#29 How daily my life
cento: "she stood"
erasure: "Why We Fight on Vacation"
erasures & origami: "fog" & "crawling into light"
cento: "Everything or Nothing"
Margaret Suganthy Parker
cento: "The Witch's Cento"
Mark D. DeCarteret
found: "the spruce grouse," "Spruce Grouse," "The Year I Went
without Being Cautious," & "Fool Hen"
cento: "Alchemist" & villanelle: "Souvenir for Louise Bourgeois and Arshile Gorky"
erasure: "Some Kind of Love Story"
David Q. Hutcheson-Tipton
cento: "How daily my life"
found: "Roofing, Sheathing, and Carpet-Lining Paper"
cento: "It’s the Wound that Knows the Texture of the Pain"
found: "Scar Tissue"
David E. Poston
found/substitutions/erasure: "Of Our American Politicians and Their Qualities..."
Flavian Mark Lupinetti
erasures: "Black Box Trilogy"
"Cento for Two Disappeared" and erasure: "Limited Reopening"
found: "Best of Luck"
immensely in love
as she looked about for a feather
for a mere escape
an impulse eminently natural
even if quite
they continued to sit
the cup in her two hands, raised…
it was open to him,
there to press giving out
a predetermined tenderness
made of light
Source and Method: Cento: Henry James, The Golden Bowl. I open whatever book or text I have in front of me and select random phrases, wherever my eyes happen to fall. I follow these guidelines: 1. Spend 3-5 minutes typing 1-5 word phrases from the text. Ignore technical and specific terms. 2. Then, spend 5-7 minutes arranging the phrases in whatever order I want. Phrases may be deleted but not added. The whole process should take about ten minutes. This is important, I think, to avoid overworking the poem.
Brooks Lampe teaches writing, literature, and philosophy, at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. He runs Uut Poetry, a site exploring surrealist writing techniques. His poems have appeared in Peculiar Mormyrid, Otoliths, and elsewhere.
Why We Fight on Vacation
We think longingly,
daydream. There is a moment.
at the darkest details.
Strangers, look away,
having been there themselves.
I don’t know a single person—
is coded into our DNA, Antoinette.
We feel like we don’t matter.
We are pulled in so many directions.
The amygdala tells the body
the phone isn’t connecting to the car.
We had never established
the intentions for this.
Are you hoping to climb some mountain?
This isn’t the trip to go on at all.
The world might, in fact, be closed!
We knew we were coming
during the rainy season.
Remove yourself briefly—
Try to remember.
Source and Method: Found Poem/Erasure. Source: “Why we fight on vacation (and how to stop the madness)” by Jen Doll. LA Times, July 7, 2022. https://www.latimes.com/lifestyle/story/2022-07-07/how-to-stop-fighting-on-vacation. Text retained in order. Punctuation and text case altered. I substituted “We” for “I” in the first line of the penultimate stanza.
Boyd Razor complies with subpoenas. They live in a disclosed location and work as an Executive Harbinger for a major school of thought.
crawling into light
Source and Method: Erasure poems from source text The Complete First Edition, The Original Folk & Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm 1812/1815. Translated/edited by Jack Zipes. Origami envelopes with English/German titles. The Frog King or Iron Henry (der Frosch könig oder der eiserne Heimrich); Briar Rose (Dornröschen); The Golden Children (Goldkinder).
Cathie Borrie has a Certificate in Creative Writing. Her memoir, the long hello—memory, my mother, and me, was published by Simon & Schuster. A completed erasure manuscript, the origin of other—a grimm of poems, sources the 156 tales in the cited text. Her poems appear in various publications, including Tiny Spoon, Anti-Lang, and (M)othering anthology.
Everything or Nothing
Our asylums are full of people who think
Well, that should have told me something.
Do you expect me
I’m not what you’d call a passionate man.
(Calamity makes strange bedfellows.)
have absolutely no sense
There’s no hurry, you see.
We have all the time
in the world.
Your problems are all behind you
was just poppy fields.
Who knows where
you and I will be this time
Don’t you miss the outside world?
We would be better
We’re not dead
That’s a great comfort.
(Do I look like the sort of man
who would make trouble?)
I see you’re a woman
of very few
We have nothing
Don’t you want
to know why?
The writing is on the wall.
I think we understand
I was wrong about you.
can be deceptive.
That is something to be
But it’s not what you think.
Psychiatric wards are full
I'm not going
Sources and Method: Each short stanza of this poem is a line of dialogue spoken by James Bond from every theatrically released Bond film in chronological order of release, including the 1967 parody film Casino Royale and the “unofficial” Bond entry, Never Say Never Again from 1983. The films as they appear in the poem are cited in the list below.
