poetry

Two Poems by Laura Johanna Braverman

olives
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My Husband On A Ladder Picking Olives
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                        Late afternoon
and I sit at the marble garden table. The moist heat
of summer dried up, a tarp is piled wide
with olives ripe
                                    for brining.
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When we lived seven floors up
            olives were things in glass jars. And what
was brining—
                        or October—?
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His head is somewhere among the silver-sided leaves.
Twigs shift
            as his hands rummage and reach.
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                                                He drops each stone fruit
into a bag hanging from a branch,
                        handles strain against the weight.
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But it’s the light I want to talk about—
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                        the way it slants through tree twists and gaps,
lands on coastal soil in amber splatters
            and sets the yellow grocery bag aglow.
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How, in a few hours
                        this late-year day will have gone.
            He’ll board a plane.
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                                    But for now:
the unburdened tree, the fruit-bearing light—
all between.
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Of Weeds and Broken Things
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Left undisturbed
the soil nests those seeds abandoned to the wind—
traveling cast-offs come to rest
            between the rows of olive trees.
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I wish I knew the name
of every bloom and stem. A patch there
looks like coriander lace.
Another, a clustering of rocket leaves—
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            amid the green
are modest flares of white and gold and lilac,
tiny sisters of bud and aster.
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But when the ground is cleared—
            red earth turned and tilled, remnants
of a different ordinary
come unburied :
                        a rounded chip of glass, a sliver
                        of painted porcelain.
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I bend for a jagged corner
of white ceramic tile, its mortar ridges
caked in coastal soil.
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Little artefact
of someone’s kitchen, bath.
            Of a life.
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Laura-Braverman-Photo
Laura Johanna Braverman is a writer and artist. Salt Water, her first collection of poetry was published in 2019 by Cosmographia Books. Her poems have appeared in Plume, Levure Litteraire, Sky Island Journal, New Plains Review and Pratik, among other journals, and in the anthology Awake in the World, II. She recently earned her MA in poetry and will begin PhD studies this fall, both at Lancaster University. She lives in Lebanon with her family.

Two Poems by Layla Lenhardt

tomato
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Tomato Flakes
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“Oh you’ve got green eyes, oh you’ve got blue eyes, oh you’ve got grey eyes” – New Order
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I keep you hidden
in my bedside table,
or buried between my legs.
And at times, we don’t speak.
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On the day we saw the moss
covered pond next to the house
that knelt on the hillside, I swore
I could say your name forever.
Your hand was entwined in mine,
like bodies in Pompeii.
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You feed me artichoke
hearts from the jar. And loving
you is always eating from the
same bowl, stained bedsheets,
never-have-i-ever in Adirondacks.
It started with your skin, peeling
like a birch tree, the sun spilling
through the door jamb. You
carried with you the salty
air of the Atlantic.
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It ended with a hurricane
bridges washed away,
roads buckled, I no longer
lick your wounds, paint
your nails. Send you photos.
And missing you is like
trying to tame a wildfire.
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Cece & Silvino
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I wish I could take every path. I wish
I could let such carnivorous aliens
bloom between my hip bones. I wish
I could hold little fingers in my hand,
give you your first palm readings, make
dandelion wine to take to Nona’s.
There’s no easy answer. I’d adore you
for a thousand years, and a thousand
years after that. I’d spend an eternity
memorizing your freckles, speaking your
names, but the gold around my
finger is heavy and unnatural, motherhood
is complicated. I’m not cut for this
cloth.
I’d be a bird, feeding you what I’ve already
digested, straining out the bad parts. I’d
Let you fill the moon. But I’d never be
ready. I can’t re-write my mercurial DNA,
I can’t make my bones need something they don’t.
Each month I will bleed and each month
he’ll travel further and further away. He’ll burry my jewels
in the dirt, throw my heirlooms in the ocean.
The decision is my zeitgeist
so I’ll keep my mirrors sheeted,
and I’ll let him tell them I didn’t
want you. It’s his way of healing.
But know, if I could take every path, that you would be my
Full Moon in Taurus, an earth shaking,
thundering, explosion of love.
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layla
Layla Lenhardt is a queer poet who splits her time between Indianapolis and Philadelphia. She is Editor in Chief of 1932 Quarterly. She has been most recently published in Rust + Moth, Sad Girls Club, Poetry Quarterly, and Pennsylvania Literary Journal.  www.laylalenhardt.com
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Two Poems by Alan Catlin

camera-lenses
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The Photographer
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Near death
she reclaims
her long
abandoned
Art: taking
pictures of her
fellow travelers
along the ward;
barely able to
stand herself,
she holds a camera,
focuses a lens,
she sees all
that has been
missing in her
life, all those
years past,
the ones that
will never come.
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Death and the Maiden
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Listening to Schubert
as the candle
burns out
.
the bent wick
in a puddle
of drying wax
.
the junk littered
room, torn curtains,
broken bed frame
.
we know exactly
how this ends but
not when
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Alan Catlin has published dozens of chapbooks and full length books including, most recently, Asylum Garden: after Van Gogh (Dos Madres) Memories Too (Dos Madres), Sunshine Superman (Cyberwit) and a fictional memoir about his bar jobs , Chaos Management (Alien Buddha).
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Two Poems by Rustin Larson

