Poetry

SlashnBurn is happy to publish new poetry from three incredible poets: Maryann Green, Howie Good, and Salvatore Difalco.

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Maryann Green stumbled out of the fog of San Francisco about twenty years ago and landed in the desert of Tucson, Arizona and she’s been in the Old Pueblo ever since.  When she’s not on stage, backstage, or writing for the stage, she’s molding young minds.

Good

Howie Good lives in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Good is the recipient of the 2015 Press Americana Prize for Poetry for his latest collection, Dangerous Acts Starring Unstable Elements.

Sal Difalco lives in Toronto and is the author of Mean Season (Mansfield Press, 2015), a novel.


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Why Should I

Maryann Green

Remember when we climbed the mountain that no one said we would?
I laughed when you struggled for breath
And you laughed when I needed a boost.
But we ate clementines when we reached the peak
and avoided the man who made small talk
on the way down.
Remember that?

Remember the night I picked your favorite tie out of a lineup?
You slipped it around my collar
and showed me how to tie a full Windsor Knot
the look in your eye tied my guts in knots.

Remember Butch Cassidy
(your swagger was smarter than Sundance’s)
and Cool Hand Luke
(I’d swear your eyes were bluer than his)
and Rebel Without A Cause,
and where’s that picture of you leaned against that tree,
cowboy hat casually covering your eyes, but not your grin?
(Let’s face it. Nobody, not even you,
is as cool as James Dean)
And remember when our friends rolled their eyes
When we argued in a bar over who the true tragic hero was?

Remember when we wrote our initials in sharpie
on things that didn’t belong to us?
On the sides of buildings and bathroom walls.
Indelibly scrawled so that there’d be proof of us.
Remember that?

Remember making margaritas with all the wrong ingredients?
Lemon juice because we had no limes
and sorry about the Triple Sec
But we used your brother’s Patron
and wished your house was on a shore.
We pretended the train whistle was the sound of seagulls.

Remember making lists
of challenges we’d issue
and feats we’d dare?
I’d build a house if you joined a band.
I’d bike to Montreal if you’d climb Kilimanjaro.
(Have you learned to play guitar?)

Remember planning
to move to Panama? You’d make
furniture out of driftwood and I’d sell
jewelry on the beach.
Our shack would have walls made of painted windows.
Remember that?

Remember finding ourselves
in the words of The Old 97s
and The Winter Sounds?
They said it better than we ever could.
They said what I never could,
what you never would.

Remember sad late night texts
when there was nothing to do about it,
and early morning conversations at my office door?

Remember staying for one more song and being so glad we did?

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Life Is What You Make It

Howie Good

The only maps available are missing some countries. It’s this machines dream about, a language that has no word for the past. To live well, Mayakovsky said, you must live unseen. Which is different than saying there’s nothing left to see. Orange red, raw umber, and maize are all colors that still exist. The dream of space travel hasn’t thoroughly dissolved yet into clickbait. Even the couple in the murder-suicide pact recognize the difficulty of their undertaking. As mother liked to say, Life is what you make it. Now it’s a boat. Now a flower pot.

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DISTURBING THE PEACE

Salvatore Difalco

After the TV time-out, time became sauce Béarnaise.

A lack of Dresden shepherdesses led to internal anarchy

and sadomasochistic gadgetry hit the modest stage.

Julia Child emerged from the mouth when a barking

ludic Labrador rarified the mild suburban setting.

Melodies cease when the rainbows of our dreams

produce no gold bullion. Thus, we reach beyond

the flawlessness of watered lawns and blooms;

we take the tablecloth in the dining room

and yank it as fast as we can, masticating

Oxycontin tabs once the guests have departed.

Digging around, a bottle of Knob Creek

resurfaces, and a white pith helmet for later,

when the grip is lost and hydrochloric vomit

bubbles the esophagus: reductio ad absurdum.

Then the blood is Mr. Cleaned off the walls.