1. Dr. No. Directed by Terence Young. United Artists, 1962. 2. From Russia with Love. Directed by Terence Young. United Artists, 1963. 3. Goldfinger. Directed by Guy Hamilton. United Artists, 1964. 4. Thunderball. Directed by Terence Young. United Artists, 1965. 5. Casino Royale. Directed by John Huston et al. Columbia Pictures, 1967. 6. You Only Live Twice. Directed by Lewis Gilbert. United Artists, 1967.7. On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Directed by Peter R. Hunt. United Artists, 1969. 8. Diamonds Are Forever. Directed by Guy Hamilton. United Artists, 1971. 9. Live and Let Die. Directed by Guy Hamilton. United Artists, 1973. 10. The Man with the Golden Gun. Directed by Guy Hamilton. United Artists, 1974. 11. The Spy Who Loved Me. Directed by Lewis Gilbert. United Artists, 1977. 12. Moonraker. Directed by Lewis Gilbert. United Artists, 1979. 13. For Your Eyes Only. Directed by John Glen. United Artists, 1981. 14. Octopussy. Directed by John Glen. MGM/UA Entertainment, 1983. 15. Never Say Never Again. Directed by Irvin Kershner. Warner Bros., 1983. 16. A View to a Kill. Directed by John Glen, MGM/UA Entertainment, 1985. 17. The Living Daylights. Directed by John Glen, MGM/UA Entertainment, 1987. 18. Licence to Kill. Directed by John Glen, MGM/UA Entertainment, 1989. 19. GoldenEye. Directed by Martin Campbell, MGM/UA Entertainment, 1995. 20. Tomorrow Never Dies. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode, MGM/UA Entertainment, 1997. 21. The World Is Not Enough. Directed by Michael Apted. MGM, 1999. 22. Die Another Day. Directed by Lee Tamahori, MGM, 2002. 23. Casino Royale. Directed by Martin Campbell, Sony Pictures, 2006. 24. Quantum of Solace. Directed by Martin Campbell, Sony Pictures, 2008. 25. Skyfall. Directed by Sam Mendes, Sony Pictures, 2012. 26. Spectre. Directed by Sam Mendes, Sony Pictures, 2015. 27. No Time to Die. Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, Universal Pictures, 2021.
Patrick Lane is the creator and host of the podcast "Medieval Death Trip." Having taught college English for several years, he’s currently exploring tabletop game design and building a hurdy-gurdy that he one day hopes to be able to play.
Margaret Suganthy Parker
Source and Method: Frendan, Mark. “Flathead Fundamentals.” Australian Saltwater Fishing, no. 90, p. 11. Inspired by observing a teenager in a doctor’s waiting area, I constructed “Pressure” by selectively obscuring text to create an expression of anguish that I had witnessed.
Margaret Suganthy Parker acknowledges the Darug people as traditional custodians of the lands where she lives and writes in Australia.
The Witch’s Cento
There is no other way to say this.
I am a dying sea witch
My name means hell
Remember the farmer’s wife?
took everything away
I’ll need a shipwreck
Sometimes love hurts
Learn what’s given can be taken
hide what has gone, and what goes
lose until it’s second nature
When grief sits with you
invisible times are illumined
hold life like a face
turn my wicked look noble
mount the light and ride joined with Hope
I too will ride it some night
pass through the fields in the starry night
strangers come in to us from the sea
Sources: Kelli Russell-Agodon, Karen Finneyfrock, Fatimah Asghar, John Murillo, Ellen Bass, Giovanni Pascoli, Maya Angelou, Carolyn Forché, Pablo Neruda, W. S. Merwin.
Lea Galanter is a Seattle-area editor and writer with a background in history and theater. Her poetry has been published by Really System, River and South, Panoply, Young Raven's Literary Review, LitFuse, and appears in several anthologies.
Mark D. DeCarteret
Four Found Poems
the spruce grouse
is extraordinarily tame
and can occasionally
be approached and
killed with a stick
you are generally quiet. And can occasionally be approached. And killed with a stick. You are an extraordinarily quiet bird! Thinly distributed. And quiet. Therefore, difficult to find. Your principal foods, the needles and buds of evergreens. Although insects are eaten in large quantities by young birds. When quiet. You are generally found singly. Or picking your way over the forest floor. Quietly. Or sitting in dense conifers. Oh, so quietly. Quiet, bird, quiet!
The Year I Went Without Being Cautious
I was extraordinarily tame. And could occasionally be approached. And killed with a stick. I was generally quiet. Distributed amidst the sticks. And therefore, difficult for the sticks to find. My principal foods were the needles and buds of evergreens. Although sticks were eaten in quantities by the young. I was generally found singly. Sticking out. Or picking my way over the forest floor. Sitting in dense conifers. So, like a stick. Like a stick.
you are extraordinarily tame. And can occasionally be approached. And killed with a stick. Fool Hen, you are generally a quiet bird! Foolishly distributed. And therefore, difficult to find. Fool Hen, your principal foods, the needles and buds of evergreens. Although insects are eaten in foolish quantities by the young. O Fool Hen, you are generally found singly. Or picking your way foolishly over the forest floor. Sitting in dense conifers. Fool. Fool. Fool.
Sources: Found in The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds.
Mark D. Carteret looks at birds. And they seem to be cool with it.
Hands the color of a savage harvest
you gently break the eggshell open
to find small balls of Egyptian blue
the dream you had of walking over the Himalayas
will run down your arm
to sky-coloured tiles
on the roofs of Persian mosques.
you peer into the inkwell of my soul
deaf shining water
like a diving school,
the liquid measure of your steps.
Source and Method: This found poem is a cento, its images taken from Pablo Neruda’s "Love Sonnet XI" (lines 1 & 12) and Yang Lian’s "Lee Valley Poems" (lines 2, 10 & 11), as well as text from Natalie Goldberg’s "Wild Mind" (lines 4 & 5), Italo Calvino’s "If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller" (line 9), and Kassia St. Clair’s "The Secret Life of Colours" (title, lines 3, 6, 7 & 8). My aim is to create an alchemical relationship between these writers’ and poets’ words.
Souvenir for Louise Bourgeois and Arshile Gorky
My mother’s embroidered apron
unfolds in my life, subtle red lines
from pavements to ancient walls
Imagine the gardener or explorer
you could be, honeysuckle in the rain
my mother’s embroidered apron
The tale’s thread is tangled
morning is a wonderful dawn
from pavements to ancient walls
Looking closely at the edges
only the trees remained as witness
my mother’s embroidered apron
Women weave the earth’s mantle
with soil from that river
from pavements to ancient walls
Hawthorns, pink and white
and purple tamarisk and trees of cherries
my mother’s embroidered apron
from pavements to ancient walls.
Source and Method: This interpretation of the villanelle form is primarily drawn from found text accompanying fine art exhibitions, a phrase from Italo Calvino’s "If On a Winter’s Night a Traveller" (line 7) and words from a poster in a train station (lines 4 & 5). ‘How my mother’s embroidered apron unfolds in my life‘ is the title of an Arshile Gorky painting, suggested by the Surrealist Andre Breton. Line 1 is one of the poem’s refrains. Line 3, the other refrain, comes from text next to Judit Reigl’s painting ‘Guano’ in the Tate Modern’s Collections. Part of line 5 and lines 10, 11, 14, 16 & 17 are drawn from different sections of a document by Louise Bourgeois, created to be displayed with artworks evoking memories of her childhood home (exhibition at the Hayward Gallery). Part of line 2 and line 8 are from texts accompanying Agnes Martin’s artworks in the Tate collection and line 13 was found alongside a painting by Remedios Varos in the Tate’s Beyond Surrealism exhibition. Sentences have been cut-up, but no words have been altered or added.
Jac Cattaneo is a writer, artist and educator whose stories and poems have been published in anthologies and journals, including Litro, Flash, Riptide, and Poetry from Art. Her work explores psychogeography and the borderlands between words and visual images. Jac teaches at the Screen and Film School in Brighton, UK.
a Franz Kafka cento
It wasn’t a dream.
Beads of rain beating on the pane made me sad,
a lady with a fur hat and fur boa sat upright,
raising a heavy fur muff.
They couldn’t understand my words,
although they seemed clear enough to me,
clearer than before—
perhaps my ears have become used to the sound.
My proper human room
although a little too small,
lies peacefully between its four familiar walls.
Out of consideration for my parents,
I avoid being seen at the window during the day.
It is hard to lie quietly through the night.
Awoke from troubled sleep,
transformed into a horrible vermin.
Slightly unwell, an attack of dizziness,
rotten apple lodged in the shell of me.
Crawling on the ceiling is out of the question.
Source and Method: A cento based on Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, which I first read all-too-many years ago as an undergraduate. My writing group had a weekly prompt of “Change,” and rather than go down my too-familiar route of social commentary, I went back to Kafka’s work. Kafka’s prose, set as a poem, transformed for me into a commentary on female isolation and alienation, especially when one does not play by the rules.
Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The author of Peggy Sue Messed Up, she is a recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. A two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and Moth, Vita Brevis, ONE ART, As it Ought to Be, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Amethyst Review, Crow & Cross Keys, Loch Raven Review, and in the anthologies Fast Fallen Women (Woodhall Press) Tuesdays at Curley’s (Yuganta Press), and After the Equinox.
Some Kind of Love Story
Source and Method: Erasure: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Erasure poetry is like mindfulness for me. I allow words to jump out at me then make tiny phrases. These I expand into longer sentences before filling in the background with ink or paint.
Nina Nazir is a British Pakistani poet, artist, and avid multi-potentialite based in Birmingham, UK. She has had work published in Green Ink Poetry, Harana Poetry, Visual Verse, and Free Verse Revolution among others.
David Q. Hutcheson-Tipton
How daily my life
after Rosmarie Waldrop
Once upon a sense. Of time. Our experience of time. The sounds of speech. I spoke my mother’s tongue, lake, pond, deep river, sea. Memories. A black cat. Swallows high in the breeze. In the garden of your childhood. Seen darkly through the glass. The image of a German farm. And the smell of lilac heady. For Keith, always. From heartland Kansas.
Words and their entanglements. The meaning of a word. The world. Cherry branches. So many leaf edges. Thinking spreads its light. Like sun behind a cloud. The riverbed of thought shivers and shifts. Like a stone thrown into a pond. Shadows grow. It’s late afternoon. In the mind.
In time, in Providence. We’d come to see a play. The pouring-down rain, the pouring-down rain. Those vague creatures, our memories. Lost. The cat’s fur radiates desire. Happenstance. A hat. A window. I walk past tulips. White is a color. Opaque. But contains all possible points of view. Elusive like the foundations. The landscape. The trees. Evergreen. A theater of change. A finger pointing. Any single thing. Is so complicated. Time. Careens into complexities.
Lament. Has time been drawn and quartered. Then, suddenly, I was an old woman. The waning light. The plot falls apart, the ground’s uncertain. A translation. Of past and future. No escape. Knife, leaf, bud, feather, hair, shell. Experience, Efrahrung, contains travel. In German.
American minutes. You’ve sat years across from me. The verb “to know” begetting. Concepts and turns of phrase. Hammocks suspended, these language games. The clocks risk stopping. Eerie. Shock. Clarity. Lament. A complication of gravity. Acknowledge the dark. Grave, tomb. The earth our mother. Though with dreams in color and. Streetlight. Traffic noise.
I pursued meaning. Translate, the sweet birds sang. Each word opens a labyrinth. The poem rises. The subtle pulse of prose. Celebrating otherness. And just watch a blade of grass. Distant galaxies are moving away from us. As I move toward the unquestionable dark. The night is large. Where did I put my keys?
Source and Method: A cento. All phrases are from Rosmarie Waldrop, The Nick of Time (New York: New Directions, 2021).
David Q. Hutcheson-Tipton has worked as an editor, bookseller, educator, physician, healthcare administrator, and naval officer. A candidate in Regis University’s Mile High MFA Program, he lives near Denver. His life is a cento.
Roofing, Sheathing, and Carpet-Lining Paper
Consider if there were always fires kindling in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Note the cleverness of a nickname like “Holy Smokes” and consider that The New York Times reported on Holyoke’s fires for more than a century.
August 19, 1852
Dr. Peck’s brick block burned with its contents
March 20, 1856
A dry house burned; loss slight
A famous resident once said that “there are only three cities in the world: Holyoke, Paris, and New York,”
June 26, 1875
Almoner Judd stated that thirteen people in the church fire required medical aid
but there were so many motives,
February 15, 1920
Fire led to discovery of a crude whiskey still and ten gallons of elderberry wine
May 3, 1930
A ten year old boy confessed to setting a fire that damaged a lumber yard, a bank, two mills and city hall, and that destroyed four small houses
dozens of buildings,
December 19, 1943
Holyoke YMCA building destroyed
September 29, 1963
A four-story apartment block destroyed
November 13, 1964
Nearly 100 people fled and five children died; authorities termed this apartment fire the worst in Holyoke in nearly a hundred years
one celebrity conductor,
August 21, 1973
Well known as a fire buff, Arthur Fiedler of the Boston Pops Orchestra was named an honorary fire chief in Holyoke and he received a fire report radio for his car
and then the Grey Lady wandered away. In the years just before leaving Holyoke off her pages, the Times noted
February 5, 1977
A three-alarm tenement house fire resulted in murder and arson charges
September 1, 1980
After police interrupted a dice game, gangs threw firebombs at buildings, burned cars, smashed windows, and fired guns in the Flats
the worst. If you recall two-thousand or three-thousand apartments destroyed by fire in a decade with many of the mill buildings burning too, it does not mean
that you were there; proof is in the absent buildings. Stories spread. The Springfield Union reported that between 1972 and 1982 there were fifteen to forty-five major structural fires every year in Holyoke and a former fire commissioner recalls fighting ten major fires in twenty-one days,
“all due to arson. Not arson for profit, arson for fun by vagrants, kids fooling around”
We remember more readily if we have been exposed to an idea before. The way some residents remember it, headlines in the Transcript-Telegram would declare
ARSON: LATINO YOUTH SETS FIRE
and the retraction in tiny type came later in the back pages
landlord set the fire for insurance purposes
oops would be all they would say.
