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Tag: 42 Miles Press

Poem of the Day: Allan Peterson

 

THE INEVITABLE

 

To have that letter arrive

was like the mist that took a meadow

and revealed hundreds

of small webs once invisible

The inevitable often

stands by plainly but unnoticed

till it hands you a letter

that says death and you notice

the weed field had been

readying its many damp handkerchiefs

all along

 

—from Allan Peterson’s Precarious, 42 Miles Press (2014)

 

 

Poem of the Day: Chad Forbregd

 

CAPGUN

 

Imagine a boy holding a capgun.
Now, instead of a boy,

imagine a man holding a portrait
of a boy with a capgun.

There’s an orange tip painted
on the end of his assault rifle.

It’s okay, it just looks fake,
it’s actually quite real.

Later the boy will grow up, get married,
go off to work.

Some men get jobs to find love.
Some men get jobs to deprive themselves sex.

After a while, some men say not having sex
counts as having sex.

Sometimes after not having sex
the boy would take off his wedding ring and hide

it in his work boot or just go home
and microwave a burrito.

Now, imagine the boy alone.
Lonely like a trashcan in a trashless desert.

Lonely like the loneliness of other lonely people.
Lonely like the speed of light.

 

Managing Editor for 42 Miles Press

 

 

Poem of the Day: Bill Rasmovicz

 

THE MOON’S HIND LEGS

 

The moon’s hind legs are invisible.
Its bastard ear-boring cry is only fully heard by infants.

Bright as the starchy pharmacist’s coat, its objective
is to illuminate the puddled glass replacing
someone’s stolen vehicle,

the tuft of fur in the barbed wire.
Some nights it shivers as though it held
a penny under its tongue.

If the eyes were windows at all they would
be fogged 300 days a year.

I understand and I don’t:
the past is such an indelible part of now,
that there is no such thing as the edge’s gleam
without the cut,

that if nothing else, we endure ourselves.

You love in excess or pine to be loved,
glisten in the rain like a freshly cut stump.
When I saw the tattoo of a hummingbird on

that girl’s lonely wrist, I was convinced the skeleton
of that animal would be the topographical account
of an ancient city.
That I would want to live there someday,
bereft, yes, but somehow filled.

To walk beneath it is to ascertain the world’s
slow attrition, to know
there is always a self further buried in the self.

Figure ice raking a river bank.
Figure a semi jackknifed on the highway, its cargo
of guinea hens leaking—scripture of the moon.

And this I remember:
wheeling food to the cancer ward’s incandescent hall,
patients wading through
its powdery, almost sublime surface;

the scientific odor smuggled via elevator
into the lobby.

That the idea of something so pure is synonymous
with its breaking.

That you could set fire to yourself and the chill
would never leave.

What any of us would suffer for a little affection
or money.

In its countenance the cemetery trees stand
so still, and still they seem to sway.

This morning, the students climbing onto the bus,
one after the next, their faces rained-out
beach vacations,
the garbage bags a street-side abacus

where a man was found after two nights
in the delirium of shallow woods behind his house,
unknown to himself
and white as the rescuer’s light.

 

—from Bill Rasmovicz’ Gross Ardor, 42 Miles Press (2013)

 

 

Poem of the Day: Carrie Oeding

 

APOLOGY TO MEDITATION

 

The meditation teacher said he wants to leave you alone with me. There should be no third party between me and “existence.”

The meditation teacher said I would soon understand the nature of the mind rather than fight with it. He winked at me then, a bit creepy. I’ll be honest, he really didn’t, but it’s my nature to say quick things to try and make it interesting. Winking is totally predictable.

My friend Jen would like to get to know you because she wants to stay in the moment.

I don’t want to get into it with her, but there could be a moment of a bright autumn tree, or a bright autumn tree that leads me to notice crows, cats, dents in my car, cars on my cat, leaves shaped like cats, the world is cruel. And then it’s not— bright autumn trees that come alive and wink. Or trees which then, suddenly, suddenly suddenly I notice then what happens next?    Looking looking         where’s the moment I’m in?         Bright autumn trees that don’t notice me

I’m not going back to class to find out how to look at a leaf or who really winked.

