Author Archives: Lisa Hase-Jackson

Poetry Workshop Begins in One Week

Beginning Tuesday, May 10:

NEW Wednesday EVENING Poetry Workshop: In this six-week session, which will meet from 6:30 to 8:30PM via Zoom, students will respond to writing prompts, consider elements of craft, and provide feedback to each other’s work. We will be using prompts and readings from The Strategic Poet edited by Diane Lockward.

Dates: Tuesdays May 10, 17, 24, 31, June 7 & 14. Registration: $250

Registration is open. To enroll, provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

As always, feel free to share this information with fellow and aspiring writers and poets.

Looking forward to writing with you in 2022!

 

Evening Poetry Workshop Begins May 10

Beginning Tuesday, May 10:

NEW Wednesday EVENING Poetry Workshop: In this six-week session, which will meet from 6:30 to 8:30PM via Zoom, students will respond to writing prompts, consider elements of craft, and provide feedback to each other’s work. We will be using prompts and readings from The Strategic Poet edited by Diane Lockward.

Dates: Tuesdays May 10, 17, 24, 31, June 7 & 14. Registration: $250

Registration is open. To enroll, provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

As always, feel free to share this information with fellow and aspiring writers and poets.

Looking forward to writing with you in 2022!

 

Flash Fiction Writing Workshop begins Tonight

Beginning Monday, March 28:

Flash and Microprose Workshop: This six-week workshop will celebrate flash fiction, flash nonfiction, prose poetry, and hybrid styles that defy definition. Each meeting, participants will enjoy a writing exercise or prompt and provide one another  feedback on their work. We will also take a look at published stories from journals like Flash Frog and Brevity and glean from them craft tips and inspiration.

The Flash and Microprose workshop will meet on Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 via Zoom.

Meeting dates: Mondays March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, and May 2, 2022. Registration: $250

To enroll provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

Flash Fiction Writing Workshop begins Tomorrow

Beginning Monday, March 28:

Flash and Microprose Workshop: This six-week workshop will celebrate flash fiction, flash nonfiction, prose poetry, and hybrid styles that defy definition. Each meeting, participants will enjoy a writing exercise or prompt and provide one another  feedback on their work. We will also take a look at published stories from journals like Flash Frog and Brevity and glean from them craft tips and inspiration.

The Flash and Microprose workshop will meet on Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 via Zoom.

Meeting dates: Mondays March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, and May 2, 2022. Registration: $250

To enroll provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

Flash Fiction Writing Workshop begins Monday

Beginning Monday, March 28:

Flash and Microprose Workshop: This six-week workshop will celebrate flash fiction, flash nonfiction, prose poetry, and hybrid styles that defy definition. Each meeting, participants will enjoy a writing exercise or prompt and provide one another  feedback on their work. We will also take a look at published stories from journals like Flash Frog and Brevity and glean from them craft tips and inspiration.

The Flash and Microprose workshop will meet on Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 via Zoom.

Meeting dates: Mondays March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, and May 2, 2022. Registration: $250

To enroll provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

Poetry Workshop Begins Next Week

Screen Shot 2022-03-21 at 11.20.07 AMBeginning Wednesday, March 30:

The Wednesday afternoon poetry workshop, which meets weekly from 1:00-3:00 pm via Zoom, continues to thrive. There happens to be a few open seats for the next six-week session and we’d love to welcome practicing poets into the group. We will be working out of The Strategic Poet edited by Diane Lockward.

Dates: Wednesdays March 30, April 6, 13, 20, 27, and May 4. Registration: $225

Registration is open. To enroll, provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

Afternoon Poetry Workshop Begins March 30

Screen Shot 2022-03-21 at 11.20.07 AMBeginning Wednesday, March 30:

The Wednesday afternoon poetry workshop, which meets weekly from 1:00-3:00 pm via Zoom, continues to thrive. There happens to be a few ONE open seat for the next six-week session and we’d love to welcome practicing poets into the group. We will be working out of The Strategic Poet edited by Diane Lockward.

