Saturday, November 29, 2014

Asha Gowan--Lantern-Bearer Clad in Throes

Fireflies, Flying Their Fire

Fireflies, at death’s paling, throw stars into shadows,
Torch the night, chastise its lullaby for stealing light, and away
Flying their fire, at death’s ailing, to rave at grave jars of mad glows.

I could say, have me die in my sleep, resign my life to sad woes
But my light was borne of blazing gleam, sing me back into dream the way
Fireflies, at death’s paling, throw stars into shadows.

Scar the darkness, char this living’s starkness, by burning glad blows.
Men, small lightning thieves, must dare brandish their flames into the dying gray,
Flying their fire, at death’s ailing, to rave at grave jars of mad glows.

A wicked game of smothering life does some demon child, clad in throes,
Make when twisting the lid airtight? Maybe so, but my dreams alight to follow stray
Fireflies, at death’s paling, throw stars into shadows.

Oh the pain of stolen light, and pain greater still when slow stolen! Had those
Dreams and I flew into this mortal quarantine, tied! But they glow into the gray,
Flying their fire, at death’s ailing, to rave at grave jars of mad glows.

And I, once light bearer, know the torch will wane into the night, in bad pose
Of trembling gleam but dreams, living’s darkness, yes dreams do betray --
Fireflies, at death’s paling, throw stars into shadows,
Flying their fire, at death’s ailing, to rave at grave jars of mad glows.

My name is Asha Gowan and I hail from small town Carrboro, NC. As a freshman currently attending the University of North Carolina at Asheville, my intent to major in Literature with a possible concentration in Creative Writing is evolving into a sound conviction. I have a wide range of far-reaching interests that have enriched the content of my prose and poetry. An unbounded love of truth, beauty, and wisdom motivates me to keep pushing beyond the limits of my understanding. So, I make a habit of absorbing as much as I can. I consciously observe. I mindfully pay attention. However, my life blood is verse. Ever since my solitary days spent in the school library during lunch, I befriended poets such as George Moses Horton and Li Young-Lee, then on to essayists such as Thoreau and Emerson, etc. I read vociferously. I mustered the courage to give it a try, to pretend to be an author for a day. I've been at it ever since and I've no intention to surrender the pen. Writing has been a stabilizer, a confidant, and a tutor.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Chani Zwibel: Postmodern Cassandra


First, the needling headache behind the eyes
Allows I am awake
Sun caught in the gauzy white curtains tells
Morning and reality have merged
First, to dress oneself against the elements
Today-the cold, tomorrow, the heat

God expelled us from the Garden
To a world where we’d need
To clothe our bodies against its harshness
While Paradise bloomed in splendor the rest
Had a hard evolution –the slow birth of rocks,
The slimy ancestor crawling up from muck
The worm out of the primordial sea
To a place where our ears are beset by singing cowboys
Our culture inundated with thong panties and racecars
Until one mass-curl-crowned-wave
Curves over our heads darkly
And falls
Ocean reclaiming camera-phones, contact-lenses, favorite pets. 


weasels are underground, waiting.
they want skin.
weasels are snorting cocaine, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair.
weasels are fucking, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood.
weasels are performing satanic initiation rites underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle.
weasels are embezzling millions from top Fortune 500 companies, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone.
weasels are keeping toddlers in cages, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair; they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone; they want marrow.
weasels are snapping babies’ spines, underground, waiting.
they want skin; they want hair, they want blood; they want muscle; they want bone; they want marrow; they want gristle.

weasels are underground, waiting. 

Chani Zwibel spent her first 18 years in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but now calls Marietta, Georgia, home.  She writes and gardens in a little red brick house. Married to Evan Butler, she and her husband are parents to a lovely blue pitbull named Loki. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Charlie Farmer, Dangerous Young Debonair

Am I Not Lucky?

Every Thursday,
I visit the High to see the Veiled Rebecca.

Someone took a slab of marble and did that.

There are nights I don't want to sleep in my bed,
And I pack a bag of books and take a cab.

And I begin.

I carry three books--Gatsby, Meditations in an Emergency, and Jesus's Son.

Last week, a girl took me to her home and in bed as I unpacked,
She asked to read me to sleep.


We fooled them.
Dressed up, we almost belonged,
You, 19, wearing your dead mother's heels,
Bouncing checks for a two hundred dollar dress,
I borrowing a skinny tie and using your bobby pin as a tie clip,
Ordering duck confit and wine we could not pronounce.

Now we have leftovers, postcards, 
and people mistaking us for being in love, important.

Your Birthday and Apple Juice

Each morning in traffic,
I think of how you will wear your hair.

You arrange it three ways--
Straight, tucked behind your ears.

Curled, Gatsby, pure grace.

Or braided, and just so,
My favorite.

You are one year older today.
And you are going to break so many goddamned hearts.

A Capricorn since 1978, Charlie Farmer was born in Forsyth, Georgia. After years of teaching  English in Milledgeville, Georgia, he finally discovered the virtues of barsitting with a drink, pen, and stacks of cocktail napkins at hand.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Holly Holt and the Abominable Seasons

how rain laughs

has autumn rain
ever devoured them,
these pestilent halfwits,
who gaze with a city craze
across mountains
quilted in pine?

have they ever felt
a chill nibble their nerves,
ovationed by bumps
along their skin,
pale from living
in a conditioned summer?

people irritate me
whose lives coincide
with faded paper;

people irritate me
who cannot fathom
how rain laughs

ne’er-do-well thought

glitter in the mind,
ne’er-do-well thought,
saunter through a summer
pouring with petunia laments
& catch my falling conscience
in a jaded tendril of grass
between thumb and forefinger,
twisting backwards and forwards
unlike time, whose one-way-street
steals strings from my violin heart
ill-equipped on evenings
of symphonic sorrow

glitter, glitter—
my hours know only
their passing

the moon

the moon doesn’t know Hiroshima,
mushroom cloud rooted in death
and cries still vibrating
through a blueberry’s wilting core;

the moon doesn’t know poverty,
on propaganda-littered street corners
where a politician’s golden lies
fades into gutter-worn truth;

the moon only knows silence,
how celestial nothing spans eons,
while a species, longing for life,

leaves footprints for weeping stars

Since August of 2013, H. Holt has been published by various magazines and blogs. She has recently been accepted by Negative Capability Press, who will be including her in their Anthology of Georgia Poetry in 2015. She lives in the luscious mountains of North Georgia, where she spends her time helping students achieve their dreams of higher education.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Patrick Herron and The Gaping Mouths of the Godless Pilgrims

The Gaping Mouths of the Godless Pilgrims

I have a lump in the middle of my chest. I have been notified that a solid mass is growing there. We read about this sort of thing happening all of the time, but now it’s happening to me, and it’s unreal. I can’t see it. Believe me I’ve looked. Maybe you have too, you’ve checked, you’ve searched. Some say we all have it, or will get it eventually. Maybe it’s in you, only small, dormant, unnurtured, waiting for the perfect time to erupt and spread itself throughout the body.

Though I cannot see it I’ll try to explain what it now feels like, though, in the hopes of rounding what must always be lopsided and twisted, a horse with shorter legs on one side, blinded and walking endlessly in circles. Sometimes it feels as if I have some sort of second head inside my chest, its skull bones covered in a flesh carapace made entirely out of mouths. The mouths beg ceaselessly, at once chick-needy, catfish-ungainly, big fat smacking lips begging, begging for what exactly, and for what reason do they persist? Why are they so hungry?  The underwhelming unreality of a viscera-wet mouthy hollow stone.

I’ve provided you instructions for its virtual simulation and replication. I’m not sure how I know about the existence of the mass but I do sense as surely as I perceive light and heat that it is desperate and ugly and painful. Doctor, please, I beg you, it must be pried out, excised, exorcised. It hurts when I do this, or that, or anything, or nothing. Doctor, help. With a dog hump clockwork it repeatedly burps its demand for the latest in surgical resection. Want out, want out, want out. Don’t you hear it, Doc? We should agree on this, Doctor, and let’s not talk about what ends if you do remove it. Death is hardly a complication.

The answer is that a tree which falls in the woods
makes no sound. Another thing that isn’t heard
is that the earth’s chest is jolted as it hits the ground.

This lodged object is surprisingly radioactive. It is so hot it burns, it makes a grown man sick, it gums up our lymph glowing salted cobalt blue, it splits and fissures and spits deadly ions so energetic they fly through walls of concrete. Strangely, it casts the sort of light that casts shadows of itself, as if it were a solo show in its own makeshift cavern. Shadow puppets for a blind audience who never were going to attend anyway.

I imagine for a moment I can remove it. Once my son and my daughter have left the house I might grab one of their toy swords laying about, then carve open my chest with the dull plastic blade, pry the damned thing out, and beat it into a more reasonable shape. Perhaps then I can place the unruly object on a shelf, line it up on the mantle over the hearth by the family vacation photos, everyone’s faces shining in the extraordinary pink light of various setting summer suns, take photographs of the thing as it rests on that shelf and share those pictures on Facebook for all to comment upon. At home. A home, that house, anyway, whatever that is as well. Perhaps even the slightest knowledge of it being, if only for a moment, seen, may soften it.

Questions remain. Where does it belong? Where should it now reside? How exactly should it be handled?

Maybe I don't rip out and take pictures of the thing. Maybe I just head out to the local sadomasochism and bondage shop, order up for it one of those cute little verbal lashings you hear about, squeeze the lump down into utterly irrelevant smallness. Perhaps by such abuse and contortion it can be cornered and forced to swallow itself.

It is once again the 4th of July. We have arrived
at freedom once more but the date will change.
Movement ensues. Time is neither fork nor fortune.
The countersign for this pilgrimage is doubt
but you arrived at a loss for watchwords.
All ten guards of the party stood vigilant
but they were all depressed. Hidden in each man’s chest
a grim image of wandering, each taking wrong turns at every juncture.
The guards held a meeting where they revealed to one another
the very vision they shared. Upon this revelation
each fell down upon the shady lawn in sleep and, relieved, began to dream.
They dreamt of mutiny but when they awoke
they were agape upon learning they had no bosses, no one to protect.

Some say this thing is not a singular thing but one component of a system conducting a great orchestra. It is only noise and shards of decomposing dream-parts, each flying off in seemingly random directions, each projecting its light back upon us: one beach here, eight mountains there, a singular porch, eight feet on a railing, four of them old, but a pair of hands one folded on the other, warming, in the measured beats of the softest life, there it goes, there it is above us the pearl the silver in this dark, flying, fading, watching it collect dust right not here but there, not close, not forever, just passing away. All of that, you agree, and yet there’s hope for it? Get it out. Right now it damn sure aches here keenly. Please let me be a body free of this heart.

Patrick Herron is an information scientist and poet from Chapel Hill, NC, US. He is Senior Research Scientist in Media Arts + Sciences at Duke University where he also teaches in the MFA Program in Experimental and Documentary Arts. He is the author of Be Somebody (Effing Press, 2008), a book Ron Silliman described as being “difficult in the way the very best books are.” Patrick is also the author of The American Godwar Complex (Blaze VOX, 2004) as well as the chapbooks, Man Eating Rice (Blaze VOX), and Three Poems (Gateway Songbooks). His poems and essays have appeared in journals such as Exquisite Corpse, Jacket, Talisman, Oyster Boy, Fulcrum, in the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, and in the anthology 100 Days (Barque Press).