Posts Tagged ‘Convergence Online Journal’

The first poem in this issue of  Convergence, Viola Weinberg’s poem, “Yes, This Day,” is a fresh and honest look at the difficulty of moving around after some health issues. “Once was, you walked across / Countries, down steep steps // In secret cities…” Maybe it’s the vistas presented by this opening, or maybe it’s due to a time when I had such limitations myself, but I really identified with and enjoyed this poem. Or maybe it’s just that there are many delightful lines: ” let your rods and screws / Ring like bells and bang like hammers / On fragile jigging skeletons…”

Holly Day gives us a post-apocalyptic poem, “In Patience.” “the birds circle the tallest skyscrapers as if knowing / each tiny room is filled with dying or dead meat.” Very creepy. The images are satisfyingly disturbing. “wild dogs and feral cats / pace… back and forth / as if they think the electric sensors will…
give in, let them in… one final flicker of electricity… to open the doors.” Don’t know that I like considering myself as just part of a potential meat market. Great fun.

A.J. Huffman considers confetti in “Confetti Palace.” “Seven billion pieces of folded foil fall inside /
walls made of glass.” A meditation on how confetti enhances a celebration. And how quickly both celebration and confetti go. Quick but good.

I also liked “Why We Gave Our Tree A Name,” by Michael Brownstein, the story of the slow death of a beloved tree. “We knew the old black walnut was ready to walk away from its earth.” Trees can often take years to die, and the author notes that here. But the end, after a weakening, can still happen via outside agency: “Then: a sharp slap to the air, the ground vibrated, and we watched it lift itself up, /
Throw dirt and roots to the side of our hill, hollow out a cave of bark and wood” Beautiful language.

Finally, let me mention “Fog Trunks,” by Diane Webster, just because it’s fun. “In the fog / tree trunks pretend / they’re elephant legs…” a short poem, a quick conceit. It raised a smile for me.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

My eBook of poems, Against The Night, a sweet, rueful look at love in a long marriage, is available on Amazon, and at other fine e-retailers.

Related blog posts:

The New Yorker – March 19 2018

Rattle 59 – Spring 2018

Blue Collar Review – Fall 2017




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I very much enjoyed the poem, “Intervention,” by Holly Day, in the Fall issue of Convergence. “I dream / of running away and joining / a cult,” it starts, and this half-yearning, half tongue-in-cheek attitude persists. It’s a delicate balance, but that ambiguity makes the poem human somehow, gives us the shock of recognition: yes, if it were only that easy. “I can lose myself completely in / fake religion…kissing snakes…found on the stoop of kind / missionaries.” There is something almost wistful here (though a bit subversive as well, as you can tell by that last line), and definitely worth revisiting.

Since this is an online journal, I can include a link to the relevant page.

The next poem, “Mama Doesn’t Go To Church Anymore,” by Erren Geraud Kelly, continues that sense of alienation, of things not being as they should be. “Fascism covers the world like an eclipse…” the poet states, and we worry that it’s true. This is a villanelle, and the form, continually bending back upon itself, gives us a trapped feeling, a sense that we cannot get away. “The economy, like a concerto, rises and dips / People are looking for a rainbow at the end of the road…” A deft use of language here, in this crafty poem.

We get a frisson of recognition in “Hotel Room,” by Erica Goss: “The bed is always center, / and it’s never dark enough. / Dry cold whispers / from the air conditioner.” To have spent a night in any hotel room is to connect with this poem. And in beautiful language, the poet explores those resonances, even giving dispensation for our universal failings: “Go ahead / and take… the soap, / the little bottle of lotion. / They are charms against / anonymity.”

In “The Stair-Counting Poem,” by Arthur Russell, he examines a gap in reality, trying to make sense of it. “The number of stairs between the first floor and the landing has changed. It was ten, / now it’s nine.” The narrator searches for confirmation of his memory, finds it in a photograph. “There’s a photo with your / daughter and three girlfriends sitting on the stairs.” But to know a truth, is not necessarily to understand it. “You will go into the living room and count again. Nine. You count the stairs in the photo. / Ten.” It’s just a fact, indigestible. A great trick, to reveal without trying to explain. It gives the poem power.

And finally, “Tarantella,” by Viola Weinberg, is a fun poem, in a creepy kind of way. It probably helps to know that tarantella is a dance, named after the movements of a tarantula. But you knew that. ;-> “A black velveteen river of tarantulas / coming down El Valle Grande…cracking on our tires like eggs…Flying up the vents and smacking / the little metal doors, dear God…” Makes me smile just to go back over this poem. I know I’m glad I wasn’t on that little drive, where the riders get ever-more freaked out by the flood of spiders, destroying them, fleeing them, not understanding, just wanting to survive, to have the horrible dance end. A marvelous poem.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

My eBook of poems, Against The Night, a sweet, rueful look at love in a long marriage, is available on Amazon, and at other fine e-retailers.

Related blog posts:

Apple Valley Review – Fall 2017

Rattle Magazine – Fall 17

Blue Collar Review – Spring 17


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