unlost journal

   #29  How daily my life

 

Brooks Lampe
cento: "she stood"
Boyd Razor
erasure: "Why We Fight on Vacation"
Cathie Borrie
erasures & origami: "fog" & "crawling into light"
Patrick Lane
cento: "Everything or Nothing"
Margaret Suganthy Parker
erasure: "Pressure"
Lea Galanter
cento: "The Witch's Cento"
Mark D. DeCarteret
found: "the spruce grouse," "Spruce Grouse," "The Year I Went
without Being Cautious," & "Fool Hen"
Jac Cattaneo
cento: "Alchemist" & villanelle: "Souvenir for Louise Bourgeois and Arshile Gorky"
Susan Cossette
cento: "Metamorphosis"
Nina Nazir
erasure: "Some Kind of Love Story"
David Q. Hutcheson-Tipton
cento: "How daily my life"
Alexis Fedorjaczenko
found: "Roofing, Sheathing, and Carpet-Lining Paper"
Ellen Skilton
cento: "It’s the Wound that Knows the Texture of the Pain"
M Rickerby
found: "Scar Tissue"
David E. Poston
found/substitutions/erasure: "Of Our American Politicians and Their Qualities..."
Flavian Mark Lupinetti
erasures: "Black Box Trilogy"
Michele Rappoport
"Cento for Two Disappeared" and erasure: "Limited Reopening"
Brad Rose
found: "Best of Luck"

Brooks Lampe

 

she stood

immensely in love

as she looked about for a feather

 

taking everything

for a mere escape

 

an impulse eminently natural

even if quite

overmuch—

they continued to sit

frightened

more eloquent,

 

the cup in her two hands, raised…

 

it was open to him,

 

one hand

attuned

and unmistakable

 

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.

 

Boyd Razor

Why We Fight on Vacation

We think longingly,
daydream. There is a moment.

you scream
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?
No? Good.

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.

 

Cathie Borrie

fog

fog-origami.jpg

crawling into light

crawling-origami.jpg

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.

 

 

Patrick Lane

Everything or Nothing

Our asylums are full of people who think

        they’re Napoleon.

                                           Or God.

 

Well, that should have told me something.

 

Do you expect me

                                   to talk?

 

I’m not what you’d call a passionate man.

 

                                                                   (Calamity makes strange bedfellows.)

 

We corpses

                        have absolutely no sense

                        of timing.

 

There’s no hurry, you see.

          We have all the time

                                                   in the world.

 

Your problems are all behind you

          now.

 

Voodooland

                        was just poppy fields.

 

Who knows where

                        you and I will be this time

            next year?

 

Don’t you miss the outside world?

 

We would be better

                                 off working

                                       together.

 

We’re not dead

                              yet.

 

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

                   words.

 

We have nothing

                                 to declare.

 

Don’t you want

            to know why?

 

The writing is on the wall.

 

I think we understand

                                           each other.

 

I was wrong about you.

 

Looks

            can be deceptive.

 

That is something to be

                             afraid of.

 

But it’s not what you think.

 

They're controlling

                you.

 

Visionaries...

     Psychiatric wards are full

     of them.

 

I'm not going

               to lose

                    control.

Sources and MethodEach 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

Pressure

Pressure_by_Margaret_Parker.jpeg

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.

 

Lea Galanter

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

 

Spruce Grouse

 

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.

 

Fool Hen

 

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.

 

Jac Cattaneo

Alchemist

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.

Star-strewn,

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.

 

Susan Cossette

Metamorphosis

         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.

 

Nina Nazir

Some Kind of Love Story

        

Source and Method: ErasureThe 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.

2 pages

 

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.

 

Alexis Fedorjaczenko
 

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.

Ellen Skilton
 

It’s the Wound that Knows the Texture of the Pain: A Cento

 

M Rickerby

Scar Tissue

 

         from Professor Fiona Wood’s speech,

        "The Impact of Western Science on Today’s Society"  

        After Lorine Niedecker

 

I

 

The Midlands

    England,

        1800s, deep

cold.

 

In that region

    peat is bog-like

        not like the coal

in Yorkshire

which is “hard as nails”

    (as her dad

          would say).

Rock solid.

Who can say

what is happening

under flayed layers.

Who can say?

There’s a landslide—

    You’ve got

six children.

The oldest

 

is eleven,

and in bed,

he’s not down the pit

that day.

 

But your husband—

    the knock on the door

        —you realise

you have nothing.

 

II

 

So the woman steals

a wheelbarrow—

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—

 

III

 

His school teacher with a letter

and a pair of soccer boots.

        A scholarship

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.

 

IV

 

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

        and chemistry? 

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

       that information

to think ourselves whole.”

 

V

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

in something    

      that has to lose

its memory—        

 

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?

 

VI

 

Can we un-scar

the 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?

 

VII

 

When she was

asked—

    “as a child, who

inspired you?”

 

She named

the two coal miners’

daughters who

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

 

High potential?

Attention should be paid.

Volunteers are active.

A minor can be normal.

 

The presence must be

accounted for:

--poor follow through

--poor effort

 

Hostility?

There is no hostility. 

Children who rebound

will be monitored.

 

Difficulties with agents?

Agents are inhibited by

slow poisoning.

I should know.

Elimination in 14 hours

can result.

 

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? 

Heart. 

Height. 

Vision. 

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

 

Adjustment poor

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

 

COLORLESS WATER

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.

IMMEDIATE EVACUATION

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.

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Michele Rappoport
 

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)

Limited Reopening

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.

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Brad Rose
 

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. 

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