I got to know someone once and it led to third parties.

Dear bright autumn tree, surprise me.

Dear meditation, I’m sorry, I know I am getting you all wrong— but now you know how a person can feel and why they wouldn’t want to let that go.

 

—from Carrie Oeding’s Our List of Solutions, 42 Miles Press (2011)
—also previously appeared in Mid-American Review

 

 

Poem of the Day: Erica Bernheim

 

VIRGIL MOON

 

I’m willing to bet that greasy twenty
stuck to the bottom of your empty
file cabinet, it’s never me you think of
when you try to shoot yourself
onto the ceilings of your apartment.
Your thoughts lie somewhere in the sink
you call your Amazon Basin, soapy home
to blue Julies and banded Lisas and frozen
Charlottes, their spiny tongues making short
work of crumpled toothpaste tubes
and tiny spoons and the questionable
ghost of your mother’s lover who kicked
your dog across state lines, showing little
more remorse than a teenage shoplifter.
Last night I dreamt you took out the
trash, flipped beautiful lean burgers
on an outdoor grill; I can see you talking
to the plumber, convincing him to lose
himself down the slimmest of pipes
in search of what we’ve discarded
and still cannot move past. Without
you, I dream of blood in my stomach,
my breath shrinking when jewelry
salesmen beckon enormous topazes
in my direction, and I am always tempted
to move towards that city which has yet
to discover neon. It is my turn to bask
in the limelight. My turn, Tabasco.
The lime’s light, and this glass so heavy.
Pretending we have been pensive, all bets
are often decided by the sea star, stomach
flowing out its mouth, straight to
the point, that food, nothing gets wasted,
save a few starfish, one backed against the
wall, tube feet straining to make sense of
a truck that refuses to shift into reverse, and
is still going nowhere fast, a bad phrase,
a neck in the creek, a tiny piece of skin,
determined not to let you love it, or ever
be able to give it up. Watch out
for this, super-mouth, skullcap of bald, you
don’t have to adjust your ill-fitting pants to know
everyone’s looking down, and there’s everything
you could do about it and won’t. The gum I pull
from well-tractioned heels clings like a
cinnamon-scented animal, who knows what it
doesn’t know yet is worse than being
stepped on. I’m sorry for still thinking of
you, for wanting to clip your nails with
left-handed scissors for no reason other
than to be difficult, to repeat an old
man’s mantra in your ugly ears while
you pretend not to be asleep, “The bench
is in the church, the bench is in the church.”
Virgil Moon is willing to see my bet
and raise us both, straighten our legs,
and get our minds out of the soap
dish, but the line at his window is too long.
Tell me something dreamy and hopeful,
why Virgil Moon’s hair is in such
disarray, why his face has fallen so. If
there is a reason to clean out the sink, I
should be notified. Virgil Moon, with your
thick face, grab me by my ankles and
make a wish. Play my heart like a
terrible, hot fiddle, replace me with catgut,
and see what I’ll look like come Monday
morning. Virgil Moon, you are over the top
and smell like canned beans. Virgil Moon
with the top down, making his travel plans
to the museum and to the beach. Virgil Moon
takes back the ring. Spit me out sideways,
somewhere near a track where dogs are
supposed to race, and place your bets against
me. I will disappoint.

 

—from Erica Bernheim’s The Mimic Sea, 42 Miles Press (2012)
—previously appeared in Black Warrior Review (30.2)

 

 

My “Apology” Broadside from Tracey Knapp’s Mouth is Here!!

 

I have some very cool news to share with you all today. Last year around this time, I posted a question on Facebook: “Friends, poets, writers, if there were an easily-accessed venue to have broadsides of your work made, how many of you would take advantage of such a service?” And the feedback was amazing: more “likes” than I’ve gotten on nearly any post, ever, and quite a few comments and personal messages, all to the effect of “Yes!” Unfortunately, this conversation landed around the same time when I was pregnant and beginning to write book reviews and conduct author interviews on the regular, and I overestimated how much time I had and how much work I could do in that time, so this concept was placed on the back burner… but it was never abandoned. Now, a year later, while reading and reviewing Tracey Knapp’s Mouth from 42 Miles Press, I was visually inspired to draw something, specifically with her poem, “Apology.” And so I went for it. I did a basic sketch, to maintain the image in my mind, and contacted the Series Editor to see if he and Tracey would be interested in a broadside being made, and he was. So, to have a little more fun with it, I purchased a matted frame and posted a picture of the empty frame of Facebook, saying “Soon to be filled.” And now it has been.

 

20151020_163340-1

 

And now I feel like I could keep making these things for the rest of my life.

So, poets, and writers, this is where you come in. If you have a particular poem or short piece that you are especially proud of, or would like to give more attention, or if you simply want something to take on that upcoming book tour, get in touch with me. I’m willing to discuss specific poems, image ideas, colors, whatever inspires you—or I can go in completely the opposite direction and read your collection and select and poem and generate an image and design myself, like I did for Tracey’s poem. But either way, I would love love love to hear from you. I hope you’ll reach out.

And for all of you out there, writer or admirer, please keep coming back to check out the ever-growing gallery. Reprints will be for sale, and they will be marked down at readings and AWP. In the future I may even have frames available!

Thank you, all, always, for your support.

Until Later, Best ~ from me.

 

 

Reading Tracey Knapp

 

TO THE NEW MOON

 

Come night. Come
sirens and midnight babies
born in the backseats
of taxicabs. Come moon.

You crazy weeping
alcoholic, quit drinking
yourself into nothingness.
Someone’s trumpet
has gone missing tonight.

Someone is looking
for you, holding your
hairbrush to the nose
of a bloodhound.

Leave your shadow
on the door mat
and come inside. I’ll cook
you up something good,
a grilled cheese sandwich
to go with that frown.

It’s just us girls
tonight. Let’s spray paint
the stairwell, burn
phonebooks in the bathtub.

Even though you’re telling me
you’re done, it’s over, I’ve still hung
my clothes out to dry overnight
in the ocean wind, and that tide

is all your work. You may
have been the first,
but you’re not the only one
to circle your grief, to slowly
darken because of it.

I know that it’s hard to show
your face in the face
of the sun and his narcissism,
the earth’s pushy shadow,
but I’ve seen you in the daylight,
edging into the sky
early for a while, urging

the herons to stab at fish,
the street cars to lurch
up and over the long hill
before they rattle on down towards the bay.

Moon, it’s two in the morning
and it’s time to stop hiding:
the French Alps are talking
about your new glow,
how you actually look younger,
and all the dogs adore you.

 

ANOTHER REPORT

 

Sometimes I think I’m better off
keeping my mouth shut. Other times
I open up and hope something good

falls in—a sleeping pill, a flower petal
soft as the wing of a moth. I hope for
a moth to fly in through the crack in the glass.

For the glass to uncrack, unrest to surrender.
It’s too late to revive the sheep. I mean to say
I’ve barely slept all week, still thinking

about the fur shell of a dead squirrel
full of maggots I found in the backyard.
I had to hold the thing,

lift it with a rake and wrap it
in a shopping bag. I threw it in the dumpster,
the body light and warm with stench.

Something parasitic remains in you
when you handle certain matters.
It makes you want to remove

what lingers and put it in the ground.
I gave the rake to the neighbors,
and avoided the backyard, even after

winter, when the crows crowded the trees and cried.
I closed for business. I gave up
whatever I had that felt like it was dying on me—

an old cactus in a teacup, my dumb guitar,
the facial expressions for thanks and I don’t think so.
I left a friend that year.

I stopped calling my mother
because who needs the same bad advice
you’d already give to yourself?

Once she told me to write it all down
and look where that has gotten me.

