Posts Tagged ‘Iconoclast #118’

I like the positivity with which the poem, “The Cup,” by Marvin Glasser starts. “It’s all right to keep going on. / There’s no guilt attached… Nature after all is playing a strong hand.” It’s like having an old friend on your side, speaking in a commonplace tone with commonsense words. But there’s a quiet edge to this poem that soon sneaks out. “…aware the while of the vial in the drawer.” Is life too much for the narrator? Is the grief too great? The poem does not quite answer that.

Vernon Waring gives us a poem that serves as both paean and elegy to Whitney Houston, “almost home. ” “and now we sing of whitney…nothing can / contain her.” Poems that remind us of beauty, and of what we lost, serve a common purpose, to bring us together. “beading like quicksilver / in constant motion.”

t. kilgore splake can surprise us. Here’s it’s “wilderness surprise,” which starts “black clouds rapidly moving / taste and smell of rain.” A familiar moment to us all, perhaps as we rush for shelter. And then, more appears. “suddenly feeling strange presence / invisible mysterious being.” That moment where we feel we are only a small part of a larger whole, that more is out there. “light raindrops falling.”

Lyn Lifshin is always good for a professional poem. “The Mad Girl Goes Into the Mist” is her contribution to this issue. “and for what reason, disappears / inside dreams of stained glass and shadow.” A poem of shifting identity, and uncertain perceptions. “She / could have gazed at magical / women behind glass.” Who is this person? The narrator? Perhaps not: “…consider, I don’t live / anywhere near those trees…” We are left with the mystery. Fun.

“Deviant, obsessive me — a conversation” is a poem by Pamela Thomas to make us think. “The insides are untrustworthy. / Aren’t they?” The narrator seems uncomfortable, agitated. “I need anarchy / Careful.” Then there is a turn to another, with a shared worry. “the mirror you’ve created / Is it unpleasant still, now?”

Finally, nancy l. dahl gives us a poem of solidarity, one of the main themes mined by this magazine. Her poem is “Let us never forget…” which starts: “where we came from / wherever we go to… that we take a look behind.” Not that we are all in lockstep, but that we care for one another. An uplifting poem.

Peace in poetry,

P M F Johnson

My book of poems, Against The Night, a wry look at a love that builds through a long marriage, is available on Amazon, and at other fine e-retailers.

Related blog posts:

Plainsongs – Summer 2019

The New Yorker – Aug 19, 19

Blue Collar Review – Spring 2019



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