Lorelle Otis is a painter-illustrator-writer-
The second issue of Willawaw Journal features a hybrid of poetry and image as well as poetry in response to Poet Laureate Lawson Fusao Inada's "Everything."
Cover Art: Rose of Sharon, by Lorelle Otis (artist statement on back page)
First Page: Editor's Notes Carolyn Adams Deborah Bacharach with Keiko Hara Devon Balwit Eleanor Berry
Second Page: Jonah Bornstein Lisa Marie Brodsky Linda Cheryl Bryant with Zsazan Tiffany Buck Corinne Dekkers Darren C. Demaree
Third Page: Steve Dieffenbacher Salvatore Difalco John Van Dreal Judith Edelstein Amelia Diaz Ettinger David Felix
Fourth Page: Delia Garigan Abigail George Brigitte Goetze Audrey Howitt Lawson Fusao Inada Clarissa Jakobsons
Fifth Page: Colin James Marc Janssen M. Johnsen Jola Jones Shirley Jones-Luke Michael Lee Johnson
Sixth Page: Matthew A. Jonassaint Tim Kahl J. I. Kleinberg Joy McDowell Catherine McGuire Amy Miller
Seventh Page: Lorelle Otis Jerri Elliott Otto Sue Parman Diana Pinckney Bart Rawlinson Leslie Rzeznik with Lewis Carroll
Eighth Page: Yumnam Oken Singh Sarah Dickerson Snyder Barbara Spring Andy Stallings R. S. Stewart Doug Stone
Ninth Page: Patty Wixon Vince Wixon Maddie Woda Matthew Woodman Back Page with Lorelle Otis
Lorelle Otis is a painter-illustrator-writer-
Sue Parman is Professor Emeritus of Anthropology and an award-winning poet, artist, and writer. For more information, see www.sueparman.com
Artist’s Statement: The painting/poem “This is not a Poet” is a portrait of Kenneth Goldsmith, originator of the “uncreative writing” poetry movement. Goldsmith once said that he didn’t have a “readership” so much as a “thinkership.” This portrait is my poetic/artistic response to his “thinkership” challenge. The painting is 32” (H) x 37” (W). It is a watercolor that has been printed with hand-made stamps, including an “S” for the eyes (representing myself trying to see through his eyes). The un-poem in the painting is mine.
—after Edward Hopper
Would you want to rent in this strangely lit
house looming out of Cape Cod’s dark. Black
window awnings gaze like half-closed eyes,
seeing perhaps, what’s hidden inside
and all who may be entering this place of yellow light.
Pale greens around windows and door shift to ink
in a hedge that seems to box us out. A sign glares
in front, dares any to accept its invitation. Where
are the one-nighters, the summer boarders? No rockers
on the vacant porch, so little furniture in the Victorian parlor
and front hall. Is there a long tabled dining
room with places set for the couple with nothing
to say to each other, for an unmarried teacher here
for the few days she can afford, the salesman here
to find a buyer for his trunk load of beach gear? Interior light
plays with ghosts, guards against the dark. Hopper’s night
drapes street and yard. Let’s leave it to him. Move
on, traveler. Unless you seek a brush with mystery.
—after Edward Hopper
Almost bald with sharping features, a man stands
gazing from a window at empty tracks, parallel lines
leading from the city, out of the room where he has turned
from the woman who sits, book open on her lap, head bent
to the pages that could be leading her out of this hotel
in a city of trains, passengers stepping off and on. Mirrored
grays and a wedge of darkness outline this shadow-haunted room.
Of course I see sunlight—against the building, flooding their window,
brightening the red bureau, illuminating half of a wall
above the seated woman and the silky slip covering full breasts.
The man’s vest, pants and shirt, a pattern of black and white.
He holds a cigarette in his right hand, she with gray streaked hair
falling over pink straps, has stodgy calves rooted to the unseen floor,
her body so welded to the leather chair, I’m nodding—All right, be settled.
No. Before his vision narrows further, before she turns to stone,
I want to tell them—Get on the next train.
Diana Pinckney, Charlotte, NC, has five collections of poetry, including Alchemy, Green Daughters, and The Beast and the Innocent, 2015. Pinckney is the 2010 Winner of the Ekphrasis Prize and Atlanta Review’s 2012 International Prize.
What’s wrong about self-pity, anyway?
— Elizabeth Bishop
My thin jacket is no match
for San Francisco. The cold
barks its way up my back.
It’s sunset without a sun —
just a low-hanging gray going
lower. The orange shoulders
of Golden Gate Bridge shrug
in the fog. The breathing Pacific
wears me out, lifting and falling
like a belly… you call late,
always too late, with that drop
in your voice when you say hey.
A single syllable stuffed
with sorries. Splayed on the sand
a rubbery seaweed, recently
abandoned, covers its face
with a shell. That I understand.
Doesn’t everyone? People
come and go though it seems
they’re mostly going.
Who hasn’t become an expert
at the art of farewell? My glasses,
an old prescription, are cloudy
with salt. A strong wind holds seagulls
as they surf the air. I’m envious.
How has my day been? The waves break
their dishes and throw the shards
in my direction. That kind of day.
The front porch turns orange at sunset, its color broken
by the curved shadows cast by the cane-backed chairs.
The boy leans forward in his father’s rocker to halt the sweat
running down his back. Inside the house his family lives
side by side in ordered rows like the scooped out places
in ice cube trays. It’s nearly 9 p.m. and still the temperature
is in the nineties. Humidity crawls its heavy body across
the darkened yard. Like velvet drapes, night finally falls.
Cicadas sew their whirring in the lining of the trees.
The fireflies are thousands of children wandering the air —
they hold aloft their flashing questions: why? why?
The warmed grass calls — the boy goes and lies on its steaming
greenness, resting his head on his interlaced fingers.
He watches the sky stretch and lift its shirt to cool itself.
And there, the puncture of the crescent moon. He hears it
whisper: climb up to me. Leave it all behind. Climb all night.
Bart Rawlinson received the 2013 William Matthews Poetry Prize. He has also received the Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award and the Robert Browning Prize in Dramatic Monologue. His work appears in Asheville Poetry Review, One, The Rumpus, Santa Clara Review, Assaracus and other magazines. He lives in rural California.
You’d already given her Knaves and Queens,
talking hares and smoking caterpillars.
Certainly you could have saved a King for me, Lutwidge?
I am the dirt under her milk-white feet,
the moss she daren’t stain her rags
with where she rests her smooth-tressed head.
I am the grubs that eat the columbine.
I am the mason’s callouses that still rest between the married stone.
I am the pins that hold the ripped dress modestly in place.
But I am rusted and bent –
I’ve never seen the inside of a hat,
been kissed by a dressmaker’s lips,
or held a broken corset stay,
resting my head sweetly against perfumed skin.
She who dares the camera to look,
who holds the world in her palm,
an empty space waiting to be filled,
while I watch through a chink in the wall.
Leslie Rzeznik is a poet living in Michigan. She’s a Reiki Master, medicinal herbalist, intuitive, empath, and tarot reader of 30 years. She’s an elder in the Romuva (Lithuanian Indigenous) religion and she’s been published in Alyss, Bone Bouquet, Sling Magazine, Thank you for Swallowing, and Bear River Review.
Willawaw Journal requires no reading fees for submissions. Please make a donation to support the running of Willawaw Journal. Thank you!