Willawaw Journal Fall 2022 Issue 15
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
COVER ARTIST: David Memmott
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Page One: Kenneth Anderson Frank Babcock Jodi Balas Louise Cary Barden Page Two: David Memmott Carol Berg Robert Beveridge Ace Boggess Jeff Burt Natalie Callum Page Three: David Memmott Dale Champlin Margaret Chula Richard Dinges Rachel Fogarty Matthew Friday Page Four: David Memmott D. Dina Friedman David A. Goodrum John Grey Allen Helmstetter James Kangas Page Five: David Memmott David Kirby Tricia Knoll Linda Laderman Kurt Luchs David Memmott Page Six: David Memmott Stacy Boe Miller Kathryn Moll John C. Morrison John Muro Toti O'Brien Page Seven: David Memmott John Palen Darrell Petska Vivienne Popperl Laura Ann Reed Erica Reid Page Eight: David Memmott Lindsay Rockwell Beate Sigriddaughter Jeffrey Thompson Elinor Ann Walker William F. Welch Page Nine: David Memmott Charles Weld Kevin Winchester BACK PAGE with David Memmott
Time and Stillness
Pablo Picasso, 1920
Musée Picasso, Paris
I knew someone just like her,
a copy editor on a daily
where I worked in the ‘60s.
She wore shifts, a woman
of size and almost spooky
calm, and she wrote headlines
better than anyone I knew.
She was fast, didn’t need
to count characters, just wrote
the head, and it always fit,
no small thing in the hot-type era.
When I struggled, she’d quip,
“The first thousand are the worst,”
and write it for me, always
accurate, on point, unforced,
straight or witty as needed.
Still, she would hit a hard one
from time to time and
plant a bare foot on the floor
(she often kicked off her shoes),
cross the other leg on a knee,
cradle her cheek on thick fingers
and look off into the distance
as if in a trance. While it lasted
it seemed that the process of time itself,
the present ceaselessly
becoming the past,
streamed through her stillness.
But she was working,
and once the head came to her,
she would stir, glance around,
type it out on a half-sheet
and stick it on the spike.
Small Pieces Refusing
–Portrait of Daniel-Henry Kahnweiler
Pablo Picasso, 1910
Art Institute of Chicago
after an interpretation by Elizabeth Cowling
I wake before dawn in pieces, light and dark
smokey facets tinged with rose; my feet,
blind moles, search the gloom for slippers.
I feel my way like a poorly organized front
of hesitant gray clouds — tweak the dour
resting face in the mirror, comb the inherited
cowlick into a part, select from limited
options a shirt and a narrative for the day.
So I gain an assembled self. But at what risk
of losing these fragments? Each a view
from a different moment, a different angle,
the way cocking one’s head reveals
a strawberry hiding in the patch, the way
memories come from nowhere when nowhere
is given room: Smell of dry grass, a phrase of Ravel,
the auditory hallucination of my father
calling me to supper across the garden at dusk.
Time flaking away. The richness of small pieces
refusing “to lock together to produce
a clear, fixed, unitary image of the man.”
–Family of Saltimbanques
Pablo Picasso, 1905
National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
If they seem lost in the dusky rose and blue
middle of nowhere it’s because they’re not
working: Fat Clown’s not honking his rude
horn or miming slap-stick indecencies;
shape-shifter Harlequin’s up to no pranks;
even the child acrobats and the slender youth
with a drum on his back are poised and still.
No one trades a glance with anyone.
And the woman, who sits apart
in her non-performance skirt and shawl,
a tall sun-hat circled with flowers
precarious on her head — how hard it is
to know what to say about the woman.
She and they have reached a moment
when the tent is struck, the gear loaded,
and the hard-earned skills, shtiks, roles
and routines that hold them together
seem grubby, shopworn. They are not
unhappy to be free of them, to have
a little time to be their lonely selves.
John Palen‘s latest book, Riding With the Diaspora, won the Sheila-Na-Gig 2021 chapbook competition and was published in April, 2022. He has recent work in Sleet, Cider Press Review, and Spoon River Poetry Review, and lives, writes and gardens on the Grand Prairie of Illinois.
A Place of No Substance
Come with me
past the old barn
that’s no longer there
and descend the sloped corral
now a field of weeds
into the gully dredged deep by time.
Gaze up the opposite slope:
there we scrabble past badger holes and
cat-steps fixed in dirt by broomsedge,
foxtail, and bluebell roots
not even time’s deluge can dislodge
to a ledge that tops the slope, and pause:
glance backward past the phantom barn,
the faded farmyard ghosts of granary,
chicken coop and weary clapboard house
all no longer there
to see what time can take away
and—in this ledge you stand before—
what it cannot.
Stoop low, leveling your eye to this
opening to an improbable,
sun-drenched cavern extending
endlessly on a palette of multi-hued,
simply wonder that a place possessing
no terra firma
through an old man’s lifetime can persist,
insisting on itself and its brilliance
which the devilish twins time and death
envy from their fruitless domains.
