A Wave of Absolute Zero by George Cassidy Payne

machine_intelligence_by_frogstar_23_dbm69qm-pre

Eating nuts, roots,
crawdads, and turtles, and
speaking in symbols
smelling of shaggy, oily skin
on the underside of fallen-off
fish gills. Just nuclei colliding.

I am human.

Walking upright with massive
jaws made thick with layered enamel.

I am human.

I float through the fence- less edens
spilling my creativity messily like
a leaking hot pink rolling ball pen.

A wave of absolute zero.

I am human.

 

 

George Cassidy Payne is an independent writer, domestic violence social worker, adjunct professor of philosophy at Finger Lakes Community College, and a student of religion. He has degrees in the subject from St. John Fisher College, Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and Emory University. He lives and works in Rochester, NY.

 

Art by Jenn Zed.

Thistle and Brilliant in Promotional Presales; Wren and Molly Fisk on Radio for #CampFire Poems

TUATHA-WREN-WEB-600x600

Califragile founding editor Wren Tuatha’s first chapbook, Thistle and Brilliant (Finishing Line Press) is coming out June 21, 2019. Now through April 26, it’s available to preorder on the publisher’s site. Rather than relying on an endowment, FLP determines the press run of a new release by how many copies are preordered during the promotional period.  Please show your support for Wren, poetry, and small presses by ordering today! Does your town have Little Free Libraries? Consider ordering an extra copy for this great grassroots project!

https://www.finishinglinepress.com/product/thistle-and-brilliant-by-wren-tuatha/

Thistle and Brilliant is a collection of poems around the theme of relationships in motion–moving closer, growing distant; unrequited love; new relationship energy and settled life in the depths. It would make a great birthday/holiday gift for the one or many you love!

Some love from other poets:

Wren Tuatha’s poems are lively, rich in images and bold unexpected language. She writes especially well about love unrequited and satisfying.

–Marge Piercy

These poems! Exquisite dissections of relationships in motion, deliciously erotic, with a sharp intellect and a soupçon of regret. Wren Tuatha has her finger on the pulse of love.

–Alexis Rhone Fancher, poetry editor, CULTURAL WEEKLY.

Want to write a review of Thistle and Brilliant, interview Wren in print or book her on your radio show or podcast? Contact her at CalifragilePoetry@gmail.com.

Chico, CA Appearances:

Writing On Air, KZFR 90.1 FM
February 26, 2019 7:00pm

Wren joins hosts Kevin and Natalie, as well as Nevada County poet laureate Molly Fisk in reading Califragile’s #CampFire poems. Discussion of poets writing from the headlines and direct experiences like California’s wildfires. Stream on YouTube here.

How to Get Your Poems Published 
Butte County Library, Chico Branch, 1108 Sherman Ave.
Sunday, March 10, 2019 4:30-6:30pm

Wren will read from T&B and talk on demystifying the poetry publication process. Wren will provide lists of journals that are approachable and/or have hight rates of acceptance. Attendees will have the opportunity to form ongoing critique groups, submission parties, and mentorships. Stay in touch via our Facebook event page.

#CampFire Poems/Thistle and Brilliant
The Bookstore 118 Main St.
Friday, March 15, 2019 6:30-8:00pm

Wren will read poems from Califragile’s #CampFire theme and T&B. Laptops will be available to preorder from Finishing Line Press, plus Magnetic Poetry, and more! Stay in touch via our Facebook event page. This is Wren’s big Chico event during T&B’s promotional period, so be there or be, well, apparently somewhere else…

The Fire By Lola Ridge

800px-us-army-troops-taking-break-while-on-patrol-in-vietnam-war

The old men of the world have made a fire
To warm their trembling hands.
They poke the young men in.
The young men burn like withes*.

If one run a little way,
The old men are wrath.
They catch him and bind him and throw him again to the flames.
Green withes burn slow…
And the smoke of the young men’s torment
Rises round and sheer as the trunk of a pillared oak,
And the darkness thereof spreads over the sky….

Green withes burn slow…
And the old men of the world sit round the fire
And rub their hands….
But the smoke of the young men’s torment
Ascends up for ever and ever.

 

Lola Ridge, 1873-1941.

Photograph by Dennis J. Kurpius.

 

* a willow twig or osier; any tough, flexible twig or stem

Off the Road by John Grey

800px-T-bird

He dreams of that old Thunderbird
with the bullet-nosed hood,
the way it idled like a Bengal tiger’s gut
at the stop light on Cross and Barnes,
the sweet low whine of the turbo,
his foot as eager as a finger
to press that accelerator trigger
as two dolt-heads rolled up on either side,
one in a battered Chevy and
the other, a sleek Corvette.

There’s nothing happening this week or the last
to equal leaving those two pretenders
sniffing foul rubber,
choking on his exhaust.
His family is here visiting
and, while he’s glad to see them,
love’s like an old VW Beetle
compared to what memories are driving.

