Submissions are Open

Submissions to North of Oxford are open on a rolling basis. We accept submissions of poetry, reviews, essays and commentary. Our complete guidelines are here: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/

2 Poems by Annie Blake

taMe by arr hart

taMe by Arr Hart

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THE BODY IS AN EPIPHENOMENON
This man says I feel warm and deep.
He tells me my body is soft. When we sleep he wants
the part that carried our children. I wish
I had pale turquoise eyes. I’ve always loved transparent
eyes the most. The thinnest—devoid
of all humanness and connection.
.
There is a way to empty corruption through your eyes. This world
stands upright like a giant machine that has special hands
that operate me. Eyes can at least shed delicate things like skin.
The rest stays in the pit which revolves
like the skinny whining of a child
who is begging for something different to the money you give.
.
The man doesn’t look at it that way. He doesn’t know
what passes through my mind and out of my eyes.
He doesn’t sink into another world
during incubation sleep. He sees fire in me sometimes.
He says the light in my eyes is the strongest
when I sit in his lap and smile. He sits down behind me and strokes
.
my hair. He doesn’t know
I’m thinking of something else.
Of which point exactly did I die. At which point did I realize
I wasn’t really here. He tells me
my hair is so long and glossy. He wants to brush it.
I don’t understand how a man can value my body.
.
I tell him to stop calling me Mom.
He says our kids call me Mom.
He doesn’t know we are both a product of our mothers’
renunciation of intimacy.
My olive skin tans so well. I think white skin; colorless—
like a double-bricked hospital wall, would suit me better.
.
THINKING OF YOU
for F.S.
.
I think of you. There are many people I am thinking
about. The world you die in is not the same one you are born in.
The gristles in the city are feeling like roads.
I was wrong about so many things. The dingy
terraces with their bikes with their baskets tied to the front—
the moon as wide and yellow as a sun-lit lake—
watch how I paste it to the skyline.
Lamps are shining over their doors.
I’m older than I thought I would be.
.
There is no physical space for anything. But the mind
is bigger than that. There is a lot we can carry—
even that we don’t see. Of what you did.
Of me. Our one body was an attempt.
When the last tide gives in,
watch how your matching accoutrements fall through
your hands. You still don’t know
I was thinking of you. You will never know
about these pieces, these vines that keep stretching
.
and arching their tongues back in the dark. Sometimes it is better not to know.
Whenever I walk without you, I feel
for your letter in my pocket. It is hardly discernible now.
What you have killed.
How much of your water I have drunk.
When I saw your cold face—your wrist bent the wrong way—
your fingers flicked back like arrows pointing to strange lands.
Death makes us see things. White thin sheets for skin—eyes
as wet as sinking boats. The flesh around them the color of cut meat.
.
Can you see me now under this blanket—this heavy sea,
this dark water? Did you know there is a new sun?
It is bigger than the one that shines here.
More people should look at dead bodies. It should be mandatory.
We both disbelieved in God. We agreed it was speculation. The sea is carrying us in.
Bodies are the softest when they lie whole in death’s light-filled mouth.
I will let no other color permeate your skin. My hand is visible
even under the water. More people should view this sweeping
of the earth—this rapid shifting of the grains.
.
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annie blake photo headshot (2)
Annie Blake is an Australian writer who has work published or forthcoming in Mascara Literary Review, Red Savina Review, Antipodes, Uneven Floor, The Voices Project, Into the Void, Southerly, Hello Horror, Verity La, GFT Press, About Place Journal, Gravel, Australian Poetry Journal, Cordite Poetry Review and more. Her poem ‘These Grey Streets’ was nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize by Vine Leaves Literary Journal. She is excited about the process of self-actualization, research in psychoanalysis, philosophy and cosmogony. She holds a Bachelor of Teaching, a Graduate Diploma in Education and is a member of the C G Jung Society of Melbourne. Annie Blake (The Gatherer)
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Arr Hart is an artist and photographer. Her photographs can be found here: Arr Hart
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LATE, ALMOST MORNING by Lucas Carpenter

sky 2

Photograph by g emil reutter

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    LATE, ALMOST MORNING       
.
Even to be ready to be ready
Before the sky caves in,
Before the rats overrun the trenches,
I need more information.
And I want it neat,
Not soft and mushy,
Given to polysemy and tropes,
But one-to-one correspondences
Between word and thing, idea or action.
.

