June & July 2019

Tiffany Thomas


In Inuit legend, there is a girl who dreams only geese,
but I would rather have the latenight whistles of the loons
The so-rooted loen lame lomr lamenters

Whose high, hiccupping calls sound like questions,
like they are trying to answer their own echoes
or communicate with the wolves

Those bloody-eyed, white-choked lummoxes
who stagger and flinch and fall and still, again,
build their nests on unsteady land only this time a few feet away

                                I have been named by the early watchers not for luminosity but for weakness
                                                   I have found my heart’s egg cracked open and bloody in a rushed bed
                                                                  I too have had to pick up my house and try to outrun the water

Author’s Statement
“Moonstruck” is a reflective descent into the subconscious, inspired in part by the tarot card “The Moon.” It is a process of delving – through language, legend and nature – for the source ofthe initial wound that breeds all others. To be moonstruck is to be part of an archetypal, female identity; it is to be part of an adaptive madness that we recognize first externally and then echoing in our own animal selves.

From the Poetry Editors
Tiffany Thomas’ “Moonstruck” enters a world of self discovery through the moon tarot card. This card can symbolize the relationship between subconscious and the animal instinct. In this poem, Thomas compares humanity to the loon. Her delicious language pinpoints a common error in our society: As humans, we tend to repeat our mistakes and must come to terms with the consequences. The lyrical stanzas also leave us with the idea that we are vulnerable and desire to be repaired, and our resilience drives us to continuously seek out new homes as does the loon.

Grace Clement

American Spirit

Romanticize rot with me, baby—let’s catalyze cancer—
just some pre-dinner poetry, that’s what I call it, keep it classic
like the movies. I say “classic”— you think I mean that hot old
1930s shit, kissin’ in the back in black and white. But baby I mean
lighters – I mean 1956 – red, yellow, black checkers – click-floof and
“got a light” and “can I bum one of those.” I mean we turn it into
perfume, our own special mix: midnight and sex on our breath, sewn
into our sleeves, tucked behind my ear when you laugh, when my arm’s
at your waist. I mean we dress real nice – cocktail party, like we’re rich. You’ll
light up, exhale; they’ll say “ain’t she divine, ain’t she glamor” and I’ll say “yessir,
yes ma’am she is.”

I mean we know how to dance, so we’ll go downtown – get drunk off strangers,
underaged angels. I’ll wear my tie loose like a medal, wear my sunglasses in; you’ll
leave a kiss on my cheek, puckered powder, princess rose. Pinky promise me, baby,
that later my walls’ll turn gray and blurred while we listen to records, fall desperate
in love, touch a future with a flame. Addicted to you, how you look like my heart –
you’re a sight to behold, to be held in my fingers, cradled – not paper, but thin, and
soft, blue eyes bright and veiled. You know I’d take you around, wear a leather jacket
for you, stick a comb in the back of my jeans. I’d be the guy who takes a puff just to
put it out, just to set the scene – just to ask you to want me. Let your mama know,
when I drop you back home – let her know it’s my smoke you’ve been wearing so nice.

Author’s Statement
I wrote this poem after my boyfriend and I realized that, although we have different concepts of the word “classic,” both of our images include smoking. The piece was meant to be an ode to something unworthy of an ode—the speaker is in love with his life, but, more than that, he’s addicted to it; through his love interest and his smoking habit, he watches as this obsession is chaotically perpetuated. 

From the Poetry Editors
Reading “American Spirit” is like listening to pop jazz. The rhythm carries such lyrical phrases throughout the piece that it becomes beat poetry.  Clement’s poem pays homage to the black and white films of the 1950’s in America while pushing the boundaries of time: “I say ‘classic’– you think I mean that hot old 1930s shit, kissin’ in the back in black and white. But baby I mean lighters–I mean 1956–red, yellow, black checkers…”