Tag Archives: Ploughshares

“The Last Massacre in My Lonely Notebook” by David Spicer

Solitude isn’t a gate that opens.
 –Norman Dubie

I volunteered for the nightshift,
so don’t surprise me, Emma,
with your tribe of goats.
I can’t sleep, and if I could,
I’d dream of standing
on a snow-topped mountain
to view the valley below.
Emma, I need solitude,
not couriers from Eros
or a copper cup
filled with black coffee.
I’d rather watch reruns
of Alfalfa and his gang
chasing geese or wait
for angels to hold umbrellas
for me—I doubt if I’d
leave with them: my soul
has too many scars,
and gunshots on the beach
don’t help. God, I miss
the lack of terror now.
Windmills circle in my ears,
and I need to call a shrink,
but my throat is a cipher.
No, I want my black bones
to heal, ice to drop from the sky
like frozen tears, and a vase filled
with scarlet pimpernel adorning
the window sill. Then I could
savor a slice of pumpkin pie
before I write of the last Indian
massacre in my lonely notebook.

David Spicer has had poems in Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Third Wednesday, Reed Magazine,  PloughsharesThe American Poetry Review, and elsewhere. The author of Everybody Has a Story and four chapbooks, he is scheduled to have From the Limbs of a Pear Tree (Flutter Press) released in the Fall of 2017.

Bottle by Barbara Perez

Sculpture by Roxy Pain

Selected from the most recent issue (November 2011) of Ploughshares, my second poetry pick from this literary magazine reveals that I make the most of my literary subscriptions while grieving the ever-increasing disappearance of print publications.

“Bottle” is perhaps an apt commentary on the prevalence of environmental destruction amid the lack of spiritual belief systems. For many years, there has existed a dichotomy between mother earth and father god – now we have neither. Or rather, we have the additional choice of capitalism…but, “maybe not.” I leave you to research the author of the epigraph.

Here is this weeks pick:

Bottle

“If god is everywhere then he is also in this bottle.”
~Ben Vautier

How unlucky that god would lie low for so long
in a fluxus gallery in St. Louis. Maybe not.

Maybe we’ve overlooked holy rubbish everywhere,
sacred cans and cartons in trash cans worldwide

all being pecked at and treasured by animals
who know better. Once, I did take a particular

liking to a pair of salt and pepper shakers
shaped like birds. Maybe god was also there.

Maybe not. In the news, relief workers
from the spill are bottling and selling the oil

as souvenir, as art. Vautier would be proud.
But I don’t think god is in these. Maybe not.

According to the contributors of Ploughshares, Vol. 37, Nos. 2 & 3, Barbara Perez earned her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her work has been published in various journals, including Bateau Press, American Letters & Commentary, and Consequence. She teaches at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio, Texas.

A quick Google search reveals that Perez is also involved in a new independent press publication titled “Abject Press”. Follow the link to discover more about Perez and her many projects.

His Brazen Hair by Rita Ann Higgins

This week’s poem by Rita Ann Higgins can be found in the spring 2011 issue of Ploughshares. According to the Contributor’s Notes in the back of the spring issue, Higgins has nine publications to her name. A tenth book is forthcoming in 2011 and will be published by Bloodaxe Books. Higgins, a resident of Ireland, is described as “a literary outsider” and has a gutsy, dramatic voice. In an interview with the Sunday Independent dated March 16, 1997, Higgins acknowledges her discomfort with attention stating that she feels “nervous about being misrepresented, misquoted or made bigger than [I am]…media attention doesn’t contribute to [my] writing, and it’s certainly not applicable to my life.”  Read the aforementioned interview and learn much more about Rita Ann Higgins by visiting her website at RitaAnnHiggins.com

Now for this week’s poetry pick:

His Brazen Hair

A Brian Bourke Nude

I was looking at the Brian Bourke exhibition
in the Fairgreen Gallery.
Outside, a man lay collapsed on the ground.
It was freaking people out
they kept coming in telling the person
at the desk about the man on the ground.

 After a while the guards came,
they were wearing blue gloves.
They knew the body on the ground.
They poked him with the blue gloves.
Get up Gerry, get up outta that.

Don’t you know
there’s an exhibition on in there Gerry
and you are making a right exhibition
outta yourself out here.

Gerry didn’t you know the Arts festival was on
he didn’t know about Brian Bourke’s nudes.
Otherwise he might have washed his face
patted down his brazen hair
pulled himself together.

Ploughshares is a publication of Emerson College and is available by subscription here: Pshares Susbsriptions