Issue 3 – Doorways and Revelations

Subprimal Poetry Art/Music - Issue 3 - November 2014
Cover art by Alex Nodopaka
View: Everything | Contents


The Storm (A Naive Story)

by William V. Ray

A few drops of rain fell outside. He turned from his book to watch, but after a few moments it stopped, only a brief spasm.

The silver-gray evening stood out, but it was in its waning moments. The air, matching the mood, would not be still, but would not be a wind. Strange, that it should still intrude upon his reading. "It's pleasant," he thought before it left him — as the words he was reading began to take effect again. He was able to go on reading, though half of him went out with each lithe rush which came and went — playing with it, wondering around it. "Like the breeze from the sea," he thought. The sound came again outside; it began raining again, still lightly, but more assuredly. The wind, momentarily rising, pushed the rain off its downward path. The half-light flickered, knowing that it would go out soon.

The clouds gathered, and desired to show their other face, counter to the pure white of a summer sky. "Do they stand for something else, those forms?" he thought — "so large." The forms answered nothing, stood on…

The Fire Drill

by Cameron Sidhe

What was I, this dear thing,
sodden from the juices of creation,
trailing my tentacles along the wet paint
at Lascaux. Look closer and you will see me
in the little tendrils of pawprints,
in the blown dust they left along the imprints
of their fingers.

Every bit a villain as when the world took shape.
You cannot destroy me - only create.

And in a minute I will undo what years
of careful pondering have done, what roots
and seeds and tinctures have mightily yearned
to nurture…

Cameron Sidhe is an poet living in Chicago, IL. Sidhe is the author of the poetry anthologies Bitter Grapes and Riot Act and her work has been featured in the anthology Chicago After Dark as well as the Mochila Review, Bewildering Stories, and Cahoodaloodaling. Sidhe is a British Literature major at University of Illinois-Chicago and studies sexual assault against marginalized communities.

Going To War

by Patrick Hansel

Graciela Echenique, age 12 ½
Village of Two Rivers, Minnesota
January 6, 1917

Germany hates France, and France
Hates Hungary, and Hungary
Hates Russia, and we’re about
To jump into it and hate everyone down
To the boys we send to become bones.
I wish Wilson was a rat stowed
Away in the steerage of a ship
Crossing the north Atlantic, a mother
Rat cradling its babies and giving
Them suck, in a dark corner
Of the hold, always awake, one eye
Open for a boot or a rod ready
To crush her and her brood. Then
Maybe he’d know…

Patrick Hansel has published poems in over 20 journals and anthologies, including Hawai’i Pacific Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Passager, The Ilanot Review and The Meadowland Review. He was selected for the 2008-09 Mentor Series in Poetry at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, and was a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Grantee. His novella Searching was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News.

Shamanic Triumvirate

by Alex Nodopaka

From the artist:

It is a painting that has undergone several transformation stages. Like a real live character, like a chrysalis it metamorphosed into ceramic, etching, photography and bas-relief sculpture. It has been inspired by my search into Ukrainian-Russian Greek-Orthodox Shamanic and spiritual legends and is my interpretation of a mythic divine triumvirate. Each facing the other with the 3rd mirroring the viewer yet all being a single entity.

Alexandre Nodopaka speaks Ukrainian, Russian, French, English & more after some Vodka. He was immaculately conceived in Kiev, Ukraine also after some Vodkahhhs. First breech exhibition 1940 Vladivostok, Russia. First finger paintings Innsbruck, Austria 1946. Studied tongue-in-cheek at the Ecole des Beaux Arts, Casablanca, Morocco 1958. USA since 1959. Doodling since. Self-appointed as an art pundit. His interest in literature and the visual arts is exhaustively multi-cultural.

Book of Revelation Coming to Your Backyard

by Scott T. Starbuck

Carl’s congregation was long ago handed over to someone else,
as was his wife, who, as he put it, was a Jezebel, or
as she put it, “Could not compete with his god.”
He says “It is not a good year for tomatoes,” translation:
“There will be famine.” Before I leave, he hand gestures
like an excited surfer in loquat branches,
his long blond locks lifting in Pacific wind.
“See this forking? It means four horsemen
will arrive soon over the Asian crescent.”

As I leave, he is on the edge of the bed, rocking
back and forth, holding a framed photo of himself
holding his estranged wife.

Before working as a creative writing professor at San Diego Mesa College, Scott T. Starbuck was a charter captain and commercial fisherman in Oregon.  He was a 2014 Friends of William Stafford Scholar at the "Speak Truth to Power" Fellowship of Reconciliation Seabeck Conference, and a 2013 Artsmith Fellow on Orcas Island.