Dates: Wednesdays March 30, April 6, 13, 20, 27, and May 4. Registration: $225

Registration is open. To enroll, provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

 

Short Fiction Workshop Begins Next Week

Beginning Monday, March 28: In this 6-week writing workshop, participants will write flash fiction and short stories in response to writing exercise and prompts. This is a great opportunity to receive encouraging, constructive feedback on your work. We will also take a look at published stories from journals like Flash Frog and Brevity and glean from them craft tips and inspiration. We will meet on Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 via Zoom. Meeting dates: Mondays March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, and May 2, 2022. Registration: $250

To enroll provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

Writing Workshop Begins March 28

Beginning Monday, March 28:

Flash and Microprose Workshop: This six-week workshop will celebrate flash fiction, flash nonfiction, prose poetry, and hybrid styles that defy definition. Each meeting, participants will enjoy a writing exercise or prompt and provide one another  feedback on their work. We will also take a look at published stories from journals like Flash Frog and Brevity and glean from them craft tips and inspiration.

The Flash and Microprose workshop will meet on Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 via Zoom.

Meeting dates: Mondays March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, and May 2, 2022. Registration: $250

To enroll provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

 

Announcing Three New Writing Workshops for Spring

IMG_0104I am excited to offer three new workshops this March/April/May, including evening options, and I invite you all to participate. Use the contact form below if you’d like more information.

Beginning Monday, March 28: Flash and Microprose: This six-week workshop will celebrate flash fiction, flash nonfiction, prose poetry, and hybrid styles that defy definition. Each meeting, participants will enjoy a writing exercise or prompt and provide one another  feedback on their work. We will also take a look at published stories from journals like Flash Frog and Brevity and glean from them craft tips and inspiration. The Flash and Microprose workshop will meet on Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 via Zoom. Meeting dates: Mondays March 28, April 4, 11, 18, 25, and May 2, 2022. Registration: $250

Beginning Wednesday, March 30: The Wednesday afternoon poetry workshop, which meets weekly from 1:00-3:00 pm via Zoom, continues to thrive. There happens to be a few open seats for the next six-week session and we’d love to welcome practicing poets into the group. We will be working out of The Strategic Poet edited by Diane Lockward. Dates: Wednesdays March 30, April 6, 13, 20, 27, and May 4. Registration: $225

Beginning Tuesday May 10: NEW TUESDAY EVENING Poetry Workshop: In this six-week session, which will meet from 6:30 to 8:30PM via Zoom, students will respond to writing prompts, consider elements of craft, and provide feedback to each other’s work. We will be using prompts and readings from The Strategic Poet edited by Diane Lockward. Dates: Tuesdays May 10, 17, 24, 31, June 7 & 14. Registration: $250

Registration for all three of these workshops is open. To enroll provide your name and preferred workshop in the form below. Space is limited, so reserve your seat soon.

As always, feel free to share this information with fellow and aspiring writers and poets — and watch for more workshop and class offerings this summer.

Looking forward to writing with you in 2022!

The Parable of the Mustard Seed, the Chanteuse and Wild Rice by Libby Bernardine

Can we believe the mustard seed growseidt piaf
into a large tree producing seed for the birds
to gather—the ever-present sparrows build
their nest, shake down the seeds then born
by wind—many are fed

The French called Edith Piaf la mone piaf,
the Little Sparrow, child raised in poverty
in a brothel, sang her chansons on a street
corner, and once I saw her at Versailles
in New York—who was this voice

in this little frame belting out
Padam Padam Padam, fist clenched
in pounding rhythm, her voice
from across the sea sending
her song of love, La Vie En Rose

Wild rice across the street gracefully
dies, scatters seeds for any of the marsh folk
to feed as it ages—the sparrow
chit, chit whistling over near three red roses
blooming on a bush, three years dormant

I hear the faint sound of a cricket—
I call it to me, the faith of its song
I send it out among the grains.


