Willawaw Journal Winter 2020 Issue 11
Notes from the Editor
COVER ARTIST: Carol Crump Bryner (See BACK PAGE for more)
TABLE of CONTENTS:
Page One: Frank Babcock Sarah Beddow Mara Beneway Michael H. Brownstein
Page Two: Carol Crump Bryner Linda Bryant Dale Champlin Matt Dube Ann Farley Samuel T. Franklin
Page Three: Carol Crump Bryner Trina Gaynon John Grey Suzy Harris Richard Manly Heiman Doug Van Hooser
Page Four: Carol Crump Bryner Abriana Jetté Gary Lark Penelope Hyde Levine Sarah Lilius Kurt Luchs
Page Five: Carol Crump Bryner DS Moalalai Bruce McRae Amy Miller Cameron Morse Liz Nakazawa
Page Six: Dan Overgaard Frank Rossini John Stanizzi Suzanne Verrall BACK PAGE with Carol Crump Bryner
Research Suggests Significance
of Cortical Depression
Commuting home from work one night I thought
I could die right there on the bus from the pain.
Another day inside fluorescent light computer
screen corporate speak triggering something
that had to be released. Nearly faint, holding on
to the rail, I unzipped my purse and threw up inside it.
Phone and keys. Two books. Some magazines.
No one noticed; New Yorkers. At eighteen months,
my daughter is used to seeing her mother with her head in the toilet
then catatonic in bed. Warm towel on my head.
I can survive seventy-two hours foggy, groggy, going
along with the daily clean wash fold drive coffee students
dinnertime bathstorybedtime before I put two
and two together. Too late for triptan. Cells swell
nerves shook the whole system exhausted.
Nauseated. Maybe it’s me never satisfied, suffering rooted
inside rotting any other instinct other than to tend
or host or take care, and not because I like it.
Ask any psychiatrist. Besides it’s not the trauma inside me
I’m trying to tame, but the eye throbbing neuron wave
rush of blood in the head chemical combustion or
whatever it is that happens when I’m under migraine brain.
Abriana Jetté’s writing has appeared in places like PLUME Poetry Journal, the Seneca Review, The Moth, Poetry New Zealand and more; likewise, she has received fellowships to the Southampton Writers Conference, the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and the Sewanee Writers Conference, as well as other places. In addition to her creative work, she is the editor of five anthologies of poetry.
We’re in the John Day valley
chasing chukars all afternoon.
A beautiful Asian game bird,
a little bigger than quail,
has taken well to the mountain west.
We flush them from a draw
to a ridge and when we get there
they decide the next ridge,
quarter mile away, is best.
A little flight for them
an hour’s hike for us.
We get a few shots but end up
with the food we brought.
We hoist an army-surplus umbrella tent
on a patch of old river bed.
Our fire, river rush, the stars
and a can of pork and beans.
To hold the warmth we heap stones
over the bed of coals.
Sleeping bags cocoon our tired bones.
Half hour later, in the first drift of sleep,
A fragment hits the tent.
We learn that river rocks
heated to the right degree
turn into grenades.
The bombardment lasts two hours.
I imagine the chukars chuckling
somewhere in the night.
The sun rose in the east
the day before basic training
when I fished the canyon–
and again the day after,
in the flow of the South Santiam
familiar to my wet boots,
where life made sense.
I climbed around
a truck-sized boulder
and under draping alder
for a clear path
to roll a fly out and across
a pool the shadows held,
the bayonet range
walking behind me.
Gary Lark’s most recent collection is Daybreak on the Water, Flowstone Press. His poetry has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Catamaran, Willawaw, ZYZZYVA and others. Gary and his wife Dorothy live in Oregon’s Rogue Valley.
If I could only open the skies and swim in rain.
The ground softens, loosens stopped sorrows, grows lush in rain.
January gray. A reliable misery.
I watch this stiff scene listening for release of rain.
My empty hands weave and unweave scenes, loosen and stitch
solutions that appear and dissolve in angry rain.
Storms will come. Water will rise and run. Creek banks will cave
in sweeping currents. Mountains become rubble with rain.
The birds are congregating. They call plaintively to
sky and air. Restless wings. Unanswered songs fall like rain.
Our barricaded hearts watch the broken scenery
while the bone-dry earth and shriveled leaves drink the rain.
The peony bushes can’t stand up under the weight
of their own blossoms. The petals fall and pool like rain.
Cicadas leave skeletons to cling on waving branches.
They climb higher, sing for love, silenced only by rain.
Beyond the black windows, the wands of fireflies swim.
I watch them waltzing in the bushes unquenched by rain.
The day we wed: food gorgeous on tables, blooms bursting.
Each of us was soaked, baptized by thunder and warm rain.
Within, the house is dry, scents drift through screens. We sleep on
crisp sheets. Floating visions. Open windows let in rain.
Penelope, in the dark, you drift off in his arms,
while winter barren branches flower in hot rain.
Penelope Hyde Levine lives in New York state’s Hudson Valley. Over the years she has been a featured reader in a variety of venues throughout the Hudson Valley. She is particularly interested in finding ways to perform her writing that deepen and expand the experience beyond the page. She curated three performances in Cocoon Theatre’s Soirée in the Parlor. There, she supported fellow poets in the visual and musical performance of their work, while setting her own poems to music, dance, and theater. Penelope taught special education for thirty-one years. She has two grown children and lives with her husband and her cat.
Hominidae or Homo Sapiens
This is the side of my face that he sees when I sob in therapy. I look out the large
windows and realize I’m self-conscious of my crying, of the emotions that I lock
up and release for him. A fully clothed peep show. I speak in words that I don’t
even think of, they come from a place where there is no description, only trees
and dirt, the other animals scurry around my body. Walking upright from the
office is my greatest achievement. I am energy and rotation, habit and language.
I drive a vehicle back to my brick townhouse that wind cannot strike down.
Process and need drown me down into surfaces I never clean. My hands, what I
use to clap when I approve, clap when I’m angry, excited, they are intricately
moving like I was never taught, they are making the shapes and scooping up
the grain for others, so we can eat another day.
Sarah Lilius lives in Arlington, VA with her two sons, husband, and Ophelia the cat. Some places she’s been published are Fourteen Hills, Boulevard and forthcoming in the Massachusetts Review and New South. Her website is sarahlilius.com.
To the Tenth Planet
What do you look like?
We may never know.
Now I understand the man
who walks into a bar
just after the most beautiful
woman walks out: she has
become invisible but he
can feel her absence tugging
at everyone who remains.
Their tiny perturbations
leave no doubt that
something wonderful has left us
and still has the power
to move us.
Your gravity does this,
causing the outer bodies
of our solar system
to shiver ever so slightly,
though no one has actually seen you.
I call you the tenth planet
because I’ve not quite
got over Pluto’s pitiful demotion.
For me there can never
be another ninth.
Apparently you live
in the Kuiper Belt,
otherwise known as the Siberia
of our corner of the galaxy.
I’d welcome you warmly
to our little family of sun circlers,
except that would be
presumptuous and ignorant.
You’ve been here all along,
patiently waiting for your
beauty (yes, I’m sure now
it’s beauty) to be discovered.
Kurt Luchs (kurtluchs.com) won the 2019 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest, and has written humor for the New Yorker, the Onion and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. His first full-length poetry collection, Falling in the Direction of Up, is forthcoming from Sagging Meniscus Press. He lives and works in Red Wing, Minnesota.