Poetry by Eileen Hugo, Wanda Morrow Clevenger and Jeremy Nathan Marks

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    My name is Eileen Hugo and I am retired and doing all the things I love. I have been published in various anthologies. I won first prize in the David Osgood Poetry Contest. I also served time as the Poetry Editor for The Houston Literary Review. In April 2015 my book Not Too Far was published.

     

     

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    Available Space Inside

     

    It doesn’t matter what I wrote before

    this page is vacant, it waits

    enduring the seconds it takes

    to create that love song,

    set up the scene of the broken baby bird

    invent that conversation I never heard

    picture an audience so swayed

    they wept

    Softness

     

    Softness is the weapon of choice

    I use it in times of war

    someone is raining hate on me.

    I retaliate    unleash the umbrella

    of soft voice  soft words   soft eyes

    it bothers them, throws them

    out of their game.

    Amusing to see the change.

    Victory is mine.

    Meandering

     

     

     

    Wanda Morrow Clevenger is a Carlinville, IL native.  Over 454 pieces of her work appear or are forthcoming in 159 print and electronic journals and anthologies.  Her flash fiction “Roses and Peppermint Candy” won the 2014 Winter Short Story Contest in The Holiday Café.  Her poem “corsage” won the 2014 Black Diamond Award for Excellence of Craft in The Midnight on the Strollpoetry contest. Her nonfiction “Big Love” was nominated for 2016 Best of Net by Red Fez.  A full-length poetry book is scheduled to release before the end of 2017. 

     

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    hen and chicks

     

    crunchy half way

    to the crowns

    the hen and chicks

    clamoring about

    clay containers

    went thirsty

    that last summer

    when sorrow

    swallowed whole

    her whole world

    her heart

    at last giving out

    in more ways

    than one

     

     

     

     

     

    Jeremy Nathan Marks writes, reads, teaches, researches and talks to folks about things which interest them and which interest him. He has had editorials, essays, poems and photographs published in various places in Canada, the United States and across two ponds. He makes his home as an American exile in London, Ontario, Canada. A town that, while not having a left bank or much intellectual ferment, does offer a wide selection of craft beer.

     

     

     

    Message from Bongo Brown

    ‘Detroit is just like everywhere else, only more so -a lot more so.’ -Jerry Herron

     

    ‘He was the spice.’ -Uriel Jones

    ‘But in the end it wasn’t up to me. The big things never are. Birth, I mean, and death. And love. And what love bequeaths to us before we’re born.’ -Jeffrey Eugenides

    I

    I nearly always believe what I hear if the singer is sincere

    Driving westbound

    past Dearborn on the 94

    I hear Diana Ross shout Stop!

    In the name of love turn about go back and say

    the best is yet to come

    and this is my kind of town

    Since ‘There’s plenty of work and the bosses are paying.’

    II

    Eddie Brown came up from Clarksdale

    drawn like the folks Jacob Lawrence drew

    he went from being Marvin Gaye’s valet

    to making music history

    Sitting in on instinct

    unable to read music

    he made Boston-Edison

    and then the Donovan

    a centre of percussive innovation.

    III

    Here, too, that Mexican

    Rivera

    portrayed as no one had previously

    that American transubstantiation

    must be taken seriously

    And Ford said

    it’s a blessing to welcome a Red

    into the cradle

    of the American fable.

    IV

    Detroit,

    should we take it to be

    a city of men

    or a metropolis of women

    Or if that distinction puts us in a fix

    how about calling it

    a city of the middlesex?

    V

    Woman now heads a plurality of houses

    so shouldn’t she be the one to issue promises

    on behalf of the city Fathers

    to the nomads delinquent in their payments?

    But the best minds haven’t found a formula for an era beyond the auto

    and ingrained civic habits try and pull rabbits from hats that don’t trick

    There were so many patrons to fill the Hudson’s on Woodward

    and the Grand River busses teemed with shoppers

    But even then

    the real estate boards,

    brokers, and city councillors

    the sheriffs and the county executives conversing over their lake perch

    and filet mignon dinners

    said they had to maintain the integrity of their investments,

    that American right to property

    So what if that property now is, in some ways,

    a salad of weeds where coyotes and geese graze and feed

    off the land Ford wanted so badly to turn into concrete?

    Much of it has reverted to that same Michigan mud he used to curse

    and pick from off his feet.

    VI

    The people I meet are more eager for belief

    than they are for relief

    Their hope is as driving

    as the winter rain

    which keeps Lake St. Clair open water

    They make the rent go for groceries

    brave the bus

    lock the window then the door

    then the fire escape

    until there are more

    than five latches

    barring even the landlord

    They can tell you which lights have to be run

    red and green, either one

    But if you think that this is a new phenomenon

    just listen to ‘Bongo’ Brown’

    or Marvin Gaye and his Twelfth Street sound

    they told you what was going on-

     

    I almost cried

    when I thought how they died

    but was revivified

    listening to Bobbye Hall eulogize.

    VII

    As smoke from the Rouge reaches the sky

    a long line of Sheeler’s shadows

    draws the eye towards the tambourine

    its metal mimicking a rhythm local musicians learned to tame

    I go and listen again

    to a recording of a Mardi Gras Indian

    whose brother made his migration

    out from a grove of strange fruit

    to the lights of Muskegon,

    Toledo, Flint, and then Wayne County

    come to the open stoops,

    bling pigs,

    and testimonials

    of Black Bottom and Paradise Valley

    He heard his gospel translated from the feathers

    and taut skin slapping

    of his hand

    the roll of the cymbal

    a shake of the wrist

    and every thumb print left

    by a bent back digit impressed with beeswax

    Historically, ancestrally

    I cannot help but see

    in the Penobscot, the Book,

    the Fisher, and the Lee

    a reminder of the shopkeepers who scrawled ‘Soul Brother’

    on their windows and doors

    calling to mind the paschal lamb, the bitter herb,

    but also every untutored player: field shouters, barrel kickers, harp blowers

    who jigged the streets with sequins and lace.

    Untutored they were

    but not unschooled

    for while the Muse may be rude

    her fruits are hardly crude.

     

     

     

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