Libby Bernardin is the author of Stones Ripe for Sowing (2018, Press 53) and two Chapbooks, one The Book of Myth, chosen by Kwame Dawes. Publications have appeared in The Asheville Poetry Review, Southern Poetry Review, and Kakalak. She has received awards from the Poetry Society of South Carolina, and the North Carolina Poetry Society.

Wind Chimes by Michael Brockley

wind chimesFrom your seat in a leather desk chair, you gaze out the window in your writing room. The wind chimes you bought when you moved into this house have lost the clapper during the past winter, and the black enamel has eroded, leaving the silver tubes exposed to the havoc of blizzards and storms. You have not heard the instrument’s  melodies since your last German shepherd passed. In mid afternoon a finch alights on the aging deck to perch on a post beside the chimes in order to survey the sky for red-tailed hawks and the terrain for cats before flying into a viburnum. After this year’s finch flutters away, you continue to read from Moby Dick and an anthology of movie poems. Films you would call them, if you were a cineast. For weeks, you’ve wondered if the white whale has been retired from the literary canon as you drew near to the end of the book without any of the ambushes you would expect from Jaws or the squid attacks in Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. On your porch the finch skips back into the sunlight, and you notice its feathers shedding February browns in favor of the radiance from an April sunbeam. The bird chirps a song you can hear through closed storm windows. Just such a finch has visited your springs throughout the lives of all the German shepherds you have companioned. Perhaps the absence of the Leviathan in your adventures turns you toward an enigma that might be kindness. Toward a silent conundrum that might even be joy.


Michael Brockley is a retired school psychologist who lives in Muncie, Indiana. His poems have appeared in Fatal Flaw, Woolgathering Review, and Visiting Bob: Poems Inspired by the Life and Work of Bob Dylan. Poems are forthcoming in Flying Island, Last Stanza Poetry Journal, and the Indianapolis Anthology.

Interview with poet Pamela Yenser, author of Close Encounters Down Home

When my good friend, Pam Yenser told me her poetry collection would be published earlier this year, I couldn’t wait to savor it. You see, I have missed working with Pam ever since I moved from Albuquerque to Charleston eight years ago. Missed hearing about her projects, missed reading her latest poem drafts, and equally missed telling her about my own work. Of course I had to interview her for Zingara Poetry Review, which you will find below immediately following a poem expert from her book, Close Encounters Down Home.

Our Lives Were Like Firefly Light

Our lives were like firefly lightclose encounters
Caught in a jar, we lit up the night.

How did our collectors punish us?
Did Mother bruise us with brushes?

Did Father grow closer by inches?
Had he grown too big for his britches?

Was he mad enough to break into
her closet and remove each left shoe?

The lawyers said she had dementia.
Who was crazier was the question!

Leave, my darlings, that long-ago life
where Father knocked with a kitchen knife

at your side door. Shake off that old shoe-
stealing monster. I never left you

alone to remember. Now you’re free
of Mary and the Frankenstein she

married. Look! I have razor blades sewn
into the hem of every poem.

from Close Encounters Down Home, Finishing Line Press, February 2021

Pam YenserTell us a little about the genesis of your book, including your writing process.

I love your reference to the “genesis” of my book! It’s an apt metaphor for CLOSE ENCOUNTERS Down Home. Although there was no single moment when I decided to write about my father’s fixation with the Roswell, New Mexico, flying saucer incident or how it affected me, I can tell you that it showed up among many poems with vivid and often distressing moments from childhood—some with recurring images and motifs I had not yet connected to the rest of my poetry collection. One day, I envisioned that story stretching from childhood and coming of age into a well-organized adult poem of perception. Once I focused on paring down to a thirty-page narrative, one memory begat another, telling the poet-speaker’s “true” story as honestly and openly as possible.

