The Take Archives
Ever wonder how journal editors make decisions about work to feature? The Take gives you a glimpse behind the scenes at Mud Season Review. Here, we feature one single poem or flash fiction piece that caught the attention of the editorial team, apart from the signature poetry portfolio or fiction piece in our bi-monthly issues. We hear from the author about the inspiration for his or her work, and we hear from a co-editor about why the poem or flash fiction story stood out.
An Awful Lot Like Blood
Would you jump out of a cake carved like your own lungs?
Some able bodied company creates a trampoline that looks
exactly like the human heart so you can make it beat by beating it.
Wouldn’t that just ruin you?
If it were me, I would have to paint mine.
Wallop wet colors all over it. Make rainbows of the stonewashed
veins. Make Monets of dead bodies slapping on it. To keep them
pulsating, alive, and only somewhat artificial. Not what you’d consider
a well-fed masterpiece, but we make do with what we’ve got
when we’re scared to jump all the way in. To go all for it.
Years go by and it sits in the yard covered in briars. Nobody touches it,
especially not the children. Instead, their fingers are picked off,
snapping like bleeding berries from the bushes. They are cultivated
as something to keep the dying young. Another year passes:
is it how much younger and more alive we are supposed to be getting?
I wanted to paint an emotional representation of desperation, particularly about youth and wellness. Beginning with the poem’s initial question, I wanted to combine the feelings of longing for spontaneous child-like freedom and naivete (jumping out of the cake) with being forced to face your own body for what it is (your own lungs). The rest of the poem explores the speaker’s coping mechanisms and relationship with their own youth and aging body, and how society attempts to create new vessels and mediums for humans to live in denial of change.
From the Poetry Editors
This poem echoes the theme of mortality and wasted youth. Scott animates the trampoline as the most vital organ in the human body with the line “You can make it beat by beating it.” The trampoline presents zoetic vitality for the young at heart but the years pass with the covering of briars and the heart is no longer spry. Even still after time passes, Scott begs the question “How much younger and more alive are we supposed to be getting?”
I Write About My Grandpa Every Night
After the piece “Bordering” by Yvonne Cavanagh
Admit it—you waited for its collapse
a dawning of black line between fragile finger
let’s talk about resistance to change
or talk about that night you got fucked up & swore
every vein was setting for a rip-open tunnel-out game.
Look at the gray-space, admit it—how badly you make yourself live
a kaleidoscope of indecision, a fractal mess on your brown body
brown body wandering dark lines, gray-matter pulses you
into this sadness, you miss him so much it makes you sick
how sick healing looks: jagged & erratic like scatter-brain breath.
Nonsense- you whip back & forth, black streak on the wall
void pitch-black comet swaying in your room
downtown, across America, in your heart
what sentiment & prayer was, that hand on that cold hand
that last moment before—
Every vessel was silence & motionless hope
remaining in your deep core, lilting back & forth staining
every idea that grace & grief could mentor out of you.
Now we sing to memory & we sing to who is still here
& we sing in our dark corners of blank white-walls & every dripping
line that scatters & shoots & chases itself on your anxious, bordering-in tongue.
My grandpa passed away recently, I saw this painting and it just kind of tore into me. I’m still dealing with the grief. Even a year later, it still feels tangible. Anyway, so I started writing, about what it may look like to others, how I’m feeling or acting or treating people around me. I wrote this while my eyes were closed believe it or not, let my fingers find their letters and let myself see what it needed to see.
From the Poetry Editors
This ekphrastic poem meets grief like a head-on collision. Lara uses the language of art to create a self-portrait of loss — the splatter and mess of his internal landscape. Even without seeing the abstract drawing that inspired this piece, we could feel his still-raw pain in lines like these: “Nonsense- you whip back & forth, black streak on the wall/void pitch-black comet swaying in your room/downtown,…” The poet shows us there’s power and energy in mourning, which is too often sanitized in American culture.
Allie Rose Vugrincic
What Eats Sheep in Ireland?
The scattered bones are sleek and bleached
despite the continual roll of woolly clouds
over the fathomless copper mines of Allihies.
I toe the structures, hold them in my palms.
To what did these remnants, these what’s lefts,
belong before they were committed to the earth?
I dig my heels desperately into mossy grass
and I find it there, further uphill, staring soullessly
at the grey afternoon sky, contemplating absence
or imaginings much deeper – taupe horns curve
from a broad forehead, the long snout dips gracefully
and the resonance of eyes see beyond this thin place.
There is something known here: the depth of the earth,
the breadth of the land– held in those empty eyes.
But all I can ask is, what eats sheep in Ireland?
I wrote “What Eats Sheep in Ireland?” while walking the hills of Allihies, where I was overtaken with a sense of wonder for the natural world. Behind the ruins of an old farmhouse I stumbled upon a sheep’s skull, and it took me by surprise. I felt that in that place of myth and mystery, it was trying to answer some question. But it was one I had to fathom out myself.
From the Poetry Editors
In her poem based on a true experience, Vugrincic brings to life a grave-like site – things that once were but are no more. Her images, vibrant with fluff and moss, are contrasted with barren land, bones of dead sheep and ominous skies surrounded by copper mines. Her language transcends her own images. We were entranced by the scene and wonderment she left us: “To what did these remains, these what’s lefts belong before they were committed to the earth?” Hers is a poem that envisions the past in order to connect to the future.