Erin Emily Ann Vance – 2 poems

Incubator

 

Valerie is dead,

cold in a taken crib.

 

She expires in the dentist’s chair, her back

bends, nails dragging against the wall.

 

Like a dog after scraps

the assistants tug at her gums.

Blood slurry and flesh decayed,

 

Valerie is dead.

The worms are loose in their casings,

the source of the drilling uncertain, but

she is foaming at the mouth in her coffin.

 

The dentist bleeds her awake and she feels the pinch deep in her jaw,

the embalming fluid jumping into her wiring.

 

Waxen, her teeth are bared in the moment

of ecstasy, the gassing, the sharp breath.

Like a sneezing chimera she arches, swanlike,

his hand toying with her rubber veil.

 

Valerie is dead

but awake

but dreaming

but dead.

 

She wears a glow after,

like she has fireflies cut up and stuck behind her ears.

 

 

🍃

 

 

Layering

 

 

You flick sap from your beard

and I breathe in the forest

from the crook of your arm.

You hold me like the spruce holds a moth

your boreal mouth the offshoot

of thick, honeyed air.

You sleep with your lips ajar

and in your breath I hear the whip

of the branches as they fall

the whir of the chainsaw

and your sigh, your grunt

your coaxing, your whispers

bouncing off bark like a child’s prayer

before an operation.

 

You sculpt her and your cuts are

ribbons on the forest floor.

You whimper in your sleep and your fingers

reach for me

sticky with the relief of trees and rough

from the ache of metal.

 

I’m sorry you whisper,

 

to the trees.

 

 

🍃

 

 

Erin Emily Ann Vance’s work has appeared in numerous publications, including Contemporary Verse 2 and filling station. Erin was a 2017 recipient of the Alberta Foundation for the Arts Young Artist Prize and a 2018 Finalist for the Alberta Magazine Awards in Fiction. She will complete her MA in Creative Writing in August 2018 and begin a MA in Irish Folklore and Ethnology at University College Dublin in 2019.
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Bindweed Issue 8 is now available in print

Despite personal setbacks in 2018, Joseph Robert and I have managed to get Bindweed Magazine Issue 8 into print almost a year after the online publication schedule finished in April last year.

 

It’s finally here. Hurray!
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The past year has been a whirlwind of going back to the dayjob after maternity leave, coping with a sick baby, moving house (again!) and a family bereavement on top of all that. The setbacks delayed our publication schedule, but true to the nature of the convolvulus weed itself, Bindweed Magazine has managed to bounce back from the brink…essentially I have kept our little zine going through tough times. So thanks for bearing with me and here we go:

 

Print copy via Lulu Publishing

 

There’s a 20% discount with the code TWENTY19 (case sensitive) before February 7th, I believe.

 

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Leilanie Stewart 🍃

Charles Rammelkamp – 2 poems

Now You’re the Metaphor

 

 

As a kid in Potawatomi Rapids,

I thrilled to the Memorial Day parade,

always held on May 30 in those days,

even when it wasn’t on a Monday,

that first taste of summer in Michigan,

a late winter snowstorm less and less likely,

the imminent end of the school year.

 

 

White-whiskered Mister Engstrom,

veteran of the Spanish-American War,

rumored to have been a Rough Rider himself,

borne down Erie Street in a gas-guzzling convertible,

behind the high school marching band,

waving, looking a little vague, bewildered.

He was time itself; he was age personified.

 

 

Today my Medicare insurance kicks in.

In a week I will be sixty-five.

 

🍃

 

Breaking My Heart

 

 

“Don’t go breakin’ my heart,”

Elton John sings to Kiki Dee.

And what a funny metaphor for emotions,

I think, the heart. Why the heart?

All that love and hurt and betrayal and jealousy,

all that longing and desire, all that

passion, sentiment, whatever else.

 

 

And that funny red balloon shape,

where did that come from?

Silphium, a possible contraceptive,

represented in that shape, 6thcentury BCE,

carrots, with their estrogenic properties.

The red scallop with the dent in the base,

the point a stabbing downward dagger,

early fourteenth century, though

the heart as symbol of romantic love

even earlier, 1250, only then

it looked more like a pine cone.