The poetry writing process is an intricate exercise, isn’t it? There are the poems (part memory and part memoir) and then there is the plot (part chronology and part time travel). For the memoir aspect of my poems and creative nonfiction, I dig through biographical memorabilia: family photos, letters, hospital records, email reports, calendars, event notes, cute kid memorabilia, pre-Covid travel guides, and whatever is in the eight storage boxes bearing down on my bedroom wall. For allusions to historic events like the Roswell saucer crash, I collect contemporaneous accounts in books and magazines. It’s hard to keep up. My book was published two months before The New Yorker broke several stories in its May 2021 issue, revealing the highly anticipated opening of top-secret military reports on extra-terrestrial sightings—including the Roswell saucer incident.

The poet-speaker’s story begins in Roswell, where flying saucer mania attracts her father, who straps her in and flies her down through the clouds and over the wreckage. “Cloud angels!” she remembers. “It looks like a broken kite!” The “red rocks and glitter” I wrote about years ago showed up in a photo released recently by the U.S. Army. Worried my book of poems would get lost among the hundreds of books titled “Close Encounters of the First Kind,” or the Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth kind, for that matter, I added “Down Home” as a subtitle. There are several homes of memory in the book, and all include a fox of a father, a religion-possessed mother, a brother L.A. doctors called your little retarded brother,” two younger sisters, and their little brother.

While grouping poems that emphasize time and space travel, I formatted “Memory’s Gate” and “Snow Angel” to travel typographically forwards and backwards on the page, like a windshear, creating a cyclone of words on the page. “The End of TV,” in the shape of a tornado a few pages before, confirms the news, “It’s coming.” Most of the poems are separate memories, but the book’s final poem “Damn, il pleut is a summation in rhymed couplets. It is also an illustration of the time and place displacements the speaker in the poem experiences. I was sitting in a recliner, a legal pad in my lap, when I had the notion to recount the father-daughter relationship from beginning to end. That poem submitted the next day—on the final day to enter—won the annual Ithaca Lit poetry contest. Thank you, judges…and Ms. poetry muse.

Now, about the mechanics of the writing process, or should I say, the consequences of the writing process? The machinery of publishing…the publishing part.

Like most everyone these days, I use Submittable to access challenges, and contest deadlines. It is nothing like the old days, when I mailed off a manila envelope containing a few poems and a stamped return envelope. I used to dread return of my poems—not only because of the usual rejection slip, but also because the pages themselves might be handled by many, mis-folded, or missing—which meant those printouts couldn’t be recycled for the next submission…but then, return envelopes might also contain encouraging notes. I remember an acceptance I received from esteemed Shenandoah Editor R.T. Smith, who wrote to me in a formal letter of acceptance that he had “at last received a sestina that worked.”

 How did your book come to be published?

How, indeed! I was mentored into the process of publishing. I remember one night meeting the brilliant poet Hilda Raz, former Editor at Prairie Schooner, that widely respected journal at the University of Nebraska. Hilda had moved to Albuquerque about the time I did, when she became Editor at the University of New Mexico Press. I had long ago submitted poems to her, but we didn’t know each other. Fortunately, we all met through a college friend of poet and critic Stephen Yenser. She had read that my husband, Jon Kelly Yenser, and I were giving a reading, and she invited Hilda. Kelly had recently published chapbooks through Kattywompus Press—a wonderful experience, and that reading led to Hilda’s acceptance of Kelly’s collected poems at the University of New Mexico Press…and a mighty motivation for me.

