#FlattenTheCurve: Random John Fox by Wren Tuatha

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It’s a sterile garden and he
lies like a fishpond, still
water, and the virus swims.
Doctors are cats looking in,
pondering the pounce,
pondering the reflection.

We phone in morning
glories to the critical floor.
Each bloom believes its
story in some symmetrical,
hothouse way.

Will they find this poem,
years from now, when the cure
is common as clover,
and try to understand the stun
of randomness?

Random John Fox, who survived
a drunk driver going the wrong
way on 83, and got a shiny
new car in the deal,

who built Pride II when random
seas took The Pride of Baltimore out
of diplomacy’s service.

Diplomat John tendered a
treaty between his
child and the breakfast cupboard,
morning and morning again.

Gentle pool, John Fox would sail
around the table or the globe—
if the morning would just
wake him and say—
Today is the day.

 

First published in Autumn Sky Poetry Daily.

 

 

Califragile founding editor Wren Tuatha is pursuing her MFA at Goddard College. Her first collection is Thistle and Brilliant (FLP). Her poetry has appeared in The Cafe Review, Canary, Sierra Nevada Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Lavender Review, and others. Wren and partner author/activist C.T. Butler herd rescue goats in the Camp Fire burn zone of California.

Shimmer by Wren Tuatha

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Shimmer Sharon Shimmer.
Such sunsmile  on the water.
I, the shore,
I go  to cup her in my hands
and Shimmer She,
she ripples away.

 

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.

 

Original photograph by Nicolas M. Perrault.

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.

Califragile Editor Wren Tuatha to Be Published by Finishing Line Press

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Our thanks to Finishing Line Press editor Leah Maines and all her staff. Our editor Wren Tuatha‘s manuscript, Thistle and Brilliant, is a semi-finalist in FLP’s 2018 New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition. The book will be published by FLP.

Thistle and Brilliant is a collection of Wren’s poems poking at and chewing on attraction, requited and not, from a bi perspective, more the nervous movements, rather than the still-portrait-smile of love. Stay tuned for reading dates and ordering information!

#MeToo: A Wolf Girl Enters the World by Wren Tuatha

Monstorium Historia

A wolf girl enters the world
through a slice in the air
that catches eyes all around.
Is her name ordinary, Maria,
or pedestaled, Dulcinea?

The air in the village square
tells the story of the pie
she carries. Younger wolf sister
stays close, dropping mental
breadcrumbs through
the forest of eyes.

To be a wolf girl and to be
a girl are redundant. Everyone
is entitled to look at will,
on the sly or not.

At court, brocade
flowers on her gown
fit in, but she will always
be queer.

Her Italian language is
baroque with syllables,
civilized. She has written
a poem. It feels natural
to choose the attention
of others.

She will recite her poem
now.

 

First published in Danse Macabre.

 

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. She’s also an editor at JUMP, International Journal of Modern Poetry.  Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

#MeToo: The Memory of Snow by Wren Tuatha

Women Floating by Kyle Ragsdale

Women Floating by Kyle Ragsdale, used by permission. 

The souls of women float just above the ground
as if walking on the memory of snow.
Ready to be air if struck, water if kicked,
stone if belittled, fire if ignored.

The souls of women laugh lightly in most moments,
beaming pinpoints through the skin. It makes you
want to touch. Priestesses and party dresses.

So you touch. Shocked to find flesh, you
notice a bad memory. Soon each woman is the
same woman and her soul is bitter lamplight,
bitter, insatiable lamplight.

The souls of women reel and swoon with
art and moon and business meetings. They
encircle bitter sisters and float just above the ground
as if walking on the memory of snow.

 

First published in Lavender Review.

 

 

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. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

 

Painting Women Floating by Kyle Ragsdale, used by permission. 

Four Poems for Christmas Sharing

Pressed Pansies by Victoria Crawford

A mother’s gift to make for Christmas day
in the book, Pressed Flowers, from a thrift store.
A Eureka! stretching a teacher’s pay.

My pansies were blooming in bright array.
Cardboard and string press pansies galore,
a mother’s gift to make for Christmas day.

I made backing and frame from an old tray,
gilded for flower picture Mom would adore
a Eureka! savings for teacher’s pay.

Pressed pansies, picture framed, artful bouquet,
glossy glitter made it cleverly shine more
for mother’s gift handmade for Christmas day.

December, the present and I on our way
hit potholes before we reached Mom’s front door
and that Eureka! moment for teacher’s pay?

Bumps, glue, and gravity ruined the display:
ruined pansies and glitter weren’t much, for
a mother’s gift made for Christmas day
or Eureka! stretching a teacher’s pay.

