The North Sea
Lies, murder, your clan blood rises from a plaid fire.
The 5th issue of Willawaw, Winter 2018, features a poem prompt from Poet Laureate Elizabeth Woody, My Brother, and an invitation from the editor to explore the Cebu (details on the submission page). Regarding images, collages predominate!
Cover Art: "Power Within" 12"x 12" collage by Yeva Chisholm
Page 1: Carolyn Adams Matthew D. Allen Tiel Aisha Ansari Delores Pollard
Page 2: Linda Knowlton Appel Frank Babcock Amy Baskin Dale Champlin Yeva Chisholm .chisaraokwu.
Page 3: Margaret Chula Holly Day Salvatore Difalco Gyl Gita Elliott Erric Emerson Delores Pollard
Page 4: Amelia Diaz Ettinger Abigail George Brigitte Goetze Benjamin Gorman Isa Jennings Linda Wimberly
Page 5: Karen Jones SR Jones Nancy Knowles Gary Lark Delores Pollard Laura LeHew
Page 6: Joy McDowell Catherine McGuire Susan Morse Yeva Chisholm Marjorie Power Khalisa Rae
Page 7: Annie Stenzel Pepper Trail John Van Dreal Feral Wilcox Lalia Wilson Vincent Wixon
Page 8: Elizabeth Woody Back Page with Delores Pollard
Lies, murder, your clan blood rises from a plaid fire.
“Perhaps these thoughts of ours will never find an audience… Perhaps when all the tears have been shed, the earth will be more fertile.” Perhaps–Shu Ting, translated by Carolyn Kizer
Now that cold has returned, the earth remembers
how to freeze, the flock needs more corn,
the wood stove gobbles the sacrificed trees.
Now that joints are seized with throbbing pain
and stiffness makes me wooden, even writing
requires an inner fire not needed
on soft summer days.
Ignore the warm bed,
put down the coffee, take up the pen–
perhaps these words will go nowhere
but Shu knew we have no choice.
Grief is in the ink, the paper blanches
at today’s atrocities, the modem chokes
and won’t deliver news. Too much!
And what can a poem do?
But these cold, wrinkled hands,
too far from the woodstove, crabbing the letters
into cryptic lines – these hands refuse to stop,
to give up the pen, to curl up. Let others hibernate!
Perhaps this draft hastens the paper’s compost,
but I glow inside from Elliott, Rich, Kizer–those
who kept writing amid the turmoil and sorrow.
I can do no less.
Catherine McGuire is a writer and artist with a deep concern for our planet’s future. She has four decades of published poetry, four poetry chapbooks, a full-length poetry book, Elegy for the 21st Century (FutureCycle Press) and a de-industrial science fiction novel, Lifeline (Founders House Publishing). Find her at cathymcguire.com
I, the father, dreamt of all the other elders,
buried in Mono along with the fish bones
and pupae drying in piles,
in their spheres of dirt and salt,
the blue waters of Mono.
Now I only remember in rings,
rings escaping outward
across the backs of hands,
so many blue bruises
if you read tree signs
you might know how old I am.
In the sunset, everything is gone–
my grandson Jimmy in ’67
(ice on the mountain);
the three Bandero boys, too,
one after another, smiling,
their final grins reflecting off the sheen of whisky,
vanished so long ago beneath desert scrub,
they are smoked ash scattered amongst the craters.
All my brothers and sons marching away,
ghost-gliding through tufa and sage.
I caress the backs of my bloodied hands,
veins coiled like rattlers,
my tongue back tied,
clacking the mourning song,
Yeva Chisholm is a collage artist and poet from the Willamette Valley, recently relocated to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she is devoting her time to learning the art of belly dance, expressing herself on a visceral, body level. In her collage and poetry, she is constantly inspired by nature and human interaction. Collage, in particular, leads her to an expression of passion and to the exploration of the interconnectedness in all things. In her collages, she uses recycled magazines, tissue paper, cardboard, canvas, and Mod Podge. See more at her Etsy shop, Fierce Rising.
a heartbeat between us,
its pulsing silence our teenaged
Marjorie Power‘s newest collection is ONCOMING HALOS, published by Kelsay Books. Other recent poems will soon appear in MUDFISH, TRAJECTORY, and THE NORTH DAKOTA QUARTERLY. Power lives in Denver, Colorado after residing many years in the Northwest. Find more information at MarjoriePowerPoet.com.
The South will birth a new kind of haunting
in your black girl-ness, your black woman-ness.
Your body becomes a poached confection—
honeyed enigma pledging to be allegiant
The muddied silk robe waving in their amber grains of bigotry.
Your skin—a rhetorical question, a
blood-stained equation no one wants to answer.
You will be the umber, tawny, terracotta
tongue spattered on their American flag,
beautiful brown-spangled anthem that we are.
You will be the bended knee in the boot of
their American Dream, and they will stitch your mouth
the color of patriarchy and call it black-girl magic
when you rip the seams.
Southern Belle is just another way to say:
stayed in her place on the right side of the pedestal.
Your sun-kissed skin will get caught in a crosshair
of questions like: Where are you from?
No, where are you really from?
You will be asked, where are you from?
more than you are asked, how are you doing?
Like this name, this tongue, this hair ain’t
a tapestry of things they made you forget.
The continent they forced to the back of
your throat. And that’s what they will come
for first – the throat.
They know that will be your super power,
your furnace of rebellion.
So they silence you before the coal burns.
Resurrecting monuments of ghosts on your street
to keep you from ever looking up.
Building a liquor store on every corner
so you don’t notice the curated segregation.
They will call it ‘redistricting’.
Muzzling the men with gallows for tongues
and calling it ‘obedience school’.
Synthesizing our ghettos, graffiti-ng them in gold,
calling it ‘urban development’.
They will make bitch a sweet exaggeration
of your name: sit, speak, come
when spoken to.
The leash will always be taut, always
gripping around a word you never said.
Your body will be an apparition—
hologram of your former self.
Too much magic in one room—sorcery,
witch craft, and we will be witches, reassembling
the chandelier of our reflection.
We will spin a web of shade and make it a
place to rest under—broad oak that it is.
They will suck the mucus from your jubilation,
our gatherings now a cancer.
Clap back with shaking hands, ‘cause that’s all
we’ve got. This voice, this throat, this righteous indignation.
They start with the muzzle—always a taut muzzle to melt
the hard metallic of your wills, always a bit in the mouth
of this horse that was too stubborn to ever be spooked by ghosts.
Khalisa Rae published her first book Real Girls Have Real Problems, in 2012. Her recent work can be found in Requiem Magazine, Dirty Chai, and Tishman Review, among others. She is a finalist in the Furious Flower Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Prize, and a winner of the Fem Lit Magazine and Voicemail Poetry Contests. She is a former staff-editor of the QU Lit Mag, and Creative Director of Athenian Press.Find her work at www.khalisarae.com .
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