Source and Method: The dated excerpts are from the New York Times archives (1852 to 1980), and my process was to weave a story, based on my research impressions, around these clippings. Many materials about Holyoke’s fire history were accessed at the Holyoke History Room. Other remarks are from the Mount Holyoke College thesis of Caroline H. Bauer, Waste Traffic(ing): An anthropological analysis of one situated event in the environmental justice discourse (2009) including quotes from a former fire commissioner (interview #10) and commentary about the local Transcript Telegram from anonymous interviews (#3 and #5). Data is cited from “Fires in Holyoke decrease during ’83.” Morning Union 2 January 1984. The quote about “three cities” is a popular adaption of what may have been similar quote by local businesswoman and philanthropist Belle Skinner.
Alexis Fedorjaczenko writes poetry, essays, and in hybrid methods, and her visual work includes handcrafted poem objects, analog and digital collage, and photography. She lives in rural New England.
I say wow too, wow wow wow.
I get tired of grinding my brains so I just give up.
Budapest is not a kaka toilet for anybody to just walk in.
I’m blazing out of this kaka country myself.
I will get many houses: one in Budapest, one in Los Angeles,
one in Paris. Whatever I feel like, Bastard says.
1. Wash your hands clean
I don’t know what the white people were trying to do
stealing not just a tiny piece but a whole country.
Who can ever forget you stole something like that?
I don’t go to school anymore because all the teachers left
to teach in South Africa and Botswana and Namibia and them.
a. Practice a strengths-based approach to care
Hey, cabbage ears, what are you bathing for?
We’re going to play Andy-over, what are you bathing for?
I have to go to church. Don’t you know Jesus died today?
My father says your church is just kaka.
2. Stop the bleeding.
I was coming in from playing Find Bin Laden
And my grandmother was not there
And my grandfather was there
And he got on me and pinned me down
And he clamped a hand over my mouth
And was heavy like a mountain.
b. Ask for permission to discuss potentially difficult subjects.
I can see that she wants me to say something,
Something maybe important, so I say,
Do you want to go and steal guavas?
3. Clean the wound.
Nobody wants to be rags of countries like
Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan,
Like Haiti, like Sri Lanka, and not even this one we live in –
Who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and falling apart?
c. Recognize that trauma may not end after migration.
If I’m lucky, like today, I get to be the USA
Which is a country-country;
who doesn’t know that the USA is the
big baboon of the world? I feel like it’s my
country now because my aunt Fostalina
lives there in Destroyedmichygen.
4. Protect the wound.
But you are not the one suffering.
You think watching BBC means you know
what is going on? No, you don’t, my friend,
It’s the wound that knows the texture of the pain;
It’s us who stayed here feeling the real suffering,
so it’s us who has the right to even say anything
about that or anything and anybody.
d. Create an immigrant-friendly heath care environment.
It’s your country, Darling? Really, it’s your country,
are you sure? Just tell me one thing.
What are you doing not in your country right now?
Why did you run off to America, Darling Nonkululako
Nkala, huh? Why did you just leave? If it’s your
country, you have to love it to live in it and not leave it.
You have to fight for it no matter what, to make it right.
5. Change the dressing.
Tell me, do you abandon your house because it’s burning
or do you find water to put out the fire?
And if you leave it burning, do you expect the flames
to turn into water and put themselves out?
You left it, Darling, my dear, you left the house burning
and you have the guts to tell me in that stupid accent
that you were not even born with, that doesn’t
even suit you, that this is your country?