 

 

Winter by Martin Willitts, Jr.

silence and cold expectations
speak thinly
translating
with deep pain
into new fallen snow
through the determined
darkness
among blue hazed trees

wind moves slowly
wearing snowshoes

 

 

Andy Williams by Kenneth Pobo

Aunt Gwen plays his albums while
pushing a splintery mop
over crabby kitchen tiles. Andy
sings that he hears the music
from across the way. Gwen thinks
maybe she hears it too—only oak
leaves against a screen. She wishes

that just once Tree would have taken her
to see him at the Moon River Theater
in Branson. Last Christmas
he promised, but his job got busy
and Delia Anne came home broke.

As Gwen pours gray water down the sink,
Andy sings “Moon River”–
We’re after the same rainbow’s end,
the album turning in endless circles, Gwen

stopping suddenly when a tuxedo’d man
leaps out from worn grooves
to offer her one red rose.

 

 

The Captive Fire by Wren Tuatha

She tosses the yarn
and the kittens roll with it,
hitting the wall at the
propane heater,
its grill a cage for
the captive fire within.

She lets out a smile
but it swings back to her,
on a pendulum,
like a good smile,
contained in quiet play.

In the span of a sigh
the kittens will leave, cats,
echoes of the children
who fell, men and women,
from her breast.
She would give a breast
to be needed
that way again.

She snatches the yarn
and the kittens
settle for her shoelace
as she finishes the fringe
on her fourth grandson’s afghan.
Muted shades of
red, orange and yellow.

 

 

Victoria Crawford. From Monterey, California, Victoria is a poet passionate about connecting nature and the human experience in words to share with readers. She has been published in Peacock Journal, the Ibis Head Review, Wildflowers Muse, the Lyric Review, Eastlit, Penwood Review, and other magazines, as well as having upcoming work in Canary and Pacific Poetry.

Martin Willitts, Jr. is a retired Librarian. He is the winner of the 2014 Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award and Rattle Ekphrastic Challenge, June, 2015, Editor’s Choice. He has over twenty chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus eleven full-length collections including Dylan Thomas and the Writing Shed (FutureCycle Press, 2017) and Three Ages of Women (Deerbrook Editions, 2017).

Kenneth Pobo has a new book of poems out from Circling Rivers called Loplop in a Red City. His work has appeared in: The Queer South anthology, Caesura, Colorado Review, Mudfish, and elsewhere.

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Pacific, and Bangalore Review. She’s also an editor at JUMP, the International Journal of Modern Poetry. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

 

 

Painting: Night on the eve of Ivan Kupala (1892) by Henryk Slemiradzki (1843-1902).

White Paper Poetree by Wren Tuatha

The paper this is written on holds
experiences. You never think
to ask. The trees, the centuries,
the violence. Ripping and bleach. Slaves
and workers who don’t know ease.

Flipping ocean waves and seeping petrol.

White and cleansed with poetry
so tidy and ordered the world
could never be raw.

All paper is mute, only crackling in hand,
the way of bowing pulp pines smacked
by atmosphere. The ink lets through
certain stories and some news.
And under our objects, pretty paper,
plastic and cotton, work slaves
we don’t see.

 

 

Previously published in Five:2:One Magazine.

Illustration: “The Road to Dividends,” artist unknown. 

 

 

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Poetry Pacific, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, and Bangalore Review. She’s also an editor at PoetryCircle.com. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

While Jean Doesn’t Write by Wren Tuatha

While Jean doesn’t write, seditious phrases make their escape
to parallel dimensions where mothman aliens hunt and gather them,
eat them silently and then look through at us knowingly.
This phenomenon is entirely Jean’s fault.

While Jean doesn’t write, seventeen wars that we know of continue
like a second day of rain, race relations in America harden
into pre-1970’s pessimism and 2/3 of her neighbors fail to recycle.
Indeed, for every day that Jean doesn’t write,
another Republican actor runs for office.

While Jean doesn’t write, her lifelong friends don’t change.
Her adult children do what they will.

 

 

First published in Five:2:One Magazine. 

 

 

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Poetry Pacific, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, and Bangalore Review. She’s also an editor at PoetryCircle.com. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

Make Soup, You Said by Wren Tuatha

I’m making a soup
to fill my bowl.
I’m after that carrot of consolation
you dangle.
I would remember
a recipe
uttered
in that season of my childhood
without language.
The three sisters–
corn, beans and squash…
When they hold hands
they can give weight
while they dance and stir,
balanced in a circle chain,
resolved, complete.

