Sleep Harbored by Wren Tuatha

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(after The Accidental Tourist)

You think there’s a traffic rule, if you see a sign
for an airport you have to pull in and get on a plane.
It isn’t on my way and I don’t have the fare.

I sit in my driveway and read your articles from Lima,
Belfast, Shanghai. Weather and lights. Unexpected place
settings and traffic patterns.

I picture your skill at packing a suitcase, adjusting
to time differences with pills and naps, cafe
conversations.

If you are to birth a new beginning you must be judicious
as to the articles you pack, only versatile, lightweight things.
Belongings you won’t miss if lost.

But even lost things chance upon new lives with random
finders. The umbrella, the apple core. A quarter. The picture
of her you pack.

A plane flies over my garden near the airport
as I bury what you discarded in the cover crop and leaf litter,
compost.

If you travel here, will you push away vines and mushrooms
to recognize what grows where you left me standing?
Will you profile it as a point of interest?

Sleep harbored.
Random finders can claim you, too.

 

First published in Thistle and Brilliant, Finishing Line Press.

 

 

Califragile founding editor Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, and others. She’s pursuing her MFA at Goddard College.  Her chapbooks, Thistle and Brilliant and the forthcoming Skeptical Goats, are from Finishing Line Press. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Butler, herd rescue goats in the Camp Fire burn zone of California.

 

Painting, What We Leave Behind, by Jenn Zed

#Mountains: Women Are Mountains Scattered by Wren Tuatha

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Red pill/green pocket/squire, asks then takes anyway,
can you see me or the planet from a crag in Arkansas?
Gynic peaks pull the moon in you by a string.

What do you orbit? How do you know when to alight if land
and women are mountains scattered, grounded but shifting
unfinished? You and Mohammed, playing pipes at mountains.

Two peaks, one in Africa, the other Appalachia, pour
water that makes the moonbow, marrying light and vapor.
Only two places on Earth does the moon lay this lyric.

Mountains in Nepal listen to gunfire. In Kentucky they
lay down for clean coal, rebranded. Lung forests in Sierras
truck downhill. Peaks in Switzerland take the breath away,

rare oxygen. Do you see me on the planet from Alps, Everest
or Kilimanjaro? Rice terraces and the perfect elevation
for quinoa. Who are you feeding? Who comes to the table?

Not women. When restless we erupt, rebranding, renewing.
We sway slow on our plates. My skin has regrown after lavas.
Sit down. Your babbling is corrosive, a tune in smoke while women

chisel, turn spokes. Narcissus drowning and other irrelevant kings.
No matter your heights, a king convinced of his wings and his view
brought us to this ledge.

 

First published in Thistle and Brilliant, Finishing Line Press. 

 

 

Califragile founding editor Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review and others. She’s pursuing her MFA at Goddard College.  Her chapbooks, Thistle and Brilliant and the forthcoming Skeptical Goats, are from Finishing Line Press. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Butler, herd rescue goats in the Camp Fire burn zone of California.

Thistle & Brilliant: Poems of Relationships in Motion//Performance at Blackbird in Chico

Blackbird 4:20 Poster

Northern California writers and readers:

Join Califragile founding editor Wren Tuatha and Poemcrazy author Susan Wooldridge, along with poets Bob Garner, Cory Himp Hunt, Patrick Napoco, Heather Rayann, Travis Rowdy and more for an evening of the messy!

Wren will read from her new collection, Thistle and Brilliant, interspersed with other poets’ offerings on relationships in motion! An open mic on the topic will follow, one poem per reader.

Blackbird Books and Cafe

1431 Park Ave., Chico CA 95928

Saturday, April 20, 2019, 6pm

**This will be Wren’s final public Chico appearance during T&B’s promotional period.**

Let me count the ways…you can order Thistle and Brilliant–

• Connect with us at Blackbird.

• Order via Finishing Line Press‘ website before April 26, 2019.

• Contact Wren via Facebook or Califragile.org before April 26, 2019

• Contact Wren to host a house party before April 26, 2019.