 

 

The heart we all know from Valentine’s Day,

the one on playing cards

since late fifteenth century,

like a spread vulva, buttocks, the pubic mound:

isn’t that the one that breaks?

The one that gets pierced by Cupid’s arrow?

Cupid – from the Latin for “desire”:

He didn’t actually shoot for the heart.

Any direct hit would do.

 

 

“I won’t go breakin’ your heart,”

Kiki sings back to Elton.

 

 

🍃

 

 

Charles Rammelkamp is Prose Editor for BrickHouse Books in Baltimore, where he lives. His most recent books include American Zeitgeist (Apprentice House), which deals with the populist politician, William Jennings Bryan and a chapbook, Jack Tar’s Lady Parts, by Main Street Rag Press. Another poetry chapbook, Me and Sal Paradise, is forthcoming from FutureCycle Press.

James Croal Jackson – 3 poems

Existential Food Poems

 

After reading five food poems in a row,

I paused, told the audience I get inspiration

from food. I meant energy, really.

At home, sometimes, I sit at the table

eating noodles and suddenly

I am at the table eating noodles!

I look at the floppy strings

on my plate and ask myself

what I’m doing. Converting

loose ends to energy, according

to education. Google tells

me to stop eating so many noodles

but to stop means I’m

no longer energy– the will

to go on. These laces

tying my stomach

consumed by gastric acids

transform into aminos

that fuel me, somehow,

these noodles that don’t

make sense but somehow

allow my string of days

to keep dangling, serve

me on a plate so that

I may have the right

to exist, so I can fall

in love with someone

and they can fall,

too, and steam

until we cool enough

for them to stick

their fork in me,

then wonder, what

am I doing? The

fork swivels,

gathers

a tornado

of noodles.

 

🍃

 

 

Further, Further

 

 

I know the pang of distance / ghost of friendship cold air

conditioned inauthentic rumblings no more / passage into

the familiar / sea / a yellow boat rocks near the Atlantic

shore / I evade the sun / seek any shade to shield myself

of affection / affected by the moon / far apart again no /

vacation for the heart

 

 

🍃

 

 

In Pittsburgh, the First Time,

 

 

you told me Friendship is a road

split by two roads, parallel to Liberty,

and I told you that was a poem,

but you said, no, I’m just giving you

direction, and I looked up from your eyes

to the green sign reading Friendship Ave

and knew what you meant. Friendship–

we had yet to spend our first night

in the city, one that would end in

a dark cocktail bar for a dance party

that never materialized. In the morning,

we rode rented bicycles with bent

spokes and a click in their spinning

and I could only follow your lead

and cycle through streets still unfamiliar

to me– we weaved through lonely roads

to the Strip District, then stopped

at the Sixth Street Bridge to admire

the glimmer of the river that warm

winter day and continued until

we found the hill to Randyland

too steep to ride so, off our bikes,

we walked side-by-side up the path

until reaching our destination;

we locked our broken bikes

and kept walking.

 

 

🍃

 

 

 

James Croal Jackson is the author of The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). His poetry has appeared in Columbia Journal, Rattle, Hobart, Reservoir, and elsewhere. He edits The Mantle, a poetry journal, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Find him at jimjakk.com and @jimjakk.

Barbara Daniels – 1 poem

Sweet

Workers in glowing fluorescent shirts
mow and whack weeds. You and I
grab branches and roots to stop

our slide down a rutted path, juniper
seed cones like blue beads, years
counting down, too little time

to watch swallows drink on the wing,
like us in a hurry, stuffing insects
in wide open mouths of their young,

then gone again, hunting. I never know
when it’s the last walk, the last mosquito
tasting me. You say you admire God’s

excess, the surplus of ants, for example.
Boundless clouds. Noon rushes toward us.
A cardinal whistles sweet sweet sweet.

There’s barely time for our own lunch,
yellow mangos, Baldwin apples, sweet
cherries, juice on our fingers and lips.

🍃

 

Barbara Daniels’ book Rose Fever was published by WordTech Press and her chapbooks Black Sails, Quinn & Marie, and Moon Kitchen by Casa de Cinco Hermanas Press. Her poetry has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, and many other journals. She received three Individual Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.