Poem of the Week: November 20th, 2014

Meg Cowen’s chapbook, When Surrounded By Fire, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. More of her poetry can be found in Volume 1, Issue 2 of burntdistrict.

HOW YOU SPARKLE WITH HALF YOUR HEAD GONE
Blanche Barrow, to her husband Buck (brother of Clyde) outside Platte City, MO, July 1933
By Meg Cowen

My father named me Blanche
because it never snows
where we’re from. But I can’t
whitewash the berry patch
this backseat has become.

Don’t mind that chiming, it’s only
my eyes closing on glass and reopening,
reborn as clusters
of quartz. If my eyes

can do this, why don’t my fingers
thin out to bone needles
and sew up this hole in your head?

I can feel your thoughts
throbbing out in the shape of
clementines,
but don’t apologize
to me, keep your guts down

until we get to Iowa or at least
long enough to end up somewhere
I can lay you out in the flinty grass.
I’ll etch your face into my eyelids,
like a medieval woodcut.

Wouldn’t a good wife let you bleed out
into her own hands
for four days?

My eyes are folding in
on their last bezeled tree line,
but I see well enough to know
that you, darling, are no Lazarus.

Poem of the Week: November 12th, 2014

Our poem of the week, “Beatrice: 285 Mt. Vernon,” was published in Volume 1, Issue 1 of burntdistrict. Kelly Fordon’s work has also appeared in The Kenyon Review (KRO), Flashquake, Red Wheelbarrow, The Windsor Review, The Bear River Review, Voices in Wartime and various other journals.

BEATRICE: 285 MT. VERNON
By Kelly Fordon

I was new to the neighborhood. You’d seen me pregnant, galumphing up and down. One day you showed up at my door with a gift basket. You’d just had your baby. Your husband was from the thumb, his hair stiff as Florida grass. Your baby’s name was Mavis. “They cry a lot,” you warned me. You gave me Crabtree and Evelyn Primrose Bath Beads. “You’ll need a bath,” you said. Turned out you needed more than that. It was hot so you needed to cut your pants off with kitchen shears. You needed to run through the street in your birthday suit. You needed to take a sledgehammer to the wall. Your baby wasn’t blowing raspberries, she was sending you messages: Run naked down Mt. Vernon Avenue, take the kitchen knife and… When you came back weeks later, I was still pregnant. I watched you shuffle Carrie-like up and down the streets with your caregivers, your husband, your mother. Then the medication took and you went on to get your real estate license, paint the fence Tom Sawyer white. But, I will always see you naked at noon doing pirouettes in the middle of the street. It was awful. It was amazing

Poem of the Week: November 3rd, 2014

Jeff Whitney is a co-founding editor of Peel Press, a new home for genre-bending literary book art. Recent poems have appeared in Devil’s Lake, Salt Hill, Thrush, and Verse Daily. More of his work can be found in Volume 3, Issue 1 of burntdistrict.

ON A HILL OVERLOOKING A CITY
By Jeff Whitney

Those little flags of town
could be toothpick top
for all these grinning
know. Maybe if we’d lived
under a different sun
we’d say good luck
a little less. Flowers
might tilt like little drunks
in their borrowed clothes.
However concerned we might be
a gazelle would be
doubly, born as it is
spring-wired and bounding.
A gazelle must not know though
how inaccurately we measure
loss. How likely it is
to be at a bus stop again
combing hair in a mirror
or looking at something
very far away. How
we all keep hummingbirds
in our pockets but forgot
long ago the reason
for carrying such things.