Yes, Poetry

Apr 10

April Poet of the Month: Tiffany Chaney

Tiffany Chaney is an artist and writer residing in North Carolina. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from Salem College in 2009. Her works in poetry and fiction have appeared in Ophelia Street, Pedestal Magazine, Virginia Quarterly Review (InstaPoetry) and Thrush Poetry Journal, among others. Her poetry collection Between Blue and Grey won the 2013 Mother Vine Festival Award for Best in Poetry. Discover more about her at tiffanychaney.com

Sabbat for My Sisters


(I)

The bone fire with its crimson lips
broke a kiss upon my forehead;
a branch with a twisted tie
stroked my neck so that I knew
it wouldn’t
break.

The skin peeled away
the desire to breathe but just
die, unafraid to burn
so bones become like wood
not burning to a crisp,
but shining, polished in flame.

The women dance around my
exquisite corpse
drinking the merlot on a Sunday
picking bones out of their teeth
and singeing their hair by the fire.

Ring around the rosy,
a pocket full of posies
they sing, and then they
all fall down.

And the branch with its twisted
tie strokes away all flaming lies
glimmering in the embers.


(II)

The sabbat of Shakespearian sisters
passes between lines
of Woolf, Plath, and Belieu.
The bone fire livid and alive
as caskets are laid bare
language written not upon rotten limbs
but pure shining bone
our unconscious collective
and no mere satellite.

Dearest sisters,
Woolf, Olsen, Dickinson, Mirabel, Marvin, Plath, Belieu…
a chant to rival
Isis, Astarte, Diana, Hecate, Demeter, Kali, Inanna…

Sacred, so buried
Sin, so burned
Scribe, to each sister a room
be it the casket, the closet,
or the self, at last,
solitary and rendered whole.
Sing, my sisters,
and dance.


(III)


Something is beginning in my bones.
Somewhere in the hollow
where the marrow—still a pool,
lies protected and confined
my writer’s fool.

Dangling by his toes, he
knocks knocks knocks.
The fool is in my marrow, and
I must knock back twice.
The sound is dull inside, but
something is beginning there.

The laughter grows until
it is my own, and my writer’s
fool has become a madwoman.

Take me to the nunnery!
Take me to the mental ward,
but I will not serve convention
a day longer in Truth’s despair!
The fool is in my marrow
where we buried Shakespeare’s
sister with the remnants of her spurned
scrolls, we women privy to not even each other’s
word, mouth once so sewn
and singed open to begin
a new year this night.

Gather sisters and sing
words, dance your dance
around the bone fire.
For we dig not our graves,
but a collective womb
inside our Mother.

Mar 17

Spring 2014

Dearest Readers,

Why do we write? Who are we writing for? These are the two most significant questions poets can ask of each other; for me, I’ve found the answer to be simple—I write for myself, for others like me. When I read a poem, I’m hoping to find that vulnerable side of someone else in order to feel less lonely, to connect my nerve endings with another’s. 

Let’s connect our nerves & hearts to verses featured in this issue, by Stella, Jason, & Melissa. 

Best wishes,
Joanna C. Valente
Founding Editor

________________________________________________________

In this issue:


Stella Padnos-Shea

"Do we need separate sinks. So our germs don’t mingle. / We enter or close each other, doors with a trick lock. / Which side am I on." 

Jason Gordon

The cervix melts like butter, / the baby oozes out.”

Melissa Walker

That tree would be a bush at home, that wood would be a heater. / Listen to the messages from your mother.”




Mar 06

March Poet of the Month: Joslyn Sklar

image

Joslyn Sklar is a Baltimore native currently living in Los Angeles, where she recently earned an MFA in Creative Writing from CalArts. Her work has appeared in Artifice and > kill author and is forthcoming in Black Clock. Joslyn spends most of her time watching television with her cat.

spaghetti nebula (or no, i don’t believe that’s how it happened)

sometimes i worry about gravity. i told you, “sometimes it’s just a theory keeping your feet flat on the ground.”

the stars were something explosive when you found me fists clenched hovering tiptoed on the roof of the shed. i asked you how it could be both singular and infinite and you cooed at me, “you’re no scientist, love.”

but sometimes i am more than astrophysics. i squeezed the air between my palms and fingers until it collapsed into a black hole, sucking matter into a spacetime i couldn’t possibly understand. i shouted, “don’t come near my horizon or i’ll pull you to pieces, top-bottom compressed and side-to-side torn in half and then half again.”

you whispered not to make up stories or universes, but i said, “anything is possible if it happens.”


no, i don’t believe that’s how it happened

the clouds were something that day we kept them underneath the porch. there were rocking chairs and everything, until the cat crawled in and lost himself. we tried to pull him out, but all we got was rain and nothing furrier than a little thunder-lightning shaking the charcoal grill. i told you maybe we should wait for him, but you said “he’s probably vapor now or something condensing on the windows.”


no, i don’t believe that’s how it happened

the moon was furious that day we caught her in our fishing line. no trout were kicking and everything stopped tiding in and out. she fought us like she was more than just a satellite, more than something hanging in the sky with half her face darkened. you told me to let her go, but i was silent.


no, i don’t believe that’s how it happened

you said, “you’ve always got birds behind your eyes, love”

i was keeping all of the crows in the shed then. we sat on the lawn and watched it tremble like the fault lines shaking feather-quakes and wondered if they ought to be set free.

i asked you what you were afraid of and you said, “i’m not scared, but everything frightens me.”


no, i don’t believe that’s how it happened

the sky was full of ravens every time we camped out in the backyard. we thought the sun fell under the horizon and maybe it had. i asked you, “are those eyes or button-stars?” and you cawed something sounding like a “maybe both, maybe both.”


no, i don’t believe that’s how it happened

you said, “you’re getting foggy like a ghost, love.”

i was hiding under the kitchen table that day the sinkhole swallowed the house. you yelled down to me, “grab my hand and i’ll pull you out,” but i said leave me, there’s nothing left.

________________________________________________________

Listen to Joslyn read her poems: