Extra Feature This Issue:

Goderich by Austin Gilmour

Three Featured Poems​

The Interview with Simon Perchik

by Anthony Watkins

 Essay by Simon Perchik

Editor's Choice - Formal Poetry

Nothing to Fear

 

There’s nothing to fear, nothing, his mother said.

She held him, and when he grew too big to hold

she sat beside him, smoothed his brow, and told

him, Nothing in the closet or under the bed;

nothing in the swaying trees that cast

their shadow limbs across his bedroom floor;

nothing in the empty house next door

that stares through glassless eyes as we walk past.

He didn’t hear the strange foreshadowing,

the turn her words would take, but now he sees

the nothing in the empty house, the trees,

the nothing in anything, in everything,

the nothing coming closer year by year,

the promised nothing that he has to fear.

 

 

Richard Wakefield’s first poetry collection, East of Early Winters (University of Evansville Press), won the Richard Wilbur Award. His second collection, A Vertical Mile (Able Muse Press), was short-listed for the Poets’ Prize.

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker, and elsewhere. His most recent collection, and his twentieth book, is The Gibson Poems, published by Cholla Needles Arts & Literary Library, 2019. For more information including free e-books please visit his website at http://www.simonperchik.com.

AW: I have known you as a poet for a couple of years, primarily through some of the poems of yours we have published. I and the entire staff are quite fond of your work, so it seems reasonable our readers probably are too. Given that, I wanted a chance to better introduce you to our readers and find out more about you for myself along the way.

 

SP: Thank you, Anthony, I am truly honored by your interest in my work.

 

AW: One of the first things you and I corresponded about was your titles, or your lack of titles. I have run into poets who write mostly “Untitled” poems. I don’t publish them. To me, a title IS the poem, and what follows are various details and abstractions about that thing, so if a poet can’t tell what the thing is, I usually think they need to rewrite the poem. You on the other hand title almost all your poems with an asterisk. Why do you not title them in a conventional manner?

 

SP: Since year one I’ve never titled a poem. Not even with an asterisk. That came much later when I read an Italian poet who used the asterisk as a title. I thought that was cool. So I stole it. Truth is, I don’t think in terms of a title. My poetry makes its living in the subconscious and as such has many facets, each often conflicting with the others. A title might be an unwarranted risk, leading the reader to limit the poem to one aspect to the detriment of the others.

Publisher’s Choice — Free Verse

Larry’s Wife & The Cat

 

She’s looking for someone to dance with, someone who

          won’t step on her toes,

someone who is in step with her every move,

someone who anticipates her next move

 

someone who doesn’t exist

 

so instead she settled for Larry

 

he’s asleep in his La-Z-Boy

 

and she’s dancing with the cat.

 

 

Scott C. Kaestner is a Los Angeles poet, dad, husband, and barefoot beach walker. Google ‘Scott Kaestner Poetry’ to peruse his musings and doings.

Editor’s Choice — Free Verse

The Belladonna Berry Syndrome

          “I, too, dislike it . . .” — MM

 

Not sure if why she disliked it

was seeing that the loss

inflicted by compelled transition

from a state of nothingness void of pain

to one of acute awareness

is the cause of all grief.

 

She suggested after all it was possible

to be interested in it sometimes

for example when it featured

exotic made-up places

where real creatures dwell

and to be a true connoisseur of the art.

 

Her dramatic monologue Marriage though

where both actors and scene defy belief

does cite poison

the quintessence of the quotidien really

since a chain reaction of tortured deaths

continues as it keeps being swallowed.

 

Even so, not sure her contempt for it

meant never forgiving the theft of peace

any species of speech denotes

especially when it only seems pitiable 

to be trapped in a racked sensorium

completely alone and deviled by dreads.

Poems by Tom Merrill have recently appeared in two novels as epigraphs. His latest book, Time in Eternity, can be purchased from Ancient Cypress Press.

Tribute to John Whitworth submit a poem!

The fourteenth of July celebration in Paris (1886) Vincent Van Gogh

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