Submission Opportunity!

Hi lovelies! This is a public service announcement, for those of us who write things, and enjoy writing things, and perhaps are so bold as to call ourselves writers and poets and creative types.

The Fem Literary Magazine is looking for submissions! I’m the poetry editor of this new mag, but we’re looking for poetry and prose, published on a rolling basis to our website.

A little bit about us? The Fem is a combo literary magazine and safe space. People with disabilities, people of color, women of color, members of the LGBTQIA community, trans people, and all members of oppressed groups are welcome here and encouraged to submit. Continue reading

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Enough – Katie Peterson

So many forget-me-nots, with their white centers,
scattered, you’d say, if there weren’t
so many everywhere, as many as the stars
last night in between the branches
above the porch, behind the house.
Was it an argument or were there just
things they had to say?
I could have faith in so many creatures—
the old setter from the neighbor yard
who follows me around the corner
and no longer, the chick with its new beak
just past breakable whose lighter top feathers
have a bit of flight, any mother bear—
you say things and the next day
it’s like they don’t matter, we want our faces
to alter though we don’t want to get older, neither
do we want to get younger, repetition
with less knowledge is ridiculous,
just ask the Greeks, you get to keep
being a tree but without the branch
that showed the sky your starlike shape?
I don’t think so. Steadiness can be useful,
but my loyalty loves a form
that will follow me through changes.
At a diagonal the dark woods
on the back slope have enough space
to walk between, not enough to hide.
He looks into them
and writes notes to his mother, she
looks into them and finds alignment,
or looks for what she wants.
She has a human skeleton on her desk.
He has a protractor. I had wishes
for both of them yesterday
but the weather has become so kindly,
so temperate, I forget what blessings
they don’t think they have.

This came through Poets.org the other day and it made me pause. There’s something here so lovely- the line that mentions the mother bear, the last clause. 

Weeds – Nathaniel Perry

I told you I was worried. Water
had collected up against the foundation
from the rain we had, and you must have thought
I was talking about our foundation,

though I meant, of course, the one beneath
the house. But it was too late, your mood
had changed and then my mood was changed,
and we charged around the house mooding

and changing. I siphoned the water
away from the house, which took a while,
which was probably good. You made dinner,
which was good, and also took a while.

As we ate, the sun drew familiar
shapes on our walls, but we didn’t notice.
And then the light slipped down and made
a bright new shape, but we didn’t notice.

Well, lovelies, it has been a while! I didn’t realize it had been so long since I’d thrown anything up here.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know how obsessed I am with Nathaniel Perry (his brother, Drew, is also an incredible writer; it must run in the family). N. Perry’s whole book is beautiful, but I’ve been particularly drawn to this one lately. I love how real this is. I can very easily believe that quarrels between lovers start out this way, some misunderstanding both parties let blow out of proportion. Fault on both sides, silent brooding and mooding and charging (also, I just can’t get enough of that phrase, “and we charged around the house mooding / and changing.”). So I love this.

If you’re interested in reading more by him, check out Green Manures and Cover Crops; In Bloom, Where the Meadow Rises; Remaking a Neglected Orchard; and my ties for all-time favorite, Tried and True Ways to Fail and Grafting Fruit Trees.

Cheers!

Coming to This – Mark Strand

We have done what we wanted.
We have discarded dreams, preferring the heavy industry
of each other, and we have welcomed grief
and called ruin the impossible habit to break.

And now we are here.
The dinner is ready and we cannot eat.
The meat sits in the white lake of its dish.
The wine waits.

Coming to this
has its rewards: nothing is promised, nothing is taken away.
We have no heart or saving grace,
no place to go, no reason to remain.

This came through my inbox the other day thanks to Poetry Foundation, and I was blown away by the sadness of it. I love, love, love poems like this one; its words are so simple, but it communicates something so true.

Outgoing – Matt Rasmussen

Our answering machine still played your message,
and on the day you died Dad asked me to replace it.

I was chosen to save us the shame of dead you
answering calls. Hello, I have just shot myself.

To leave a message for me, call hell. The clear cassette
lay inside the white machine like a tiny patient

being monitored or a miniature glass briefcase
protecting the scroll of lost voices. Everything barely

mattered and then no longer did. I pressed record
and laid my voice over yours, muting it forever

and even now. I’m sorry we are not here, I began.

Oh my goodness, brutal. Another incoming MFA at the uni I’ll be attending this fall just mentioned Rasmussen to me, so I had to look up everything I could find by him (of course). This was my favorite. Gut wrenching.

Rest. – Richard Jones

It’s so late I could cut my lights
and drive the next fifty miles
of empty interstate
by starlight,
flying along in a dream,
countryside alive with shapes and shadows,
but exit ramps lined
with eighteen wheelers
and truckers sleeping in their cabs
make me consider pulling into a rest stop
and closing my eyes. I’ve done it before,
parking next to a family sleeping in a Chevy,
mom and dad up front, three kids in the back,
the windows slightly misted by the sleepers’ breath.
But instead of resting, I’d smoke a cigarette,
play the radio low, and keep watch over
the wayfarers in the car next to me,
a strange paternal concern
and compassion for their well being
rising up inside me.
This was before
I had children of my own,
and had felt the sharp edge of love
and anxiety whenever I tiptoed
into darkened rooms of sleep
to study the small, peaceful faces
of my beloved darlings. Now,
the fatherly feelings are so strong
the snoring truckers are lucky
I’m not standing on the running board,
tapping on the window,
asking, Is everything okay?
But it is. Everything’s fine.
The trucks are all together, sleeping
on the gravel shoulders of exit ramps,
and the crowded rest stop I’m driving by
is a perfect oasis in the moonlight.
The way I see it, I’ve got a second wind
and on the radio an all-night country station.
Nothing for me to do on this road
but drive and give thanks:
I’ll be home by dawn.

Need to read and write again.

This is a Photograph of Me – Margaret Atwood

It was taken some time ago.
At first it seems to be
a smeared
print: blurred lines and grey flecks
blended with the paper;

then, as you scan
it, you see in the left-hand corner
a thing that is like a branch: part of a tree
(balsam or spruce) emerging
and, to the right, halfway up
what ought to be a gentle
slope, a small frame house.

In the background there is a lake,
and beyond that, some low hills.

(The photograph was taken
the day after I drowned.

I am in the lake, in the center
of the picture, just under the surface.

It is difficult to say where
precisely, or to say
how large or small I am:
the effect of water
on light is a distortion

but if you look long enough,
eventually
you will be able to see me.)

DARK. This is amazing, and Margaret Atwood is amazing, and everyone should read her.