Friday, October 30, 2009

NEW! Poem by Anne Shaw

Anne Shaw

Absence of Assignable

Listen: you are elsewhere
trined in a nest of names. Some
are yours, some perish

to begin. There is luck
and luck’s remission, freckled
hands on locks, vestiges

of kindness, wrists bent back.
There are rabbit’s feet and staples,
fava beans and phones. When

you turn, you are cinched and gathered.
When you turn, you are clocked
and spooled. Everything is audible

but not. Everything is politic
but not. And you, ramshackle penitent,
apply a weedy poultice

to your wound. How can I speak
when I cannot speak? you are thinking.
Mutable you. Or else, please buy

please bundle. Please do not
refute. Refuel. Refuse.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NEW! Poem by Noah Eli Gordon, Eric Baus & Sara Veglahn

Noah Eli Gordon, Eric Baus & Sara Veglahn


THIS IS THE UNIVERSAL SIGN FOR PART TWO


Among those studying the brook in the woods from a trail near the road is a woman. There is a tree with a long steel rod through its trunk. The situation is serious according to various bystanders. This is a real brook, she thinks, tossing a pebble into shallow water to test the thought, which destroys our photographic image. The photographer would like for you to do the opposite of reading. The bystanders think about their claims of having been elsewhere. Somewhere, someone plays the same two notes over and over and tries to equate them with language. This is artifice, thinks the woman, unaware of being watched. A door closes slowly. Is it right to say I hear a pause? Among those studying the rod in the tree just off the trail near the woman is a boy. I wish these were chandeliers, he thinks. The bystanders move in unison, mumbling. They feel a house inside their hands. In Part One, there is no applause. The curtain falls when the bystanders arrive later than expected. Later arrives.

Monday, October 26, 2009

NEW! Poem by Alexandria Peary

Alexandria Peary


SMALL BLUE HOUSE


This mighty bird house

is an A-frame, a letter

A hanging off a branch

from the previous poem

a move some readers don’t care for.

It’s insulated, with trinkets

that rattle when shaken

a king cake jesus, a rhine

stone mummy, a man

who spends more time at a desk

than a table with a candelabra of buds

and the house hangs off a birch

which is cold, zen, zebra-striped,

and papery.

Friday, October 23, 2009

NEW! Poem by Michael Farrell

Michael Farrell


confessional poem


“there was blood on the bumper officer,

i (had) just meant to go

on mowing; & then someone – wearing a clown

nose – came up & presented me

with a handful

of larkspur (that unfunny flower). did i ev-

er tell you

of that hovel i made out of the ironiest sand:

it was quasi-black
IT WAS LIKE A BARRACKS & PRODUCED ITS OWN FLAK
i thought id never get it in to austral-

ia? (they sell tiger shells in the

opshop – a fact that

gives me no satisfaction . . . i built my

own establishment by

this ‘sea’.)”

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

NEW! Poem by Joseph P. Wood

Joseph P. Wood

The Broken Body as Spectacle


Arch the back, the Romans do, then pierce the criminal with large rusty hooks, cruel fisherman angling out the condemned’s will like a bass in a raging, white stream. Finally, give or take twenty soldiers, hot & soiled, the monstrous gold helmets slipping over their eyes, each commissioned to shatter a segment of back so when the criminal is raised to the cross, they can slump him over a wooden arm, hang him upside down, & cinch the dangling hands & feet into a folded 180. Time will do the rest: each orifice to be picked so clean by crow or maggot or microbe that a year later, one could find the skull & firmly plant a votive candle in a socket. And say, at night, a holy man lit it? Would his audience, in their own idiosyncratic methods, strive toward a life as pure as a wind-swept cypress? If so, then why do the children spend their days in stealth & stuttering, as if some random madman would force a crown of decapitated rabbits? And why are the cathedral floors black & less black, as if they sucked the sun & spit back rotten teeth? It’s enough to throw oneself at the ocean, but the ocean just will bloat us: a walrus in place of a mother, coral in place of a God, sand in place of a law—this is how the Romans conquer.

Monday, October 19, 2009

NEW! Poem by Anne Shaw

Anne Shaw

unruly clock.

How strangely things unmoor themselves.
For instance, overhead: shadow of a bird
without a bird. As paint peels back
from the porch front, cloud-thread
raveled out against the blue. How my body
craves extinction. Yours, a tenderness.
On top of or below. As the preposition
wanders from its noun. The lip
and its restriction. You, the fricative angel
in my bed. How a bulb turns on
in the farmhouse: a private
radiance. And the body’s rapt attention,
apparent slips of tongue. Some truths
I kidnap back into the dark. My realm
of unbecoming, kingdom of shatter and thrust. Fields
in the side view plated now with water over loam.
The little clatter the mind makes, and each
peculiar crevice of a heart. Such beds of flood
and thistle: their many endings, turnings,
passings-through. Then all my slick retractions
flattering a passage through the skull. There is luck
and luck’s remission, there are freckled hands
on locks, tallow-meshes hanging in the trees. And the bees
relentless, hungry now, summer or its semblance
bent in sad arrival, creeping charlie tiny in the lawn--

