Sixfold poetry winter 20.., p.1
Sixfold Poetry Winter 2016, p.1Sixfold
Sixfold Poetry Winter 2016
Copyright 2016 Sixfold and The Authors
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Cover Art by Joel Filipe.
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Garrett Doherty, Publisher
Sixfold Poetry Winter 2016
Alexander McCoy | Questions to Ask a Mountain & other poems
Alexandra Kamerling | Prairie & other poems
Debbie Hall | She Walks Into Starbucks Carrying a 2 x 4 & other poems
Michael Fleming | Patience & other poems
Jim Pascual Agustin | Sheet and Exposed Feet & other poems
Melissa Cantrell | Collision & other poems
Martin Conte | Skin & other poems
AJ Powell | The Road to Homer & other poems
Paul W. Child | World Diverted & other poems
Michael Eaton | Remembrances & other poems
Lawrence Hayes | Walking the Earth & other poems
Daniel Sinderson | Like a Bit of Harp and a Far Off Twinkle & other poems
Sam Hersh | Las Trampas & other poems
Margo Jodyne Dills | Babies and Young Lovers & other poems
Nicole Anania | To the Dying Man's Daughter & other poems
Lisa Zou | Under the Parlor & other poems
Hazel Kight Witham | Hoofbeat Heartbeat & other poems
Margaret Dawson | Daylily & other poems
James Wolf | An Act of Kindness & other poems
Jane A. Horvat | Psychedelic & other poems
Bill Newby | Touring & other poems
Jennifer Sclafani | Hindsight Twenty Twenty & other poems
brackish boy. looking like a question needs
to be answered, the tooth-end of a smile or
a timebomb, born into rebel skin, as in
where do you come from? why are you here?
make no mistake, Miami, they smell the brown on you
like blood in the dark.
in this war there are no half-lives, either
keep quiet, or else learn to kill.
Study this, the cartographer’s map of the face
twenty-two years in the making
much uncharted country yet left to be explored
and you will discover a landscape
with monuments bearing no name, whose stories
are heard ringing down decades of damage—
tectonic plates grinding behind
cheekbones, summer stormclouds caged
inside eyelids, fault lines carved into smiles.
I have buried the faces of sadness
like so many fossils underneath
a million million tons of stone.
Over time the residual bits of shrapnel
will sculpt themselves into a slipcast mask,
they will not let themselves be forgotten.
Behold! a heavy painter’s canvas, a portrait
thousands of layers thick, fresh faces
slipped into like armor.
Do not stare for too long
my truest colors will always bleed
through the cracks of me,
inherited from a lifetime of dirty laundry
guarded behind dusty closet walls of flesh and bone
from the inside out warped with rot—
I cannot figure out how to keep
the smell of the compost pile
from creeping past my eyes,
these neon lights blinking on and off
Do Not Enter! Do Not Enter! Do Not Enter!
Lately, I’ve mistaken my shoes
for conch shells, only
when I hold them up to my ears
I do not hear swelling
ocean, I hear screaming,
There is nothing left for you here
I can read it all over
fading brick faces
lined up crooked like tombstones.
The soil that once knew life
on this small patch of ground
I thought I could call my own
is now cracked and bloodless,
any familiar faces long since scattered
like anemic autumn leaves.
I am going to leave this place if it kills me.
Ask me what my shoes are screaming now
and they will tell you
Move as far away from your family as humanly possible,
throw your cellphone into the river
that you might have an excuse when you forget to call
leave all of your ironic tee shirts behind
(you won’t need those where you’re going)
Keep going until your friends
are nothing more than old ghosts
haunting all of your stories
(Remember, you are leaving behind a ghost-town,
only none of the inhabitants have died yet)
Keep going until the smell of your house
fades from the lonely pair of jeans
you bothered to pack
Keep going so the horizon swallows you whole,
and you find yourself in a strange land
where the sidewalk has a pulse
where night is not an anvil pressing against your chest
instead, a fisherman’s net loosed over bright millions, shining
Go! Godspeed, you reckless Sailor
In my car I become a satellite.
I treat the solitude of the open sky
as an excuse to see the world,
and the instant I stop to catch my breath
is the instant I drop in a blazing downward spiral
with no safety net to catch me.
Why should I bother inventing my own traditions
when I will only leave them to starve in the homes I bury?
It would be so much easier to adopt them from the cities I orbit.
