On Thursday 7th October it was National Poetry Day in the UK. To celebrate, you can hear a poetry reading from Bindweed Magazine’s Editor in Chief, Leilanie Stewart. The YouTube reading is from her recently published collection, The Redundancy of Tautology by Cyberwit Publishing.
Cherry juice squirts on my index fingernail at breakfast.
It looks like tiny drops of blood.
How quickly a party can turn wild: words spew from vodka lips; a finger penetrates a shoulder like a knife, eyes pierce into other eyes savagely.
An ancient branch shatters the veranda roof during a storm, and twigs slash the porch screens while thunder booms like a violent disagreement.
He finds someone else at a conference in LA and my hands are bloody.
Down the Drain
Hibiclens recommended for pre-op cleansing five days before my hip replacement, two times already we wet my skin in the shower, turn off the shower head then rub in the red cleanser all over except for tender face and privates and wait for three minutes like warming bread rolls in the microwave to destroy bacteria that potentially can cause disease then wet again to rinse the soap off.
This morning’s peculiar soap fragrance wafts off my neck and arms up to my nares, a medical synonym used by the pharmacy for nostrils. Will the neighborhood dogs still want to sniff me with their friendly curiosity when my usual pheromones wash down the drain?
Jan has had 328 poems published in international journals as well as in the U.S. for example: The American Journal of Poetry, Atlanta Review, Calyx, Nimrod and Phoebe. Her three chapbooks and one full length poetry collection, I Wanted to Dance With My Father, have been published by Finishing Line Press and are available on Amazon. Orbis, England, nominated her for the Pushcart in 2020.
Jan was a nun for seven years then lived in Australia for fourteen years with her Aussie husband and two children. She completed a dissertation at The University of Rochester: Age and Natural Order in Second Language Acquisition then taught ESL at RIT, Loyola and DePaul Universities, back in Chicago.
I wish I could ask how, why, or look into her eyes
on the bus from Reykjavik to our NY flight.
We sit as close as sisters but I can not make it alright.
She points to her heart. Me Papa sick.
“I’m so sorry.” Me go Katowice.
She loses her glasses on the dark seat
I search, find them, Tak. She touches my shirt.
The bus rattles from Reykjavik to our flight.
She snaps opens her purse covered in butterflies
Green and yellow flutter in the opaque light.
“Keep this lava rock for good luck tonight.”
This stranger’s part of me like the Icelandic sky.
On the crowded bus from Reykjavik to our flight,
I need to believe Papa will be alive in Katowice.
Mare Leonard’s work has appeared most recently in A Rat’s Ass, Perfume River, The Courtship of Wind, Bindweed, Forage, New Verse News, The Chronogram and Communicator’s League She lives in an old school house overlooking the Rondout Creek. Away from her own personal blackboard, she teaches writing workshops for all ages through the Institute for Writing and Thinking and the MAT program at Bard College.
Congratulations to Bindweed contributor, Cathleen Cohen on her recent poetry and paintings collection, Etching the Ghost, published in February by Atmosphere Press. It’s available now from Indiebound, Barnes + Noble, and Amazon.
Cathleen has contributed poetry to Bindweed and was published in February. You can read more of her work in Issue 11.
We wish you all the best with your new book, Cathleen!
It is characteristic of wisdom not to do desperate things.
Thoreau (Walden, “Economy”)
For the dignity of labor, I break
my body just as tin soldiers die
of metal fatigue, as truce flags beg
until their fray is woven among twigs
of goldfinch nests. My hand tools
become mantle shelf antiques, valuable
to collectors in pristine uselessness:
my making made me.
For honesty of heart, I spray paint
through the stencil of my handicap
as proof of concept; to old friends confess
miscalculated desires, the way
apple trees drop their benevolence
as a catalog of worms. Regret
undermines confidence, so says
this voice of ink.
For the refuge of mind, I cross
off the been there, done that, the else to do.
I am the out of focus child
in witness snapshots like a humble god,
but I have traveled the Middle Way
like a hemlock falling precisely between
gravestone rows, the way a latch-bolt
snugs to its keeper.
Frederick Wilbur’s first book of poetry is As Pus Floats the Splinter Out. A second poetry collection, Conjugation of Perhaps is forthcoming from Main Street Rag Publishing. His work has appeared in many print and on-line reviews including Shenandoah, The Atlanta Review, the Comstock Review, The Dalhousie Review, Rise Up Review and New Verse News.