Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Tuesday poem #443 : Carla Harris : my only options


hostage on the bus I pluck poems from street debris
the road ripples in each driver’s wake

concrete waves lap against each tire

beating for the pavement’s heart

ba-bum ba-bum, ba-bum ba-bum

I am tossed in clusters of passengers, unbound

and abandoned, eyes locked as I sway, the empty body

is a container
, the container is whistling

from the smallest crack in the frame to rattle

like grandpa’s mint tin by the drivers seat

permission to open the container

to take and to close with breathless aspirations

to not disrupt the eye of any other controller

a rider who watches you or a driver, stiff

at the wheel I whisk past

to pour out on the street

assembling on my feet
heels slam in combat

I storm sidewalks drilling forward

anger is one remaining act of power

a firm walk isn’t running away, a pulsing

stride never looks uncertain, it implies

focus, strong intentions are a costume

a cloak which makes men stop noticing you

repulsed by femme faces which focus or scowl

they skip stiff women for the sweet genteel

women who bruise like softened fruit.

Brisk and severe, I walk going nowhere.

I walk to hear my anger hit the pavement, to snap

twigs and clear paths I race to pluck each street

out of another victims future poems

my holed soles hide unnoticed, until rain starts to fall

and quicker than the drops can soak into my canvass shoes,

my soles already draw standing water from the street.




Carla Harris is a disabled queer writer, performer and interdisciplinary artist from Treaty 4 territory, living in Regina Saskatchewan. She is currently working on her first collection of creative nonfiction poetry.

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan


Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Tuesday poem #442 : Allison Pitinii Davis : OLD WORLD ORTHOGRAPHY



One version starts with villagers smiling,
their smocks rough with pine, their eyes squeezed shut
from all the sun.  Oranges dot their thoughts in place

of periods. Ordinary soil cruds their phone booths.
Observing custom, nothing goes to waste: they fuck

on top of flags to stripe them beautiful with sweat. 
Oldest daughters are unionized.  October wind

reweights the branches until red apples swing,
brave & shy.  One morning, there’s a vote to name the land,

“which is required for official tax purposes,” & all at once,
it’s barren.  Olive groves give out.  Observing custom,

villagers accept that they can’t fix the world
nor desist from it, either.  On cue, they form a circle

in the dirt, where everyone starts arguing.  Over time,
this works: the fruit trees reacclimate; blossoms

vowel-out in budding green. Old villagers finish sweeping
around their condos, which everyone calls

“a good sign.”  Occasionally, allrightniks still lean out
car windows to yell “Give up!” or “Move to the city!”

but the villagers only nod
& cast smiles obscurely as seeds into the dirt.



Allison Pitinii Davis is the author of Line Study of a Motel Clerk (Baobab Press, 2017), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award in Poetry and the Ohioana Book Award, and Poppy Seeds (Kent State University Press, 2013), winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Prize. Her work has been published in Best American Poetry, POETS.ORG, and elsewhere. She holds fellowships from Stanford University's Wallace Stegner program, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Severinghaus Beck Fund for Study at Vilnius Yiddish Institute. She was born in Youngstown, Ohio and lives in Wheeling, West Virginia. www.allisondavispoetry.com

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Tuesday poem #441 : AM Ringwalt : On Hill Street


Your voice: projected knife
in my side

Speak and
blade my feet
off ground 

for an instant—

Ride that shit, baby


Your voice, potion of cum-smear,
beer, glass bottles cracked

To behold you, give into?
I bleed, believe

the spirit of flesh
that it should understand all this . . .

O come
disembodied voice
from moving car, 

you: metal, rubber, scum

I throw my body into a cave
in Qumran

I throw my body into
a funeral procession
of roses in virgins’ hands 

Throw my body
into Palomino


All this

O, that Palomino toy,
plastic and played with
in a southern backyard 

At five, I sang to no one,
propelled and was propelled
by fake mammals


Is it
my sonic propulsion
disembodied gloat 

Is it honey or amber
blood between my legs?

Am I vortex, nameless?

how should I,
anyone, repeatable,
re-namable nothing 

throw myself into
what is flesh



AM Ringwalt is a writer and musician. The author of The Wheel (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021), her work appears in Jacket2, Bennington Review and Washington Square Review. Waiting Song is her most recent record. 

the Tuesday poem is curated by rob mclennan