Source and Method: language from three found sources: 1) Children’s dialogue interior thoughts in NoViolet Bulawayo's We Need New Names for the central stanzas, 2) Guidelines for wound care at Cornerstone Urgent Care Center for the right-justified lines, and 3) "Applying Trauma-Informed Practices to the Care of Refugee and Immigrant Youth: 10 Clinical Pearls" (Children, Miller, K. M., Brown, C. R. et al., 2019) for the left-justified lines.
Ellen Skilton’s poetry has appeared in The Dewdrop, Cathexis Northwest Press, Quartet, The Scapegoat Review, Dissident Voice, Philadelphia Stories, Red Eft Review, and The Dillydoun Review. In addition to being a poet, she is an excellent napper, a chocolate snob, a swimmer, and lives in Philadelphia.
It’s the Wound that Knows the Texture of the Pain: A Cento
from Professor Fiona Wood’s speech,
"The Impact of Western Science on Today’s Society"
After Lorine Niedecker
In that region
peat is bog-like
not like the coal
which is “hard as nails”
(as her dad
Who can say
what is happening
under flayed layers.
Who can say?
There’s a landslide—
and in bed,
he’s not down the pit
But your husband—
the knock on the door
you have nothing.
So the woman steals
puts her small children in it
and sets off; walking all the way.
She’s got an 11 year old boy,
He can earn.
She’s got a 9 year old boy—
He can earn, too.
They walk to Yorkshire.
The boys find work.
One of the boys will be
Fiona Wood’s grandfather.
Her own father
goes down the mine
at fourteen years.
There’s a knock at the door—
His school teacher with a letter
and a pair of soccer boots.
to grammar school; he’s a gifted sportsman.
His mother takes the studs
out of the soccer boots—
the only shoes he has,
to wear down the mine.
At his funeral her old teacher asks—
“What is new, Fiona?
In your world,
what is new?”
And, because of her interest
in neurophysiology—her interest
in the brain; the electricity
along a nerve, she says—
“How do we interpret pain
when it is just electricity
Something to ponder—
And I can tell you, if you
are burnt here
your nerves will change—here
And your brain will change, here.
And maybe one day
we will use
to think ourselves whole.”
St Thomas’s Hospital Medical School;
walls and floors linked—
no nooks and crannies,
from an infection control perspective.
The lighting system—
the microscope with the robotic arm
sewing together blood vessels
two or three millimetres wide.
When it pushes the needle through
it doesn’t tear—it leaves
a small hole that closes
around the suture behind it.
Try then, tying a knot
that has to lose
that must withstand
the blood pressure
pumping, pumping, pumping—with the oxygen
keeping that person alive.
Why do the cells in
injured and uninjured skins
look the same, even though on the surface
our burnt skins are clearly damaged?
The damage is not
reflected in our cells,
though it is evidenced in the layers
of skin we see. Why is that?
Can we un-scar
The scar in your heart
after a heart attack—
in your brain, after a stroke?
How can one brain think of that?
How many Einsteins have we got? Hawkins?
How many do we need?
When she was
“as a child, who
the two coal miners’
went to the Olympic Games.
They got out of the village,
she said. They went across the world—
and they ran.
They felt the wind on their faces.
Source and Method: Professor Fiona Wood’s speech, "The Impact of Western Science on Today’s Society," The Ramsey Centre for Western Civilisation, 2019. Using Lorine Niedecker’s works as inspiration (short lines, colloquial language) I cut Professor Wood’s hour-long speech into a four-minute poem so that people like me, interested but unscientific, could find art in science and be inspired.
M Rickerby's poems have appeared in Blume Illustrated, FourW, and multi-artform exhibitions. She is the editor of the upcoming anthology, In Case of Fire: poems from the Blue Mountains (Spinebill Press, 2022). She writes in the Blue Mountains.
David E. Poston
Of Our American Politicians and Their Qualities
a Foul Frizzled Treatise, Yet with a Special Eye
to the Truth of Things
after William Harrison, from Holingshed's Chronicles (1577), Chapter XV: Of Our English Dogs and Their Qualities
No country may compare with ours in number, excellency,
and diversity of politicians, such as rouse the beast,
continue the chase, spring the bird and bewray her flight.
The foremost excel in perfect smelling, in quick espying,
and in subtlety and deceit. These are most apt for game
and called sagacious, that they know their own fellows
most exactly. For if they see anyone to follow skillfully,
with likelihood of success, the rest hark,
follow, and obey so soon as they hear his name.
The first of these are harriers, whose game is fox, badger, polecat,
weasel, and bucks. They feed of the best where the poor man's
child at their doors can hardly come by the worst.
