David Spicer: “Elegy to a Poet Whose Entire Oeuvre I’ve Read Since His Death”

Elegy to a Poet Whose Entire Oeuvre I’ve Read Since His Death

 
Thomas Lux, 1946-2017                                      
 

Over four hundred poems in three months—
books, magazines, a few broadsides.
Funny, I didn’t read your work when

you graced the world with poems,
one of which had insulted my
own poetic hero by calling him a dumb

fucker for shooting himself three times.
Others employed hackneyed tricks
learned at a midwestern Mecca that scores

of genius writers flock to like
sheep nibbling the ambitious corn.
I forgot your poems existed, ignored

them like an arrogant fool.
Then, when you died, I asked
myself what I had missed. Too much:

surreal bodies of water, mischievous boys
fishing, arcane facts about cows and lichen,
trees that shined like jewels, a brilliant heart.

Dead poet, I’m sorry I snubbed
your poems like so many peppermint
jawbreakers bad for teeth. My loss.

I missed too many gems in the necklace,
but now I thank you for those rivers
of diamonds that will flow forever.

 

David Spicer has had poems in Chiron Review, Poppy Road Review, Mocking Heart Review, Alcatraz, Gargoyle, The Drunken Llama, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. He is the author of Everybody Has a Story and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.

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Seth Jani: “Transmigration Blues”

Transmigration Blues

Don’t forget me
Because the moon
Is the radium
Of a split orange
And I too, am one
Unraveled light.
Coming out of love,
Or going in,
We fall asleep
In the fragments
Of fireflies.
Their wings drift
Over us like snow
From the Carpathians,
From ranges that don’t exist,
Dream tectonics.
And whoever you are,
I feel the ribbon
Of many lives holding us
Against the wheel.
As stars are born,
Collapse, and transform
Into ghosts,
I think many indescribable days
Have passed between us.
So many that even the soul
Loses count in its index
Of obsessions.

 

Seth Jani currently resides in Seattle, WA, and is the founder of Seven CirclePress (www.sevencirclepress.com). His own work has been published widely in such places as The Chiron ReviewEl PortalThe Hamilton Stone ReviewHawai`i Pacific ReviewVAYAVYAGingerbread HouseGravel and Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry. More about him and his work can be found at www.sethjani.com.

Aden Thomas: “Hunchback”

Hunchback

Teased for silence inside of silences,
he never raised his hand.
He slumped when walking under moonlight.
He noticed details others lost.

Roots grew under sidewalks and lifted the concrete.
Ants appeared
then disappeared in the cracks between the spaces.
It happened–the smallest of things.

While others talked and pointed,
he saw the intricacies
of interactions of the tiny,
more than roots and insects,

but those of people,
who carried with them a gravity
inescapable,
the beginning of a crack

smaller than sound,
unheard at midnight,
growing by the hour,
something only a bell-ringer hears.

It was the narrow beating of their hearts,
a spider’s sorrow
crawling through their veins,
weaving a single tiny thread.

 

Aden Thomas grew up on the high plains of central Wyoming. His work has appeared in The Blue Mountain Review and The Inflectionist Review. More of his work can be found at: www.adenthomas.com.

Michael Chin: “Spread”

Spread

When the Knicks lost to the Bulls, but only by two, my old man clapped his hands. Vinnie and I looked at him, wondering if this were one of those times he was being antagonistic for the sport of it, or if he’d misread the score.

But he tipped his tallboy back, leaning back in his La-Z-Boy, and explained the spread—that when you bet, it wasn’t about wins and losses so much. No one would bet on the Knicks to beat the Bulls, but to come within six points? That was the point spread they needed to cover.

Vinnie said he’d bet on the Knicks.

Just the same, Vinnie’d bring up the point spread logic, talking Cara Joyner and the homecoming dance sophomore year.

I invoked the easy sports metaphor first. “You’re not in her league.”

He argued no two people were equally attractive—equally good looking or funny or smart. “There’s a spread.”

But Vinnie didn’t beat the spread for Cara. Wouldn’t beat it with Valerie or Jenny either. Had to rethink the whole thing.

My mom and pop split up about that time. Because he was betting too much. Because of a lot of things. Mom said the gambling was representative of all the reasons she had to go, of the way my father thought. I watched them split their things. Mom got the practical pieces. The cookware, the couch, the Encyclopedia Britannicas. The house. Dad, he got the baseball cards, the big TV from the living room.

I’d stay with Mom most of the time, but got split between the two of them, spending time with Dad across weekends, and certain weeknights. Spread thin.

And Vinnie changed around his theory. That my old man covered the spread for a time, but the margin of difference grew larger and larger until he couldn’t anymore. Until he lost his bet.

I lived in that margin.

 

Michael Chin was born and raised in Utica, New York, and is an alum of Oregon State’s MFA Program. He won the Bayou Magazine’s Jim Knudsen Editor’s Prize for fiction and has published work in journals including The Normal School and Bellevue Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter @miketchin.