buddha
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Lawn Ornament
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Buddha, seated with four disciples, looks like my grandmother, same squarish face and long earlobes, same hairdo, topknot she’d put under a net before she went to work at the egg plant, the disassembly line, so to speak, white ovals conveyed for candling and then powdering for armed forces overseas. After work she’d slip on Buddha’s housecoat– a few ocher stripes, some emblems of orchids– she would drink her tea, silently, ceremoniously, the center of a circle of ghosts.
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Carroll Street
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in Brooklyn is probably still there, as familiar to millions as Ingersoll is to me. The fall turns to parchment. Every leaf is blank. Every leaf has something written on it, held under a slanted evening light. In a slanted evening light in Brooklyn someone sips Irish Creme from a snifter and lays down a pair of hearts. Someone shoots the moon; another person is sure she has enough for the ride, and yet another
waits for her shift in the department store to end so she can make her photography class. Meanwhile, a man in a dirty coat is followed by six genuine devils who want to eat him. A priest is doing laps in the pool at the Downtown Athletic Club, his mind a transcendental blank as he touches the wall and curves back. In the afterlife, three people sit around a kitchen table. They’ve just finished turkey and all the
trimmings and now they are settling into cigarettes and coffee and beer and better conversation than they ever had in life. The big, bear- like man with the glass eye says he is “Mighty Hunter” and pounds his smoke-filled chest. A fourth person, the grandmother, walks into the kitchen now with a jar of sour pickles. The light is a cloud-covered yellow. There is a sandy soil garden full of zucchini and cucumbers outside. They talk and talk about the Catholic Church and Christmas and Easter and how their funerals were all a bit disappointing, aggravating and yet balming when someone spoke a kind word or offered an earnest prayer. The houses they live in are their favorites from life. They, each, are not quite ready to choose a new identity– rebirth seems like a cold bath. So here they sit, taking turns in each other’s kitchen and home, an endless supply of cigarettes and coffee and beer cleared unnoticed from the table every endless hour.
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Rustin Larson’s poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Iowa Review, North American Review, Poetry East, The Atlanta Review and other magazines. Crazy Star was selected for the Loess Hills Book’s Poetry Series in 2005. Larson won 1st Editor’s Prize from Rhino magazine in 2000 and has won prizes for his poetry from The National Poet Hunt and The Chester H. Jones Foundation among others. A five-time Pushcart nominee, and graduate of the Vermont College MFA in Writing, Larson was an Iowa Poet at The Des Moines National Poetry Festival in 2002 and 2004, a featured writer in the DMACC Celebration of the Literary Arts in 2007, 2008, and has been highlighted on the public radio programs Live from Prairie Lights and Voices from the Prairie. He lives in Fairfield, Iowa.
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North of Oxford Presents – National Poetry Month @ Chase’s Hop Shop – 4-30-22

 

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North of Oxford Presents

Live

National Poetry Month @ Chase’s Hop Shop

7235 Rising Sun Ave

Philadelphia, PA 19111

April 30th – 2pm to 5pm

Poets Reading 

Diane Sahms-Guarnieri, Charles Rammelkamp, Sawyer Lovett, Ezra Solway, Jane Rebecca Cannarella, Paul Ilechko, Cleveland WallCarl Kaucher, Dave Worrell, Michael Griffith,

Host – g emil reutter 

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/ 

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chase logo

Chase’s Hop Shop

https://www.facebook.com/Chases-Hop-Shop-319982001828515/

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Pandemic of Violence Anthology

Topsy Turvy

Featuring poets Howie Good, Rustin Larson, Susana H. Case, Dee Allen, Alex Carrigan, Naila Francis, MaryAnn L. Miller, Megha Sood, Steven Croft, TS Hawkins, Lauren Camp, Chad Parenteau, Henry Crawford, Thaddeus Rutkowski, Michael T. Young, M.J. Arcangelini, J.C. Todd, Antoni Ooto, Byron Beynon, Jane ‘SpokenWord’ Grenier, Linda Nemec Foster, Sean Howard, Brian Donnell James and Greg Bem

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/12/27/pandemic-of-violence-anthology/ 

Most Read Poets 2021

Most read poets 2021 based on readership 

bryon

Two Poems by Byron Beynon

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/03/13/two-poems-by-byron-beynon-2/

jeff

Cantata by Jeffrey Cyphers Wright

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/08/14/cantata-by-jeffrey-cyphers-wright/

doug

Howard Beach: Queens, NY by Doug Holder

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/01/12/howard-beach-queens-ny-by-doug-holder/

bruce

Leave Meeting by Bruce E. Whitacre

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/01/12/leave-meeting-by-bruce-e-whitacre/

brian

A Familiar Street, Unknown by Brian Rihlmann

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/a-familiar-street-unknown-by-brian-rihlmann/

janie

When my dad created god by Jane-Rebecca Cannarella

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/09/11/when-my-dad-created-god-by-jane-rebecca-cannarella/