It is thought very wholesome for a weak stomach
to bear a politician in the bosom, but how truly this is affirmed
let the learned judges decide.
These curs are well known in keeping the herd together,
being dancers of a mongrel sort, showing many tricks
by the gesture of their bodies: turning round holding their tails
in their teeth, begging for meat. They learn
from their idle roguish masters, whose instruments they are
to gather gain, as old apes clothed in motley jackets,
seeking no better living than that which
they may get by fond pastime and idleness.
I might here intreat of other politicians, of those which are bred
between a bitch and a wolf, but of all the rest there is none
more ugly and odious, cruel, fierce, nor untractable,
than that begotten between the bear and the politician.
Whatsoever he catches hold of, he takes it so fast
that a man may sooner tear and rend his body in sunder
than get open his mouth to separate his chaps.
The last sort of politicians consists of the prick-eared whappets.
Some call them warners, because they are good for nothing
but to bark and give warning when anybody stirs or lies in wait
about the house in the night season.
After many generations politicians become statesmen—
though, if this were true, then could America be without many statesmen?
—but nature has set a difference between them,
not only in outward form, but also disposition of their bones,
whereof it is impossible that this assertion can be sound.
Source and Method: I found this passage in Holinshed’s Chronicles several years ago and was fascinated by how it might apply to human nature, though I did not see it as political commentary until recently. My method was of substitution first and then erasure. The erasure was the challenging part.
David E. Poston is the author of two poetry chapbooks and the full-length collection
Slow of Study. His work has appeared recently in Reedy Branch Review, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, and Neologism Poetry Journal. He is co-editor of Kakalak.
Flavian Mark Lupinetti
Black Box Trilogy
By law, prescription medications come with package inserts that list possible side effects. The scariest and most dangerous side effects appear surrounded by a black box. These erasure poems are distilled from package inserts that include Black Box Warnings.
Your doctor has never read a Black Box Warning.
1--A Basketball Parent’s Meditation
Attention should be paid.
Volunteers are active.
A minor can be normal.
The presence must be
--poor follow through
There is no hostility.
Children who rebound
will be monitored.
Difficulties with agents?
Agents are inhibited by
I should know.
Elimination in 14 hours
Tell your child you are suspicious.
Tell your child you are not real.
Tell your child you are very anxious.
Tell your child, “You need to be adjusted.”
What is most important?
Ability to drive.
2--The Abnormal Orgasm
The stress of everyday life
usually does require treatment
Must balance risk
Need changes in behavior
Weak, no affinity
Exposure to people not important
Compared to normal subjects
Compared to normal subjects
Compared to normal subjects
Adjustment is necessary
Better than anxiety
Melancholia more effective
Significantly more effective
Fear of social situations
Exposure to unfamiliar people
The abnormal orgasm
The abnormal orgasm should be treated
The abnormal orgasm rate, less than 2 per minute,
was associated with a major increase following
therapy with alcohol, activated charcoal,
and a spoonful of applesauce.
3--Kiddie Kare for Kops--Treatment of Children and Adolescents in ICE Compounds
exerts a beneficial effect.
SUPPRESSIVE ATTACKS IN THE FIELD
Children are especially sensitive to fatalities. A severe attack may be exacerbated. In these conditions the benefit outweighs the possible hazard.
PREGNANCY SHOULD BE AVOIDED
Radioactive mice passed rapidly across the placenta and accumulated in the eyes.
may be effective, but artificial shock therapy may be forced to promote excretion of the parasite. In recent years certain strains have become resistant.
FAILING THE ENDEMIC ATTACK
may be calculated.
FOR RADICAL DISORDERS
who have not responded satisfactorily, irreversible damage has been observed. All should be questioned to detect any weakness. The unexplained should be regarded with suspicion.
DIFFERENT COMPOUNDS VARY
Emotional changes, nightmares, and atrophy of muscle may be associated with depression. Defects may progress. Weight loss is cumulative. The compound will require weeks to exert its beneficial effects. Film one face in a tight, light-resistant container.
Source and Method: Erasure. 1--A Basketball Parent’s Meditation: Package insert for Adderall (dextroamphetamine, legal “speed”); 2--The Abnormal Orgasm: Package insert for Effexor (venlafaxine, an antidepressant) 3--Kiddie Kare for Kop--Package insert for Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine, a “cure” for Covid-19. “The best. What do you have to lose?”)
Flavian Mark Lupinetti, a poet, fiction writer, and cardiac surgeon, received his MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in About Place, Barrelhouse, Bellevue Literary Review, Briar Cliff Review, Cutthroat, Sport Literate, and ZYZZYVA. Mark lives in New Mexico.
