Experimental & Found & Prose Poetry
TELLING IT SLANT
Picture her: she’s walking down the straight line
of the highway. There’s only one way she can
go—to there. She’s wearing her bleached white
linen A-line (probably from Neiman’s) and her
lips are painted a rich peach on her straight face
(See the curve? See the bow?) Her eyes are done
up . . . up.
And see them there? They lurk there in the
bushes, the soundly roundlies, the dragger
druthers stationed along her way with orders
to toll her belle or ring her knell, depending
on the placement of her next high-heeled step.
Look even closer at her cloth-ing: She’s been
covered but first cleaned of her fur. Her fine
bleached linen A-line is a fraying, a tattering. It
has a label; she’s been tagged and she’s It. Her
sleeves have no arms—a disarmament.
Hear her bundled jumbled mumble:
“Mum-Me, where are you?” “Mum-Me, where
am I?” Hear the hobble click metonymy,
the music of her garble song? She walks that
line as the bush-whacking panopticons watch.
Then out they dart, to roll up her line behind her.
Originally published in Mindprints 2003 Vol.3. Nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Pamelyn Casto has articles on flash fiction in Writer’s Digest, Fiction Southeast, OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letter, Field Guide to Writing Flash Fiction, The Greenwood Encyclopedia of New American Reading, and Critical Insights: Flash Fiction.
the voices tell me they are a blessing /i’m not so sure
i am all tangled up in shadows that reek of our all-too-familiar three a.m.’s. they are lurking like a second skin, and if i was truly cold-blooded i would be able to shimmer out of shades and make love to the rising sun with a sparrow-song no longer full of fangs. there is a kind of fear that is formless, and its likeness lives in the space between our lips when we don’t know what next to say.
a night this shuddering with stars has the kind of cimmerian melodies that inhabit only moon-dark forests and your bedroom eyes. there is a pyrrhic echo in this hollow of my chest. i don’t know if this was worth it, and i am afraid that i will emerge at dawn with a phantasm-burnt tongue and only room for prophecies. i don’t know how long i can survive as a warning.
there is a stirring in my blood, a dark tender beast that is aching for your ancient eden mouth. there is an earthen madness fevering its way through my veins, one that is god-begotten and forged of gold. somewhere i am choking on stars and six a.m.’s as i shiver apart into blood-soaked hósannas. somewhere i have learned another word for sacrifice. somewhere you have learned another word for freedom.
Eva Kerins is a poet with an incredible love for all forms of poetic expression. She’s a full-time student with a love of indoor gardening, a mediocre amount of talent in playing the ukulele, and a tentative plan to intentionally lose herself in a foreign city.
Ed Roach will Walk out of the Tobacco Tonight
The notice reads as if Ed Roach died yesterday and now the family
is asking everyone to celebrate the life of their 24-year-old son.
Lynched in the county back in 1920, Ed was beaten, shot five times,
and strangled from an oak tree, accused of attacking a white woman.
Though his alibi was solid, a mob of 200 local men judged otherwise,
and afterwards, after Ed’s friends buried him, the oak torched the night sky.
A century later, the ceremony is like a shock from an exposed live wire—
a current singeing everyone in the county, exposing the rot within.
Plow the red clay, yellowed leaf. Dig below the pine and sweet gum.
Ed Roach, rise with your hanging rope. The horror in the fields is over.
Jonathan Giles is a self-employed writer who lives in Durham, North Carolina, with his wife and cat. His poems have recently appeared in Main Street Rag, Avalon Literary Review, and Better than Starbucks. A selection of his writing can be found at jonathangileswriter.com.
Backhanded flyer remembrance.
Finger painted turnstile dream catcher.
Stagnant sitting and watching seriously?
Staying:look:talk. Selectively sold.
Why not? Why? Wickedly wistful,
the bad good intention.
The leaving behind of that which needs to be
how many have walked out of Plato’s cave?
How many left The Tempest the same person?
whereabouts unknown, soul provider
weartooth and tail
Laid it all out my defended detritus
Delicious dredge the rats are in the attic
it is the heat that attracts
This is not a whisper. It is a rib crack. An ambulance siren.
A street of broken windows and of men lighting everything on fire.
—this house turned Home/ tails from the other side, their tellers who turn Souls to take them back
Simon Wolf lives in Seattle, Washington. He writes to explore his inner and outer worlds. He is a co-founder of Stay Happy Collective and begins work on his master’s degree in Creative Writing and Poetics this Fall at the University of Washington, Bothell.
Better than Starbucks began wholly as a creation in my mind. Now the wonderful collaboration of dedicated editors is creating a magazine that I could have only dreamed about when I was starting out as a one person organization.
Having said that, there are no direct connections between U Penn, Al Filreis, KWH (Kelly Writers House), ModPo (Modern & Contemporary American Poetry), or any of the actual affiliated programs to ModPo and this magazine, other than I have been a part of ModPo for several years now. There is, however, a strong spiritual and intellectual connection between BTS and ModPo.
If I had not gotten involved in the larger community of ModPo, I don’t think I would have restarted a literary publication. I am certain I would not have added a Formal & Rhyming Page, and probably not a Translations page. I have a pretty narrow preference for poetry, but the course and the people at ModPo have expanded my view of poetry to the point that I decided if I could find good people to help me do it, we would make BTS as broad of a source of styles and genres as possible.
Thus, it seems fitting that we dedicate a page to my fellow students at ModPo, and/or anyone who wants to share experimental poems. The thing about experiments is, they often fail, but as the point is to learn, not to create perfection, even failed experiments in the lab or on this page, will offer something for us, if we will find it. and when the experiment doesn't fail . . . well, you will see! - Anthony Watkins