Friday, October 16, 2009

NEW! Poem by Alexandria Peary

Alexandria Peary


TITLE WITH SHADOW


“ ” are put around a tree which is plaid but smells fruity

and then the white field slides to the right of the poem

in the awkward jump my Royal typewriter makes for a huge tab

to jut from the side as they walk to find the manager

while the whole 1/2 mile is reeled back in

though the walk back is pleasant, like chewing gum

or chewing on color. In Ugg boots, they traipse around

stepping over white shapes in the white, looking up from watching their feet

to discuss the title up at top which doesn’t help,

a group of charcoal letters with a steel shadow

ineffectual as a billboard in the middle of nowhere

(perhaps nowhere grew around it). Some people

may be discomforted by walking in a forest inside white

and not knowing which season it is, so an icon of a yellow leaf

falls. They walk by the trees they passed up—

the blaze orange one, “Garage Band,” smelling of Johnny Walker,

the one covered in American flags, others smelling like “grandma’s kitchen,”

“clean air,” and the tree that’s an open window which they almost took,

that row moving jerkily as though on a conveyor belt.

They reach the manager who grumbles about people ripping trees off

in middle of the night, he wants to install a surveillance camera

so sensitive it will respond to the wedge of moon and the most poetic moves of leaves

and, indeed, they had seen on their way down how instead

of stumps, there were little gashes in the cardboard

where the staples had been. Everyone needs a title,

for finished books and ones written only for the shelf in oneself.

A title is good for any car. It will make the ride smell better.

Quotation marks around a leaf make it ring like a bell

like this one outside the manager’s lean-to. Tired by now, they look back

in the middle of the lane, not having a thought,

The title with shadow— coneless original—

In the white lane, A figure made of sea glass,

Kelp moving in the shadow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

submissions update

We've accepted a few more portfolios for the next print edition of Verse, but still have room for another half dozen or so. We'll be open to submissions for another month.

We're especially interested in receiving more fiction and essays and interviews.

Newly accepted work has been appearing on the Verse site and will continue to appear over the next few months. Some of these pieces were selected from submitted portfolios. Submissions to the site are also open for another month.

Monday, October 12, 2009

NEW! Poem by Adam Strauss

Adam Strauss


Labor


The shore
Ablution
Breaks at--
Where poor
Women sort
Shells as
The yen goes
Lower--
What's full store
When this is
The case?
Gulls
Dip and
Pivot; deer
Graze a steep
Hillside--
Across
The "sea"
In a cement
Shed green
Coffee beans sit:
A green
Snake sheds;
Its skin's unfit
For fashion: too
Narrow,
Brittle, not even
A watch.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Recent & Recommended

Donald Revell, The Bitter Withy (Alice James)

Robert Walser, The Tanners, translated by Susan Bernofsky (New Directions)

Friday, October 09, 2009

NEW! Poem by Anne Shaw

Anne Shaw

Another Art House Movie

(homophonic translation of Verlaine)

A rule of sun falls inward across the table:
What craft in the ivory grapes, what ugly crap.
You are always already moving, whatever pants you wear:
Corduroy trousers, my poor pale friend, or simple water pooling in its glass.

Drink it. Close the door after. Aprons, pens, your voice,
And all the rest. It’s a malleable hour
In the middle of the day. An edgy lottery writhes your sleep,
A cicada creeps like an infant to its birth.

Meanwhile, your shadow elongates and slips through the summer grass.
The door of the boat house opens, the footsteps of a boy
Resonate at certain frequencies. Your room is a room
In shambles: a table set with stones, a steaming pan, a nail, a crust of bread;

His hand with tiny cuts; a boat, recurrent flower blooming in its thimble--

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

NEW! Poem by Leonard Gontarek

Leonard Gontarek


From Grace



I may force the soul into nakedness.

I may lead the soul around on a leash.

I may dress the soul in women’s underwear.

Which part don’t you understand?


I did not win the Hemingway look-alike contest again this year.


I could pass for the Polish President & Prime Minister, I think.


I’ve painted myself into a corner here, away from the cobalt galaxies.

For another, I’ve cut a door in the wrong wall to get away.

Monday, October 05, 2009

NEW! Poem by Alexandra Mattraw

Alexandra Mattraw

Summary Between Bodies

When we reach the summit, you tell of repetition. The way an orange unpeels itself in such heat. : All bruised skin wants to give way in the manner of water. We stop field center, but the green world sweats, thickens like hair. Each pasture clots a day’s naming. We share corner store bread : Fingers break the body in two. Darkness trembles light waning bees. My styrofoam anxiety a cup misplaced I bite into moons. Then print-crescents : Your foot on soil as proof of where sadness went. Why I didn’t have reason to change my mind, pick each wild iris apart : I see you not. Your foot shores my other. This pattern to sea pebbles larger notions of stability. Sodden bread spreads where we left it. Your arm confused with mine. The envy of sands, rocks war up waves to tell them.

Friday, October 02, 2009

NEW! Poem by Joseph P. Wood

Joseph P. Wood

Before Rublev Paints the Cathedral


A jester’s head is
knocked against

an oak, soldier
takes a peeling

knife, like a dead
mollusk, tongue

comes off clean.
Rublev stops

speaking mostly,
churches so torched

snow drifts down
on the altars. What

is a horse doing
thrashing the asp?

Who is that kid
building a bell

from mud, not
to be sodomized.

It tolls. Doves
flutter from belfry

to monk’s shoulder,
& the Steppe blank

canvas elsewhere.

Thursday, October 01, 2009