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

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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…

Trees Tell Our Future by Wren Tuatha

dead tree wall crop
The bark beetle blight burns
across Nimshew Ridge
and every other slope

on the coast. Nimshew,
little water in the language
of the people who are gone

from here. The drought weakens.
The Roundup weakens.
Three acres behind my cabin

become a Union battlefield
in the time of Trump.
the fallen stacked, crisscrossed,

fifty score. Open blasting blue.
Exposure, some lid lifted.
This place will not be woods

again in our time. Ponderosas
are prognosticators. Township
to cul de sac, people will fall

to the blight they brought.
They bought it at the mall,
stacking containers and dust

collectors, widgets to plug
in that blink or smell.
Trappings made in Turkey

for holidays of distraction.
Let us be thankful.

 

First published in The Bees Are Dead.

Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review and others. She’s editor of Califragile. Her chapbook Thistle and Brilliant was a semi-finalist in the 2018 New Women’s Voices Contest and is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

Photograph by Wren Tuatha. 

Califragile Editor Wren Tuatha Interviewed on Wombwell

Wren discusses her poetry beginnings at her childhood community center: “I… wrote something with words I could spell, like sky, trees, grass. I remember feeling transdimensional, as if I had healed all diseases by extolling the beauty of sky, trees and grass.”

She discusses her influences, from Robert Duncan to “Yoko Ono. Not her writing but her performance art. She taught me that the audience is the canvas. This has informed everything I do in art and education.”

What advice does she offer other emerging poets? Read her thoughts about matching your goals to your poetic activities. “Here’s a morsel I learned in the editing trenches: Don’t put Best of the Net nominations in your bio. This causes an editor eye-roll like you would not believe. When you win, put it in.”

Read the full interview here.

Wren doing Q&A at launch party cropped

#Mountains: Mimosas and Mine Ponies (A Sense of Place) by Wren Tuatha

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1. The Fenceline

The mimosa of my childhood
grew through the fenceline,
a swelling possession,
as if it were Columbus, claiming
us and our neighbors.
I would ignore the teetering swing set
and pluck middle sections out of the leaves
to make lanky birds, phoenixes
that could clear the fence but chose to stay
in my mind garden,
flapping and bobbing
at the end of my arms
like carnival airplane rides.

Matchbox cars pulled up to mimosa root houses,
Borrowers and Hobbits.
I made fences out of kindling.
The matchbox cars would arrive home and drive away,
mapping a sense of place.

2. Mine Pony Farm

Her dad left her an Appalachian
slope, Mine Pony Farm, she called it,
after the sturdy servants who made it profitable once.
Now she rolled downhill with
the water, dogs and copperheads,
keeping ahead of mining company
snipers who shot to scare
her off, even as crews dug the mountain out
from under her.

“You and I,” she said, “we carry a sense of place.”

3. Seven River Crossings, Three Ways In

Seven trips, seven friends carried each others’ loads,
plywood and board feed, pillows and rice,
down into the deep Ozark valley.

They had park permission.
They would stake their claim
miles off any pavement, in a fold within
a fold of the state land.

There were three ways in:
A two hour road, seven river crossings, drivable
a couple of months of the year;
A two hour climb down one mountain;
A five hour hike down the other.

Each built a house. Hippie blends of old
and new, found logs, barn windows, satellite dishes.
Some stayed year round, some would come and go,
keeping jobs and family ties.

As years circled like buzzards, as kids, once dirty-kneed, turned
away to college, the friends faded off or left in some huff.
Listening, circling decisions, had always been tough.

A woman and a man she’d recently met had Brigadoon
to themselves. They were bent and knotted from planting,
dragging and climbing.

They would stop and allow my visit, for the magazine article.

 

These poems, first published in Belle Reve Journal, are part of an upcoming book length cycle, Mimosas and Mine Ponies (A Sense of Place).

 

 

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Pirene’s Fountain, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Pacific, and Bangalore Review. Her chapbook, Thistle and Brilliant, is upcoming from Finishing Line Press. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.