Slag from a Postcard from a Man Whose Heart Is on Fire for You

Kenneth Anderson, one of our Pushcart Prize nominees for his poem “Bastille Day Sale,” admits that he goes through little editing in his poems.

However, for his poem “Postcard from a Man Whose Heart Is on Fire for You,” he submitted one of his only Pieces of Slag: an old broadside, printed by himself as “The Slipshod Press” and a friend a few years ago for an art/poetry collaborative. The collage artwork was also made by Mr. Anderson.

anderson slag 2.jpg

Below is the edited version, much of which Anderson rejected in final drafts. When I asked him about his editing process, especially for this poem, he had this to share:

“My problem is that I tend to treat poetry like life. Nothing is settled. There is always room for improvement, bold change, or subtle alteration. This I balance with a natural laziness and the desire to preserve, in the language of its arrival, that spark or animus that makes the poem breathe. Also, as I get older, the years of practice and a hard-won trust of my own instincts conspire to create a kind of confidence that I prefer to leave mostly unexamined.”

anderson slag 1

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Postcard From a Man Whose Heart Is On Fire For You

Postcard From a Man Whose Heart Is On Fire For You

by Kenneth Anderson

 

Please write and let me know.

Or better, keep your secrets.

Believe me, time will tell

everything there is to tell about that day

 

under the bleachers. Then reliving it

will be all you’re about. So find someone

to mind the store, and we’ll stitch

our little sighs together deep in the Catskills

 

like so much bellybutton lint.

It serves one best that serves one least

to think on matters such as these.

Still, there is so much left over, so much

 

ensconced in the reminiscences of old fires,

games of whist, and the unexplained knock

you dreamt you heard at your bedroom door.

Go ahead and open it. See for yourself.

 

Before Breakfast

Before Breakfast

prose poem by Jerome Daly

 

It’s Wednesday, but that doesn’t matter. It’s maybe around 5:30, and I’ve already been up an hour. I walk a block down 7th for coffee from the 7-Eleven. There, some people are gathered at the bus stop, and the ill-lit streetlight casts heavy shadows over their quiet bodies. It’s the end of March. I’m jet lagged, but enjoy walking without a coat. In front of my hotel I light a cigarette, and a man with puffy eyes pushing a shopping cart tells me his store is closing—medical marijuana, kept in an old orange prescription bottle. The tents and sleeping bags under the bridge that were empty when I passed by last night are full, the smell of piss more intense. I take a sip of my coffee, think about giving him a couple of bucks, but I’m not in the mood for what he’s selling—so I politely refuse. A car pulls over and a pink haired girl in a black miniskirt gets out of the passenger side and asks if I have change for a hundred. I’m only halfway through my cigarette. Why do these songbirds stay in the city, why do they feel comfortable? A man emerges from the Mexican restaurant with a hose and starts to spray the sidewalks. The sun is starting to rise; in the shift to shadows, palm trees appear, tall and long. The doorman greets me with a smile. They’re serving continental breakfast—through a window I can see a family grabbing croissants and coffee, their youngest girl in pigtails drinking orange juice at a table. She plays with her doll, happy to be by herself.

 


Jerome Daly is an alumnus of UConn, a recent graduate of the MFA Program at the University of New Hampshire and 2017 recipient of the Dick Shea Memorial prize in poetry. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Gamut, Leveler Poetry, The Chaffey Review, and the Long River Review.

Dove and Menthol Pillows

Dove and Menthol Pillows

by Timmy Chong

 

You keep smokes in a soapbox. Past midnight

put a towel under the door and run warm water,

hold our cigarette up to the ceiling fan. Spit

and say the scent still sticks to the walls,

and ma doesn’t know, but she knows, you know?

 

Some nights you thunder like a storm

or stumble like a child.

 

You wonder aloud when the fuck you learned to sin

in stride. Chime it was sophomore year

you traded the Bible in your backpack for

a lighter in your pocket, you didn’t mind

aside from the youth group gossip.

 

Some nights you thunder like a storm.

 

You bristle no, that I don’t get it. That every boy

who’s laid in this bed has claimed common ground.

Flustered now, like there’s a line between us

in the ridges of the linen and the quiet

is crisp as shame.

 

Some nights you stumble like a child.

 

Dizzy off a trio of benzos though I pled, you press

all that is suppressed into shapes with soft edges.

Write wilderness, and wilderness, and love

‘til kingdom come, call it

modern gospel.

 

Some nights you stumble like a child

or rumble like a storm,

 

but in the mornings

you are unstrung out

and you, and

you are making toast,

singing in the slack.

 

The Question

The Question

by Ted McCarthy

 

Always, I see now,

I have been asking the wrong question:

not ‘Where are you?’ but ‘How did you get there?’

Dragged in a river I know to be the same,

whose course has shifted day by day,

I cannot bear to face the sea,

I stay afloat by looking back.

 


Ted Mc Carthy is a poet and translator living in Clones, Ireland. His work has appeared in magazines in Ireland, the UK, Germany, the USA, Canada and Australia. His first collection ‘November Wedding’, won the Brendan Behan Award. He has also published a second, ‘Beverly Downs’ in the Moth ‘Some Poems’ series.

His work can be found on www.tedmccarthyspoetry.weebly.com

June

June

by Austin Veldman

 

the fallibility

of cornerstone

 

dust in the high beams

like a coming storm

 

desire

wanders into our kitchen again

says

you left the oven on

 

for two hours

 

you pulled weeds

gravel in your knees

 

my love for you

a precipice

 


Austin Veldman is a poet, fiction writer, and songwriter. He is currently pursuing an MA in English from Indiana University South Bend. His poetry has featured in Bateau, Dreams & Nightmares, Artifact Nouveau, and others. He currently is an Assistant Editor at 42 Miles Press and the Editor-in-chief at Twyckenham Notes.