Two Poems by John Dorroh

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/07/14/two-poems-by-john-dorroh/

Canal BW

Wild by Paul Ilechko

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/04/11/wild-by-paul-ilechko/

cath

Two Poems by Catherine Zickgraf

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/05/13/two-poems-by-catherine-zickgraf/

mark

Two Poems by Mark Tulin

https://northofoxford.wordpress.com/2021/03/13/two-poems-by-mark-tulin/

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Two Poems by James Tyler

cumberland
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Cumberland River, 2am
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There’s a latitude and longitude in Tennessee
where I step in the dirty Cumberland River,
mud between toes, those brittle bones.
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It goes from here to the Queen City,
winds its filth, memories of Civil War
and white paddle steamers.
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Wind sings songs on the surface
to rainbow trout and walleye,
to the bones of drowned lovers.
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White lights shine on black water,
reflect the last silver quarter minted 1964.
The Queen City is asleep now,
nestled against the Cumberland River, 2am.
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There must be some equation
explaining how the river bends into nothing—
darkness a heavy, bottom-dwelling catfish—
darkness that betrays no moon tonight.
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I could slip nude into these black waters,
but it’s too cold and the current might take me away—
for I am a man and not Ophelia,
for there is no bard to orate about me but me.
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Somewhere around here I wish starlight could sink
all the way. I wish I could play the flute,
coax sleeping fish away from the reeds
so they could follow me into my own dreams.
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My father taught me to fish these waters,
how to hook a night crawler and cast a line,
but I never got the gumption to gut one.
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Put your ear to these waters and they’ll sing
a whole history, how sun and star burn in turn,
and maybe they’ll tell the truth, or just a little lie.
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Blade of Grass
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O to be a blade of grass, trampled upon
by the soles of a thousand feet,
to fall victim to the gardener’s blade
in the morning before the spring storm.
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Dear wind, your northern breath sour
from snowstorms and icy midnights,
spreads pregnant pollen across meadows,
the whorehouses of nature.
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I am not a wildflower, red columbine or harebell,
just a blade of green that has grown too tall,
quite worthless in the eyes of flower pickers,
but am I not one of God’s children, equal
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to lily and rose, though not fragrant or fair,
free to be pissed upon by your purebred dog
and forgotten like one of a thousand banquets
whose mother is dirt and water, seed and sun?
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The double rainbow is essential to my soul
in a mundane world whose colors are black and grey,
where I kiss the dew with tongue and a force
that can cut this blade, this insignificant flower
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whose song remains unsung in the season
who becomes golden in its turn and spun,
becomes humble food for cattle and horse,
forsaken by me, yet still touched by God.
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James Tyler earned a BA in English from Austin Peay State University. He has been published in such journals as Chiron Review, Cape Rock, Doubly Mad, and Poetry Quarterly. He currently resides in Nashville, TN.

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Two Poems by Ace Boggess

park light
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Listening to James Brown on Pandora Radio
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Thing to do while lying in bed, embracing
as slack body squeezes slack—
post-sleep, pre-awakened. Forget sex—
hard demand of it James Brown’s words &
rhythm urge like hundreds of electric pulses
in the creature reviving. Let them
carry you on a pilgrimage
where what you seek has less importance
than what you see, experience—
all music, even songs you loathe
which fill your dreams with calamities—
stir something you’ve forgotten:
maybe it’s the funk you’re in
his funk will bring you out of.
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“And What Is the Point of Walking
When There Is Nowhere You Have to Be?”
                        —Katherine Kilalea, Ok, Mr. Field
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let me be lazy without the word tattooed on my chest.
it’s hot outside. say it. yes, it’s scorching, humid.
asphalt melts my tennis shoes. my skin
slicks as though I showered in cooking oil.
when spacemen left their heaven, they left the oven on.
think light, & there is light—too much, I’m blind.
let me be lazy one afternoon with nothing to do,
no roads to cross, goods to accumulate.
I could, if forced, stroll slowly to the corner shop,
except I see no corners, only curves
that bend to monotony. let me be lazy.
let me self-medicate for aches & lack of sleep,
lulled by the computer light until my eyes
let me remember why I came.
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Ace Boggess photo
Ace Boggess is author of five books of poetry—Misadventure, I Have Lost the Art of Dreaming It So, Ultra Deep Field, The Prisoners, and The Beautiful Girl Whose Wish Was Not Fulfilled—and the novels States of Mercy and A Song Without a Melody. His writing has appeared in Harvard Review, Notre Dame Review, Mid-American Review, Rattle, River Styx, and many other journals. He received a fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and spent five years in a West Virginia prison. He lives in Charleston, West Virginia. His sixth collection, Escape Envy, is forthcoming from Brick Road Poetry Press in 2021.
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