There’s a new poem in The Leveler Poetry for the first week of December (and ever after in the archive). Here’s a link to that: http://www.levelerpoetry.com/yes-levelheaded/
One of the things I love about this journal is the added feature of the “levelheaded” read, where the editors offer some response/analysis of each poem they publish. If it helps you, as a reader, to know, there was a 5 day-old goat whom I held at a farmers’ market in L.A. once. There have been other goats since, but they’ll have to wait for other poems…
Moonsick Magazine, a journal promoting women, queer, and non-binary voices, was a publication doing what it clearly means to do: challenge the traditional literary canon of cisgendered white men. It’s one of those journals that I’m positive cisgendered white men would send to all the time, even when the guidelines specifically make it clear which voices the journal is calling for.
But they also had an annual DUDE issue, and “Leave No Trace” was in that one. It’s humbling to have work welcomed into this space, and I hope you enjoy it, but also hope you enjoy going back to the issue regularly to read essential, yet marginalized, voices.
The journal is on a hiatus, but that poem is here for you:
Leave No Trace
We only privately speculate how to return
to the earth, yet always seem to find
an egg sandwich toward the edge of wilderness,
which is a fuel I’ve burned with no effort. Tons.
I detail an entry in the Pinewood Derby,
and race for those Navy nuclear engineers,
the artifactual tools that come to rest
in their children’s basements. Pop had them all.
Did you know I had a little yellow kerchief, got rides
to meetings of scouts at den mothers’ homes?
At least there was the weight of pocket knives,
though no lessons on their usefulness. One night
mom just kicked the banister off the side
of the stairs and toss rails, wholly splintering
into the face of that wood stove to keep us warm.
If we had another shot, I’d approach all lumber
barefoot, and ask it what it wants to be.
I’d know when it’s had enough, snapping, swelling
out the old nails through the rainy season.
How tired it has become, holding your motion-
triggered lights. Its angles are so sloppy, a lifetime
of a strained spines, longer than I can think.
The latest issue of Poetry International is out, with some of the finest writing I’ve read all year. Among much talent is a little poem I wrote last year called “Please Don’t Center Poems.” If you want to subscribe, and get that issue of damn near 600 pages, it’s out!
This poem will come around again, in a tiny tiny chapbook soon, and message me if you’d like one!
I cranked out this little sonnet for my students, and thought this would be a good place to share it. If you teach, and would like to use it, go for it! Just please let me know.
Please Don’t Center Poems
Please don’t center your poems. Margin left,
which is natural and easy on eyes.
The lines want to sit over here, chickens
on a perch, together and warm, left left.
Please don’t center your poems, since they are
not greeting cards, nor lyrics. They are not
the lines in the road, sides spaced for cars
to pass through, avoiding the swept clean curbs.
Please don’t center your poems, but feel free
. to play with the spacing a little bit.
. No one will die if a line wanders out
. with purpose: poetry as detective
. seeking answers in wide open danger
who makes it home, safely, or moves way out.
Note: the periods at the beginning of the lines in the last stanza are only to get the spacing to show up on here on WordPress.