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New Poetry, Fiction, Essay

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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