One Night

by Matt Morris

Maybe you’re like me, driving
with nowhere particular in mind
when you pass a hitchhiker
who resembles you to the freckle.

Startled, you fishtail around a curve.
To one side’s the stone face
of the hill that the road’s cut from,
& to the other, down the steep

slope, mostly pine & fallen rock.
You pump your brakes hard
& turn opposite the skid,
only now, doing a donut,

you’re heading straight
for your double. Remarkably,
there’s just a soft thump upon impact.
You know you ought to stop,

but nobody’s within miles,
so you keep going, still thinking about it,
asking yourself, like me,
what you’re doing with your life.

This piece first appeared in Nearing Nacoma

Matt Morris has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. He’s received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. His first book, Nearing Narcoma, won the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. Knut House Press published his latest collection, Walking in Chicago with a Suitcase in My Hand.

Otherwise

by Allison Grayhurst

thinking that
grinding and binding
the wrong things would bring the blood of transformation
in an age of elegy and time that has no master
except for eternity. Deep with fear but deep with courage,
and riding on horseback close to the cliff as though
summer was nearly over and everything that is now, was before, is not
wasted. As though effort alone was a doorway
to a richer heaven and drowning would teach me how to breathe
underwater. I hold. I hold. I obey the tides.
Sand is in my throat but I am still speaking.
Love comes but not perfect. Love is a boat
with many living on board.

Allison Grayhurst is a full member of the League of Canadian Poets. She has over 400 poems published in more than 205 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers in 1995. Since then she has published ten other books of poetry and four collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. Her e-chapbook Surrogate Dharma is pending publication by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay.

Giving Birth

by Patrick Hansel

Graciela Echenique, age 16
Lafourche Parish, Louisiana
June 16, 1919

They say childbirth is a curse
Laid upon women by Eve’s sin,
But I say that was written
By a man who did not understand
His own life. Women scream
In birthing for the pain, but their
Desire is not for their husbands
At that moment, but a calling
Back through the generations
To the first ones. The ones
Who knew the earth as friend,
As breast and hip and blood.
The ones who speak not in words
But in the stirring of leaves,
In the pulsing of sap through
The spring woods. You cannot
Learn giving birth from a book,
From a sermon or a lecture given
By a man standing on a box.
You cannot learn love that way.
You have to feel the child
Pulling back to a long line
Of wisdom as it pushes out
Into air. Women make good
Widows when their men die,
For they have lived through
The groaning of their creations,
The loss of their flesh and milk
As their child grows into walking,
Into words and tools and song.
I saw my mother give birth
Three times: once to my younger
Sister, once to a child born
Without a name and without breath,
Who we gave back to the earth,
And once to me, my head crowning,
My eyes wide, my mouth creasing
Open to light and air and noise.
You say that I cannot remember that?
I say that was spoken by a man
Who does not understand that
Memory is not something we choose.
It is a gift, given by those
Who surround us, who bequeath
Our first pain and our first joy,
Persons we thank when our time comes,
Who never stop dying for our life.

Patrick Hansel has published poems in over 20 journals and anthologies, including Hawai’i Pacific Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Passager, The Ilanot Review and The Meadowland Review. He was selected for the 2008-09 Mentor Series in Poetry at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, and was a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Grantee. His novella Searching was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News.

I Have Known Men

by Patrick Hansel

Graciela Echenique, age 20
Birmingham, Alabama
August 3, 1924

I have known men built like railroads:
Steel, steam, the whistle warning all
Flesh to stay away. I have known men
Made like rivers that run wild and cold
In the spring, that meander through
The bottomlands, that dry up and desert
The life they carry along. I have known
Men fashioned like pistols: the less
Said of them the better. I once met
A man I swear was made of butter:
One taste and his flesh melted away.

I have known men who claimed to be
Preachers, healers, truth-tellers,
Fortune-tellers, bank robbers, grave
Robbers, supermen, front men,
Side men, salesmen, highway men,

A man’s man and man’s gift to God,
But I have never met a man
Who would not lie to get out of love,
Nor a man who would not steal
To satisfy whatever hunger held him
Down. Down in the dumps. Down
In the depths where there is no coal,
No gold and no soul. I have never
Known a man who wasn’t afraid
Of dying, who didn’t think killing
Was a way to conquer that fear.

Patrick Hansel has published poems in over 20 journals and anthologies, including Hawai’i Pacific Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Passager, The Ilanot Review and The Meadowland Review. He was selected for the 2008-09 Mentor Series in Poetry at the Loft Literary Center in Minnesota, and was a 2011 Minnesota State Arts Board Grantee. His novella Searching was serialized in 33 issues of The Alley News.

