A DREAM OF MODERN SCULPTURE
A car—hard-parked—quiet as a rumor
that you didn’t hear. Black doors, black windows
and hollow as a bird’s bones. You know more
than you’ll say here, on this naked beach. Holes
open. You escape those headlights that bore
straight through—black as they are. Covered by sand
you forget to breathe. You forget your fear
of an empty car that’s still—that just stands
between you and water. You don’t know why
the ocean matters—why the car should steer
to this place when no one holds the wheel—eyes
without bodies—the headlights, maybe. You
won’t move now. Not today. Blocked by this sly
vehicle. You watch a white sun erase clues.
Mark J. Mitchell studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver, George Hitchcock and Barbara Hull. His work has appeared in various periodicals over the last thirty five years, as well as the anthologies Good Poems, American Places, Hunger Enough, Retail Woes and Line Drives. It has also been nominated for both Pushcart Prizes and The Best of the Net. He is the author of two full-length collections, Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) and Soren Kierkegaard Witnesses an Execution (Local Gems) as well as two chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press) and Artifacts and Relics, (Folded Word). His novel, Knight Prisoner, is available from Vagabondage Press and a new novel is forthcoming: The Magic War (Loose Leaves Publishing). He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the documentarian and filmmaker Joan Juster where he makes a living showing people pretty things in his city.
The Pleasure Principle
A bride unveiled: the bridal pleasures series DB74510
Supernatural crime fighter
attends her friend
master vampire Jean-Claude’s
Pleasures. A performer
power and forces
gruesome vampire murders
Violence, some descriptions
Pleasures of a notorious gentleman DB75059
The duchess diaries: the bridal pleasures series DB74630
1819. Miss Charlotte
exclusive Scarfield Academy
be ruined if
the Duke of
not a headmistress—
language and some
The pleasures of the damned: poems, 1951-1993 DB66380
[The preceding was obtained by searching the National Library Services for the Blind catalog (https://nlsbard.loc.gov/nlsbardprod/login/mainpage/NLS) for the title keyword “pleasures and truncating each line of the book descriptions.
Roy White is a blind person who lives in Minnesota with a lovely woman and a handsome dog. His work has appeared, or is about to, in BOAAT Journal, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Eunoia Review, and elsewhere, and he blogs at lippenheimer.wordpress.com
Us, in a universe where
the colour of haze is plague
And an ooze of pomegranate scent distils a caprice of comets.
Here’s a voucher for a reckoning,
which is a sugar of terrors
the draughts of a house which are its abstinence.
There’s no biggest wonder than volcano’s poultice,
dense lore passed on from hip
to hip in macarena mutters.
Whose fault may be this cheerfulness?
the utterings of a mouth,
chewing its own hollow.
The universe is a trap of carbs & stardust
& family situations gone all pear-shaped,
better wrap them all up in silence.
10 Ways to Leave Someone
Tell them you have multi-personality disorder and the more dominant personality has no idea who they are.
Tell them you’ve become celibate, teetotal and vegan and are therefore no fun at all so there’s no point being with you. (However, you do smoke the occasional joint but that’s because of all the stress).
Tell them you have to emigrate due to climate change reasons.
Tell them you’re agoraphobic.
Tell them your pet python can’t stand their pheromones.
Tell them you have to go through a period of sensory deprivation for the purposes of evolution and this could go on indefinitely.
Tell them you’re allergic to them.
Just tell them, quite simply, you ugly.
Tell them you’re a troglodyte.
Tell them you have to emancipate yourself in the name of Athena the Warrior Goddess and give up on the puny sex that is man and live life as an Amazon henceforth.
“Waiter- There’s a shark in my soup.”
It sounded absurd at first
and I tried to suppress it,
but if my eyes were deceiving
I struggled to believe it
after seeing such a clear image.
My need for truth is pretty obsessive
so despite the fear of being laughed at
I had to address it.
I called him to my table
expecting him to be unable to resist
a snigger and the standard reply…
“Shhh… else everyone will want one.”
But to my surprise he said he knew,
praised my powers of perception
and told me it was vital
never to question my own sanity.
Few people ever saw it, he said.
But it’s there…
waiting to strike, beneath the surface
of the trusty warmth of minestrone.
Some, he informed me, saw snakes in spaghetti
but most took the menu at face value,
trusting the chef to do things correctly,
never suspecting any hint of deception
behind a carefully crafted, respectable air.
“Only poets see the hidden despair” he insisted
as he backed away with a knowing stare.
My daughter shuffles through her stack of drawings from Spring semester.
