July Westhale is the author of our poem of the week, “If V. Woolf filled her pockets with balloons instead of rocks.” She was recently nominated as a Best New Poet for 2012 and 2013, for an AWP Intro Award, as well as a Creative Writing Fulbright. More of her work can be found in Volume 2, Issue 2 of burntdistrict.
IF V. WOOLF FILLED HER POCKETS WITH BALLOONS INSTEAD OF ROCKS
By July Westhale
Wires below are cutting land into property.
From above, the houses look like small, blockish heads,
chimney-mouths in surprised Os, long blurs of green fields
and strange silo shapes. Leonard will be sleeping,
dreaming of the kettle’s steam. And then the clouds
come up suddenly, shocking in large elephants of white hair,
faces unimpressed with your buoyed body, careful bun.
Go back to your man, your drawer full of letters, one softer cloud
motions. Stop being a fool with balloons. At once, you hit your head
on a black bit of plastic. You rattle the sky and stars.
The clouds tsk you, gathering together like a bouquet of black peonies.
You have reached the edge of the set, and there is nowhere else to go.
Our poem of the week, [The Clouds Do Not Bother Us] by Russell Evatt, was published in burntdistrict Volume 2, Issue 1. Russell’s 2012 chapbook, We are Clay, won Epiphany Edition’s chapbook prize. His website is russellevatt.com.
[THE CLOUDS DO NOT BOTHER US]
By Russell Evatt
The clouds do not bother us
when we look for heaven. Always
we find a faint, veiled outline
like the ship on the horizon,
a dark memory
on the edge. The sea moves in waves,
garbling the language.
We’ve been a great distance
and the darkness has rolled back
enough to be honest.
In the guesswork
of light I heard: the figment
of god does not love you.
Meaning: I was not the only apparition
in the room. Meaning: there was a room.
Time’s running low,
the Eastern sky
an unreachable horizon of amber,
specks of definition, a fleet
idling on the soft ledge.
Jordan Sanderson’s work has appeared in Phantom Limb, Caketrain, Double Room, Mad Hatters’ Review, and of course burntdistrict. More of Jordan’s work can be found in Volume 1, Issue 2 along with our poem of the week, “The River.”
for James Tate
By Jordan Sanderson
The goat with one horn swallowed the river whole, fish and all. It gave birth to catfish, which flounced in the afterbirth, making a new river. Floods fell from their fins. Hornets nested in a tree that grew from the absence of horn on the goat’s head. The people who had been skinny dipping when the goat started lapping at the current turned up in town still naked. No one could make clothes to fit them. The goat gnawed at pieces of a wreck that divers gave up on finding decades ago. The new river took a new course, but the few families around there accommodated it, letting it wash through their windows and out their back doors. Every night, they sat on its banks, built fires, bathed. They hoped no one would say the river had healing powers, though they felt significantly rejuvenated. Whether by water or turn of events, they couldn’t tell. The river did not smell like a goat, but some people said it made goat sounds. Maybe that’s why the goat refused to leave it and licked it so affectionately. Everyone lived too close to it to name it. They just knew it was there. The river carved a boat from its own water, and the people boarded gladly. They were always thirsty, even after they drank the last of the river. The river, they said, was in each of them, and they fell in love with each other. The most beautiful of them married the goat, lived like people who had watched their first loves drown.
“Last Meal,” our poem of the week, comes from the first issue of burntdistrict. In addition to publication in burntdistrict, William Trowbridge’s poetry publications include: Ship of Fool (Red Hen Press, 2011), The Complete Book of Kong (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2003), Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger (University of Arkansas Press, 2000, 1995, 1989).
By William Trowbridge
Probably not the baron’s petite foie gras
au torchon with chateauneuf du pape,
spooned gently on Charles II silver.
Nor the serial killer’s death-row treat
of two Whoppers, extra extra rare,
with Big Gulp and super-sized fries.
And not the mendicant’s moldy crust
and sip of brackish water,
laced with the certitude of grace.
Likelier a hospital tray of gelid peaches,
powdered spuds, and gray roast beef
in 30-weight gravy — or a cold puree