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Archive for August, 2014


Tales Of The Unanticipated came out with a new issue after several years on hiatus. I’m glad these poems got to see the light of day.

Ruth Berman gives us a fun poem, “Witches’ Checkout,” concerning all you may buy “At the Witches’ supermarket.” “enchanter’s nightshade, /poisonous mushrooms canned or dried…” the list goes on, as the poem features Berman’s dry, amusing tone. “Variety meats move fast.” And a fun ending.

October Avalonne contributes “Sleeping Beauty In Red Stilettos.” “In our dimly lit prison / we spin for them.” A reasonably creepy poem: “I weave / with bolts of skin, skeins of tresses…flirt with a golden tanned man…” that goes off in an unanticipated direction, as I suppose it should: “But sometimes / when she spins with me, / her long hair sweeps across my arm…”

F.J. Bergmann gives us a fun, complex poem, “Alpha Centauri,” that isn’t quite an abecedarian: “A peels an instrument panel from the wall…Shrieking, B hurls it to the floor.” The letters of the aphabet get mixed up, drift out and back in, and generally contribute to the fun.

The last poem I’ll discuss is Kristine Ong Muslim’s “Resurrection Of A Rag Doll,” another poem shading from sadness towards horror. “My button eyes itch / in their nonexistent sockets….Girls like me live much longer / when we cannot see.” Powerful.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

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In the latest Avocet, Peter C. Leverich, the former editor, gives us a light poem, about a ride in a boat, called “Lift.” “…one sharp tug on the leeward sheet / and the sail breaks loose, / rustling and slappy.” The poems put me back on a sailboat, where I have not been in more than a while. Really, it’s the ending that makes this poem work for me, uplifting, but not sappily so.

Joan Colby’s “Evensong” is an adept poem: “Dark stem floating / Like a long bird into an ambush of cloud. / It is twilight.” Too short for a sonnet but with that sort of movement and sweep, and a strong ending.

David S. Pointer gives us a fun little haiku, starting with “old go cart track” — I like the pairing of this line with the second image very much, and breaking away from the 5-7-5 format seems wise for this poem.

Nick Adams goes deeper with his poem “Birds And Looks” than a simple describing of a natural scene; the narrator is hauled along on a bird watch without necessarily wanting to be there: “She invites me…to watch birds. / I think we should leave them alone.” That amused tone carries well throughout the poem. “We’re after the ones who shun us and / find us troublesome…No matter, it makes her happy.” Worth re-reading.

John L. Wright gives us “The Western Red Cedar,” about the narrator’s relationship to a tree. “I’ve done the talking, / but you…nearly symmetrical, have been the teacher.” Again, there is more going on here, as the narrator evidently has the tree cut down at the end; we are not sure why. And it points out how limited such a relationship really is: “I feel a twinge of emptiness, of angst really…” Not everything in poetry is a huge deal, some losses are small, though real.

Lastly, Joanne Stokkink gives us “July Cinquain,” an almost imagist poem that works very well for me: “with sticks / longer than the / crow locked in its beak / the crow stops…” Again it is the ending that makes this poem, but of course to read it you should send off for the magazine. ;->

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

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