Corners of My Mind

by Clarice Keegan

In the Jester’s Closet

From the artist:

I like to laugh. I have to laugh and try a space to weave together the accumulation of too many odds and ends in my life.

What Does the F Stand For?

by Sarah Rohrs

Failure is a word you look up in the dictionary, just like you
look into someone's eyes quite young and realize
jubilation is always triumphed in error. Because it's
never over really. Even monks singing to flowers
know that. Even the church mouse still aches. Praise fall
from grace and cracks that let the light in. Too cynical
for words today the chalk screeches mid-way through
a red mark, and the book is too heavy to carry home
from the pew. Relief in the end even if it's too late
to tell the whole story. How it happened. The split,
then the waiting for night to be over, for sadness to
lose its silent wail, and for itching fingers crawling along
sweaty sheets to find a way back to those open
windows in back seats barreling along a lone highway,
corn leaves curled up and glistening, hiding jewels,
for a taste of tomorrow, with King yelling from a
podium to masses a call for redemption, and Seeger
pounding those hammers in a Redwood forest - a song
about you and yourself as lover here, all over.

Audio reading by Victor D. Sandiego

Sarah Rohrs is a newspaper reporter refugee who now uses her note-taking skills at political and church meetings convened to fight backward political strides in immigration and poverty. She moved to Salem, Oregon to escape the San Francisco Bay Area's housing madness. She enrolls in the occasional poem-a-day class, takes lots of photos on her magic Coolpix, and volunteers at Head Start.

I Am The Only Needle

by Tendai Mwanaka

I am the only needle
In my name and of my calling.
Impossible needle stabbing the sky.
And there is no other needle
Of any kind anywhere.
Which can call upon me
For anything.

Not even for the sewing
Of the tattered clothing.
Not even for compromise
Or for cohabitation.
Not even for the slightest begging
Of an agreement
Or any arrangement.

Tendai R. Mwanaka is a multidisciplinary artist from Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. His works touches on literary disciplines (non-fictions, poetry, plays, fictions), music and sound art disciplines, visual art disciplines (photography, drawings, paintings, video,) inter genres and inter disciplines etc. Forthcoming books include; Zimbabwe: The Urgency of Now (creative non-fictions) from Langaa RPCIG, A Dark Energy (full length novel) from Aignos Publishing Inc. Work has been published in over 300 journals, anthologies and magazines in over 27 countries. Nominated, shortlisted and won some prizes and work has been translated into French and Spanish.

The Cactus Still Grows

by John C. Mannone

Dear Momma y Pappa,

I’m okay here in LA.
I should’ve written; I’m ashamed
and feel guilty that because of me
you got caught by the border
police. They sent you back.
But I escaped with Uncle Lauro.
We hid in the furrows of the sand
before making it to a small cave,
its opening covered with sagebrush.
I should’ve listened to you
when you told me not to play
with the flashlight. I was nervous
and I dropped it. It came on.
Couldn’t turn it off before
they saw it. Light travels so fast.
I hope you can forgive me.
I was a stupid ten-year old
and now I am thirty, and still
a little stupid. But I don’t
have to wash dishes anymore
for Cousin Bernardo. I plan
to open my own restaurant
with the money I saved
that I didn’t send to you. Sorry.
I still plan to write you a letter
and even mail it to you.

I am no longer an illegal.
But I still feel that way
because I stole your freedom.

Sincerely,
Juan

John C. Mannone has over 450 works published in venues such as Inscape Literary Journal, Windhover, Drunk Monkeys, Artemis, 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar, Southern Poetry Anthology (NC), Still: The Journal, Town Creek Poetry, Tupelo Press, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, Raven Chronicles and others. Author of two literary poetry collections—Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing, Jul 2015) and Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press, Dec 2015)—he’s the poetry editor for Silver Blade and Abyss & Apex, and has served as guest poetry editor for Inkspill Magazine (Issue 4, 2011) and Eye To The Telescope (Issue 14, 2014), as well as the 2013 Rhysling Chair. He won the 2015 Joy Margrave award for creative nonfiction and the 2015 Tennessee Mountain Writers poetry award. His work has been nominated three times for the Pushcart. He is a professor of physics in east Tennessee.

Memories of the Long-Lost Home

by Marilyne Bertoncini

From the artist:

This photo is part of a series intended for a video-poem on the theme of memory – I'm deply touched by old decayed urban places, and feel words and photos can conjure up something of their former lives and inhabitants, something as light as fantoms slightly passing by, between shade and reflections.