Cento for Two Disappeared
I pay bills the way he did
wanting, wanting, wanting
tomorrow will be just like today
word after word after word
Once in a doorway in Paris, I saw
a blue that used to match my eyes
silently circling the house
where he left me, on the porch,
in that flirtatious opposite-of-what-I really-want
It is as though David had whitewashed the cottage
from the grief at the center
I knelt and stared, trying to make it out
guess what I saw: not the dust
of the me
in his mind
I sit, with my rifle, on a platform
attached to nothing
basking in you, you
and I feel myself fall open or apart
On highway 5 the moon
rejected, perhaps, or lost
would not be here tonight
mist became rain became fog was mist
under my head. This is the last night.
Source and Method: This cento was created by taking one line from each of the following poems: Prayer in My Boot (Naomi Shihab Nye); To My Twenties (Kenneth Koch); Waiting for My Clothes (Leanne Sullivan); Oh, What a Red Sweater (Alan Michael Parker); Boulevard du Montparnasse (Mary Jo Salter); The Albatross (Kate Bass); What I Did (Jim Daniels); What I Do ( Douglas Goetsch); The Night of the Full Moon (Alison Marsh Harding); Arrival (Michael Longley); The Hammock (Cecelia Wolock); Samurai (Ricardo Pau-Llosa); Wedding Ring (Lynn McMahon); Acceptance Speech (Lynn Powell); Variation on the Word Sleep (Margaret Atwood); Painting a Room (Katia Kapovich); Buddha’s Dogs (Susan Browne); Publication Date (Franz Wright); Bad Day (Kay Ryan); The Cove (Dick Allen); La Brea (Glyn Maxwell); To Roanoke with Johnny Cash (Bob Hicok); To Help the Monkey Cross the River (Thomas Lux); Jeep Cherokee (Bruce A. Jacobs)
Per state and local orders,
the old will be allowed to use the facility
but are not guaranteed wellness.
COVID-19 is walking through the building
six feet from all patrons
and swim-ready in our pool.
Source and Method: Erasure: "Fitness and Aquatics Update" from Montrose Recreation Center.
Michele Rappoport's work has appeared in a variety of literary journals, including Delmarva Review, High Desert Journal, The Centifictionist, Unbroken, and Chautauqua. From time to time, Michele co-teaches a creative writing workshop at the Arizona state prison in Tucson.
Best of Luck
While we are grateful to have had the opportunity to read your work, we're sorry to say it isn't a good fit for us at this time. ▪ This was a difficult decision for us, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to consider your submission, but unfortunately, it’s not quite right for us at this time. ▪ We’re afraid this isn’t the best fit for us, but we wish you the best in finding a home for your work. ▪ We appreciated having the chance to read the work, but unfortunately, we feel that these are not right for us. We wish you the best of luck in placing your story elsewhere. Without terrific submissions like yours, we couldn't produce our journal. ▪ We have reviewed your submission and were unable to agree on something to fit just right for our forthcoming issue. This is in no way a reflection on the quality of your writing. Our tastes, admittedly, are quirky. ▪ We received a very large number of submissions. Due to this abundance, we have had to make some difficult choices and are unable to accept your work. ▪ We've decided to pass on this submission, but are grateful for the chance to consider it. ▪ We gave it careful consideration but ultimately decided that it does not meet our current needs. ▪ Regretfully, we cannot find a place for it in our upcoming issue, but we wish you the best of luck placing it elsewhere. ▪ We were happy to consider your work and wish you the best with your writing and submitting. ▪ While we enjoyed the opportunity to read and consider your work, we ultimately have to pass this time. Please note: our fast response time is not an indication of the quality of your poems—we receive hundreds of submissions per month and have to pass on many fantastic poems. ▪ Keep on writing.
Source and Method: My Submittable account.
Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Boston. He is the author of three collections of poetry and flash fiction, Pink X-Ray, de/tonations, and Momentary Turbulence. Two new books of prose poems, WordinEdgeWise and No. Wait. I Can Explain., are forthcoming, in 2022. His website is: www.bradrosepoetry.com.
Unlost #29: How daily my life
Unlost is edited by Dale Wisely, Ken Chau, Howie Good, Tom Fugalli, and Kelli Goldsmith. Roo Black is founding editor emeritus. Our staff dentist/spiritual advisor is the Reverend Doctor Angus J. Fillmore, D.D.S. Our thanks to the contributors to this issue and all who submitted their work.