When Hilda Raz, a wonderful listener and ever an advocate for poets, realized how often I read my broadly published poems, she looked at Kelly and said to me, “Why don’t you have a book of poems? Every poet I know has one.” My excuses were inadequate: grading papers, managing home and garden, balancing a career and two kids. I had submitted my book-length manuscript only a handful of times. Hilda’s question was to the point, and soon enough she had me focused on submitting poems and collecting prizes: the first Bosque Poetry Prize for a quartet of poems on James Merrill, the Ithaca Lit Prize for the concluding seven-part poem of the chapbook “Damn, Il Pleut,” and a plaque I treasure from Leslie McGrath, judge at the W.B. Yeats Society of New York, in recognition of my epistolary verse “Dear Mary Shelley, Regarding Monsters.” At that point, Hilda gifted me a workshop and suggested I sign up for the annual Colrain Intensive Poetry Manuscript Conference. With additional encouragement from Four Way Books Founding Editor Martha Rhodes and also from Translator/Editor Ellen Watson, who had helped select some of my poems previously for the Massachusetts Review, I buckled down to CLOSE ENCOUNTERS, finishing it in March of 2020 and submitting the manuscript immediately to a Finishing Line Press chapbook contest. I didn’t “win,” and yet I did: I was a finalist, and Editor Leah Maines invited me to publish at her press. By that time, twelve of twenty-two poems in my manuscript were published in serious journals. I am delighted with the book. Finishing Line Press is a first-class operation which not only makes handsome books but has a well-developed marketing plan and distribution network—necessary elements for a successful publication.

Can you discuss how you determine when to use formal elements in your poetry?

I have never shied away from traditional or experimental forms; in fact, I tend to rhyme like hell when writing poems of witness. I was a formalist from kindergarten, thanks to a book of nursery rhymes my Grandmother sent. I stapled books of my rhyming poems for my teachers throughout grade and middle school; however, I didn’t know any other way to write until my Wichita High School teacher Lee Streiff, a beat poet who wrote flying saucer fiction, sent me to the library during class to read books by the imagists and early Beats. At Wichita State University, I fell in love with Theodore Roethke’s “My Papa’s Waltz,” and bought Lewis Turco’s Book of Forms for practice. I learned formalism at WSU by example: John Keats, Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and James Merrill—poets whose rhyme and line breaks are meticulous and witty, and I was drawn to Sylvia Plath’s syllabic lines. I began to use syllabics in poems of mine that otherwise don’t appear to be formal; but it is the energy of rhyming couplets that drives my final chapbook poem to its logical conclusion.

What are some overarching themes or motifs in your collection and how do you explore them?

As I gathered my “memory poems” into a book, I used a flying motif in conjunction with time travel and family history. I meant to make a narrative out of memoir and motif, starting with the Roswell crash. But memory knows no chronology: sequence and consequence are distorted. Poems likewise move back and forth between the actual and the imagined—as does our understanding of interplanetary space travel! While arranging the order of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS poems, I seized the chance to emphasize time and space travel by placing poems that travel typographically forwards and backwards on the page midway in the book. In “Memory’s Gate,” the adult poet-speaker is pulling rotten fenceposts at her home in Idaho, when she remembers a neighbor and her father discussing flying saucers over a picket fence while her father casually reaches up her skirt as she walks along the top rail. In “Snow Angels,” I forward my truth, then reverse the direction of 9-9-9-3-foot syllabic lines to speak of the past. Here is a small excerpt illustrating the turn:

It is our father who harries us

along that old game of Fox and Geese,

our spokes creating an enormous

sign of peace

until we are chased until all fall down

to make hourglass waves of skinny arms

and spraddled legs becoming frigid

snow angels…

…then and there in a dormitory

meant for students in a Midwest mining town

where the military marriage

of a nurse

and her captain came undone and I

vanished inside—becoming nothing

more than desire in her lover’s eyes

for a girl.

I should note how beautifully the overarching metaphor of flight is depicted in the painting on the cover of the book: blue skies, the exposed woman turning her back on a column of naked children, all those figures focused on the challenge and perils of flight…or escape. The artist who painted that triptych is a lifelong friend and former colleague who is familiar with my story—one that has versions in other lives; and so, in the opening, I invite my readers to come onboard through a literary device—the apostrophe:

You’re in that saucer

spinning out over Roswell

on edge like a dime….

