SlashnBurn is happy to publish new poetry from three incredible poets: Maryann Green, Howie Good, and Salvatore Difalco.
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.
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.
Why Should I
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 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 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?)
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 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?
Life Is What You Make It
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.
DISTURBING THE PEACE
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.
From esteemed Southern gentleman, and SlashnBurn poetry editor, Case Duckworth, comes the poem “In Bed.”
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.
When the waves stop
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
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?
I wake up in a pool of water
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.
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
I think not this again
something I’ve never
thought in my life.
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.
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?
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.
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.
Following are two poems from Khara, previously published at The Atomy.
What runs deep
I had a flying
One of those
cliff dives—the ragged
rush of wind pouring
over the rind of me
like water over an apple’s skin,
fresh from the bough.
drift like fresh
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—
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.