 

NOT REALLY

 

Another kitten collage
at the vet—how cute.
I flirt with the technician.
My dog hides under
the metal table.
I don’t blame him.

No one wants a thermometer
up their butt, even if it means
feeling better later. I’m not feeling
any better about the sparrow
my dog ate or all those clothes
in my closet covered in fur.

You would think
that a closet is a great place
to hide, but after a few hours
it feels like you’re shrinking.

You would think
someone would notice. No one
knocked down the door
after three days straight
of sitting in bed eating nachos.

I’ve had enough contact
for one week, enough nachos
for a lifetime. My dog is enough.

Enough lives in my life, so exhausting.

All my life, I’m either showing up
or shying away. Shaking hands
or taking off. Every day,
my dog drags me around the lake,
investigates the bushes as if something
has happened there. Could be
a bagel or a dead bird.

Could be something that should
be found, a pigeon feather
or a razor blade.

Both glimmer in the glance
of the sun. You can’t hide
from that kind of witness.

 

*

 

all from Tracey Knapp’s Mouth, 42 Miles Press, 2015

 

 

Tracey Knapp Reading at IU South Bend Tomorrow!

 

12122559_461467290703448_6840164226149637173_nHi everyone! Just in case you haven’t heard, poet Tracey Knapp will be reading at IU South Bend tomorrow night at 7:30pm on the Bridge on the third floor of Weikamp Hall. She will be reading from her first full-length collection, Mouth, published by 42 Miles Press, and there will be books for sale and cookies after the reading! This is FREE and open to the public!

Tracey Knapp reading!
October 22, 2015
7:30pm
Weikamp Hall
3rd floor Bridge
Free and open to the public!

And if you haven’t yet read Tracey’s book, there’s still time! You can purchase it here, or read some poems here, or read my review here.

Also, if you are available this evening, Tracey will be visiting David Dodd Lee’s poetry workshop for a discussion and Q & A. This is also free and open to the public, so please come and join in on the conversation! This will be in Weikamp Hall on the second floor, room 2170.

Tracey Knapp Q & A!
October 21, 2015
7:00pm
Weikamp Hall
2nd floor, room 2170
Free and open to the public!

Again, tonight at 7pm for the discussion, tomorrow at 7:30 for the reading. And I also will be bringing something really awesome and poetry-related to sell after the reading, so be on the lookout for that, too! (Details to come…)

 

 

“Look Where That Has Gotten Me”: The Potential Self-Awareness & Honesty of Poetry: Reading Tracey Knapp’s Mouth

 

Tracey Knapp_MouthLet me begin by playing a round of Two Truths and a Lie… We all know how this works, right? The speaker shares two truths about themselves, and a lie, but the lie must not be easily distinguished from the two truths, and the other players are supposed to guess which statement is a lie. So, here it goes: As a reader, I most often seek and yearn for poetry that is self-aware, but does not apologize. I want poetry that, to utilize a cliché, is honest to a fault. And I want poetry that physically makes me hurt: makes me cringe, makes me pause, makes me close the book for a hot second, makes my (again, cliché) chest hurt—we’ve all read those poems, right? But now here’s the trick: these are all true. Again, they are all true. This combination of elements in one poem, or one cumulative collection, is one I yearn for as a reader, and as a poet, but which I do not often see done, or done well. Tracey Knapp, in her debut collection, Mouth, performs these tasks beautifully. These poems are capable of being self-aware but unapologetic and far from self-important; they are honest, and overly, brutally honest at that; and they pull me out of my corner and face me with my own concerns, with my own hurts. And these poems are capable of doing this over and over, no matter how many times I read them.

Undeniably what lures me so steeply into this poetry is Knapp’s unapologetic self-awareness and bluntness. Her persona is extremely realistic, logical, and unlike so many personas that point out their own faults or shortcomings, unapologetic.

 

Continue reading my review of Mouth on The Rumpus . . .