Sylvia Plath seems like an important figure for you. Can you talk more about that?

Ah, yes, but of course. Sylvia Plath reminded me of my own situation, right down to the moment I felt so trapped in my parents’ little brick house that I thought “If the wolf isn’t caught I will walk down to the nearby creek and drown myself. Mercifully, I could not figure out how to do that in water so shallow. Like Plath, I eventually told my father, in so many words, “we’re through.” I was a college student when I read Plath and started writing “Confessional” poems. I read Robert Lowell’s Life Studies. His students included Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. That was the heart of the movement. Though we both had “Daddy” poems, Plath’s efforts at suicide were unfortunately more focused than mine. For others who suffer closed doors and intimate inuendo, it takes time to react—it’s difficult to process what has just happened.

“Zipper Trip,” my first confessional poem, was under consideration for a prize at Massachusetts Review when I withdrew it from the competition to protect my family from publicity that would have attracted and enraged my father. That poem, taught later in Women’s Studies classes and listed in literary indexes, drew responses from male as well as female readers who found themselves in a similar situation. I was driven from that point to read the many isolated, multilingual, and multi-gendered poets who speak out against repression. I sometimes try on their exact form and write my way within the shape of their argument—now called a “hermit crab” device. An example of a hermit crab poem in my chapbook is the opening “Like Emily, They Shut me up in Prose,” a 12-line Rondeau Prime form I closely follow. I even make myself at home in Dickinson’s title, which comes from the first line of her poem (the work of her editor, because she simply numbered poems and didn’t use titles.) Like a naked crab on the beach, I crawled inside her poem, making myself safe at home. Within her protective shell, am I the poet, poet-speaker, or a vulnerable creature hiding on a hot beach? I begin this book like a hermit crab, at home wherever I am safe from predation.

What projects are you working on now?

I’m completing a full-length manuscript with the working title of “Transported Here.” I am obviously not done with time and space travel—nor with shaped and formal poems. My Roswell experience begins that collection, including a section on the family that, as a reviewer put it, “does not travel well together” as they drive across the country on iconic Route 66. Continuing my interest in the unstable dynamics of memoir and memory, my collected poems recall campus protests of the 1970’s, during the run-up to Vietnam War and its interruption to our studies and our lives. I also write about love as passion and escape…into nature, human nature, and the historic role of the cicadas’ devastating “Insect Sex” on the Kansas landscape, necessitating that we find relief (re-leaf?) by being transported through travel—across state borders and abroad. The book ends with poems about the summer 1971 in Greece with James Merrill, our dear mentor and Yenser family guide. In this final chapbook-sized section of my collection, I attempt to capture all that is Merrillian in Greece: the art and food, politics, history, armed Colonels marching into a play in the amphitheater at Epidavros, the bucolic Peloponnese, the bluest seas, and whitewashed island towns, marble walls embraced with bougainvillea, and investigations of the ruins—both personal and planetary.

Now, a question that everyone wants to know the answer to: How has writing been during this time of the pandemic, social political upheaval, and activism?

Covid more or less shut down our writing routines until we got the green light, or rather the “turquoise” light here in New Mexico. We haven’t been able to join our writing tribe at the coffee shop, on campus, or in each other’s homes. Like so many others, Kelly and I had medical concerns and were directed to isolate at home, where we found ourselves excessively cooking, housekeeping, composting, gardening, dog walking, and Skyping for hours with family and friends. We were depressed by the politics of the first Covid year—not only horrified by the Corona virus and its blood-red spikes, but also disgusted with our nation’s bloody politics—so many shootings, so many lies, so much gratuitous violence. Aside from donating, I felt helpless to help. Sometimes, the best I could do was to shower and change pajama/sweats once a week to become presentable for a conversation or poetry reading on Zoom, but I also became aware and grateful for a safe house, companionship, and online transportation. We were obliged to sit for hours in our car, waiting for groceries, but wait we did, then wipe the stuff down, and cut out the rotten parts. That is the lesson we’re learning, isn’t it: to appreciate the leavings of our lives?

