What better way to anticipate our fourth burntdistrict issue than a poem about fire, remains, and all things new and old? We’re throwing it back to our very first issue for this week’s poem, “NEW OLD HOUSE” by Natasha Kessler.
NEW OLD HOUSE
by Natasha Kessler
We are undoing these wounds,
undoing these forgivings stored
under the stairs.
Wait for the holdout, the smoke-laden
faces pushing against glass.
We see nothing for miles.
We don’t remember the house burning
or study the flight patterns of birds.
I like you, creature, set at the level of little windows.
The house burning will be our new children,
little soft haired voice fountains.
We will be the mamma and we will be the papa.
We will remember this place swollen,
the wet look of brass.
Some shape our hands made.
As we near publication of our kick ass fourth issue, burntdistrict is cleaning house, moving things around, and making some serious changes. One significant change is that Jen has left Omaha and headed north. Way north. Canadian north. burntdistrict is going international, people! The good thing about this is that it will be so damn cold and vast where she’s headed that she will have limited access to all the amenities she is used to, like book stores, cheap liquor, sun; therefore, she will have much more time to spend reading all your beautiful work. Another significant change is that we’ve decided to quit offering subscriptions. In the long run, this will save us time and money, and more importantly, this will save our readers money. When we started burntdistrict, we offered subscriptions because it seemed the thing to do; everyone else was doing it. Now that we have grown up and expanded to include Spark Wheel Press, we realize we hate doing things everyone else is doing (readings fees, contests, etc.). By offering single issues for sale through Amazon, we can lower the price and get you your coveted poetry more quickly. We think this is one of our best ideas ever, and we swear it will make everyone much happier in the long run. Of course, for all our biggest fans who already have subscriptions, we will honor those for the remainder of the year, and for our contributors, we will definitely still give you all a two issue ‘payment’ for letting us print your gorgeous words. From here on out, you can get burntdistrict directly from our website. Just choose the issue you want (be honest, you want all of them), click the cover image, and pay up. Thanks for reading, folks. Keep writing, and keep sending us those poems.
This week we’re featuring a poem from our Summer 2012 issue by Gregory Lawless entitled, “Part of My Father Is Falling.” A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, he is the author of I Thought I Was New Here (2009) and his work can be seen Third Coast, The Cincinnati Review and Artifice among others.
Part of My Father Is Falling
by Gregory Lawless
Part of my father is falling
with this snow. The snow faints
and topples and the river stops curling
its hair and the bridges
carry acres of traffic
like so much firewood through
the endless snow of my father. His loneliness
is still up there, spearing geese and falcons
and kissing airplanes
to death. But part of my father
is falling now. The part of my father
that kids huff from paper bags
and get dizzy and occasionally die
from, that part. Or the part
that throws beer cans
into the lake, the part as beautiful
as a lawn dart twisting
down from its arc. My father falters
like a pile of sobbing bicycles
in Hanoi, like a mockingbird’s dream
of church bells, my father
falls down the elementary school staircase
of night. The pigeons scatter
at the sound of my father,
peasants brush the crooked flakes
of fathersnow from the flanks
of their mules. My father
is falling now. He comes apart
in your hair. You walk in
from the street and wipe
the cold drops of my father
from your glasses
and order a coffee
and sit alone in the corner
of the cafe, breathing.