Two Poems by Miles David Moore

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L’Auteur Fatslug

 

Fatslug wonders how people dreamed or daydreamed

before the movies infiltrated their thoughts.

He himself has become his own Steven Spielberg—

or, depending on his mood of the hour,

his own Hitchcock, Bergman, Eastwood, Scorsese.

A jump cut to escape an angry boss

or lover, a stop trick to remove the same,

a tracking shot down a much-loved place

real or imagined, or—strictly as needed—

a battalion of bullies cut down by wizards

or chewed by CGI dinosaurs:

Fatslug’s won twelve Oscars in his mind.

 

But what of those who lived before even Chaplin?

What fraction of people even saw live actors

on flat stages ranting and boxing the air?

Fatslug wonders if the pages of mauve exposition

in novels, the fancies of sonnets and odes,

the tales of ghosts misting through the dark

provided the images for unwired minds

and their imaginations did the rest.

Jump cuts and stop tricks would have been of the Devil;

could anyone admit to these before

Georges Melies gouged out the eye of the moon?

Did movies bring these tricks to humanity

or merely unveil them in the literal world?

 

These are things Fatslug ponders, remote in hand,

as his TV feeds him news from blighted places

beyond movies or novels or even ghost stories,

where the men setting houses and children on fire

are as real as tyrannosauruses.

 

To Fatslug, the World is a Voynich Manuscript

Surrounding Fatslug, the unreadable:

puffy letters melting into each other

on the sides of rail cars, hip-hop hieroglyphics

sprayed onto random walls and sidewalks.

 

Growing between the cracks of this alphabet

are weeds of uncertain growth and scabby bloom.

No botanist has ever acknowledged them.

No sane one would even try.

 

Fatslug emerges from his doorway crevice

into a street filled with cuneiform faces,

gazing at concrete as he tries to hide

the strange, indecipherable growth of his heart.

 

miles-moore

Miles David Moore is founder and host of the IOTA Poetry Reading Series in Arlington, Va., and the author of three books of poetry. In April 2016, the Arlington Arts Council gave him an award for his services to poetry in Arlington County.

Image: By Allied Artists – Wikipedia in English, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4286859

Epilogue by Neelam Patel

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I hate you with the sharpness of the edges of a Viking’s teeth

I hate you from every part of my body – from my ankles, my knees and my throat

I hate you from the feet of all my ancestors

and from my heartbeat from when I was an ocean fish

You are a force who brings innocent branches down with a crash

Under the guise of kindness and support

You came to me

dressed up like a kind old lady

begging for an apple

I gave you my orchard

You said you loved to coach

But for you Losing was an all the time thing

You paid this poet with your darkest habits

You coach your arm in fistfights with the angels

Your other arm, good, stays defeated

Locked up in your stupid cage

Throw your fist, punch the sky

kill the birds and watch me fly

From the concrete mess you make,

I take the rubble, the hate

A bulk so heavy I have flung it at every other guy,

hurting my own back.

You made me your heart’s punching bag

I’m haunted – flinching from your ghost attacks

Exhausted

I have wrung out all the sweat from all the clothes I’ve suffered in

Since your last emotional blow years ago

You left me exhausted in a field of your own personal battles –

And now I remain victorious in my knowledge

I didn’t ever do anything wrong

I’m just a poet who needs to sing her song

while you remain back there slinging back drinks

in that bar, you know the one, where on sunny days,

pigs are brought to roast

 

Yellow 2008

Neelam Patel is an Arlington, VA based writer, actress, and dancer.  She’s had the opportunity to perform as a featured poet at IOTA and Barnes and Noble.  She feels fortunate to have acting credits including her solo show, Sari to Skin, and as lead in a traveling production called Interior Castle.  She’s currently finding public places around the world to stage short solo dance pieces.  Day job is in IT Security field.

Image: By Kris*M [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons Author photo: Courtesy of the author.

Kitchen Fire by Kate Horowitz

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In the photo of the kitchen fire,

We are dressed for Christmas:

Me in a flammable hand-me-down jacket,

Her in her costume jewelry

And her Edward Scissorhands t-shirt.