Says she doesn’t really know what they mean.
A woman pulls her flesh over her head like a sweater.
A man-balloon flies over puzzle pieces that don’t fit.
A toddler smokes a cigar in an armchair.
Life will take everything until you do what it says is scrawled under a burnt-orange tree with hands.
“This is my favorite,” she says.
I note her chipped green nail polish
and faded henna tattoo.
And as she sprawls out on my bed, I wonder when she showered last.
She tells me she reminds her digital art professor of Cyriak.
Because he is disturbing.
“You or your art?”
And we both laugh and she shares
she hated her geology class but rocks are really wise though.
She puts on a bunny costume she bought for her roommate’s extra-large boyfriend Dante who doesn’t go to college or to work.
Tells me she wishes she got one for herself.
Tells me she hasn’t signed up for her classes yet.
Doesn’t know what she wants to take.
But she did acquire a purple ukulele so she can jam.
“This is so cool,” she says,
as she thrusts her iPhone in front of my face.
And I am forced to view a time-lapsed YouTube clip
of a fungus boring its ways through an ant’s body,
infiltrating its mind, moving the creature against its will.
Shows me a picture of this girl’s huge stick-and-poke of a bear.
Not your average one. “Must’ve hurt,” she says.
Adds that she tattooed a guy’s thigh for fifty bucks.
Informs me that she doesn’t want to dye her hair violet anymore
because everyone else does that now.
Shows me pictures of a guy that she washes pots with at 7AM in her dining hall.
He is not her boyfriend.
And she tells me about a dream she had last night
of clinging to a rope swing as she watched a cat smoke.
She seeks my interpretation.
I tell her I can’t make sense of any of it
as she puts on a flannel robe that belonged to her friend Marie’s grandfather.
“It’s all good ‘cause he’s not dead.”
Did You Write Poetry in Ninth Grade Too?
Poems in the shape of coffins?
Poems about time and spiders and epiphanies?
Poems that proudly off-rhymed ghoul and soul?
Did you love Sylvia Plath and Edgar Allan Poe?
Were you Dracula for Halloween?
Was your favorite memory of freshman year the field trip to Salem MA?
Did you have a crush on Billy Idol and Holden Caulfield?
Do you remember when Emo and Goth
weren’t just labels for people, but music
you listened to at max level on your Walkman?
Did Beetlejuice exist in 1984?
Would you have been friends with Winona Ryder’s character?
What was her name?
Edward Scissorhands definitely wasn’t released
’cause you would have been in love with him, right?
Also, are you aware that Donnie Darko
would totally have been your favorite movie ever?
Did you ever center your verse on the page?
Did you own green nail polish that you found in Greenwich Village?
Did you have bobbed hair with a blue tail?
Why didn’t you dye
Did you know you were having a panic attack
when you thought the walls were closing
in on you in Miss Manion’s Algebra Class?
Did you get shingles in 9th grade?
Did anyone miss you when you were out for two weeks?
Did you write your freshman research paper on Greek tragedy?
Did you obsess over the number symbolism in Dante’s Inferno?
Did you go to East Catholic High School?
Did you hate those white shirts they made everyone wear?
Did you join the supernatural club?
Was your principal an exorcist
who brought the Warrens’ in as guests?
Did you know that Edna St. Vincent Millay poem by heart?
To what purpose April do you return again?
Were you that idiot babbling about brains and maggots
repeating these lines over and over, hoping they would somehow signify something?
I teach creative writing at Rockville High School in Vernon, CT. I am also an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. I am this year’s NEATE New England Poet of the Year and took first place in the CWP’s poetry contest. My work is published in the Fall/Winter 2016 issue of Pank Magazine. I have also been published in the Connecticut English Journal, and The Leaflet. My students have always said my poems somehow manage to be ugly and beautiful at the same time…and I take that as a supreme compliment.
in this thin grey house
two tap dancers
one accordian player
a siamese cat
and a madman in the attic with a piano
staccato step patterns
feline nattering a constant counterpoint
tonight an intermezzo
silence deep as Schopenhauer
lurks in the corner by the kitchen
colonises the turn of the stairs
expands to heal paper
even the cat is out
ululating in solitude
at the circling stars
Writing published in a number of magazines including Acumen, Sarasvati, Reach Poetry, Poetry Cornwall, Poetry Space and on the Poetry Kit website. Work has been placed, commended and in one case won several poetry competitions, as well as appearing in anthologies already in print and due to appear in 2017.
She has read at Penzance and St. Ives literature festivals and as far afield as London and Fremantle, Western Australia.