Not evidence of an accident here, the splatter.

Someone beat the hemoglobin out of the head

at the bottom of the stairs; hair on the banister,

blow poke on the landing, who are we kidding?

What are we hiding? A life insurance policy?

A love triangle hitherto kept under wraps?

The deadpan of the prosecutor thrills

no one outside of pokey procedural lovers.

But none of this should worry anybody.

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From esteemed Southern gentleman, and SlashnBurn poetry editor, Case Duckworth, comes the poem “In Bed.”

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In bed

Case Duckworth

I

I hear the rats run

in the walls like water

through a tree. My blood

 

thickens. As I dream

the masturbation dream

the shelf above my bed

 

falls covering me in

dirt and decaying beetles.

I see my reflection is headless.

II

When the waves stop

and the moon grins down

to overtake me: the car

 

ran up the street that night

when you were nearly

molested in your neighbor’s house:

 

is this why we don’t have

neighbors? For this the trees

rot only for us?

III

I woke screaming and you

came to sit next to me. I felt

my eyes were open too wide

 

that I could not shut them

from the horror movie sitting

on your lap in the easy chair

 

in the dream the other dream

in the living room under

the tree. Why do I feel guilty?

IV

I wake up in a pool of water

closed over me like an eyelid.

There is no longer comfort

 

in staring at the ceiling

.Its pitch blackness beckons

into a future of blankness.

 

My body lay still quaking.

My mind is chained fast

to the beating of my heart.

V

I sit up slowly creaking.

I find myself alone buried

in an ocean. Far off

 

there is an eagle flying

toward me. She lands on

my knee and lays an egg.

 

I think not this again

something I’ve never

thought in my life.

VI

I think not this again

something I’ve never

thought in my life. Not

 

after losing my car keys

in the easy chair. Not after

scratching myself on a branch.

 

Not after finding the thing

in your dresser drawer that

night. I remember you suddenly.

VII

You run through me

like rats down an alley.

You are in my blood.

 

You scared me once

remember? Jumped out

of the bathroom door.

 

I fell screaming onto

the linoleum. Did you

apologize? Did you need to?

VIII

The ocean that surrounds me

creaks like a rocking

cradle. Your face bright

 

as the moon at eclipse

and as red. Low song

my tide stretching

 

to the horizon. Ripples

on the surface belie

something bigger beneath.

IX

In bed I am alone for

the only time. In bed

I am a grown man.

 

Below the blankets I

know you for who you are.

In bed I see your face

 

pressed against the window.

I look out and see you

and I am not afraid.


 

Introducing SlashnBurn’s poetry editor and feline wrangler, Khara House. You can read her bio and aesthetic mission statement for poetry submissions on our staff page.

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Following are two poems from Khara, previously published at The Atomy.

What runs deep

Last night,

I had a flying

dream.

 

One of those

endless fallings,

cliff dives—the ragged

rush of wind pouring

over the rind of me

 

like water over an apple’s skin,

fresh from the bough.

 

The clouds

drift like fresh

peach slices,

 

shaped in the crisp

cool breath of morning:

 

that puffed air, trailing

from rattling teeth.

In the night my bones

 

jangle, silver and copper

coins in the pocket of twilight—

 

but

dreamed air

is always effervescent,

 

alive and warm

with all the things

the mind won’t

leave for morning.

 

The Water from Our Well

 

When our wild ones first took off

from plantation heat we knew

the plumes in our veins would, too,

crush against our skin, press

our people back into the cool

ochre and silver speckles of twilight.

 

That rust light hinges

across mountain crests, swings

the pathways home back

into view as each day closes.

 

It calls to you—it cries in you.

 

Hear the ancient ones, those saltwater souls,

whisper to your blood—feel inside you

the truth that springs us over these fence

posts, down into the dusky forest moss root

trees where the spirit drinks deep

the drinking gourd trail

 

and our memory

still murmurs in the dark.

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