Issue 8 – Gods Themselves Cry Down

Subprimal Poetry Art/Music - Issue 8 - March 2017
Cover art by Victor D. Sandiego
Issue title by Ingi House
View: Everything | Contents


Trump As A Fire Without Light #473

by Darren C. Demaree

These calamities are lingering in my blood like they are already regrets, and yet I am the one that is angry all of the time. My wife has become a professional wrestler so that nobody questions why she absolutely must hit me in the back with a folding chair from time to time. This is the new normal, which in the context of my history, appears to be the destruction of my calm and beautiful heart.

Darren C. Demaree is the author of six poetry collections, most recently Many Full Hands Applauding Inelegantly (2016, 8th House Publishing). He is the Managing Editor of the Best of the Net Anthology and Ovenbird Poetry. He is currently living in Columbus, Ohio with his wife and children.

Speaking of the Weather

by Meredith Lindgren

At this point it was very hot. On the way out the stretcher popped one of the balloons. If it weren’t startling no one would have noticed. Under the circumstances no one cared. Patricio’s mother, Sally, let out screaming sobs.

Just before that, in the backyard, the paramedics lifted the body of Patricio, age five, onto the stretcher after zipping up the bag. Planes flew overhead in and out of McCarran.

But first the paramedics attempted CPR. They tried the shock paddles. Both these and the paramedic’s hands made the child’s chest look even smaller. It was already too late…

Continental Drift

by Loria Mendoza

Sleep where you can.

Our mothers’ voices sang from the wedding crystal in the cabinets above our heads. They were talking about the War of the Roses and the summer at The Hotel Flores, while thirty-two shades of blue filled the cracks in our window, snout-shaped patterns we filled with hot breath coronas collapsing on candlelight.

The nails in our shore-worn feet clicked in our sleep, hooked us together tectonically. We were always falling head over heels in and out of bed, disrupting continents, the shores of our appetites rushing forward before coming apart at the seams of our brackish garments. We held our conched fingers to each others’ ears as we fucked, because I wanted destination wedding sex on the beach. You swore we would hear the ocean. But we only heard a body fall to the floor in the apartment above us, and then, nothing.

Sleep when you can: never too much, just enough, only enough.

I kept track of the minutes until the clock fell in the waste bin by our heads. Perhaps the ticking rhythm reminded me of the heartbeat in my mother’s palm as she slapped me over and over across my small fresh face. There was never enough air in the room to cry, Sanctuary, just enough, only enough, to keep me terrified.

Sleep with whomever you can.

And I was no longer so damn depressed, evidently seduced by the brandy in your irises, or the way you helped me remember to breathe. How do we fix our broken chronicles? We never even bothered to fix that damned windowpane. But where does the light shine through? And where does the cold seep in?

Loria Mendoza hails from Austin, Texas, where she learned to keep it weird. Seeking the constancy of the bizarre, she moved to the Mission District in San Francisco, where she earned her MFA at San Francisco State University. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Mobius, Maudlin House, Fourteen Hills, Red Light Lit, The Walrus Literary Journal, Transfer Magazine, and featured at Voz Sin Tinta, Bay Area Generations, Pan Dulce Poets, MFA Mixer 2.0, Velro, Oakland’s Beast Crawl and San Francisco’s Litquake. Her first book, Life's Too Short (2017), a collection of stories, won the Michael Rubin Book Award. She lives in Austin, again.

An Open Letter To Mangroves

by Mark Danowsky

You may not have been made aware
poets name you often in their musings

I wanted to inform you
in case you, like Ents, can speak
and therefore gossip about us

Let it be known I was not among those
attempting to give weight to my work
by citing how impressive you are
though I agree you are an inspiration

I must admit I am partial to the Baobab
who some call an upside-down tree
and who I suspect you may be acquainted with
given you are both clever about water
and live in places I have never been

Mark Danowsky is a writer from Philadelphia. His poems have appeared in About Place, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, Right Hand Pointing, Shot Glass Journal, Subprimal, Third Wednesday, and elsewhere. He is Managing Editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.

Belief

by Ingi House

A church next to a hotel
tells the story of my city
of my country
of myself
though I have long ago lost
belief in the steeple.

I can’t help but think
of the loneliness
that would make gods
themselves cry down
a sanctuary
of their love.

Ingi House is an archivist and has written on several archival topics. She has published poetry in RMB Journal, Dual Coast and NOUS. Originally from the Midwest, she is trying out both coasts to see which one is best. She loves words and hope they love her back. Contact her on Twitter @IngiHouse.