Marilyne Bertoncini – writer, translator, litterary critic,and editor of the online review "Recours au Poème" – has published numerous articles and critics on litterature, and translated the work of poets from all over the world. Her own poetry and photos have appeared in journals and online magazines such as Europe, The Wolf, Cordite, La Traductière, Capital des Mots, Ce qui reste, Phoenix

Day Breaks Open

by Louisa Tomlinson

You know why I like the dawn?
Because it’s a slow show
of the real show
revealed
in that crossing
from one light
to another
like when you fly up
through clouds
over clouds
and the sun
suddenly
already
was
all this time
and the light
always
already
was
and here we are
striking matches
learning electrics
fumbling for candles
in forgotten drawers.

This piece first appeared in India Writes

Louisa Tomlinson has had many poems published over the last few years, and been placed in various competitions, including 1st and 2nd Prize for a single poem and a collection in the New Writer International Poetry Competition, and Runner-Up in the Kent and Sussex Poetry Competition. She also edits, teaches, writes songs and articles, is working on an elusive novel, and is Blog Editor for the Jaipur Literature Festival.

Settled

by David Fraser

Maybe she settled for the first guy
in khaki who could dance and being the first
stuck with him despite the bar room brawls,
sergeant knocked down to private before getting hitched,
taking the boat across the Atlantic,
like all the other girls, some with babies
their mates had never seen,
some left at the dock
because no one came to take them
to a ranch at Yonge and Bay,
when maybe she should have married a farmer,
drove a tractor, tanned, brown as a berry,
let a border collie round-up the sheep,
hoed rows of turnip, not scrimped, not existed
for meager toil, and lived with his rotten teeth,
his tendency to flare.
Maybe if she hadn’t settled
for washing floors, laundry, chasing other
people’s dust instead of something
with a bit of passion in it,
tending the wounded,
comforting the sick,
with all her tenderness.

Maybe there came a time when she’d
walked that road too long,
with heavy sacks of what she really didn’t want,
too long a time, that she couldn’t change
and had to settle, could only go
to his palliative-care site every other day,
not every day, because she couldn’t take it any more,
and sit the allotted time, she thought was appropriate,
not talking, not touching, just sitting there,
settled, as it were, upon a chair.

David Fraser lives in Nanoose Bay, BC, on Vancouver Island. His poetry has appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Rocksalt, An Anthology of Contemporary BC Poetry, and recently in Tesseracts 18. He has published five collections of poetry and is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. His next collection, After All the Scissor Work is Done is forthcoming in the fall of 2015 published by Leaf Press.

Outside

by Ellen Wade Beals

From the artist:

This photo was taken in Hilton Head, SC, at the Stoney-Baynard Ruins. The old plantation was built of timber and tabby, which is a mixture of oyster shells, lime, and sand. When I took this picture I wondered who else in history had seen this view.

Ellen Wade Beals is a writer who recently took up photography. Her photo "Cold Heart" was the cover of Vine Leaves Literary Journal #10. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in various print and digital literary magazines and anthologies here and in Ireland. She is the editor and publisher of the award-winning anthology Solace in So Many Words.

Subterranean Poetics

by John C. Mannone

The river writhes through narrow chambers, crisscrossing into reticulation of arteries mapping the heart of earth. For a moment, I’m smaller than a drop of that water dissolving through rock; smaller than a microbe propelling inexorably to the source of life, to the laughter of rain, to the brass-brilliant sun, to the hero of creation.

John C. Mannone has over 450 works published in venues such as Inscape Literary Journal, Windhover, Drunk Monkeys, Artemis, 2016 Texas Poetry Calendar, Southern Poetry Anthology (NC), Still: The Journal, Town Creek Poetry, Tupelo Press, Baltimore Review, Pedestal, Raven Chronicles and others. Author of two literary poetry collections—Apocalypse (Alban Lake Publishing, Jul 2015) and Disabled Monsters (The Linnet’s Wings Press, Dec 2015)—he’s the poetry editor for Silver Blade and Abyss & Apex, and has served as guest poetry editor for Inkspill Magazine (Issue 4, 2011) and Eye To The Telescope (Issue 14, 2014), as well as the 2013 Rhysling Chair. He won the 2015 Joy Margrave award for creative nonfiction and the 2015 Tennessee Mountain Writers poetry award. His work has been nominated three times for the Pushcart. He is a professor of physics in east Tennessee.

Am I Smith or Jones?

by Michael Faia

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Smith: What happened out there in the water? Did this horse get away from you?