 

TRACEY KNAPP works in graphic design and communications in San Francisco. She received graduate degrees in creative writing and English from Boston University and Ohio University, where she taught literature, composition and creative writing. She has received scholarships from The Tin House Writers’ Workshop and The Dorothy Rosenberg Poetry Fund. Mouth is her first full-length collection.

 

 

“The Way Poetry Evokes Things / Only Potentially There”: Perception, Identity & Heritage: Reading Allan Peterson’s Precarious

 

Allan Peterson_PrecariousIn the quiet moments, when we stop to take a breath and think, we may realize that all of our thoughts, our questions, our hopes, are connected—that is to say, back to two main ideas: Where am I going? and Where have I been? Again, as if to say something toward longevity, What am I leaving behind? How will I be remembered? Whether or not we want to admit our involvement with these questions, they are always there, always looming, and they impact where we go, who we become, and even how we perceive where we’ve come from. They impact what we do and what results from what we do. The irony of this is that not all things can be controlled, nor left to chance, but the same way we are sometimes challenged to perceive all of our decisions relating back to those two opening questions, we are sometimes motivated to prove the opposite. We want to prove our actions can be impulsive and unrelated to our lives, and we expect some occurrences to be left without explanation. For instance, when we imagine something as being precarious, we think of its synonyms, something that is “insecure” or “dependent on chance”—something “dangerous”—and perhaps that is Allan Peterson’s point in the titling of his collection, Precarious. These poems are rooted in the exploration of connection—of the identity, of connection through the landscape (via geographical exploration) and one of heritage. What’s more, Peterson’s poems are passionate in their study of these elements, as well as images and the greater concept of isolation, particularly as it relates to a narrator searching.

I love these poems, their introspective nature on the external, the inevitability of it, and, of course, their deeply-intellectual involvement with image. I will admit, it took several readings for me to feel as if I were truly grasping the sensation of these poems—not for lack of interest, but for their intellect. We say this often about poetry, but truly, these poems are layered; they appear to spend their time in the act of observation and introspection, and they surely do spend time here, but they are also greatly involved in considering our connections across landscapes and heritage, and consider how little we can do in forbidding these connections; these poems, in the end, suggest that these connections cannot be severed but only realized and built upon. That is an ultimate challenge for our humanity—realizing what we are, knowing what we cannot change, and ultimately, making the best of it. Then, when we are able to mobilize that idea, and bring it to something as visual and feeling as poetry, that seems to be a step in the right direction.

What I found myself fixating on the most in my reading of Peterson’s work was his use and complicating of images. If we take, for instance, of my favorite of his Precarious poems, titled “Heat Escaping through My Head,” we can see not only the inevitability of connection, but of the beauty, and the complexity, of it:

 

HEAT ESCAPING THROUGH MY HEAD

 

Granite remembers fire like Gulf sand

the mountains of Carolina

Ilex leaf shadows on weathered wood grain

reconstruct fragments

of a Qashq’ai rug so that this remembrance

might drift in

below the angel’s warm garden o’s woven

that the calories

might escape like a lace scarf

But freezing now

the stiff plants have turned to lettuce my heart

sticks close recalling

thoughts of the tram that cannot leave its wire

 

I love this series of images and their relationship—how one element remembers another, impersonates another, and how we connect deeply to, both, the natural and the mechanical elements around us. It truly is impossible to avoid earthy relations, which are both beautiful their lasting and troublesome in their loss, but they also help to define us, what is important to us—in this case, the outdoors, nature, the ability to travel; it’s telling. And Peterson’s poems naturally work in this fashion, giving us snippets of understanding, giving us man-made locators, such as a Hardee’s or a Books-A-Million, or more natural, if man-named, places like the Carolinas, as well as creatures we coexist with, dogs and stingrays… Despite the time we appear to sit fixed, thinking about the message and sentiment of these poems, we are actually firmly surrounded by living beings and goings-on, all the time, on every page. It’s astounding, really, even a feat to have been captured.