If I know the right herbs,
if my flame is humble,
if I stir with the tide,
if I ladle with steadiness,
if I eat with grace,
if I digest with stillness,
I will understand
why you have gone.
I wrote you a letter.
I burnt it,
buried it,
scattered it,
sent it sailing,
nailed it to my bed.
Make soup, you said, nothing is simple.

(First published in Baltimore Review.)

 

 

Wren Tuatha (Califragile Editor). Wren’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Poetry Pacific, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, and Bangalore Review. She’s also an editor at PoetryCircle.com. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

On the Occupy Savannah by Wren Tuatha

Intestines in trees and the births
of stars. These are my witnessings

on the Occupy savannah. So much brutal
beauty and belly breathing I can’t digest.

It’s a giraffe in traffic,
can’t get out of her own way.

And even with this stuck flow
Wall Street should be very afraid.

A giraffe in traffic is not on the payroll,
not towing your barge, not plugged in.

And a giraffe in traffic has
everyone’s attention.

 

 

Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Poetry Pacific, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, and Bangalore Review. She’s the founder and editor of Califragile and also an editor at PoetryCircle. Wren and her partner, author/activist C.T. Lawrence Butler, herd skeptical goats on a mountain in California.

Folding Chair by Wren Tuatha

I told you then I would take it out back
and kill it with a knife. But I couldn’t do it.
You stumbled upon my love today as then.

It’s a folding chair, forgotten in the woods,
rusting beside living oaks and rotting, jutting stumps,
unsuitable seats. Your mind tries to pick up its stories
from the air around. A picnicker, a hunter, absent minded
yogi. But stories are noise, excuses. Mute air transmits
this year’s bird noise, same as the moment before
and the moment after this chair was left here.

You realize the years, four legs grounded through
snow mounding and hurricanes, the inflating
and shriveling of mushrooms. Fox and mouse,
mouse and beetle, squirrel and squirrel.
Food and urges and panic. I remember loving you.
There was noise.

Mute, awake air, used to being taken in and released,
doesn’t suffer seasons or fools, doesn’t root for predator
or prey, doesn’t pray that you find your own heart
among curly, restless ferns. I still do.

 

(First published in The Cafe Review)

 

 

Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in Avatar Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Circle, and Bangalore Review. She never found out how that folding chair got there.

April in Myth by Wren Tuatha

April is old like water, prehistoric, recycled. Womb
and bladder. To my Third World parched skin,
she’s America, running the tap.And now, in a foreign
hot tub, she mothers me, as if she has it to spare.
Water and muscles, air and my salty grief.

April has bloomed before, on schedule, sometimes
an early surprise. She has chased and she’s been cupped
to the lips, been drunk in, and done someone’s share
of drinking. Me, too, always in August.

On April’s flesh, tears and kisses evaporate,
leaving shine. On mine, brine, crusty, leaving in cakes
like the ice shelf. I watch it go, with foreboding
that natural disasters will result.

But water and her children won’t be possessed.
In time, she does the possessing, pooling foolish souls
like shrimp, pulling us through hurricanes and extinction
and silence from space.

Mammoths, raccoons, wrens and Americans.

Like water, April is old, knows how to crest and trough,
be a beating organ of the beast, a good germ on the living
planet. Some herons are like pterodactyls pulled by hunger
too far from shore. There are fools and there are fish.
Drink, says April. Extinction breeds myth.
And oh, what a magnetic myth we make.

(Previously published in Antiphon Poetry Magazine.)

Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Canary, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Poetry Circle, and Bangalore Review. She still has no hot tub of her own.

Tupelo Coyote by Wren Tuatha

We were tracing Jack’s Creek
where the woods abducts it from the rolling
hills of dairy cows and tobacco.
I on the asphalt, you behind the tupelos.
You stalked me like a fan
afraid to ask for my autograph.
Those alien eyes,
calculating,
measuring my marrow
bend after turn, always
thirty paces aside.

Now you trot out in the farmlands,
legs like tobacco sticks, mapping the median line.
I am roadside, reading.
You are storybook real.
I speak to you, familiar,
as if you are the family dog.
Your answer is a glare-beam
that rips me, rights me.

You put me in the landscape,
that’s all.

(First published in Canary, A Journal of the Environmental Crisis. Upcoming in The Paddock Review, the new journal of Finishing Line Press.)

Wren Tuatha’s poetry has appeared or is upcoming in The Cafe Review, Poetry Circle, Peacock Journal, Coachella Review, Arsenic Lobster, Baltimore Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Loch Raven Review, Clover, Lavender Review, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, The Bees Are Dead, and Bangalore Review. She accepts that coyotes want nothing to do with her.