Retired after working at ten colleges and universities, I have more time to write. I now manage a family business—NM Book Editors, where I teach as a developmental editor. I find it satisfying to see a client’s annual award-winning books of memoir reach the reading public, and I am educated by the subject areas I’m obliged to study. I recently discovered the Netflix series Rotten, which contains a segment featuring a New Mexico client: a lawyer trying to save American farming from international dumping of cheap products. I watch the British baking show to broaden my survival skills. I’ve learned to make biscotti and lost 20 pounds by giving it away to friends and neighbors. I’ve slept for 20 years and awakened to the silver in my hair. I have religiously washed my hands until my skin has become thin, transparent, loose, and smooth as silk. I’m writing my first Pandemic short story. The anti-hero is a politician who runs from room to room, trying to escape until Truth catches up with him, and he catches Covid.

It came to me then in a dream, as I ran from room to room in Freud’s castle, that I too must have made a mistake: I turned a corner and fell to the bottom of a dry cement cistern. I stood up, spun around, looking upwards for toeholds, where there were none, and said, “Does this mean I’m dead?” But here I am, and all my family vaccinated and free as birds! In the tiny territory of our Albuquerque backyard, grown children are transported by car or plane from Wichita and LA, my hometowns. Meeting on our patio under climbing yellow roses, bees, and butterflies, we recite the names of this yard’s honorary survivors: Dove, Hawk, Magpie, Meadowlark, and Sparrow.

Close Encounters Down Home is available for purchase at Finishing Line Press


PAMELA YENSER (BA, MA, MFA) was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and grew up in Wichita, Kansas, and has been teaching at colleges and universities since she was a sophomore at WSU. She does improv and gives readings. Her poems are available online at Connotation Press and Notable Kansas Poets; in print at Poetry Northwest, Midwest Quarterly, Shenandoah, Massachusetts Review, others; and in many anthologies. She and her husband, the poet Jon Kelly Yenser (UNM Press), work at NM Book Editors, LLC, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ambidextrous by Denise Low

Ambidextrous
 

Let me kiss you with my left lip and my right
            open my right labium and the left.
 
Let my left eye solve quadratic equations
            and my right eye parse Picasso.
 
Let me sign the check upside down with my right hand
            rightside up with my left.
 
Let me read traffic signs blindfolded.
            No, just kidding. Let me brake left-footed or right.
 
Let me track two rabbits to the compost pile
            Let me aim left-eyed and shoot right-handed.
 
Let me watch sunrise and offer tobacco smoke.
            Let me offer tobacco smoke at moonrise.

9780990804758Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-09, won a Red Mountain Press Award for Shadow Light. Other books include Jackalope and a memoir, The Turtle’s Beating Heart (Univ. of Nebraska). At Haskell Indian Nations Univ. she founded the creative writing program. She teaches for Baker Univ. and lives on Tsuno Mountain. www.deniselow.net

After the Broken Hip is Repaired by Michael H. Brownstein

AFTER THE BROKEN HIP IS REPAIRED


In the great lakes of injured bone,
a spinal tap     temperature     a reading of the pulse.
When he arrives from the water’s bottom to the light
Recovery     no pain     a stomach of animosity.
Laying in his bed, they welcome him back
warm water     salad     something soft to chew on.
He sighs. Pain tears away from its cocoon 
blood work     pulse rate     temperature     blood pressure.
He refuses pain pills, calms himself, lets the wind outside in, 
and when he falls asleep     a current of coolness, 
grass carp darting to the side     pain sinking into mud.

31hT728aoUL._SY291_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_FMwebp_Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volumes of poetry, A Slipknot to Somewhere Else (2018) and How Do We Create Love? (2019), were recently released (Cholla Needles Press). He has a Sunday poetry column in Moristotle.