Which brings me to another element I found myself returning and returning to—as I started referring to them, mile-markers, places the narrator has been that more easily locate the reader to a place, if a not a time, and there’s that unusual element of elevated connection to another human being when we discover that they, too, have been out of town to a particular spot—how we suddenly have something more to talk about, a new point of insight. And these idea is interweaved into some, if not many, of Peterson’s poems, through his references to particular geographical landmarks, store and dining locations, and even pop culture. While some writers may steer clear of such references, fearing whether or not they will bring a heightened awareness or cloud the sentiment of the poem with other references, Peterson uses these fearlessly, and they become more so the side commentary that might appear in a conversation of another subject, contributing though not stealing focus. These small inclusions make for even more honest poems than they were originally, and they create for us references where the narrator has been in the body and where the narrator is currently in the mind.

Because along with intellectualism and the act of reflection, there comes a certain amount of personal isolation. While these poems are lovely and explorative, there is an element of loneliness and perhaps even a certain of sadness, intertwined with observation and admiration. It reminds the reader of our and the world’s impermanence, as well as the questionable nature of identity, after-life and religion. In giving these poems the opportunity to connect through relatable and familiar places, references and acts, the reader is given a greater opportunity to relate, and while this does not occur in the poems themselves, there is a suggestion of evolvement on the part of the narrator, as readers “get to know” the speaker through reader, introspection and familiarity with references.

Allan Peterson handles writing about extremely sensitive and personal topics—the things that most shape us—with surprising ease and continuation. While I have focused more so on the value of the image and the connections made to readers on the part of the narrator, these poems also do beautiful work in answering questions about the role of heritage and a higher power in our beliefs, everyday lives and identity. These poems are complex, imagistic and feeling, and there are beautiful parallels of self and sea, natural and man-made places. These poems take time, patience and thought, but they are well-worth it. You read them, and you find yourself sinking, taking it all in, and you come out on the other side all the wiser. These are poems that should not be missed; take the time to read them; they’re worth it.

And before I go, I would like to share with you two of my other top-favorite Precarious poems, because they deserve and need to shared with more readers, and interestingly-enough, they are placed in close proximity to “Heat Escaping through My Head,” right at the book’s center. Cheers.

 

FEELING LIKE THE AFRICAN

 

Where I am, with me is

Frances to whom my muscles are attached,

dogs that perk with a whistle,

catching urgency from whatever state I call.

Even the strangest will do the same:

And what has flown low below me, stingrays,

loons, hooded mergansers

the almost frozen wolf eel ribboned in the depths,

whose beauty is my god’s

revenge on austerity, whose cloudy wrist tells time,

white as a moonstone.

But I have no god. It is just me feeling like the African

figure full of nails

that says the future is likely all rust and worms, muscular,

attentive, but with extra dogs.

 

DON’T FORGET US

 

Autotomy in spiders is a voluntary act.

With such surprises, anticipation should have them

humming like the truck of wear-dated carpet

that idled all night in the Hardee’s parking lot.

Yesterday at the falls above the old quarry

a man put a running shoe on his plastic leg

for a fleet and normal look the way poetry evokes things

only potentially there, things attached for survival.

Then what was taken from the cliff became a lake

bathers spun down to on a single string.

What comes after is unknown, how a spider throws a leg,

us leaving our pennies where they fall.

What could it cost the present if a few heads were missing,

discovered eventually black as frostbite,

meaning don’t forget us, we are leaving things behind.

 

*

“The way poetry evokes things / only potentially there” is taken from Allan Peterson’s poem, “Don’t Forget Us,” as it appears in Precarious (42 Miles Press, 2014).

 

ALLAN PETERSON is a visual artist and poet living in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and Ashland, Oregon. His poetry has appeared widely in print and online literary journals. He has published five full-length collections and seven chapbooks. Honors include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the State of Florida and ten nominations for Pushcart Prizes, as well as a variety of poetry prizes and appearances in anthologies. He also has a lengthy record of visual work in national, regional and invitational exhibitions. His mixed media work has been represented in corporate, university and private collections.