visits me in a dream says,
'Don't let them—'
and when the tangles in which I've awoken
break from my face
(itself masking an interior broken)
what is there to do
but get up?
Listening to the Campfire
Wet shadows fingered by feeble rain
shade to red and yellow and black
This kind of light makes more sense
at midnight Consonants pop to melt
to emphasize blue flame Oak smoke
Hiss and crack of pine Needle flare
An owl wish-proof dream-silent lifts its
white feathers into the pull of wet
gravity Something with needles for
feet & beak floats through black air
Dinner by starlight It’s OK with me
to be hungry at night and not eat
It’s OK to listen to the body within
the body whistling its scream
as if it were a layer of sandpaper skin
just below the skin with its
tans & gashes tattoos & creases Even
the corkscrew hairs in weird places
close to the ear that hears almost nothing
close to the eyes without light
seem to know something & begin to What?
Speak? When the owl bends its wing
The once in a lifetime experience
concludes with eating apple sauce
“no hands” from a spoon; the thrill
begins with a slide from a love tunnel.
Round the Block Toward Camus
The stone and hill wait for a reply
or to mark a death. The higher
ground never understands the granite
pushed into a place: The peak pinches,
and the boulder bowls over
so that a businessman chases a crag.
Again the weight matters
in the valley where the crust ore slab
test mettle, and the bone wears
before the slag that seems to snowball
upward. If effort achieved.
If purpose had bedrock or reef
where the engineer jerry-rigs
a hurtling geology that owns
mind and body. Relief eases
at the pivoting foot, the short poem
defying the gods before quarry
and renewed query. At bottom,
rocking with a diamond in mind
and anthracite at hand and shoulder,
the rebel without pause smiles
while the clock budges.
Olivia Ciacci is an improvisational comedian who teaches English in Connecticut. A graduate of the Writing Concentration at Yale University, she is working towards a Master of Arts degree at the Bread Loaf School of English and writing a comic novel about zombies. For more of her work, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
John McKernan is now retired after teaching a thousand years at Marshall University. He lives mostly in West Virginia where he edits ABZ Press. His most recent book is a selected poems, Resurrection of the Dust. He has published poems in The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review and many other magazines.
Rich Murphy credits include the 2008 Gival Press Poetry Award for Voyeur; a first book, The Apple in the Monkey Tree (Codhill Press); chapbooks Great Grandfather (Pudding House Press), Family Secret (Finishing Line Press), Hunting and Pecking (Ahadada Books), Rescue Lines (Right Hand Pointing), and Phoems for Mobile Vices (BlazeVox); poems in Rolling Stone, Poetry, Grand Street, Trespass, New Letters, Pank, Segue, and Confrontation; and essays in The International Journal of the Humanities, Fringe, Journal of Ecocriticism, Reconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics Poetry / Literature and Culture, Folly Magazine, New Writing: The International Journal for the Practice and Theory of Creative Writing, among others. He lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.