Darrell Petska is a retired university editor. His poetry and fiction can be found in 3rd Wednesday Magazine, First Literary Review–East, Nixes Mate Review, Verse Virtual and widely elsewhere (conservancies.wordpress.com). A father of five and grandfather of six, he lives near Madison, Wisconsin, with his wife of more than 50 years.
–after Carolyn Forché’s “Lost Poem”
I’m searching for a song I heard years ago.
I can’t recall the title, but there’s a wagon
in the song, and a market, and a white dove
or maybe a swallow. We sang the song
sitting shoulder to shoulder on the school bus
to summer camp, or to tour a Coca-Cola
factory, or to sports events where we mostly lost
the game or the race, or to matinées downtown
to see “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” We would
harmonize our voices to drown out the shouts
and laughter of the boys throwing dice and taking
nips from mini-bar bottles and ducking behind
seat backs to puff on cigarette butts. In the song
the wind laughed, there was an ox, and a farmer,
and our voices swelled full throated, a frisson
of danger down our spines as we imagined
how, if we were threatened, we would fight back
or at least fly away.
Vivienne Popperl lives in Portland, Oregon. Her poems have appeared in Clackamas Literary Review, Timberline Review, Cirque, Willawaw, About Place Journal, and other publications. She was poetry co-editor for the Fall 2017 edition of VoiceCatcher. She received both second place and an honorable mention in the 2021 Kay Snow awards poetry category by Willamette Writers and second place in the Oregon Poetry Association’s Spring 2022 contest “Members Only” category. Her first collection, A Nest in the Heart, was published by The Poetry Box in April, 2022.
Laura Ann Reed
–after Robert Hayden
On Sunday mornings, my father tiptoes
from the room where my mother sleeps
curled into her griefs. He closes the door,
careful not to let it creak.
I follow him into the laundry room where
he spreads old newspapers over the floor.
He sets out tins of polish, a brush
and flannel cloth. Picks up a shoe. Under
his breath he whistles a tune he claims
he listened to on the radio, as a boy–
When the Red, Red Robin. A happy song,
he says. Perhaps it’s because he whistles
off-key that it sounds sad.
What do I know about the sadness
in this house, the disappointments?
The way sun refuses to stipple
the walls? I look down at the daubs
of red, yellow, blue, and green
in the linoleum, playing a game:
If I find a cat in the pattern, I can
make a wish. But the daubs
are haphazard, there is no pattern.
Every week I look, but
there are never any cats.
Laura Ann Reed holds a BA in French/Comparative Literature from the University of California, Berkeley and completed Master’s Degree Programs in the Performing Arts, and Psychology. She was a dance instructor in the San Francisco Bay Area prior to assuming the role of Leadership Development Trainer at the San Francisco headquarters of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She and her husband now reside in western Washington. Her work has been anthologized in How To Love the World: Poems of Gratitude and Hope, and has appeared in Blue Unicorn, Grey Sparrow, Macqueen’s Quinterly, The Ekphrastic Review, and other journals
The Getaway Car
–for my niece on her first birthday
Look, little hellraiser, I am not known for my natural way
with children. I’ve had to learn a lot since last October.
I thought your teeth came in too early, for example,
but it appears that you know best. You also know
my brother better than I ever did—when you’re ready
I hope you will teach me your magic, how you transformed
my baby brother (who loved to chuck toy planes at our ceiling fan)
into your protective father. But today is your birthday, Fiona, and I am
meant to be giving you gifts! Your dad is no doubt expecting
Baby’s First Book of Suffragettes or a cherry red pocket knife
made for little hands. I want to believe I have something else
to pull from behind your ear, a tarnished copper piece
of wisdom I could never tell my brother. Just for us girls.
Today that task is beyond me, but here is what I can offer you:
when you collude with the moon and decide it is time to ask
a question, any question, my answer will be yes. Need help
conquering your very first unconquerable mistake? Yes,
I’ve untied my share of knots. Watch my hands. Are you ready
to make a little mischief, something to make your diary
worth hiding? I have ideas. (It is not safe to discuss them here.)
Eager to pierce whatever women are piercing in 2035?
Yes, I will know just the place—but dream bigger than that, Fi.
Get creative. Make me sweat a little. Lose a night’s sleep
over the heft of your request. If you are anything like me,
you will find yourself in need of a getaway car. Ask me. Now,
go eat your celebratory peas. Please also find enclosed
a photo of your father when he was your age, a tin can
with 1,700 miles of string, and, why not, a pocket knife. Red.
Erica Reid lives in Fort Collins, Colorado; she earned her MFA at Western Colorado
University (‘22) and serves as assistant editor at THINK Journal. In 2022 she was
nominated for Best New Poets; in 2021 her poetry won the Yellowwood Poetry Prize
and the Helen Schaible Sonnet Contest (Modern Sonnets category), was nominated
for a Pushcart Prize, and was commissioned by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.