Untitled

by Anna Feldstein

When she noticed an absence where a presence had been, should be, a vacuous absence of intimacy, of contact, of contract, of thought, when she noticed that it grew larger, not smaller, as absences do, and vacuums, unchecked, she set out to do the only thing she could do: she set out to shrink the absence to a reasonable size, make it palpable, touchable, make it if not presence then the difference between nothingness and something, and that is splitting hairs. She set out to reach so deep into absence that absence must necessarily become existence and from there become pervasiveness and from there ubiquity. She set out to dance with absence, her partner, and ubiquity, her lover, and in so doing to spend ubiquity until he was spent and build up absence until he was grand as ubiquity had been. She set out to dance alone until she was spent and breathless, gasping on her knees like a wild thing just out from the woods from running, falling down upon absence, her partner, who was there all along like an emptiness, waiting for her, waiting for her to need him just once, just one more time, his hands and body gaunt and wasted from waiting. Just once, for her to need him. Just once, for her to feel his manliness, eviscerated as he felt it was and as it may have been. Just once, for her to know him. All his existence depended on her, as if, without her, he would waste to nothing, to utter absence, as if the sole prerequisite for his having any existence at all, any body, any presence, any form, was her obligatory need for him, of which she had none. No, she was the wild thing out from the woods from running; she ran and she ran and she danced and she ran and she needed no man, least of all a vacuous absence with sunken cheeks and cavernous eyes and knobby knuckles and knees. And if she chose a man, let her choose ubiquity with his wild hair, and use him up, wild thing from the woods that she was. Let her taste fire.

Anna Feldstein is a poet and essayist, focusing mainly on prose poetry at this point. By day, she works with the elderly in Saratoga Springs, NY, and by night, waits tables at a cool music club where she performs her poetry from time to time.

Ptolemaic

by Lois Marie Harrod

Ptolemy didn’t need
a telescope to ascertain

what most believed—
all revolved

around their private ball of dust,
each mind a universe

focused on one and only,
a truth babies

know at birth
and few forget

as they grow older
though a Copernican

saint or two
claims it possible

to love beyond
and that the survival

of the individual
may depend

on the heresy
that not one of us

is the sole center
of all creation.

Lois Marie Harrod’s most recent collection Nightmares of the Minor Poet appears in May, 2016. Her chapbook And She Took the Heart appeared in January 2016, and her 13th and 14th poetry collections, Fragments from the Biography of Nemesis (Cherry Grove Press) and the chapbook How Marlene Mae Longs for Truth (Dancing Girl Press) appeared in 2013. The Only Is won the 2012 Tennessee Chapbook Contest (Poems & Plays), and Brief Term, a collection of poems about teachers and teaching was published by Black Buzzard Press, 2011. Cosmogony won the 2010 Hazel Lipa Chapbook (Iowa State). She is widely published in literary journals and online ezines from American Poetry Review to Zone 3. She teaches Creative Writing at The College of New Jersey.

I'm No Martyr

by Heikki Huotari

So you can at the same time know what I am thinking and what I am saying I am writing as extravagantly and as backwardly as possible on frosted glass and back to 1965 and last seen on TV and saying sorry and proposing at an altitude and from a distance to you only, promising I will renounce my one remaining hope that someday I will own a flying car and for some reason no one else will.

Heikki Huotari is a retired professor of mathematics. In a past century, he attended a one-room country school and spent summers on a forest-fire lookout tower. His poems appear in several journals, most recently in Diagram and Puerto del Sol, and he's the winner of the 2016 Gambling the Aisle chapbook contest.

Vestiges of Time

by Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka

Regarding her work, the artist says:

I took this photo in Zakopane, a resort town in the Polish Tatra Mountains, one of my favorite places on Earth. Quite close to the town center I strayed down an unknown path. Among modernized structures I encountered remnants of old, waiting for repair.

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.

To Be An Alsatian

by Rowan Johnson

In the village he read On the Genealogy of Morals and considered whether man truly was just an animal with a right to make promises. The Jagermeister bottle was more than half empty when the simple peasant girl joined him on the couch, so they finished the bottle together. Afterwards, she showed him the Alsatians and they took a dog sled ride back to the cabin.

On the sled the girl’s hair had been fantastically black, longer than his arms. He peered over the edge of that dark mountain and wondered how the Alsatians were not getting hopelessly lost. Then Nietzsche’s words came back to him: animals cannot acquire the depth to become truly evil, so could they can never be above other beasts. But certainly tonight it seemed that these vigorous dogs were high above everything else in this dark and swirling night.

Now, back in the cabin, the dogs were howling, far away, and the girl was suddenly gone. The night grew even darker.