Jones: (expletive deleted—to read aloud, say things like “shee-ucks!”) The horse is on his own! Once he hits that water, I have nothin’ to do with him.

Smith: Is that right? That’s incredible. Seems like the other fellas stayed with their mounts, and it worked out a lot better.

Jones: I don’ know about that. My horse heads for that shoreline on ‘is own.

Smith: Wait a minute. You know this is very dangerous, right? If a couple a cowboys hadn’t grabbed those reins, we’d have had a few trampled folks out there.

Jones: Why the (expletive deleted) is it dangerous?

Smith: ’Cause you’ve got two or three dozen mommas down there along that riverbank, and they’ve got babies spread all around. You shouldda seen ‘em scatter, soon as those horses hit the water and yours got loose.

Jones: They don’t have to push up there on the banks like that.

Smith: But you know as well as I do, they’re gonna do that. It’s nice n’ cool. The bigger kids wade the shoreline from the start.

Jones: So what’s your point?

Smith: My point? My point is that if you’ve got two or three little stragglers out there, there gonna get crushed.

Jones: (expletive deleted)! They need to get outta the way.

Smith: Those babies are not gonna get outta the way! Their mommas can’t pick ‘em up that fast. You’re gonna have three dead babies out there, under your goddamn horse.

Jones: I don’t give a tin (expletive deleted). That’s their lookout.

Smith: The moms’ or the babies’? You don’t give a (expletive deleted) if your horse tramples three babies?

Jones: Right. I don’t give a good (expletive deleted). They know what’s comin’, and they have to get outta the way.

Smith: Wait a minute. Some family blows in here from Houston to do the big river festival, and they’re supposed to know they’ve gotta clear the river bank to make way for two-thousand pounds of mindless panic? Ain’t this a Chamber of Commerce float? Or barge, or whatever the hell it is?

Jones: Yeah. Chamber a Commerce. An’ I’ll tell you what to do, buster. Write a (expletive deleted) e-mail to the Chamber and tell ‘em about this problem. Make your point with them.

Smith: Do you get my point?

Jones: Yeah. I get your point. And I don’t give a (expletive deleted).

A hispanic woman about thirty, drinking coffee, beautiful, slowly approaches Jones. She speaks to him. With reverence.

Woman: This was one of the most thrilling moments I’ve ever known. It was awesome, magnificent, when those horses hit the water. I’ve never been so scared in my life. Or excited. It was totally unforgettable.

Smith: You were scared? Of what?

Woman (backing away): Listen! I’m sorry. I’m sorry, sir. No, no. I don’t want to get into this.

Smith: You ever been pregnant? Embarazada?

Michael Faia has served as faculty member at various schools (California State University, University of Southern California, Tongan Royal Institute of Technology, University of Toronto (OISE), La Universidad Veracruzana, William & Mary, Whittier College, University of Wisconsin at Madison). His vita and many of his academic articles and books can be seen on his homepage. Faia's best known book is Dynamic Functionalism: Strategy and Tactics…

The Genesis of Language

by Marilyne Bertoncini

1

There was a before
there was
there
was nothing.

The world was closed
on itself
shade
in the green shade.

The world was mute
and words
had to be
born.

2

In the green peace
her voice
the tiny
thread of a voice
where words congeal.

There was a before
there was an after
She
said before she
disappeared

3

Warping words
at the loom of the marshes
where to say
the words.

A flight of words
like a handfull of birds
thrown to the winds
and the world
opens

and millions of words
hang to the stars;
disclosed, the world
throbs

She says
and the vaporous lace
of her words
alights on the waters
where She disappears.

Translated into English by the author and Barry Wallenstein

Marilyne Bertoncini – writer, translator, litterary critic,and editor of the online review "Recours au Poème" – has published numerous articles and critics on litterature, and translated the work of poets from all over the world. Her own poetry and photos have appeared in journals and online magazines such as Europe, The Wolf, Cordite, La Traductière, Capital des Mots, Ce qui reste, Phoenix

The Mysteries

by Laura Lee Washburn

I hate quotations. Tell me what you know. — Emerson

I wouldn’t look closer in the dark.
I wouldn’t put my glasses on after leaving the shower.

I wouldn’t investigate, pressing
my face toward the clawed hole.

I won’t be found with the key in my hand,
with the chart or the film, or the sign on my arm.

I will not crawl through that tunnel
and will not climb into that tower.

I will not answer the knocking at the door,
and whatever is coming can stay in the box,
keeping its knowledge as well as its power.

Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review. Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri. She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky.