“Distance” by Mary Ann Samyn from ROOMS BY THE SEA. Wick Poetry Chapbook Series, 1994.
“Manuscripts for the Wick Poetry Chapbook Series are selected through an open competition of Ohio Poets and through a competition for students enrolled in Ohio universities.” More information on the Kent State University Press and the Wick Poetry Chapbook Series can be found here.
(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
(Photo by: Madison Blue)
A MAN ON THE SUBWAY
By Anele Rubin
A man on the subway is wearing a t-shirt
with New York City Mental Institute
stenciled on the front.
For a moment I think it’s real.
Then I realize it’s supposed to be funny.
Ha, ha, asshole, I say.
He is smugly reading his paper.
I am so tired of being sad.
*poem from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
It Can Feel Amazing to Be Targeted By a Narcissist
By Angela Veronica Wong & Amy Lawless
Let’s just see if it fits, and your voice blurred, your hand brushing away mine, me laughing because seriously who says that? I flashed out of my body picturing you saying this to other girls, and laughed again. Those are words that can only be said late at night in an outer borough, while Manhattan glitters in rows of mocking unison from over the bridge. Those are the moments when I think how did I get here followed shortly by okay whatever, like now, sitting in the park, watching couples strolling hand-in-hand. Once I made you cupcakes. In the morning before I left, I arranged them on a plate and left them on your kitchen table. Don’t worry, you weren’t the first one I’ve done that for. I’ll just think of the whole thing as a stretching exercise.
*poem from The Best American Poetry 2013, Scribner Poetry, 2013
By Anne Marie Rooney
It was July. It was my birthday. I
was still drinking then. I went with the men
to a lake with no clothing on. The men
who for a year I’d loved hardly and I
walked to the water. All that love hurt my I-
can’t-say-what. My hands knew nothing but men
that year. In snow I stand out. Every man
I’ve ever seen has seen me back. My eyes
sweat from it. Though from there the summer breaks
off, it felt sharp and bright through the last hour,
like glass fired to grow before it breaks
against its own heat. It’s soft, and then it breaks,
and, seeing itself, shifts light. For our
trouble, we were cold and wet for an hour.
*poem from Spitshine, Carnegie Mellon Poetry Series, 2012
There’s Grass Somewhere,
But I Don’t Know How to Find It
And if I’m wrong, what blue pulse
would darken? For years I went not knowing
why I spoke to water, why my fork stitched lace
over every plate. What thing did you water
to make me love like a socket? I do knit bricks
around my stomach, a stray licking itself sour.
As a child I lived like a crumb beneath the cushion,
now I wear pity like a dinner napkin. There are people
in this room who don’t want me.
I know them.
I must have been a girl someone spoke to—I knew
each word left the mouth. You’re sure I love
for the utility, but show me an oven who doesn’t
love her baker. Believe me. My first love was yellow
gloves my mother wore to wash dishes. Please, I won’t ever
be this young again. My mother still calls to say she made
my bed, each month she airs dust off the linen.
She lasts like breath in a stone lung,
but I could live one day, if or when
I’m ready to.
*poem from Stop Wanting, Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2014
Requiring something lovely on his arm
Took me to Stamford, Connecticut, a quasi-farm,
His family’s; later picking up the mammoth
Girlfriend of Charlie, meanwhile trying to pawn me off
On some third guy also up for the weekend.
But Saturday we still were paired; spent
It sprawled across that sprawling acreage
Until the grass grew limp
with damp. Like me. Johnston-baby, I can still see
The pelted clover, burrs’ prickle fur and gorged
Pastures spewing infinite tiny bells. You pimp.