Willawaw Journal Spring 2023 Issue 16
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
COVER ART: "Silver Stars" acrylic on paper by Rachel Coyne
NOTES FROM THE EDITOR
Page One: Frank Babcock Stephen Barile Jeff Burt Dale Champlin
Page Two: Rachel Coyne Kris Demien Amelia Diaz Ettinger John Dorroh Ann Farley Irene Fick Page Three: Rachel Coyne C. Desirée Finley Karen George Philip Hammial Suzy Harris Rosalie Hendon Page Four: Rachel Coyne Addison Hoggard Marc Janssen Penelope Moffet Anis Mojgani Robert Nisbet Page Five: Rachel Coyne Darrell Petska Neal Ostman Vivienne Popperl Daniel A. Rabuzzi Emily Ransdell Page Six: Rachel Coyne Lindsay Rockwell Jim Ross Heather Stearns William R. Stoddart Doug Stone Page Seven: Rachel Coyne Sarah B. Sullivan Pepper Trail Paul Willis BACK PAGE with Rachel Coyne
The noise of oxygen passing our tongues:
a real conundrum—loud versions of thought,
louder versions of lack of thought. Everything else
still bound inside lungs struggling to express
what other tongues don’t utter. Solid silence:
an opening where avoidance can present itself.
Everything else hangs in the chatter, like laundry
abandoned on the fraying line, the dishtowels
flagging. Consider instead how the noise of rain,
like stray pebbles tossed over the fence, patters
on our rooves and reminds us what we forgot—
how our fabric soaks itself, the wealth of water
visits and presses on. How our lungs can empty
themselves like the breath of robin wings.
How our laundry in the center of summer shadows
offers its damp to the wind, awaits our return.
Against the Glass
–after “Gold Leaf” by Carl Phillips
To press—without debating which insects deserve to be saved,
the buzzing creature tossing, tossing its varnished self against window—
the mouth of the glass you just sipped from against the smudged pane,
to look through it until the frenzied beating wings become your pulse,
a baton thumping against drumskin, the pace too rushed
to keep up with—a brisk rhythm born long before the insect came to be—
to whisper to the being that’s always made you cringe (even though
it couldn’t understand) to slide a piece of mail between
the glass and glass, to whisper, to press the paper lid
tight, letting nothing escape until you step outside, unseal the vault.
Sarah B Sullivan, of Northampton, MA, is a person, poet, physician, lesbian, ocean-lover, searcher. She is published in journals including Alaska Quarterly Review, Little Patuxent Review, Cider Press Review, and Switchgrass Review. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Pacific University, working with Ellen Bass.
To the Hornet in the Buddha Garden
Under the compassionate gaze of Vajrasattva
You patrol the grounds of the Buddha Garden
Manifesting the perfection of your hornet-nature
Perfection of the chitin encasing your body
From which all impurities have been removed
Perfection of your all-seeing eyes
Symbolizing the purification of ignorance
Perfection of your desire
Which is unsullied by hatred or greed
To your nest in the earth you bring offerings
Of caterpillar and cricket, killed so your babies might live
You turn the terrible wheel of generation, as you must
And if you meet Buddha on the road
You sting him – not once, but many times
Pepper Trail’s poems have appeared in Willawaw, Rattle, Atlanta Review, Catamaran, Ascent and other publications, and have been nominated for Pushcart and Best of the Net Awards. His collection, Cascade-Siskiyou: Poems, was a finalist for the 2016 Oregon Book Award in Poetry. He writes and explores the world from his home in Ashland, Oregon.
Our dog Homer had a purple collar
that clashed with his red retriever fur.
The collar was made of nylon webbing
you might use for slings on a climb,
but the only thing this sling was clipped to
was his leash, which sometimes
he pulled against so stubbornly
that the collar slipped over his ears
and flopped on the ground
like the gaping mouth of a sucker fish
while Homer himself went galloping off
into the bushes. Once he came back
from a student dorm with a whole, round
pizza draped from his stupid grin.
Other times I’d simply hold him by the collar
and knuckle my hand into his neck
to let him know he should stay with me
because I was his friend. And I was.
Our son, however, liked to take the collar off
entirely and let him go unlicensed,
just the way that son, when older,
liked to take the license plates
off the front of the family cars.
Because they look better without them,
he always said. And they did.
Paul Willis has published seven collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Somewhere to Follow (Slant Books, 2021). Individual poems have appeared in Poetry, Christian Century, and Best American Poetry. Books in other genres include the essay collection To Build a Trail (WordFarm, 2018) and the YA novel All in a Garden Green (Slant Books, 2020). Paul lives with his wife, Sharon, near the old mission in Santa Barbara, California.
Artist Statement: I came back to painting with a new seriousness just in the last few years. I’m a novelist with several books in print; for most of my life that’s been my major artistic outlet. When I’m painting, I think I’m still always looking for the story – specifically the story with a little bit of mystery. Most of my best paintings ask a question that I don’t answer.
Rachel Coyne is a writer and painter. Her paintings have appeared in many literary journals. Her books include Whiskey Heart (New Rivers Press), The Patron Saint of Lost Comfort Lake (New Rivers Press), and the Antigone Ravyn Chronicles, a YA ebook series. She is an outsider artist, a devotee of Pablo Neruda, a lover of Don Williams songs, and a collector of vintage editions of Jane Eyre.