bloodied voices across
the clear phone
invoking aeonian histories
context as a flightless bird
carry sympathy in armfuls
jutting under elbows and
you offer infection to your
of a sister
and roll your eyes at the dusty evening
when fevers curve under shut
eyelids wind between cilia
hide in the cusp
of my hand, brother
spin these silks until they’re invisible
and pass its smoothness
let the fibers sap what
they need and you don’t
those that love you
will wring you thoroughly
and every drop will
Sara Matson’s writing can be found or is forthcoming in Rabid Oak, Mannequin Haus, Anti-Heroin Chic, FIVE:2:ONE, Burning House Press, A) Glimpse) Of), Poached Hare, OCCULUM Journal, Dream Pop Press, Waxing and Waning, and elsewhere. She lives in Chicago with her rad husband + cats, and tweets as @skeletorwrites
She had a birthday, became thirty, became morbid and suffering and told her husband she would bear no more children, that inherent in birth is the sentence of death, that all childbearing is selfish, an illusion of immorally and how well she knew that she would die soon (what is thirty, forty more years compared to eternity?), that she was powerless, that her only life was moving along a path she could not remember freely choosing and she would not know all experience, live all the lives, reach all the corners that she might, but if nothing else, she said, she wished better for her unborn offspring than this anguish, this knowledge of nothingness-after-life.
Take an aspirin, he said. Not unkindly.
Sue Powers has an array of publishing credits, among them Saturday Evening Post. She’s the recipient of a fellowship & grant from the Illinois Arts Council in Prose and two of her stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She has 21 fiction publications.
Photo by Gaelle Marcel on Unsplash
And I find it again:
The only thing that helps
Like the difference between drowning
Or salt water.
But one is easier to swallow
on the way Down
It stings less in the eyes
Of those around you
Being hit in the face
With your wild, desperate
For One Last Truth
at the bottom
of an ancient
Danielle de Corcho teaches English as a Second Language and writes poetry and creative nonfiction. Her poems have appeared in HEArt Journal Online, Scintilla Magazine, and the Submittable Blog. She lives just outside of New Orleans with her family.
Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash
We got a chance to catch up with past contributor Allison Thorpe! (You can read her poems “The Last Time My Mother Baked Bread” and “Resolution” in our Winter 2017 collection ebook, available for purchase here.) Her latest book The Shepherds of Tenth Avenue is available for preorder through Finishing Line Press. Find out what inspires Allison, her advice for women writers, and more!
What inspires you the most?
I lived in rural Kentucky for many years, and nature was my constant inspiration. When I moved to Lexington, I found motivation in the tremendous creative energy all around me: the artists at the museum across the street, two bookstores (Brier Books and The Wild Fig) who continually hold readings and workshops, the woman who draws mandalas on the sidewalk, the colorful book benches from the Carnegie Center, the Buddha Babes, and all my writing groups. Lexington is a dynamic center of literary pursuits and encouragement.
Who are your favorite women writers?
I’m all over the board, and my catalog of women writers grows every day. I do tend to gravitate toward Kentucky/Appalachian writers like Crystal Wilkerson, Ada Limon, Rebecca Gayle Howell, Jan Sparkman, and so many others. I’m involved with the Kentucky Women Writers Conference (the longest running literary festival of women in the nation and held in Lexington each September) which offers amazing women authors in a variety of genres. I come away with armloads of books and more new favorites. Currently, I am reading My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh which is beautifully disturbing. I support women writers and am heartened by the variety of voices and stories.
What does your writing process look like?
Being retired, I have the joy of writing every day. I often have several projects going and see where my keyboard takes me when I sit down. I’m someone who gets ideas when I should be sleeping, so I always have pen and paper close at hand. That drowsy state just before or upon waking is a gold mine for me. I can’t tell you how many poems have been born in those moments. June is Lexington Poetry Month, and Accents Publishing challenges writers to post a poem a day. It’s fun and exciting to read and respond to the work of others. I love the chain reactions that arise.
What advice do you have for fellow women writers?
Support each other! Go to readings. Buy books. Open those doors that allow women a voice. I am a great believer in finding a writing partner or a writing group that will support and critique work. Even joining a book club can be insightful to one’s own poetry. Feedback is vital and necessary. I am also a great believer in revision, something I preached to my students over the decades. Revision is a good place to experiment with voice, with point of view, with language.
What are you currently working on?
At present, I am developing poems about Rosalind Franklin, a chemist who played a major role in the discovery of DNA. I received a grant from the Kentucky Foundation for Women to research and write about her. She is a fascinating woman who did not receive the recognition she deserved. But who knows what other inspiration may come along?
You can preorder Allison Thorpe’s book The Shepherds of Tenth Avenue here!
Things I Tell My Children
Always carry a dark stone, a mute bluebird, a sharp arrow, homing devices nobody questions. Trust animals — human directions are deceitful, their bones lie (love them anyway). Share your poems whenever possible, only sacrifice survives, map the consequences with metaphor; the poem is always truth. A dewdrop cannot be saved, let it dry so the stars have a trail to follow, feed the deer fermented apples, they may stumble, steady; the skies’ reflection in their eyes is a prayer — say it. Look a loved one dead in the face, blame your defiance on your mother, her damp hands feeding earth soft men, when briars grab your legs as you run, bloody scratches become new words (the stinging eventually subsides): write them. Listen to the fish dreaming at lake’s bottom, swallow the weight of the stone in your pocket, be silent, the birch branches all sway in the right direction, look up. Be grateful — your arrow points to verses the startled bluebird sings once you give her voice.
Lisa Caloro teaches at a small community college in the Catskills and bartends on weeknights to diversify her audience and gather more material. Her poems have appeared in Evening Street Review, Jelly Bucket, and Santa Ana River Review among other publications.
Photo by Margaret Weir on Unsplash