All that remained of that peasant girl was a memory of a forgotten surname and a vague telephone number and strands of straight dark hair, found eloquently between the pages of Nietzsche. He played Louis Armstrong, poured a Jack Daniels, and opened the dog-eared copy of the book. He settled near the fire and read over each page again, deliberately, as if studying for a test. The ice cracked from time to time in the empty glass. Louis was scat singing as he considered good and evil and rose for another drink.

Rowan Johnson holds a doctorate from the University of Tennessee as well as an MA from the University of Nottingham, England. His work has been published in Two Thirds North, 4ink7, Passing Through Journal, Wordriver Literary Review, GFT Press, and the Writers' Abroad Foreign Encounters Anthology. He has also written numerous travel articles for SEOUL Magazine.

The Same

by Toti O'Brien

I was three or four years old, spending whole afternoons by the water pipe. Just an open groove of concrete—meant for irrigation—it spread throughout the orchards, branching off in intricate nets. To me it was a labyrinth, a freeway leading everywhere, a tool of discovery.

I sat there... for how long? Time didn’t make sense. I sat there enchanted, my hand brushing the green, muddy stream—as majestic as a Mississippi or a Nile, which I didn’t know existed…

Tribute

by George Moore

I am dreaming of Gabriela Mistral again and her children,
those orphaned poems that became people who loved her
and left her happy. Emergency was what saved her.

On any day, the tree spreads its wings to cover the sky,
and a clutter of crows wakes to her song of loneliness.
But the vast canopy becomes a kind of family.

In the morning, she is gone, but the laughing and light
screams of children linger over the ocean here. A word
can be a grain of sand, or a small hand.

George Moore's collections include Saint Agnes Outside the Walls (FutureCycle 2016) and Children's Drawings of the Universe (Salmon Poetry 2015). Nominated for six Pushcart Prizes, and a finalist for both the National Poetry Series and the Brittingham Poetry Award, his work has appeared in The Atlantic, Colorado Review, Arc, Antigonish Review, Orbis, and Valparaiso. After a career at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he lives on the south shore of Nova Scotia.

Clinicals

by Esteban Colon

Protest signs never scared her.
never
hid the intentions of hands and faces
never
hid the places she'd seen them before.

Over-ripened scowls always
had pasts,
grimaced
besides wives and pastors as young women wept to hospital beds.

Mary couldn't help but search the crowds
find
Johns who knew their money was being spent there.
standing next to
unknowing wives crying
“whore”
too loud to hear whimpers of familiarity
intimate details
of the pillars besides them.

Mary didn't need to hear tales
remembered
the stain of blood, the
tears spent
figuring out which was worse
life
or death.

Esteban Colon is the author of Things I Learned the Hard Way. A Pushcart Nominee, he is a founding member of the W4tB poetry collective, a Poetry Bomb site organizer, and a performer who has featured all over Chicago and Southern Wisconsin. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, anthologies and chapbooks including but not limited to: Revise the Psalm, Prairie Gold, This Frankenstein Union, After Hours, and Rhino Magazine.

Metastasis

by Jennifer L. Freed

And you become
a stillness—
faint, slight,
a sheen on your smooth head.

Language leaves
your tongue,
radiates
from the blue of your eyes.

The darkness—all those years—
now light
as air. Your hands
open.

Jennifer L Freed's work has appeared in various journals and anthologies including Poetry East, Common Ground Review, Citron Review, The Healing Muse, and Forgotten Women: A Tribute in Poetry. Her chapbook, These Hands Still Holding, was a finalist in the 2013 New Women's Voices competition.  She lives with her family in central Massachusetts.

Untitled

by Thomas Park

Regarding his work, the artist says:

This work is one of a series I created by taking original paintings and layering them digitally. Sometimes, as in this work, I included collage elements. This was often done to heighten a resemblance to street art, or even an effect of looking at a city wall.

Thomas Park lives in Saint Louis with his wife and their 2 cats. He is a multidisciplinary artist who has strongly been influenced by living in a thriving and diverse city. His visual art often reflects his love of graffiti and street art, as well as that of abstract expressionism.

