kevin ridgeway

From the Poetry Editor

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During National Poetry Month and the COVID 19 scare, we start April’s issue with poems from Eastern Europe by Aura Christi (born in Chișinău, Republic of Moldova, now living in Romania) translated by Petru Iamandi & Adam Sorkin. Chosen many months ago, these two poems now appear as if they were somewhat of an artistic foreshadowing of events stirring in the air; even their titles, “Spell” and “Elegy,” have a certain heaviness surrounding them.
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With a dark circling wand, the last stanza of “Spell” casts foreboding sounds and a lasting image of a bird:
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What rumble swirls,
roars, grows, struggles
like a bird caught
between life and death.
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And her poem “Elegy” has the speaker “I” in a dreamlike state questioning existence:
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(Lines 3-5)
You look at yourself in the mirror and listen to your humming:
I no longer am, I, I no longer am,
Everything’s strange, lost and distant.
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In an atmosphere where:
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(Lines 9-13)
No one’s around, you keep saying, no one at all.
But then why is the air filling
with something impossible and heavy?
The darkness grows bewilderingly;
soon it will fall over everywhere…
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Moving onward in April’s issue, poets Nicole Yurcaba (Ukrainian-American) & Stanley Galloway collaborate on the poem, “Dnipro Duet,” which takes an angsty look at exes, monogamy, & life in a city (Dnipro) located on the Dneiper River in central Ukraine, ending at the sea of Azov. With the exception of the first and last lines, this poem is ironically written in 13 couplets, with a few here to entice you:
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Couplet #2
eyes stinging clear covering all the distance that feet won’t cross
exes and the oh’s they bring to numb lips…
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Couplet #9
tongue sweet as caramel on sausage and nails
driven through palms and feet             into wood
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Couplet #12
as Narcissus contemplated the nature of singularity
and a woman contemplates the silliness of monogamy
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This duo continues with a powerful poem entitled, “Liturgy for Ukraine” with captivating lines like:
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…where a gleam of sunlight betrays
the ship’s bow displacing what we cannot walk on
gliding over shades of Scythian, Mongol, Nazi, Soviet
borders redrawn
             redetermined
             remapped…
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…a faith brought by Cyril and Methodius
screened through scarves and centuries
carved on box lids and church doors
                clothes and egg shells
wooden spoons and forks painted
with berries, blood, pride…
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This poem ends with a resounding, “amen.”
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Our next poem,  Kevin Ridgeway’s, “There Comes a Time” may or may not emulate Neil Young’s “Comes A Time,” but both have a “coming of age” feel. The last five lines are where the speaker of the poem sums it all up:
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the meaning of life. We are
the anti-heroes who fell in love
with our own delusions of grandeur,
and we failed to save the world
from people like ourselves.
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Luanne Castle’s poem, “Medusa’s #Metoo” mixes the classical wonder of our snake headed Gorgon in a fresh new “Metoo” way.
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a coverup through tweet and text
a smear campaign of slut and sext
Poseidon in Athena’s studio apt
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In texting the word “apt” in “studio apt” means “apartment” and not the dictionary definition of the actual word “apt” (having a tendency to do something). Here, Castle is clearly keeping with the modern-day texting language versus the classical meaning of look-alike words. A modern twist on an old myth indeed.
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Lastly, we have Tim Suermondt’s poem, “Gulls Flying Over the Construction Site.” Tim’s poems are always filled with wonderful similes, images, and quiet contemplation.
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In his opening line’s simile: “Like stealth bombers that are suddenly upon you—” and then the subtle but pronounced: “there they are.”
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He has a seeable list of junkyard images. Then another simile for the workers at the site.
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workers going at it with fervor / like the Egyptians of old.
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With the gulls flying & his unique close comparisons to humans, this last poem is definitely worth a close read. Further, Tim’s poem also had a bit of eeriness, as stated in the last line of the poem, where the speaker turns “from the window” and goes:

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into another room, my shadow flapping on the white walls.
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But alas, it’s April and spring is everywhere, so please stay safe and know that all of you are in my thoughts & prayers.
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In keeping with King Solomon or a Sufi poet or a Jewish folklore’s line (no definitive knowledge of its actual origin): “this, too, shall pass.” The sooner the better, I hope.
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Peace & much love,
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Diane Sahms
Poetry Editor – North of Oxford
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There Comes a Time by Kevin Ridgeway

pink
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There Comes a Time
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the adulthood I dreamed of as a child
is quite a blur of attained pleasures
until I passed out and woke up late for work
at a time when I began to develop a sense of self
for the first time in my life.
The loss of my wisest and most beloved elders
and the overpriced humanity in a cruel dementia.
I’m now one of the junior elders
I preserved every reminder or totem
inherited from grandparents
my nephew will never know
and only hear about in big fish stories.
My family taught me how
to master the art of dishonesty,
in bloom since a newer generation
sold out to MTV and who tried
to chemically enhance
their performance
in the middle of a pink cloud daze.
I’m an isolatory beast ravaged
by a dull, slow malaise
that built itself up while
we continued to debate
the meaning of life. We are
the anti-heroes who fell in love
with our own delusions of grandeur,
and we failed to save the world
from people like ourselves.
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kevin
Kevin Ridgeway lives and writes in Long Beach, CA. He is the author of the poetry collection Too Young to Know (Stubborn Mule Press).  His work has appeared or is forthcoming inSlipstream, Chiron Review, Nerve Cowboy, San Pedro River Review, Main Street Rag, The Cape Rock, Plainsongs, Spillway, Up the River, Into the Void, Ghost City Review, KYSO Flash, Gasconade Review, Cultural Weekly, Big Hammer, Misfit Magazine, The American Journal of Poetry and So it Goes: The Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library.
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