One son-in-law parks
wife, kids and belongings in an SUV
to get there.
His own boy drives a Cadillac,
says it helps his business
to be seen in one.
Even his eldest grandchild
pushes a tiny truck across the linoleum.

Where’s speed? Where’s noise?
Where in hell is questioning
the other guy’s manhood?
His youngest daughter
brings him his daily dose
of mashed up baby vegetables.
That’s where.

 

 

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Homestead Review, Poetry East and Columbia Review with work upcoming in the Roanoke Review, the Hawaii Review and North Dakota Quarterly.

 

Original photograph by Nminow.

#CampFire: Second-hand Mule by Terry Adams

SJM-L-BURRO-1110-2

Someone catches a mule,
ties her to a sign by the highway
with a bucket of water,
then leaves,
fleeing the fire.

The mule is leaning hard,
pulling her rope taut toward the white line,
the highway still un-melted,
air full of smoke.

Cars and trucks pass
but it’s not clear what kind of help
would help.

Bucket melts
from the bottom up.
The water escapes.

Someone thinks to take a photo
of a mule tied up so we know
the story,

how even freedom
is useless
at some point.

 

 

Terry Adams has poems in Poetry, Ironwood, The Sun, Witness, College English, Catamaran, The Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. He MCs a yearly poetry festival at the Beat Museum in San Francisco, and co-MCs, with Joe Cottonwood, the monthly “Lit Night” in La Honda. His collection, Adam’s Ribs, is available from Off The Grid Press. He lives in Ken Kesey’s infamous 1960’s cabin in La Honda, California, which he rescued from destruction in 1998.

#CampFire: Particulate Matter by Molly Fisk

800px-Woman,_Smoke_(Imagicity_717)

Untitled 11

 

First published in Rattle, Poets Respond

Molly Fisk: “So many of us live near enough to Paradise, CA to have been under the pall of smoke its burning created. I’m in Nevada City, a Sierra foothills town equally likely to burn, equally hard to evacuate. Like many others in CA, we were wearing N95 masks and staying indoors, and talking to each other about what was in this particulate matter. A phrase we didn’t think of much ten years ago, and now everyone knows.”

 

 

Molly Fisk is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Nevada County, CA. She’s been awarded grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and is widely published. Her poetry collections are The More Difficult Beauty and Listening to Winter. She’s also a radio commentator for KVMR in Nevada City and NPR, and works as a radical life coach. Reach her at mollyfisk.com

 

Photograph by Graham Crumb.

Five Poems by Simon Perchik

800px-Park_bench_-Lackford_Lakes,_Suffolk,_England-30July2010

*
You whisper as if smoke
still follows some plane
that left it behind

–mourners understand this
wave goodbye to your words
by leaning closer

the way fires start
though each stone left here
will collide with the sun

–no one would notice
it’s two in the afternoon
and all Earth is warming itself

lighting up the sky
no more than ever
hears you talk louder

say where in your mouth
a kiss can be found
came for you and stayed.

 

*
How could a moon so dim
see the room being taken away
–the door was closed from behind

as if nothing will return
except to light the stars
with evenings though the bed

stays empty, was uprooted
pulled further from the wall
no mined for its darkness

where each night pours sand
little by little through the blanket
over a room that died.

 

*
To not hear her leaving
and though this snapshot is wrinkled
it’s carried off in a shirt pocket

that never closes, stays with you
by reaching out as eyes
waiting for tears and emptiness

–you remember who filled the camera
except there was sunlight –a shadow
must say something, must want

to be lifted, brought back, caressed
the way a well is dug for the dead
who want only water and each other

–you try, pull the corners closer
over and over folded till you are facing
the ground, the dry grass, her.

 

*
To the dirt that no longer moves
you offer a mask the way a flower
over and over is readied for mornings

where time begins again as stars
sensing honey and more darkness
–by evening your death

will be used to footsteps one by one
broken off a great loneliness
returning row by row as the small stones

cut out for the mouth and eyes
to sweeten it, ask
where you are going by yourself.

 

*
Though there’s no sea nearby
this sidewalk smell from sand
no longer struggling –you point

where the crack will come
when you take your hand away
letting it lie in the street

–what drips from your fingertip
is one wound bathing another
with evenings and shores

covered with the inhuman cries
from small shells still in pain
scattered and not moving

 

 

Simon Perchik is an attorney whose poems have appeared in Partisan Review, Forge, Poetry, Osiris, The New Yorker and elsewhere. His most recent collection is The Osiris Poems published by boxofchalk, 2017. For more information including free e-books and his essay “Magic, Illusion and Other Realities” please visit his website at www.simonperchik.com. To view one of his interviews please follow this linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSK774rtfx8

 

 

Original photograph by Martin Pettitt.