#218 v15,11:128

20th anniversay issue #4
RALPH MONDAY : All the Dead Spaces

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All the Dead Spaces

The rain always comes when someone passes, swirling through the dark cedars, raking leaves away, zephyr harbinger, banshee plucked from the stars. Rain cold, wet, lifeless gray, casket perched above that hole in space, no honor for the corpse, no timé, kudos, empty thoughts for perished Greeks. She was a whore, elements of her trade forged in a star’s dying nucleus. Filling this lonely hole the way that she took on men to fill her desolate thoughts. She was family. Kin of trees, clouds, moon, mother’s daughter, brother’s sister, sins remitted by holiday table. She was a girl, brown legs kissed by summer’s spell, smile the smell of sunflowers crinkled at the edge of a field. She was an egg pierced in love’s dark realm by hunting sperm the way a star throws off magnetic arms. She was nothing. Dust to dust—irony in that return since her life sprang from the gaseous dust of a dying star, supernova as ultimate ejaculate into the dark womb of space to gestate for 12 million years or more before the planet seeds took shape and ringed the sun like a belly’s navel. Came eventually the human race, ugly bags of mostly water, people wet inside everywhere like a Vancouver winter. Reduced now to component elements tossed out by the dying star: 4-6 pounds of iron, gold, calcium, potassium, carbon and a few other trace elements. Stars to stars, gases to gases, gazing in at the hole to be filled, I know why we gaze at the heavens. We are looking for ourselves.

POETRYREPAIRS #218 v15,11:128


Sage is grief’s color, perhaps too ripe olive. Tones meant for those who reach for hope at the bottom of the box. Autumn’s dull brown or black is embraced by the pessimist, disciples who know Macbeth’s shadings. Some eternally wander grief’s corridors, opening door after door with furtive glance like the thief who steals away hearts. They never remain long behind each portal. Grief has too many nuances, spiced flavors of the chef, buffet where the plate must be filled to overflowing, juices burnt, lingering like taste of a lost lover, bitter on the tongue but deep deep as hidden springs reaching to earth’s core. These are the true believers, misery messiahs who would bring gift of the magi to those yet warmed by the unknown, cold desert. Of them they will say see what robes we wear see how we take off our skin, anoint you with our blessing.

POETRYREPAIRS #218 v15,11:128


Empty Houses and American Renditions http://www.amazon.com/Empty-Houses-American-Renditions-Monday/dp/0692441662 [in print].

Empty Houses and American Renditions is a book about universal human experience divided into two parts.

Part I, Empty Houses, concerns the theme of loss, the ephemeral experience of life where we all feel something is always missing, something that can sometimes be defined and sometimes not. The loss may be that of loved family members or friends, a spouse or lover, or a loss of place and time. It seems that we all, from the moment of birth, move through an archetypal mythic space that defines us from our inception. This concept is reminiscent in our earliest myths, the expulsion from the Garden, loss of paradise and innocence when we were pulled from the Edenic womb and thrust into the field of time and space, into the forbidden knowledge of our human mortality. Perhaps Wordsworth said it best in the lines “The still, sad music of humanity,” that really does express the human song.

Part II, American Renditions, touches on American themes in very broad and diverse brushstrokes. Here, the reader will find modern America, mythic America, nostalgic America and a host of other Americas. Men and women are portrayed that are easily recognized, people that we all can identify with. Historic American motifs are here, a type of cubist rendering, in poetry that produces an American portrait. Completeness is here, fragmentation is here, the mythic and the here and now can be found. The American Dream and its antithesis walks these pages.

Narcissus the Sorcerer http://www.amazon.com/Narcissus-Sorcerer-Ralph-Monday-ebook/dp/B0102EW8ZS {a Kindle chapbook}.

Narcissus the Sorcerer is a book about narcissism. Perhaps I am in error, but it seems to me that narcissism has become a staple of postmodern culture.

World War II is a dividing point in American history. The Greatest Generation was about service to others, sacrifice, honor, integrity, loyalty, commitment. That generation experienced the Great Depression and saved the Western world from the horrors of fascism. They left their native shores confident in the tenets of modernity and returned to see the world, in less than two decades, shift into the timbres of postmodernism.

From that shift came a culture increasingly self-centered, ego-driven, entitled. To reflect this change I chose the ancient tale of Narcissus, the Greek youth so entranced by his own beauty that he ended in drowning while gazing at his reflection in a pool of water. The theme of narcissism knits the book together, in one seamless flow, exploring the nature of narcissism in today’s world.

POETRYREPAIRS #218 v15,11:128

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Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of POETRYREPAIRS. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 had a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. Featured Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising. Crack the Spine best of anthology and Down in the Dirt Magazine. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin’s “Best of” Anthologies, as well as other awards. A chapbook, All American Girl and Other Poems, was published in July 2014. RALPH MONDAY will be guest editor for poetryrepairs #221 16.02

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