 

The scene is blurred and blue with smoke, since,

In the photo of the kitchen fire, the fire itself

Is still in progress, burning on in the background,

Small but insistent.

 

The explosion has not happened yet,

in the photo of the kitchen fire—

Soon the door of the toaster oven will blow out

Like a bistro window in an action movie.

The food on the counter behind us

Will glitter with bites of glass.

 

We are not moving

In the photo of the kitchen fire, or

At least we are not leaving.

No, I am wringing my hands

And my eyes are all whites and alarm,

And my mother’s mouth is twisted,

Like she’s trying not to laugh, or cry,

Or both—with her, it’s often both—

And she is turning me toward her, away

From the blaze in the background.

 

There is no fire extinguisher

In the photo of the kitchen fire;

Perhaps my boyfriend

Had gone to get it. Still my mother and I

Are not leaving. My sister

Has reached for her camera.

Kate Horowitz

Kate Horowitz is a science writer, poet, and essayist in Washington, D.C. Her work has been widely published, most recently in Unrequited: An Anthology of Love Poems about Inanimate Objects. You can find her online at www.thingswrittendown.com or on Twitter @delight_monger.

Image by Abby Horowitz, courtesy the author. Author photo: Anna Carson Dewitt.

The Beginning of Prayer by Sarah Katz

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My father, tangled in the height of adolescence,

wept outside Old Saint Paul’s Church as spring died,

reading Desiderata. The poem lay inscribed

in rock at the rear of the church, where

he counted his blessings. The sky,

he told me, was angry, angrier than most,

and I imagined billowy Michelangelos

swollen with inconsolable rain.

 

I was eight when he told the story late one night,

after dinner, after all candles had been blown out.

He stroked my back as I lay on his stomach,

burying myself into his large body, thinking

This is the moment I’m supposed to remember.

I watched his movements, listening to his pulse,

for what was coming, for what would soon be

the trickling of my own prayer.

 

One afternoon, my father awoke to a pounding

in his temples, to a plum-colored bruise

the size of a mango, spreading across his head

like a puddle. As his brain bled, my mother

stood outside the door at the hospital, waiting,

because this is what doctors recommend.

To wait. My sister looked out onto the parking lot,

the window streaked with black rain.

 

After he began to walk again, wobbling back

into the house with an almost-familiar smile,

I thought of what he had said all those years ago.

I thought of the swelling of the clouds, how

I thought it would never stop raining

after he’d come inside, carrying candlelight

that bloomed in every room,

and that I would never feel safe again

for as long as I prayed.

 

(First published as a postcard as the 2015 winner of the District Lit Prize for Poetry. Listen to Sarah read “The Beginning of Prayer” here: http://districtlit.com/post/125317393731/katz-winner)

 

Photo Credit - Leanne Bowers

Sarah Katz’s work appears in Deaf Lit Extravaganza, MiPOesias, RHINO, and The Rumpus. She earned an MFA in poetry from American University and has been awarded the 2015 District Lit Prize for Poetry for “The Beginning of Prayer” and a residency at Vermont Studio Center. Her poetry manuscript, Country of Glass, was named a finalist by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky for Tupelo Press’s 2016 Dorset Prize. Sarah lives with her husband, Jonathan, in Fairfax, Virginia, where she works as the Publications Assistant at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs and is Poetry Editor of The Deaf Poets Society, a new online journal that features work by writers and artists with disabilities.

 

Image: By Redtigerxyz (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons. Author photo: Leanne Bowers.

On Other Birds by Kelly Ann Jacobson

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Through the harsh whistle of a

bullying Blue Jay from the feeder,

the Common Yellowthroat’s

wichity-wichity-wichity,

we find our own through bill and tap

and rhythmic drumming on drainpipe,

bone against bone.

So much more is said

when the yard is

quiet…

So much more spoken

between        wings.

Kelly Jacoboson headshot

Kelly Ann Jacobson is a Professor of English and the author of many published books, including the novel Cairo in White, the poetry collection I Have Conversations with You in My Dreams, and anthologies such as Unrequited: Love Poems about Inanimate Objects. She also writes young adult fantasy novels under her pen name, Annabelle Jay.

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