(Photo by: Chad Forbregd)
GOOD NEWS BAD NEWS
By Bruce Taylor
Nothing’s what it used or ought to be:
always too much of this, never enough
of that, only a drop left to drink,
no one to drink it with. Everything is
a miracle, or the miracle fades,
the glory of the world goes or goes on
without us, as far as we know, which is
little or nothing, chosen, as we are, or
exempted, delivered or abandoned we won’t
know until it happens, if it happens at all.
*poem from Rattle #41, Summer 2014
By Byron Case
To find for yourself, at this late stage,
something like joy. To tease up her skirts,
a dirty old man. To moisten your fingers almost
jubilantly. To touch and be stirred, even a little.
To be content with this. Why not? Near-joy knows you well
enough. You’ve flirted with her all your life: the cream
sodas on hot afternoons, the colorfully wrapped birthday gifts
given and received, the sodden aftermaths of school dances,
the jokes well told, the long aimless drives in September.
She spreads herself wide through these.
Back when you still had all your hair, when you
didn’t buy E.D. treatments on the Internet,
you had no idea that joy wouldn’t give it over,
that she was saving herself for someone else.
She withheld, so you drunk-dialed the one who came
in that sorry dress six years hopelessly past fashion,
and you did what you did and liked it.
And that was okay, like now. But now
it’s better because you know and can smile
minutely that she’s what you’ve got, sure thing.
*poem from Rattle #43, Spring 2014
By Charles Rafferty
The girl who kissed me first never kissed me again. It’s as if I spat her out across the years, farther and farther, until the taste of her disappeared, until she was reduced to black ink on an ivory page. More and more things are ending up this way: mountain ranges, the cosmos of swamp water, the wind as it rolls across ripening hay—all of it rendered in a tiny font that shivers like ants beneath your breath, leaving the worm exposed.
*poem from Rattle #46, Winter 2014