in San Francisco, she pursued an MFA in poetry at Brooklyn College. Also a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer from Cameroon, her poetry and prose have appeared in Eleven Eleven, The Drunken Boat, The Brooklyn Review, The Intima, and others. Her first chapbook, Your Lapidarium Feels Wrought, was published in March 2016 (Ugly Duckling Presse). She is currently working as a primary care physician and HIV specialist at Rikers Island jail in New York City.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tuesday poem #216 : Gerry Shikatani : HIKONE (Shiga Prefecture)

April 11

Just then a thousand lights
white, pink-tinged and small.
Heart turned, bowels churned
at footstep. In the lake waters too
snowtuft blossoms luminous.
April night, bright
ramen shops   others, metal-shuttered
to dark, streets
and street-crossings held these eyes

ramen, Japanese adaptation of Chinese-style noodle soup

castle’s mirror
sakura sea Lake Biwa
father’s young wide eyes
stare out at the Pacific.

Leafs’ Opening Day - ballgame
 Pop waited at our school’s door,

both Al and I hurrying
 down the halls.

Last night bright
grilled Omi-gyu --
 now, Pop’s hashi
over hot frying pan
frozen decades ago.


 sliced paper-thin
Pop’s Friday night beef
sukiyaki, yakiniku
electric frying pan our sizzling teppan

my eyes nothing now
  but his ashes.

Sakura:cherry blossom(s)
Omi-gyu, breed of beef cattle from Omi (Shiga Prefecture)
hashi, chopsticks
yakiniku, iron-griddled beef
teppan, iron griddle

skiff moored still to shore
as if a boatman
never returns.

On My Late Father’s Birthday

MacDo yet again, Birthday-boy
with this bossa nova Quiet Nights and Quiet Stars, heart
 in this Hikone-shi, coffee
to pack the punch B-boy on
your B-day. What did he call it..
 Hinatsu-san, bon-san…?

         That jazz - soothes here
as over the eki the low ridges,
forests of conifers are veiled
melancholic oyster gray,
pure light hinting at base. Sundays
B-boy used to make all the summer
evening smell fine with perk coffee to fill
the thermos for your lunch and
maybe Stan’s Amphora tobacco-filled pipe
on the porch. MacDo’s and now Imagination
tunes Japan a cool hit. Cool those
mornings, less the hot sticky evenings
on Ross Street, downtown T.O., must have been too
for dear ol’ Dad, near the end of night shifts
sweeping, polishing, The Mercury All-Night
Restaurant’s fine woody, earthy brew
poured from those tall stainless urns
still gleam, the suited prim salarymen of T.O.
banks, The Permanent, ready to walk those floors
he swept clean.

Hikone-shi: Hikone- (suffix identifying it as city, i.e. Hikone City)
Hinatsu-san, (O)bon-san: Mr. Hinatsu-(a term of respect) , nourable priest
eki, train station
Stan: eldest brother of the poet
The Permanent: trust company

It is Sunday afternoon in Hikone.
Around the trail to calm, return
Sunday, through scatterd rain:
cool, soft leisure of strollers
they, hearts are light. In this
exact centre, sakura now blossomed
draping out, to hear pounding
dance beat amplified, getting louder
from approach. Such silence that stirs

hip Hikone kids, arms flailing
the atchi-kochi dance,
exact heart.
It is Sunday afternoon.

atchi-kochi, here-there

Gerry Shikatani is founder and director of Lorca’s Granada: writers’ retreat, colloquia and workshops set in the Andalusian city that was home to the great poet and dramatist Federico GarcĂ­a Lorca. Since the early 1970’s Shikatani’s oeuvre has included poetry, visual and sound composition/performance, short fiction, editing, and film collaborations. His books include the 412 page collection Aqueduct (1996), mortar  rake  glove  sausan  broom  basin  sansui  (First Book, Three Gardens of Andalucia), and with co-editor David Aylward, Shoji – Paper Doors, an anthology of Japanese-Canadian poetry (in English and Japanese, 1981). As an international culinary critic and food/travel writer, he is an authority on Spanish gastronomy and recipient of Spain’s Officer’s Cross in the Order of Civilian Merit, granted by King Juan Carlos. He is based in Ontario and Spain. www.gerryshikatani.com

This poem is taken from mortar  rake  glove  sausan  broom  basin  sansui  (Second Book, niwa) still in progress.       

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tuesday poem #215 : Jacqueline Valencia : Skin is the livery of the Goddess

Jim stood full of emotions
in the lushness of Magwood Park
reaching out to the skies.

Becalmed, he looked down at the
dandelions, the ragweed
blooming up, choking roots, taking over his space.

Emptiness unendurable
taking up despair as communicable melancholia
desultory substratum ruminative chlorophyll.

Jim decamped as clouds passed
darkening a view with the undertow of wind
enlivening movements he could not make on his own.

Spying on the woman he once knew carnally
across the street, drapes open, anchoring her anxiety
in a dance, a liberty he was circumscribed to stomach.

Rapid zipping up electric blue sphere
cast the Circle with sword and athame
speeding up karma solipsism to keep afloat.

He was a green ash, once a man,
now squirrels sex up, engorging themselves
with nuts in his trunk, a better home than procreator.

She, the woman called Babylon in the windows
wore a crown of life affirmation beyond abuse
matriarchal underworld form agency due with the flick of her wand.

Weeds, garbage greenery, critters all over the arms
reaching up decorating a powerless Jim by living
filling him up with insidious festering numbness.

The sun conjoined Craft and root
moon feminine justice, a truth chaos
sets daily on the corner of Marks Road and Varsity.

Jacqueline Valencia is a Toronto-based writer. She is a senior literary editor at The Rusty Toque. Her debut collection There Is No Escape Out Of Time is out with Insomniac Press.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Tuesday poem #214 : Zach Savich : Prose

I arrive in wind and a street fair
Wind chimes 40% off

40% of a wind chime is the sound

One tires of the beyond


Now bend or extend the burnt part

Odysseus ties himself to the mast and vamps
Fish are ripples, which research accounts for
Children are windowsills
Some statues require willows

Bird’s eye view: a term for meeting a sparrow’s gaze


I wanted to bring you berries but also to appear with nothing but my white shirt

I take the earliest bus and pretend to read
Flood slow enough, who can say how much is lost to steam

Years later the emperor returned the borrowed bicycle

Time healed me of prose


Duration is good

I stand in my white shirt with my jacket gone
If I should live so long
With my white shirt gone
To stand with the buttons in my hand
Bouquets just from brushing through


The tone is bereft
Steam rose into a good museum and the first horses
The first movement moves past, careless for return
Children rolling hills, tossing dust from a field
Say as far as the world goes, it’s Saturday
Is someone telling the story
Of causes

Here’s a church so pretty, you shouldn’t mind just walking by

Zach Savich [photo credit: Lisa Wells] was born in Michigan in 1982 and grew up in Olympia, Washington. He received degrees from the Universities of Washington, Iowa, and Massachusetts. His work has received the Iowa Poetry Prize, the Colorado Prize for Poetry, the Cleveland State University Poetry Center's Open Award, and other honors. His fifth collection of poetry, The Orchard Green and Every Color, was published by Omnidawn in 2016. He is also the author of Diving Makes the Water Deep, a memoir about cancer, teaching, and poetic friendship. He teaches in the BFA Program for Creative Writing at the University of the Arts, in Philadelphia, and co-edits Rescue Press's Open Prose Series.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan