Issue 13 – An Earnest Exodus

Subprimal Poetry Art/Music - Issue 13 - December 2018
Cover art by Ronald Walker
Issue title by Kym Cunningham
View: Everything | Contents


From The Editor

by Victor D. Sandiego

Good morning, afternoon, or evening and welcome to the Winter 2018 issue of Subprimal Poetry Art/Music. Once again, we are pleased to present various works from around the world, some with an accompanying audio recording. I hope you enjoy what we've assembled this time around.

As you may know, we frequently select a title for an issue from one of the included pieces. Although this didn’t occur to me – consciously at least – while I was making decisions on which pieces to publish, it came to me with a clap of certainty during production: An Earnest Exodus, inspired by and taken from the title of Kym Cunningham’s work An Earnest Exodus: Directions To One Final Humiliation.

The reason an exodus seems apt to me is because this is the final issue of Subprimal Poetry Art/Music, at least…

Song For Claude Neal

by Judith Roney

Listen: there is a lamb hanging in a tree by the Chattahoochee,
All night it hung there and sang till 3 am.
Those who hear it feel a hurt and think they’re hearing
The spring-song of the mockingbird.
Say: Sit up in your bed, then lay yourself back down if you can.
In October night-wind, the lamb’s head
Sways back and forth, and shines bright-black skin
The way moonlight shines on cotton fields and train tracks miles away.
The lamb’s fingers and toes cry for the body. Some boys
Hacked them off. It was harder work than they imagined.
The lamb cried like a man and struggled hard. But they finished
The job and ran off into the darkness that seems to hide
Everything. Men hang the bleeding body…

Judith Roney’s work has appeared in numerous publications. Most recently, her chapbook, Waiting for Rain, received an honorable mention from Two Sylvias Press, and Field Guide for a Human was a 2015 finalist in the Gambling the Aisle chapbook contest. Her poetry collection, According to the Gospel of Haunted Women, received the 2015 Pioneer Prize. She confesses to an obsession with …

The Ritual

by Denny E. Marshall

Regarding his work, the artist says:

Many artists out there create works that look all the same. My number one goal is for artwork is for it not all to look the same. After that I like to get emotion, movement, or depth if not all three at least one of them, prefer to get all three.

Denny E. Marshall has had art, poetry, and fiction published. One recent credit is interior artwork in Bards And Sages Quarterly Oct. 2018. Denny doesn't have a Facebook page, a Twitter or Instagram account. The website keeps him busy enough.

Why Write? Why Read?

by David Pinto

Regarding his work, the artist says:

The writing is improvised. Would be nice to be completely inspired by the music, and sometimes it is entirely, but more often I have a kernel of a thought which I would like to explore and the music influences.

Originally, the idea was to invite others to write together on the same page, hence text-tango. However it ended up mostly my own writing and I found it a useful format to explore ideas solo, with awareness that someone else was reading. The tango is between reader and writer. I eventually settled on the usual start: here you are reading this now...

David Pinto was a math teacher for a decade, focusing on self-organizing systems in classes. He achieved amazing results, but the system didn't change. David believes that if you can improve the quality of listening in a class, quality of learning improves, and results follow.

An Earnest Exodus: Directions To One Final Humiliation

by Kym Cunningham

drive stilettos over sunset until you reach the golden city that’s sold winter as vacation from sweating concrete and financed armageddon in the brittle grass of self-esteem

find prejudices lying in the cliff-side cheekbones of broken mountain ranges as you breathe sulfur and sea at the world’s end

watch mona lisa smiles climb up distilled glass cages, suffocating from egos too super for transcendence

believe in religion birthed from steel crates and know even the palm trees are transplants, appropriating the natural by pacific-named parasites as if you could…

Kym Cunningham earned her MFA from San Jose State University with emphases in creative nonfiction and poetry. She acted as the lead Nonfiction Editor of Reed Magazine, the oldest literary magazine West of the Mississippi. She has received multiple awards for her writing, including two Pushcart Prize nominations. Her writing has been published in more than two dozen literary journals and anthologies. Her first poetry chapbook was published in February of 2018.

Silence

by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

If I thirst,
it is for silence.
I want no
talk of love or hate.

I prefer to be

silent like
an empty desert;
hiding in
a shadow’s shadow.

Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal, born in Mexico, lives in California and works in the mental health field in Los Angeles. His first book of poems, Raw Materials, was published by Pygmy Forest Press. His poetry has been published by Alternating Current Press, Deadbeat Press, New Polish Beat, Poet's Democracy, and Ten Pages Press. His latest chapbook, Make the Light Mine, was published by Kendra Steiner Editions.

Crows

by Peter Cashorali

Because we live on death it’s good to have a strong stomach. The young immortals we were, the original dreams we had that didn’t find footing on the earth, the way everything was, all gone, losses under our belts. Loss is our bread and butter, that and grief, and learning to live without. The deaths of our spouses, children, generation of friends—we weren’t supposed to be able to survive those. Didn’t we once vow to sit on the ground and refuse to go one step further into such country? Instead we’re like the crows, who learned there was nothing not on the menu—fruit, road kill, nestlings, French fries in a parking lot—and wear black in memory of who they once thought they were. As if everything that happens no matter how awful is good food on which to our shame we nourish and thrive, while envying those who give themselves mildly and sweetly to death, rather than learn to live on such dreadful fare.

Peter Cashorali is the author of Gay Fairy Tales (HarperSanFrancisco) and Gay Fairy and Folktales (Faber and Faber). He lives in Los Angeles with his husband Terrance Donley and has a fulltime psychotherapy practice.

The Mad Rush

by Ronald Walker

Regarding his work, the artist says:

The Mad Rush...I work in a style I call "Suburban Primitive", this style combines my interest in the origins and functions of art along with life in the suburbs. It incorporates personal experiences both from a physical and psychological perspective. The Mad Rush was inspired by the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It seems as if everyone, myself included, are always rushing about. I find myself wondering why? If we finish first do we get a prize, perhaps a piece of cheese? In any case I will end this now since I must rush off, I have a million things to do!

Ronald Walker's work has been shown in more than 40 solo exhibitions as well as over two hundred group shows. He holds both a MA and a MFA degree in painting from the University of Kansas. Mr. Walker is represented by the Mahlstedt Gallery of New Rochelle, New York. He lives in the Sacramento area with his wife and two children, where he teaches art and paints for a living.

Bus Stop

by Ion Corcos

We cross a narrow train track, onto a turning bay
for the bus. The earth is white and dusty, streams of water
stretching our steps.
We pass a dog, dead,
on its side, stiff and thick with fur.
It was not here yesterday.
The train passes a few times a day,
on to Bansko
then back to Septemvri.
We have seen goats on the tracks,
and wild horses. We sit on the old seats,
covered in dust.
No one cleans this area.
You tell me you saw a boy on a cart
hit his horse with a plank of wood,
to make it go fast.
We talk about pesticides on food,
and animal tests;
how hardly any of your friends want to know.
The bus arrives, old with no air-conditioning,
but it is cheap.
It is hot inside; the windows don’t open.
I say dobre den to the conductor,
take two blue tickets.
We take our laundry into Velingrad.
The bus drives over cobblestones.
Maybe a train hit the dog,
its body not far from the tracks.

Musical composition by Victor D. Sandiego

Ion Corcos has been published in The High Window, Australian Poetry Journal, Allegro, Panoply, and other journals. Ion is a nature lover and a supporter of animal rights. He is currently traveling indefinitely with his partner, Lisa. His first pamphlet, A Spoon of Honey, is out now.

What Wind

by Lauren Suchenski

What wind fails
to admire
the courage of
roots
digging

What blasphemy is
budding on this
tree/
fire curled, rain-washed and pearlescent
The scent of hungered Marches
sinking into branch-flesh

Who is the rain, who is the rain

What spindled limbs chatter
below my feet/ fungal-networked
and social climbing
root dominions —
coerced, coerced;
connected — don’t you see? The roots are all
conspiring

The branches are all thirst and desiring/

The trunk —
rapturous

Lauren Suchenski has a difficult relationship with punctuation and currently lives in Yardley, PA. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize as well as twice for The Best of the Net and her chapbook “Full of Ears and Eyes Am I” is available from Finishing Line Press.

Credo

by Erik Knudsen | translated by Michael Favala Goldman

With a trembling planet as a surface
Under a grimy piece of newspaper
I write across telegrams
From Lucifer’s solid castle
And across black portraits
Of all his proud henchmen
These forgotten words: I believe.

I believe the hour of birth is upon us,
That all the wild shouts are contractions.
I believe the dark is enveloped by light
Still hesitating at the edge of night.
I remember ten thousand years ago
On the army road of my memory wander
Men with cannons, men with spears;
Each singing in his mother tongue
The same song. They fall.
But no one bends to help,
No one turns around…

Danish author Erik Knudsen (1922-2007) wrote 17 poetry collections along with dozens of pieces for Danish radio, TV, and theater. He was also an editor and a translator of plays and poetry. A staunch opponent to war, Knudsen’s works’ central themes often involve contrasting the beautiful and the inherently valuable with the debatable but seemingly necessary actions of western societies.

Michael Favala Goldman, besides being a poet and jazz clarinetist, is a widely-published translator of Danish literature. Over 100 of his translations have appeared in journals like The Harvard Review and The Columbia Journal. Among his ten translated books are The Water Farm trilogy, Farming Dreams and Selected Poems of Benny Andersen. He lives in Florence, MA.

Another Poem About Fear

by Adrian S. Potter

Once we've latched the windows and deadbolted doors, we begin inventing our own monsters. Like most vile things, they’re scarier from afar but more believable as they get closer. Wielding machetes and hatchets, meat cleavers and baseball bats, but all the violence stops just short of the screen, even as we close our eyes and burrow deep into the false comfort of couch cushions. But now my friend says she hates horror, after her sister’s high school was splintered by gunfire one morning. Every murder onscreen feels like a gut punch in reality. Every sanctuary interrupted by a girl covered in blood, running and shrieking down a hallway. How she waited quietly, crouched in a bathroom stall, for death to arrive. But it didn't. And of course, it won’t, until it’s ready. Anxiety locked inside the cage of our bodies, incessantly banging, pleading to escape.

Musical composition by Victor D. Sandiego

Adrian S. Potter writes poetry and prose in Minnesota. He’s the author of the fiction chapbook Survival Notes and is currently at work on a full-length poetry collection. Some publication credits include North American Review, Roads & Bridges, Jet Fuel Review, and Kansas City Voices.

Starving For Peace

by Willow Margarita Schafer

Regarding her work, the artist says:

Starving For Peace was originally meant to appear as a bleak, famished man without color and without the flowers seen in his hair and beard. I was initially interested in showing the bare bones of human melancholy, highlighting the calm disposition of a man that had lost everything and could gain nothing back. However, I realized that by adding clusters of colorful flowers gave a whole new meaning to the piece by contrasting against the otherwise drab figure. The flowers added a sense of purpose and hope to the figure’s sadness, and that maybe he had not given up entirely but instead was just resting.

Willow Schafer grew up in a rural town in north-eastern Ohio until she and her family moved to Florida where she discovered her love of art after getting involved in an art class. Since then, she’s been working towards several goals such as the publication of artwork, short stories, and novels, as well as obtaining a PhD in forensic science. After traveling around the continental United States with her family and studying in Spain for three months, she found herself inspired by the surreal and the symbolic.

Into Morning

by Sandy Coomer

In this version,
Irene wrings her hands
and sets her throat to sea.

She carries
a soft patchwork quilt
stitched with

last words.
There is no regret,
she says,

but she has to say that, doesn’t she?

Otherwise,
the fog that lines
the trees would turn

to mushrooms and rot
and underneath,
only a burrow of worms.

Irene, the earth
is too soft for me.
Give me acid rain.

Give me a place to rake
my fingers in sand
and follow a path out of here.

Irene, get me a belt

and a gallon of gasoline.
Get me a plastic bag
and a knife. Get me a hose

and masking tape.
The little stars keep watching
for a way out of the night.

If they can hold their breath
a little while longer,
morning will open its eyes.

Musical composition by Victor D. Sandiego

Sandy Coomer is a poet and artist living in Brentwood, TN. Her poetry has been published in numerous journals and anthologies, and she is the author of three poetry chapbooks, including the most recent, Rivers Within Us (Unsolicited Press). A full length collection, Available Light, will be published in 2019 by Iris Press. Sandy is the founding editor of the online poetry journal Rockvale Review, the curator of the ekphrastic poetry project 20/20 Vision, a Poetic Response to Photography, and the founder and director of Rockvale Writers’ Colony, located in College Grove, TN. She is a teacher, a seeker, a dreamer, and an explorer. Her favorite word is “Believe.”

Independence Day

by Sandra Kolankiewicz

But that was when I was thoughtless, when
important considerations did
not occur to me, though obvious
to everyone else, as if I were
some feral soul who’d never learned how
to conduct myself beyond picking
up the garbage I created as
I moved from here to there, my fate not
compromised until I had children
whose diapers entered the landfill, and
thus I joined the mystery of the
larger community that does not
mind when everything looks equal, a meal
at Olive Garden in Denver the
same as one in New Orleans, the plate
knowable despite geography.
Now I’ve shaken hands with tragedy,
made him my friend, a politer form
of sniffing tails and letting bygones
be. Our beasts snore on the rug by the
fire while we converse in low tones of
how we’ll work together to create
a life we believe we can endure,
a glass of alkalized water raised
to all who’ve survived shattering, and
to surprises still to come, our old
bruises obvious to those who look,
and on the bare skin of everyone
we meet who knows loss, recovery,
and the daily redemption of love.

Musical composition by Victor D. Sandiego

Sandra Kolankiewicz's poems have appeared widely, most recently in Adelaide, London Magazine, New World Writing and Appalachian Heritage. Turning Inside Out was published by Black Lawrence. Finishing Line has released The Way You Will Go and Lost in Transition. She lives with her family in Marietta, Ohio.

Powinności / Obligations

by Lidia Kosk | translated by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

You are running
Constantly
In a hurry
Performing thousands of tasks
No time
For yourself
But it doesn't matter
You are judged
By your obligations to others
You didn't make it
You couldn't
You explain
Then there is blame
You have
No right to stop
You keep running
In a hurry
Touched by love
Bits of tenderness
Obligations!
Your marathon
Without a finish
Without fanfares
Still running

Lidia Kosk, a poet, storyteller, educator, photographer. She is the author of eleven books of poetry and short stories, and two anthologies. Her collaboration with the poet and translator, Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka, resulted in two bilingual volumes: Niedosyt/Reshapings and Słodka woda, słona woda/Sweet Water, Salt Water. The Japanese edition of the second book appeared in 2016. Lidia collaborated with her husband, Henryk P. Kosk, on the two-volume Poland’s Generals: A Popular Biographical Lexicon.…

Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka is the author of Oblige the Light, winner of the fifth Clarinda Harriss Poetry Prize (CityLit Press, 2015), and Face Half-Illuminated, a book of poems, translations, and prose (Apprentice House, 2014). A biochemist, poet, poetry translator, and co-editor of Loch Raven Review, she is also a photographer whose work has been exhibited in shows and used for book covers. She grew up in Poland and now lives in Maryland.

Certain Days

by Juleigh Howard-Hobson

Sometimes, in the silent white-cold light that
Falls from skies grown grey with cloud here, the ice
Does not sparkle. It lays like lead. A flat
Dull sheet that slowly suffocates what lies
Beneath. Creating an empty world so
Clear and cold that there is no sound left here:
No tree limbs creaking with frost, no echo
Of bird call, no small scurryings. Austere
And stark. A brittle husk of time and place,
As frozen as the world it’s frozen by.
There is no hint of brightness then, no trace
Or glance of glint to quell. The cloud filled sky
Brings only dawns that do not break, but lay
Heavy and fixed like ice itself all day.

Musical composition by Victor D. Sandiego

Juleigh Howard-Hobson’s writing has appeared in many places, including The Lyric, Mezzo Cammin, Verse Wisconsin, and The Raintown Review. She has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Her fourth and most recent book is Remind Me (Ancient Cypress Press).