In the meantime, it’s a long shot to get to Boston,
an endless struggle to get to September,
although it helps to pretend
I’m in the middle of a movie montage,
able to skip right to the good parts
just as soon as the staccato of low string music drops out
So I’ll want to pic
for plenty of cello, light up some cigarettes and drive
head first into a horizon beckoning me with open arms
This must have been how Pioneers felt,
winding up the Oregon Trail
towards nothing more than a smiling promise,
walking until they stumbled into a nameless grave,
not because they wanted to
nobody wants to die hungry
but because their legs never gave them a choice.
They would rather die
with blisters on their feet
instead of behind their smiles.
They would have dust coat their teeth
before they would let it settle over their bones.
I am going to leave this place if it kills me.
Although, on the day that I die, when you ask me
if I want to be buried in Worcester, I will tell you
I thought I already was.
Swansong for the Concert Pianist, like
must’ve finally gone deaf to the melody in these hands like
at what point remembering the story of that boy did you
condemn him to memory like
telling that boy he had a piano player’s fingers, needed
to grow into them like
ten wisdom teeth crowding the same jawbone
never telling him they might
wind up crooked
and so loud like
landmines at the ends of both arms like
no man’s land, no land
for nest-making like
finding that boy curled up
inside a stranger’s handshake, looking
for someone else’s hands like
teach me how to grow old
should’ve taught that boy how to make room
for hands like these,
sing-sorry hands, stagefright hands, these
treat pants-pockets as second skin hands, these
borrowed birds, strangling themselves
given a moment alone hands like
were they piano strings,
they’d be worn chords
chorusing the piano’s broken
Questions to Ask a Mountain
My role models are older than most,
world-wise, slow to respond.
I thread questions into cavernous ears,
begging for secrets to whisper up from their veins.
You silent towers of stone and years! What
is it like to be tall—? to live
with your head in the clouds and still
have enough oxygen to survive—?
Where do you find the strength
to carry the sky on your back
on the nights it threatens
to swallow you whole—?
Can you teach me how to stand up straight—?
or else how to carve my spine
out of something stronger than doubt—?
Can you teach me how to plant my feet
so deep in the Earth I never have to worry
about being knocked over—?
how to swallow my anxieties,
crush them into diamonds,
bury them so deep they’re worth digging for—?
I never learned the subtle art
of stillness; to be most solid when
my body is at rest; to stay in one place
long enough to catch seeds on my tongue
and carve my story out of the treebark.
For once, I want a home to grow on me.
You ancient titans standing guard
over the world like teeth!
Make me into a giant, a force
to reconsider, something to look up to.
Give me so much mass
to withstand hurricane winds
erupting from the throats of those
who would see me eroded,
would see me leveled out, see me even, see me
and never even hear me!
My role models are proof the world
grows by inches. Only now
am I learning my echo,
my echo is a gift falling
from their mouths. I marvel
my voice can be so loud,
that my words are worth repeating.
And I will learn to show the world that I am large,
that you need to crane your neck
to see how high am I willing to reach
and carry them around in my pockets.
If my shoulders are too broad
for you to walk over, I will not crumple,
an obstacle waiting belly up for the bulldozer.
You may howl until there is no wind
left in your lungs, but you can never
break me all the way down, you will never
grind me into something smooth.
My belly is too full of smoke.
And you will behold me
as I block out the sun
when I open
In lieu of collecting rocks or coins or stamps, she collects places and hands them down to me. When I ask her what she can still smell and hear from her childhood in Kansas, she says she can smell the engine of her father’s Plymouth and hear the wind as it traveled over nothing.
How Long She Walked
The house I walked towards was graying and frail. It sat alone in a sea of wheat, collecting wind through the open windows. From a distance it was barely there.
Inside the house sat my grandmother at 19, playing Solitaire at the kitchen table. She wore work clothes covered with dirt but her nails and lips were both a deep crimson, and her red hair was carefully gathered and twisted like a conch shell at the nape of her neck. We greeted one another, and she went down to the cellar for an extra chair, coming back instead with a bag of potatoes, a record player, and two pieces of chocolate wrapped in wax paper.
A year must have passed and then the house shook us out and dissolved in a pool of dust and copper kettles. My grandmother put on her work boots and marched towards the road. I don’t know how long she walked, but I do know that in this place the vastness swallows and the road is straight.
I left with the powder blue bathtub, which is what I had come for.
What Did You Learn When You Spoke to Her?
This small thing—
That she liked to sleep
Sixfold Poetry Winter 2016 by Sixfold / History & Fiction have rating 2.9 out of 5 / Based on32 votes