Desperate

by Wayne-Daniel Berard

God will say
anything
that you are
chosen that
paradise is
just for you
alone that
only you know
the truth
that dying
is not too
great a price
for you that
universes were
made nations
empires unmade
for you that
special attention
is paid to your
every need want
gesture lash on
your eye beat
of your heart that
lost tribes settled
new worlds for you
and comets will sail
your soul that
all you need to
receive is to ask
anything anything
name it name
me  God
  is a desperate
  lover

Wayne-Daniel Berard, Ph. D., teaches at Nichols College in Dudley, MA. He is the founding co-editor of Soul-Lit, an online journal of spiritual poetry. His work has appeared in Poetica, Tiferet, Red Wolf, Silly Tree, Twisted Ending, Melted Wing, Watershed Review, Kerem, Ruah, Sahara, Deronda Review, Muddy River Poetry Review, Nimble Spirit, Presence, Wilderness House Literary Review, Ibbitson Street, The Issue, and Soul-Lit, among other publications.  His book, When Christians Were Jews, (That Is Now), is published by Cowely Publishing.  His novel, The Retreatants, is published through smashwords.com.  His latest offering is a chapbook, Christine Day, Love Poems. He lives in Mansfield, MA with his wife, The Lovely Christine.

Faer

by Elizabeth Sackett

Rye-grass, meadow, saltmarsh. It abrades her ankles, leaves them raw and weary as she walks from a home that smelled of warm bread and lavender and the shrinking of space, the calamity of living. Now, as she goes to the village to work and marry, her home is the travel, the field, the way her feet hurt as she urges them, horse-like, on.

Before the village (where she will perhaps meet a rich boy and have babies and a garden of rampion and mint) is a forest, the kind that is heavy to look at, with a stream slipping through. She enters, hearing the whisper of water weathering the ground, splashing where she steps and soaking her skirts. She stops.

Her feet
no longer
feel pained.

And there is a man.

She didn’t see him before but he is so pale, his veins are blue rivers running through his arms.

“Where are you going,” he says, and she doesn’t tell him
but he nods anyway, nods
like moonlight
falling
on a branch.

“If you follow me,” he says, “you will have fabric like
stars and a bed of moss, and a
laugh to soothe your sleep into
velvet dreams. Follow, but
do not step from the water.”

As he reaches to her, she follows forward through the stream, touching the fog of his fingers,
a pinprick of
porcelain.

And as she walks, the stream follows like a wedding train,
working through her,
lifeblood,
a heartbeat, a brush of
white wine.

It is sweet and,
stepping, she is full and
filled, and ahead is something like the
sun behind an
effervescent veil, a land of
honey, of amber.

Slow and fogged, and with the paradise ahead,
its treasures and hopes, she turns her face away
from the brightness
and stumbles from the stream

to finds herself on a bank, dirt smeared bloody on her skin. It was a dream, she tells herself, and thinks of her dreams before of going to the village to find a husband, a job as a servant. She sets forward through the forest to find the reality of its merchant shops and bright gardens, cobblers and candymakers

but what is there when she emerges isn’t a village.

There are buildings, but instead of thatched shops, they are metal and reach to the sky.

There are gardens and homes but, in the midst of them, are great chrome beasts made of wheels and loud rumblings.

And as she turns back to the forest she sees, from a distance, and with a metallic roar, the top of a tree shudder and fall

as though
by a great force
devoured.

Elizabeth Sackett graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2013 with a degree in English and a writing concentration. At Geneseo, she received the Lucy Harmon Award for Fiction Writing and was published in Gandy Dancer. Her writing can also be found in The Gravity of the Thing, Fickle Muses, I Want You to See This Before I Leave, and Neon Literary Magazine. She spends her spare time drawing pictures of bird skeletons.

Township Of Dunn 30 Years Later

by Shoshauna Shy

By happenstance we reach
County Trunk MM, locate Clayton,
next Lalor where Murphy Road T-bones,
homesteads unfolding under coverlets
of green, the tresses of willows a caress
upon the ground.
We nearly miss the acreage of farmland
we called home, for what was a bald barnyard

is now shrouded with trees, their evergreen shadows
cooling the afternoon in mimicry of that May
when we unbuckled overalls, slept on linoleum,
awakened to runners on a marathon
to Stoughton. I ask the spruces is this marriage

what I imagined when I curled in sleep
upon their land – as if they knew me then,
and what exactly I wanted; as if I could distinguish
between expectation and acceptance; knew how
to rate the width of contentment; measure against loss,
the stretch of need.

Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, Shoshauna Shy was a finalist for the Tom Howard/Margaret Reid poetry prize sponsored by Winning Writers in 2015, and her 5th poetry collection was just released by Aldrich Press of Kelsay Books titled A Splash of Easy Laughter. Shy is also a flash fiction author - but that's another story!

Man Edge

by Richard Vyse

Regarding his work, the artist says:

Celebrating man with an edge in line and spontaneous brushstrokes to capture a moment and a mood.

Internationally collected artist Richard Vyse has shown in galleries in Manhattan and Honolulu. He has studied at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan and taught at Pratt in Brooklyn. His art has been featured in many international art magazines, and is found in the Leslie+Lohman museum in Manhattan.