       Where are you in the space between thoughts?
       Folded over maybe in many layers,
       Launched out from being
       But for a time erased.

I’ve listened too long to frowning fathers,
Feckless in their broken glass blandishments,
Their orders about the order of things.
It’s time to get real, mash out memes,
quantify the qualia, put ‘em up for bid.
Circumstance dictates itself,
But everything (all except anything)
Will shed dark on time’s history,
Leaving the best for last.

       What we know as now
       Is based on a true story
      Told with toil and trouble,
      A feast of false dreams recurring.

See the differences crawl out first,
Take note of their notices,
The abrupt abandonment of rule
By those involved, quiet statements
To the contrary impaled on iron spikes
Where they rot unattended,
Never allowed to happen again.
What is life? What is death?
And who am I to want either?

       Here at the center of time,
       Deep-mindedly engaged
      With self-organizing systems
      You are indifferent to the fate of the world.

I awaken to melancholy in the blankness
Of a hotel room, admitting the obscurity of dusk,
Searching for a cosmological constant
In the symbolic contents of my mind
Where mathematics can be imagined
Only as a form of grammatical mutation
Illuminated by imaginary light flexed
By victims of unjustified euphoria
Hanging limp as strange fruit outside.

       Dusty strangers speak their songs,
      Offering them outright for a chance to stay
      Safe within the borders of creation
      Where they’re warned to stay outside.

Hate traps abide like land mines around us
Inviting us in to the dark pleasure of being alike
So we can huddle together to build the heat we need
To annihilate our desire for the others who claim
To belong on the same ride through existence
Without buying the same ticket. We have plans
But they aren’t included, only measured
For the size of space they occupy and the time
They consume in the unnamed future.

       Qualifiers tell us what to do
       So as not to miss the climax
       They say is our due,
       Our holy remnant to hope for.

I want to be out on the wildest edges,
Frolicking with fingers flexed,
Ready for animal homilies to dissolve
Into the waiting, leaden gasses
Where beastly priests breathe
And toys fly off the shelf. Problem is,
There’s no here or there without murder.
Black-lacquered faces prepare themselves.
Recycled armies are headed for the front.

      I exist too much. I
     Don’t exist enough.
     Who will be seated
     When the music stops?

.
 
carpenter_cover
Lucas Carpenter’s stories have appeared in Berkeley Fiction Review, Short Story, The Crescent Review, Nassau Review, The Chattahoochee Review, and South Carolina Review. He is also the author of three collections of poetry, one book of literary criticism, and many poems, essays, and reviews published in more than twenty-five periodicals, including Prairie Schooner, The Minnesota Review, College Literature, Beloit Poetry Journal, Kansas Quarterly, Carolina Quarterly, Concerning Poetry, Poetry (Australia), Southern Humanities Review, College English, Art Papers, San Francisco Review of Books, Callaloo, Southern History Journal, and New York Newsday. He is Charles Howard Candler Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Emory University.
 

Unrequited forester contrite with sunrise by James Walton

smokinghill
.
Unrequited forester contrite with sunrise
.
still smouldering
with interred lightning
this tempered wilderness
.
life drawings of fire
dance in alphabet
.
hills make charcoal
smudge the outlines
saltpetre heathen tongues
.
peel back these veins
as gut for flamenco
.
in the valleys now
courts the dragon
eludes the celibate dawn
.
will your heart match
the wing flap
.
seek without shame
and make fertile
this ear drum’s beat
.
cast lots along the razorback
to such unending desire
.
this true name
can only be spoken
by counting years aloud
.
into any inferno
I will call them out
.
wanting to hear
all you have again
in a quickened reprise
.
James w
James Walton is an award winning poet published in many journals and anthologies, short listed twice for the ACU national Literature Prize, a double prize winner in the MPU International Poetry Prize, and Specially Commended in The Welsh Poetry Competition

Granny’s Guide to the Galaxy by Barbra Nightingale

Brown Eyed Cat by Milla Rice

Photograph by Milla Rice

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Granny’s Guide to the Galaxy
.
.
On nights when Florida pours herself
like molten sky into the darkness,
when breathing feels like drowning
and no one wants to swim though the night
to sit by your side, it might not be
the best idea to drop a hit of acid,
then ask your grandmother
how to clean puke from the wooden floor,
or tell her at length how you and the family cat
have “exchanged consciousness”
and now are both one and the same.
.
You might not want to tell her you’re “tripping balls,”
that the intensity of color, the liquid brown
of the cat’s eyes, the feel of the fur
beneath your hands made you want to weep,
though she did clean up the vomit,
make you a cup of chamomile tea,
wrap you in a soft blanket against the chills,
and sing you to sleep, dreaming
of  a time when just the thrill
of unfolding your limbs
into a run, or climbing to the top of a tree
was as high as you needed to be.
.
BN9-07
Barbra Nightingale’s poems have appeared in numerous poetry journals and anthologies, including Rattle, The Florida Review, Barrow Street, Sacramento Poetry Review, Kalliope, Southern Women’s Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The Mississipi Review, InterlitQ, The Eloquent Atheist, Many Mountains Moving, Narrative Magazine, City of Big Shoulders, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It, Sonnets Out of Sequence, and Tigertail: An Annual.  Alphalexia, her newest book just came out with Finishing Line Press (2017). Two Voices, One Past was a Runner Up in the 2010 Yellow Jacket Press Chapbook Award, and was published in September, 2010.  Geometry of Dreams (2009) a full-length collection of poetry was published in 2009 by Word Tech Press, Ohio.  She has six other collections of poetry, and a yet unpublished memoir, Husbands and Other Strangers.  She’s an Associate Editor with the South Florida Poetry Review, and a professor Emeritus from Broward College, and an advisor Emeritus with Phi Theta Kappa.  
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Milla Rice is a photographer. You can visit here at : https://www.flickr.com/photos/millarice

Summer Reading Recommendations

sunrise woods 1

Photograph by g emil reutter

 

Here are the top ten book reviews based on readership at North of Oxford for the first six month of 2017. Consider them for your summer reading.

 

Magnesium by Ray Buckley

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/magnesium/

Shoot the Messenger by John Dorsey

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/shoot-the-messenger/

100 Selected Poems by e.e. cummings

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/100-selected-poems-by-e-e-cummings/

Unmaking Atoms by Magdelina Ball

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/unmaking-atoms-by-magdalena-ball/

The Way Back by Joyce Meyers

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/the-way-back-by-joyce-meyers/

Seek the Holy Dark by Clare L. Martin

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/seek-the-holy-dark-by-clare-l-martin/

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf’s Poetics

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/whos-afraid-of-virginia-woolfs-poetics/

Martin Fierro by Jose Hernandez

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/martin-fierro-by-jose-hernandez/

Bird Flying through the Banquet by Judy Kronenfeld

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/06/01/bird-flying-through-the-banquet-by-judy-kronenfeld/

Justine by Lawrence Durrell

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2017/01/01/justine-by-lawrence-durrell/

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Coming on August 15th

IMG_0109 (2)

 

Our August 15th poetry edition will feature poems by Annie Blake, Lucas Carpenter, James Walton and Barbra Nightingale.

Submissions are always open at North of Oxford for poetry, essays, book reviews and commentary. Our guidelines are here: https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/about/