poetryrepairs 16.02:013

DeANNA STEPHENS (Featured Poet) : Bible and Brush
DeANNA STEPHENS (Featured Poet) : On Epiphany

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DeANNA STEPHENS (Featured Poet)
Bible and Brush

tussle in the womb of her purse, though her aunt calls it a pocketbook. There’s room for a Gideon’s and her hog bristle brush. A tube of bubblegum luster hides in the lining. The brush’s handle is a heavy paddle like teachers use. When she has those thoughts, she sneaks to an empty room of the house or church and spanks the palm of her hand. She thinks of women who are black and white and gray like cigarette ashes who rap the knuckles of children for what they do not know. But she knows. Fat drumsticks grease her lips at the church’s Christmas dinner. The preacher speaks of an indefensible nook in the heart, but he doesn’t say nook; he says sin. She wants a house with a breakfast nook and sunlight. She wants a bay window to sit before and lilies and grass and white trellises to cloister her from neighbors. The devil whispers in her head, while it lies sideways to the world. His voice is the blue insistence of a Bunsen burner, while the teacher is gone from the room.

poetryrepairs #221 16.02:013

DeANNA STEPHENS (Featured Poet) 
On Epiphany 

I behold him and the secret at his side. She is the scar made from my fitful sleep and the rift of a minor galaxy. She is my ache below the clavicle, the fabled wishbone itself, draped in his fist and tinged with me. How he must kiss her away from the grocer’s fluorescents and the tedium of freezer doors, leading nowhere. When he fell off the edge of our life, he forgot the gold splinters of my irises and their haloes of blue might. He forgot the meanings of words we spun larger than ourselves in the darkness before sleep. In his familiar gray coat, he is a cloud that followed me into the new year, and she, in fuchsia hat and mittens, is fugitive snowlight revealing his edges. In the aisle of organic milk and honey, in the afterglow of treacherous cupidity, how I love the clouds, the thorns of light.

poetryrepairs #221 16.02:013


After serving as guest editor of POETRYREPAIRS I have a greater appreciation for the hard work, sweat, and maybe even terror for the responsibility and trust given by John Horvath, the creator of the journal, a man who has spent more than twenty years making POETRYREPAIRS one of the finest online literary journals presently adding poetic excellence to a cyber world where many publications publish self-indulgent, narcissistic whinings of postmodern entitlement victims, tropes that will eventually disappear like Shelly's Ozymandias. But not John. The majority of work he publishes has a distinctly Modernist tone and flavor. Poems containing strong imagery reminiscent of Pound's dictum to "make it new," themes dealing with the universal human condition, powerful, condensed language that speaks to the heart. Given the model of excellence that John established, here I was faced with the daunting task of, hopefully, rising to meet expectations and produce an issue of literary merit. Contained within these pages the reader will discover a wealth of poems encompassing an astonishing thematic range. The voices presented in this issue span a breadth of theme and tone. DeAnna Stephens is the featured poet of the month. This selection of poems resonates with voices that speak of truth and betrayal, past experiences molded into a new present vision through an examination of the reflective passage of time. These are works that examine the female experience through a variety of lenses. Her imagery is razor sharp as exemplified by lines such as, “While a June bug fizzes in her moist palm / A child collects needles from a haystack.” All her poems provide much fodder for thinking about the human condition. Sierra Fairchild provides a triple gem in three brief poems, two of which explore contemporary relationships, the third, “The Poet’s Conversation,” deals with the creative process in a contemplative manner providing fresh insight on what it means to compose a poem. April Salzano likewise contributes three works dealing with the memory of relationships, how those thoughts are brought into focus in the present. Whether it is the mind or the body remembering, the lines she writes strike home in a fresh way that reverberates in lines such as, “like an old dog, / too much life left to euthanize, / too much pain to simply ignore,” the emotional impact of relationships that are always with us, as though every person that we ever interact with, in some way we are eternally connected. Michelle Ivey makes her poetic debut with two poems that distribute ideas about the nature of individual experience in forming words that make sense of life. “Weight” is a clever little poem that compresses the knowledge to be found in the written word, and “No Street Smarts” deals also with the theme of ideas and words, the struggle to find meaning in language. A.J. Huffman is a well-known poet whose words range over time and space. A personification such as “Silence stood up and joined her at the door,” gives one pause because the line is so perfectly jolting and unusual. Then, when she writes, “The problem was the world,” that one line compresses the human condition into both a personal and universal historicity. Her voice is one that transcends the limitations of language and takes us into a universe of the mind. From Athens, Greece Jessica Bell’s voice comes across as crystal clear as Homer’s “wine dark sea.” There is a power in her voice reminiscent of Plath’s jolting and angry lines such as in “Mama’s Confession” where she writes, “My nails aren’t strong enough / to scratch you anymore, / Antoni mou.” The image of prison in the poem works on two different levels, which I will not reveal. The reader will find these depths refreshing and jarring at the same time. The other two poems are equally as powerful. Finally, Matt Hundley contributes several surreal works that remind of William Burroughs. The two poems present an apocalyptic world that is savage in the extreme where he mixes pop culture with individuals struggling to make sense of a mad world. From “Embers,” lines such as “The two are intoxicated, / one woman collapsed / and the other in a trance. / We’ve all seen the movies,” takes us into a Matrix like world where we don’t know if we act or are acted upon. His poetry is strangely disconcerting and oddly hope-filled at the same time, a sort of blending of what I call romantic modernism. When I selected these poems and began to filter through and arrange them, I was struck by the fact that almost all of them deal in one way or another with themes of time and relationships. Whether a longing for the past, a recognition of past pains, or just the simple notion that the past can never be changed, time molds and kneads relationships in some manner, and the moments are never concrete, but relative and changing. Perhaps the reason is that, in the end, time and relationships are all we have, and neither is permanent. John, thank you for the honor of serving as guest editor of POETRYREPAIRS. I hope that you find my effort rewarding, and I hope that the readers will come away with a fresh vision of the possibility of the power of words when filtered through the human heart. Ralph Monday
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DeANNA STEPHENS (Featured Poet)

poet JAN OSKAR HANSEN's new book Stories and Verses of Damned Lies is available; its cover is by poetryrepairs' cover artist Norman Olson.